Author Bio

Danielle Aldawood is adjunct faculty in the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University, an instructional design consultant, and an English Language Fellow to Moldova. She holds an M.A. in Social Justice and Human Rights and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Her research interests are in human rights education, critical pedagogy, decolonial theory, and curriculum development. She is heavily involved in creating curriculum and educational trainings that emphasize a decolonized understanding of issues related to social justice and human rights.


While the project of decolonization within higher education has become important in recent years (Kester et al., 2019), human rights and peace education specifically have undergone critique (Coysh, 2014; Al-Daraweesh and Snauwaert, 2013; Barreto, 2013; Zembylas, 2018; Williams, 2017; Cruz and Fontan, 2014). This critique has focused on the delegitimization of non-Western epistemologies around peace and human rights and the reliance on Eurocentric structures of thought and power within curricular and pedagogical practices (Kester et al., 2019). The decolonization of academic human rights curricula is the primary focus of this research; through interviews and content analysis with U.S. human rights professors, professors’ curricular approaches were analyzed to understand how and to what extent they aligned with, incorporated, or utilized decolonial theory. The findings demonstrate that a decolonial curricular approach is only just emerging; these findings, which have significant implications for both human rights and peace education programs, indicate the need for further research into decolonial approaches to higher education curriculum.

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