I am Foluke Ifejola Adebisi and this is my blog.
I am currently an Associate Professor at the Law School, University of Bristol.
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 often absent and silenced from our teaching and research. This has formed the soul 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 reflect on how Blackness and Africanness often converge in pain, agony and oppression.
In Finding My Africa, Finding Myself, and Home is a Dangerous Spirit, using the medium of verse, I reflect on how my own experience of living both in Africa and as a Diasporan African gives me a particular 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 and diffused across higher educational institutions around the workd. 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 colonial thought 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 re-oppress 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 colonial ideas 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. In Romance is not our way out of hell, I discuss the limits of Bridgerton’s diverse casting and imagined world. There is also a list of 20 films relevant to themes of this blog in the Law and Race Film Club, as well as a video playlist and additional resources dedicated to Law, Race and Decolonisation.
Almost every post on this blog contains themes of decolonisation, for example, 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 try to engage specifically with how what decolonisation means and decolonisation can and may operate within education and outside of it. For example, in Decolonisation Must Disrupt or it is Not Decolonial, I make the argument that decolonisation within or outside Higher Education must make a fundamental change, or we are just rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Freedom as I suggest in many posts here, is always an uphill battle.
My academic writing, some of which is listed below, engages with the foregoing:
- Forthcoming book, (2023) available for pre-order from Bristol University Press: Decolonisation and Legal Knowledge – Reflections on Power and Possibility
- ‘Should We Rethink the Purposes of the Law School? A Case for Decolonial Thought in Legal Pedagogy Series 2 Vol. 2 Amicus Curiae, 2021, p.428.
- ‘Decolonising the Law School: Presences, Absences, Silences… and Hope’. The Law Teacher 54, no. 4 (1 October 2020): 471–74.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
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.