Engaging the Faces of 'Resistance' and Social Change from Decolonizing Perspectives: Toward Transforming Neoliberal Higher Education


  • Riyad Shahjahan


'Resistance' is an under theorized concept in education, particularly in the study of higher education. While the term is pervasive in educational discourse, what 'resistance' means and evokes remain cloudy. Resistance also continues to be an under theorized concept in post-/anti-colonial discourses within the field of education. In this essay review, I examine two recently published books with the objective of addressing gaps in the literature in terms of questions of resistance, education, and social change in higher education. I also analyze these two books to answer the following questions: What makes anticolonialism different from postcolonialism? How does the question of indigeneity fit into postcolonial theorizing? What does resistance look like from these two perspectives? Based on my review, I argue that we need intricate and context specific understandings of resistance, which bridge the discursive and material relations of power. I conclude by examining how the essays in these books theoretically enrich the question of resistance and social change in neoliberal higher education.

Author Biography

Riyad Shahjahan

Riyad Shahjahan is an Assistant Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) at Michigan State University. His primary areas of interest are the topics of equity and knowledge production in higher education. He is particularly interested in understanding how some ways of knowing are valued over others and what are the social-cultural-political-historical processes that impact these knowledge validation and dissemination processes.