Currently, I am pursuing the PhD in Development Studies with a research on 'Social Movements Universities in Latin America and the politics of knowledges and development'.
Since the late 1990s a number of social movements in Latin America have created their own universities. These initiatives take different shapes and forms, ranging from informal spaces for learning and knowledge generation, to more formal types of educational institutions offering access to higher education. What they have in common is that they all have been brought about by social movements struggling for social transformation, autonomy and, more recently, epistemic justice. They have been created both to support social movement’s struggles as well as to contribute to thinking and carrying out alternative political and life projects. Some universities also aspire to decolonize knowledge and make visible other epistemologies and practices of knowing. By looking at the experiences of some of these universities, this research seeks to explore the relations between social movements and knowledges. It assumes that social movements are knowledge producers in their own right, an approach which moves away from doing research about social movements towards research with the movements. Using a qualitative approach, the study critically investigates the history and motivation behind the emergence of ‘social movement universities’ and what these universities are, do and mean.