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Our Services - Decolonising your reading list toolkit: Decolonising Your Reading List

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


Editor: Yuka Atsuchi 

Decolonisation Library Intern ( April 2023 - July 2023) 

2nd year Natural Science Student 

What is Decolonisation? 


What we learn is inherently political. From what we are taught to how we are taught, certain values and voices are prioritised, and others marginalised. Decolonisation centres the impact of colonialism, both historic and ongoing, on how we understand the world in which we live and the information that we teach.

Durham SU: Decolonise Durham Network Manifesto

Decolonisation is to recognise colonial systems and biased knowledge and to include diverse cultures, knowledge, and learning from marginalised communities, which widens our perspectives and international understanding. It is also important to question why and where the colonial biases come from and make spaces for more diverse perspectives and knowledge systems in our education.


Why should we decolonise reading lists? 

Reading lists are a key learning tool. They provide the basis of ideas discussed in a module and help students to construct their arguments and expand their thoughts. The resources also significantly impact both their immediate reading and how they might identify further reading. Therefore, a reading list should be inclusive and representative of the world to facilitate our students continued and wider reading and directly supports the University’s decolonising curriculum aims.


What is decolonising reading toolkit?

Our toolkit supports students and lecturers from all disciplines including all Arts and Humanities, Business, Science, Social Sciences and Health and Theology, Ministry and Mission. This toolkit guides you to decolonise your reading list with the step-by-step process including challenging your colonial biases and identifying missing communities. It is also important to update your reading list regularly according to society, students and the academic community.   


Bill Bryson Library Decolonisation pathway 

This toolkit was developed by the Library Decolonisation student intern working with academics, library staff and students as well as other decolonisation interns as one of wider and interdisciplinary student project. We conducted desk research, interviewing teaching academic staff across Arts and Humanities, Business, Science and Social Sciences and Health faculty. We also collected a wider range of voices from the 2023 Decolonising Durham Intern events and interviewed students. This toolkit reflects various voices from both students and the teaching body to make this toolkit special to the Durham University community and to facilitate the decolonisation movement. 


Further reading 

Durham University Common Awards "What is decolonisation? "

How ethical is the colonisation of current decolonisation debates in Academia?



Contact us 

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