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Transcendence over Diversity: black women in the academy

Mirza, Heidi (2006) Transcendence over Diversity: black women in the academy. Policy Futures in Education, 4 (2). pp. 101-113. ISSN 1478-2103

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Abstract

Universities, like many major public institutions have embraced the notion of ‘diversity’ virtually uncritically- it is seen as a moral ‘good in itself’. But what happens to those who come to represent ‘diversity’- the black and minority ethnic groups targeted to increase the institutions thirst for global markets and aversion to accusations of institutional racism? Drawing on existing literature which analyses the process of marginalization in higher education, this paper explores the individual costs to black and female academic staff regardless of the discourse on diversity. However despite the exclusion of staff, black and minority ethnic women are also entering higher education in relatively large numbers as students. Such ‘grassroots’ educational urgency transcends the dominant discourse on diversity and challenges presumptions inherent in top down initiatives such as ‘widening participation’. Such a collective movement from the bottom up shows the importance of understanding black female agency when unpacking the complex dynamics of gendered and racialised exclusion. Black women’s desire for education and learning makes possible a reclaiming of higher education from creeping instrumentalism and reinstates it as a radical site of resistance and refutation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: a) Sociology of race and gender b) Black feminist and postcolonial theoretical perspectives including life history analysis c) Black feminist analysis of the process of marginalization in higher education for black and female staff and students in the context of the ‘discourse of diversity’. Develops the concept of intersectionality by drawing on personal reflexive life stories d) several invited keynotes at major conferences - including Trinity college Dublin 2004; Kings 2006; Cambridge 2005; Birkbeck 2007; IoE 2007; Invited chapter in Routledge collection. Included in a special edition journal on diversity in HE. e) Use of rigerous national quantitative secondary data in context of selected qualitative life history reflections f) article peer reviewed g) single authored © SYMPOSIUM JOURNALS Ltd
Controlled Keywords: Gender , Race
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Education Foundations and Policy Studies
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 14:41
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 11:56
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/2423

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