Inside the Ivory Tower review by Jasmine Aloma
Inside the Ivory Tower provides visceral and personal viewpoints of what it is to be a Black female academic. Exploring these perspectives through ten immersive chapters, the reader is taken on a journey through the Ivory Tower from a Black feminist perspective.
With the opening pages relaying themes of sisterhood and solidarity, the tone is clearly set and the narratives that will be explored are defined. One of the book’s editors, Dr Deborah Gabriel, the founder of Black British Academics and creator of the Ivory Tower project, dedicates the opening poem to ‘Black feminists, past and present’ who pave the way for women of colour ‘to challenge the Eurocentric mentality’ and ‘unpack the mechanics of raced and gendered discrimination’. With these themes in place, the reader is fully prepared to begin the journey through the narratives.
Each chapter explores women of colour experiences within different disciplines from sports science to social work and at different levels – from associate lecturer to professor.
All of the chapters include defining moments and turning points for each author deepening understanding of the issues at hand. The conceptual framework of Black feminism runs consistently throughout, with Hill-Collins, hooks and Griffin all referrenced and underpinning the narratives.
While each chapter is thorough and direct, I would have welcomed longer chapters to learn more about the experiences of each author and read more stories. However, due to the concise and engaging prose from all authors, each chapter is thoroughly enjoyable to read and learn from.
I encourage all to read this book, regardless of gender, background or class. This is a must-read for those wanting to learn more about race and gender inequality and hear narratives from an underrepresented demographic in society that explore fundamental themes we can all relate to, such as belonging, overcoming hierarchical boundaries, exclusion and thriving not just professionally, but on a personal level.
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