Addressing dualisms in student perceptions of a historically white and black university in South Africa
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Normative discourses about higher education institutions may perpetuate stereotypes about institutions. Few studies explore student perceptions of universities and how transformative pedagogical interventions in university classrooms may address institutional stereotypes. Using Plumwood’s notion of dualism, this qualitative study analyses unchallenged stereotypes about students’ own and another university during an inter-institutional collaborative research and teaching and learning project. The project was conducted over 3 years and 282 psychology, social work and occupational therapy students from a historically black and white institution in South Africa, participated in the study. Both black and white students from differently placed higher education institutions display prejudices and stereotypes of their own and other institutions, pointing to the internalisation and pervasiveness of constructions and hegemonic discourses such as whiteness and classism. It is important to engage with subjugated student knowledges, in the context of transformative pedagogical practices, to disrupt dominant views and cultivate processes of inclusion in higher education.