The Decolonize, Dismantle and Redesign student working group (DDR) is a graduate student-led group that provides an organizing space for students, faculty, community members, and more to join the movement to uproot long standing power imbalances in academia that continue to entrench colonial-era structural oppression. This group is a continuation of the Decolonizing Global Health Working Group started by Laura Mkumba, Yadurshini Raveendran and Andrea Koris at Duke University.
The core objectives of DDR include restructuring dominant epistemologies and systems of learning; inviting and including marginalized groups to propose solutions to power imbalances, centering them within academia; healing relationships to promote community unity; and fostering academic partnerships that are increasingly diverse and inclusive. DDR operations are founded on a three-part framework centered in decolonization, dismantling systems of oppression and harmful hegemonic ideologies, and the redesign and reform of institutional structures.
Writ large, the main function of the student-led decolonizing movement is “to help create space for critical, anticolonial reflection within large, influential and privileged institutions, agencies and organisations, so far often in high-income countries” (Büyüm et al. 2020). The objective of DDR is to function in this capacity by way of the following initiatives:
- Promoting capacity building among minorities within the Duke Community
- Shifting culture and curricula at Duke University
- Building critical reflexivity and positional awareness for global health practitioners
- Fostering critical global health conversations at Duke and abroad
- Taking action that begins to dismantle and redistribute power that resides in academic and health institutions
It is our hope that in creating a collaborative space designed to work toward these objectives, we can combat the harmful remnants of colonialism within academic spaces and communities, challenging the perpetuation of coloniality in our society.