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Our Services - Decolonising your reading list toolkit: Step 2 Approaches to decolonise reading lists

This guide provides information about decolonising reading lists and provides you with advice and guidance on best practice.

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Editor: Yuka Atsuchi 

Decolonisation Library Intern ( April 2023 - July 2023) 

2nd year Natural Science Student 

Here are some methods that have been successfully adopted by Durham academics and other institutions. You can use these examples to think about how your reading list can be decolonised. 


1. Find a narrative voice across the worlds 

There are so many ways to find marginalised narratives and findings to diversify readings. 

2. Integrate decolonisation with your teaching modules through case studies 

  • Comparison between different countries is a great way to include different cultures, theories, and people.  

  • Further reading and comparison of case studies from different countries will help students in using knowledge to understand how issues are seen in different countries. 

For example,  

In Engineering... 

  • Comparing bridges design and structure between bridges in Durham University and bridges in India or other countries. You might ask questions to students about the reasons for differences in materials, basement structure and structuring process that might be due to climates, cultures and people’s lifestyles in each country.  

In English 

  • Evaluation of literature: Secondary resources and evaluation by authors across the world to see how people read and analyse literature differently by learning about authors' origins and experiences.

In all subjects, 

  • How the same findings are understood and applied in different cultures. For example: how one artist influences different cultures or how one scientific finding is implemented differently in each area. 

3. Look into the history and future of your subject

Who has contributed to the development of your subject and where are they from? How did research in your subject influence people's life and environment across various regions?

Looking back at its history is one of the most effective ways to recognise colonial biases and identify areas or regions where there is a lack of representation, for example, the Global South.

Durham University History Department, Chemistry Department and MLAC departments have been developing modules with historical approaches. Decolonising History and Chemistry module coming in the 2023-2024 academic year.

4.  Receive hints and advice  


Contact us 

This toolkit is still developing. If you have any thoughts or enquiries, please share with us.