A Collaborative Approach to Decolonial Teaching/Learning on Race and Gender

Resource added

Full description


  • Margaret Griesse, SIAS, UW Tacoma
  • Flavia de Avila, SIAS, UWT (Affiliate Faculty) Federal University of Sergipe (Brazil), International Relations



Decolonial theorists have argued that race and gender categories are socially constructed through the colonial process as well as through ongoing systems of power. Relationships between scholars from different countries can be influenced by colonial biases and dominant epistemologies. For the TLAX 462 class on “Women in Latin America” we attempted to produce a decolonial, collaborative design for transnational dialogue between students from the Federal University of Sergipe in Brazil and the University of Washington, Tacoma in the USA. To decenter the dominance of the English language we utilized the translation technology of Microsoft Translator which provided direct written translations of speech within a synchronous Zoom meeting so that students could speak in their own language while reading the translated response of students from the other country. The instructors assigned articles and films by Brazilian scholars on race and gender that were available in Portuguese and English. The development of this class represents an ongoing collaboration of co-teaching and learning in which the instructors co-constructed the class through participation in an online teaching workshop. By developing a reflective collaboration based on decolonial and feminist practices, the instructors created a framework for decolonial pedagogy involving continued reflection, discussion and creation. Key questions which would encourage class discussion and critical thinking on the construction of race and gender were agreed upon each week based on the previous class. Student responses were overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated interest in continued dialogue about race and gender among themselves and with students from other countries. They also provided ideas for improving the design.



How to construct a decolonial COIL class?


Decolonial theory and feminist collaborative practice.


Collaborative construction of class equally accessible to English and Portuguese speakers/readers with decolonial content.


Implementation of technological tools to facilitate international dialogue and feminist reflexive collaboration.