I am Foluke Ifejola Adebisi and this is my blog.
I am currently a Senior Lecturer at the Law School, University of Bristol. I did a PhD at Lancaster University, examining non-military (less interventionist alternatives) mechanisms for preventing mass atrocities in West Africa.
I believe teaching is about bringing learning to life by engaging with a vast range of diverse lived experiences. Law is often mistakenly thought to be a clear collection of discrete rules, but new undergraduates soon learn, the law is more than this. Law is also about shifting moralities, complex subjectivities and linguistic interpretations. Or, as Barack Obama writes, ‘… the law is also memory.’ Societal moralities, populist anxieties and the location of national and global power often influence legal content and use. To achieve a legal framework that works for all, we must include histories, voices, experiences and worldviews that are absent and silenced from our teaching and research. This is the soul of decolonial thought which has formed the core of my work… in class, in this blog and elsewhere.
Within this blog I have explored these concepts in different ways; through academic ramblings, humour, poetry, personal reflection, reviews of movies, TV and documentaries, among other things. For example in the poem, Child, You are Black, I and reflecting on how Blackness and Africanness converge in pain, agony and oppression, saying:
‘for Africans who think their pain is greater
You need to see that this is the same death and despair,
The same story that confines us in poverty and pain,
The voice screaming Willie Kimani, should also wail Philando Castile,’
In Finding My Africa, Finding Myself, I reflect on how my own experience of living both in Africa and as a diasporan African gives me a unique view on how context changes the way in which anti-Blackness is experienced. While in Global University Rankings & Toilets, I use the single issue of global University Rankings to show how Eurocentrism is standardised. This is because African universities are ranked on how European they are, not on how much they benefit their own countries. Other pieces I have written on how this history of colonial epistemic violence affect education in Africa include, Language in African Education and The Ugandan Bridge Schools and Education as Freedom.
I am also very much concerned with how coloniality impacts on the lived experiences of black women in Africa and outside Africa. My blog-lecture on intersectionality, How and Why Intersectionality Matters, explores this. In A World of Falling Skies and Dominator Culture, I argue that our starting point for ending the oppression of Black women has the potential to reoppress if we do not examine the oppressive culture in which we implement liberation. In Misogynoir: Did Not Start with Saartjie, Will Not End with Serena, I draw a line between historical representation of Black women and current abuse levelled at Black women.
I also engage with how the big and small screen reflect or engage with coloniality through thematic reviews. I use thematic reviews to draw out themes – usually of importance in terms of racial justice, decolonisation and freedom. For example, my thematic review of Palm Trees in the Snow, explores the futility of using interracial relationships as an indicator for racial justice while simultaneously being silent about unequal power relations and the historical and contemporary context in which these relationships occur. In Loving A United Kingdom, I examine how two different movies, Loving and A United Kingdom, illustrate the convergence of the personal and the political. This theme continues in my reviews of Black Earth Rising and Detroit. There is also a list of 20 films relevant to themes of this blog in the Law and Race Film Club.
While almost every post on this blog contains themes of decoloniality, in posts such as, Decolonisation & the Law School: Initial thoughts, Decolonising the University of Bristol, Why I Say ‘Decolonisation is Impossible’, Reflections on Decolonising the Museum, I engage specifically with how what decolonisation means and decolonisation can and may operate within education and outside of it. Freedom as I suggest in many posts here, is always an uphill battle.
Nevertheless, I think it is very important that we have seek to end negativity rather than just examine it. In Academics as Optimistic Shoe Salespeople, I suggest that rather than us lamenting our current reality, we should be revealing the reasons for the possibility of our reality, and charting a path that unveils the possibility for change. In Ending Afronesia and Afrotortion, I urge Africans to take the initiative in ending Antiblackness. I always speak Pan-Africanism. It is OUR collective and together work that will end Anti-Blackness. Pan-Africanism is now. Pan-Africanism is continuous work and hope and work and hope and love and love and love and more love.
My academic writing some of which is listed below, is also steeped in these themes:
- ‘Decolonising Education in Africa: Implementing the right to education by re-appropriating culture and indigeneity’, Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 67(4), 2016: 433-451.
- ‘The Impact of African Philosophy on the Realisation of International Community and the Observance of International Law’, International Community Law Review, 18(1), (2016): 3- 33.
- Book Review: Levitt, J. I. (Ed.). (2015). Black Women and International Law. Cambridge University Press. African Journal of International and Comparative Law, 24(1), (2016): 168 – 172.
- ‘A Right to a Project of (African) Life: Boko Haram, ESC Classification of the Right to Education, and the Unjustifiability of Generationalising Human Rights.’ Journal of Academic Perspectives, 2015(4):1-21.
- ‘Where the Rubber Hits the Road: The Limitations of the Universalism Vs Cultural Relativism Debate Impacting FGM Control in Nigeria’, NIALS Journal of Law and Gender (accepted February 2015) [7870 words].
- ‘Losing the Utility of the Responsibility to Prevent: The Confines of International Law and Focus on Genocide Prevention’, International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 6(4), (2013): 191- 203.
- ‘Is Côte d’Ivoire a Test Case for R2P? Democratisation as Fulfilment of the International Community’s Responsibility to Prevent’, Journal of African Law, 56(2), (2012): 151-174.
I have given many presentations and talks on this. I have also used these themes in my spoken word poetry. For example:
If you are interested in any of these things, please follow this blog, comment, question, participate and contribute. You can also follow me on twitter @folukeifejola.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I really, really, really appreciate it!
Long live Africa.
Long live her people.