Education at LSE

LSE Change Makers investigating race equity at LSE

As part of LSE's Change Makers programme, students investigate, innovate, and lead on the enhancement of student education and experience across LSE through independent research. The following Change Makers projects investigate race equity at LSE:


  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion: What does it mean in the classroom?
  • Diversifying and “decolonising” the curriculum in Law
  • Diversifying and decolonising Methodology curricula
  • How can International Relations curricula be diversified and decolonized and in what ways would such changes influence the learning experience of students in the department, especially those who are ethnically underrepresented at LSE?
  • Cultural competency in LSE’s counselling services: an evaluation of minority student experience and recommendations
  • Student perceptions of safety at LSE.


Diversifying and decolonising: a Change Maker's project

Zoya Zia, a student Change Maker in the Department of Sociology, is researching how International Relations curricula can be diversified and decolonised, and how this would influence students' learning experiences, especially those who are ethnically underrepresented at LSE.

Here, Zoya explains more about her research and why she chose to investigate this field: 

'This year, I have embarked on an important project as an LSE Change Maker called "Reconciling the Colonial Past and Present to Build a De-Colonial Future in the Department of International Relations at LSE."

My project looks at undergraduate coursework and curriculum in the department and seeks to answer several questions, including:

  • What does it mean to "decolonize" academic spaces, especially in an elite university like LSE?
  • How is "diversity" of topics and perspectives related to the movement to decolonize?
  • In what ways is this movement fundamental to the field of IR today?

Before coming to London, I graduated with a BA in International Relations from the University of Texas at Austin. My experience in this program motivated me to undertake the LSE Change Makers project, as I strongly believe International Relations (IR) is something that concerns or at least affects us all, as individuals in an interconnected world.

From history to politics, the economy, public health, environmental change and even popular culture, borders are constantly asserted and transcended. The way COVID-19 has played out, with debates around vaccine patenting and distribution, shows that we are all in some way linked to one another.

However, I find that the field of IR does not reflect this reality. Instead, it has entrenched an asymmetrical order that still relegates non-Western voices to a marginal position. As an MSc Human Rights and Politics student, and a Pakistani-American from Texas, I have long studied and surveyed this hierarchy and now view decolonization as a movement for uprooting it.

Educational spaces are among the many sites implicated in colonial relationships, especially since barriers posed by Eurocentrism, racism and sexism influence what is taught and how it is taught. As a result, I hope that my project will prove to be useful to the department and will shape an approach to the coursework and curriculum that:

  • Encourages LSE to confront its own positionality as a site where IR is not only examined, but also perpetuated and experienced, especially by BME students
  • Recognizes racial disparities in education and actively works against a focus on Eurocentric topics and perspectives in IR
  • Brings students into communication with their lecturers and department at large as participants in the collaborative process of decolonizing IR.

I am excited to have been a part of this year's LSE Change Makers cohort and aspire to be part of an inclusive and more equitable future.'