Language and Cultures (Comp Lit) and Critical Studies (English), Glasgow
Tenure since 2013
The Abolition of the University: A Literary Study of Knowledge, Power, Education and the Institution
Reading Sylvia Wynter, Edouard Glissant and other decolonial writers refreshed my interest in the coloniality of knowledge production and dissemination. My PhD thesis, currently entitled 'The Abolition of the University: A Literary Study of Knowledge, Power, Education and the Institution' considers how ideas, knowledge, learning and educational transformation are mediated through the institution.
The first chapter examines first, the history of the university in Europe and the rest of the world, and then the rise of the humanities as a discipline. It fuses establishment European historical and literary sources with Black anti-colonial and radical humanist theory.
The thesis moves on to explore the epistemological consequences of personal encounters with education, and educational institutions read through autobiography, biography and fiction from Africa, the Caribbean and Scotland. Lou examines educational transformation from a political, emotional and cultural perspective, specifically looking at an imperial education and the fragmenting of community and kinship bonds.
She offers a chapter focused on writing about and from Oxford University as the symbolic epicentre of the imperial educational fantasy. Wynter conceptualises the university as the ‘branch plant industry of a metropolitan system’: her final chapter considers the university as border and as a neoliberal branch plant system.
Lou is an aspiring writer from Tayport, Fife. Lou studied literature at Glasgow and law in Galway, before heading out to Palestine for three years, to work with human rights organisations and for the UN. Lou returned to Glasgow to study literature and its relationship to society, and will use the knowledge gained from the PhD to assist in writing a novel/biography.
Lou was the winner of the Robertson Medal for academic year 2013-14.