Decolonizing Pedagogy by Appropriating Yoga. The Role of White Women in the Search for Social Justice within Higher Education


  • Laura Lee Douglass Endicott College


Post-colonialism, pedagogy, race, yoga, white women


Higher education in North America replicates cultural and psychological values that are distinctive of its colonialist roots. Within this system some educators seek to challenge the status quo by introducing new pedagogical practices with the potential to evoke transformation and change. This mixed methods study sought to understand the use of yoga as pedagogy in undergraduate courses across North America. Participants integrating yoga as a teaching tool verbalized hopes of uprooting the hierarchies of privilege that exist within higher education; simultaneously, secularizing yoga necessitated removing the discipline from its historical context, replicating colonialist values of appropriation. The role of white women in seeking social justice, and replicating colonialist values is discussed within the context of higher education.

Author Biography

Laura Lee Douglass, Endicott College

Dr. Laura Douglass is an interdisciplinary scholar with research interests in trauma, cultural studies, adult learning and the integration of yoga as pedagogy in higher education settings. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Fine Arts from the University of South Florida, and a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies from Lesley University. She currently serves as the Dean of Van Loan Undergraduate Programs, dedicated to adult learners, at Endicott College.


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