Exploratory Seminars & Faculty Fellows


Bok Exploratory Seminars offer faculty a collaborative space to deliberate the most urgent problems and potentially transformational opportunities in Higher Education, with the primary goal of developing interventions that will chart the course of future teaching and learning at Harvard. Inspired by the Exploratory Seminars of the Radcliffe Institute, each seminar is led by a Faculty Fellow whose current or future teaching is highly informed by the seminar’s theme. The Bok Center provides funding for a graduate student research assistant to assemble relevant background materials and to assist in writing follow-up documents. The outcomes of the seminar receive support from the Bok Center for implementation.

Current Exploratory Seminars

Our 2021 Exploratory Seminar, led by Faculty Fellow Marcelo Garzo Montalvo, will focus on the theme "Decolonize Harvard?: Dismantling Academic Racism/Colonialism." Together, over the course of three Friday afternoons, we will investigate race, racism and colonialism as they emerge in the extant structures and cultural practices of Harvard University. With Harvard as an important point of departure for understanding the Western academy at large, this three-seminar series will focus on three key terms/concepts that have shaped the foundations of modern research paradigms, pedagogies and institutional structures of higher education:

  1. settler colonialism/coloniality (Friday, 12 February 2021, 2:00–3:30 PM EST)
  2. genocide/epistemicide (Friday, 12 March 2021, 2:00–3:30 PM EST) 
  3. Eurocentrism (Friday, 16 April 2021, 2:00–3:30 PM EST)

Each session will include a short presentation to introduce these particular frameworks as analytics for understanding structural racism in the curricular and disciplinary designs of the university—followed by break-out rooms and larger group discussions to develop next steps and ways to interrupt these dynamics in our classrooms and syllabi. Each session will be guided by an assigned reading that emerges from a larger literature review of relevant anti-racist and decolonial publications. Participants will add suggested readings and resources as the series progresses, building a growing online database for use by the campus community and beyond.

Register below  |  Preview the Seminar Canvas site

Past Exploratory Seminars