The long awaited collection of autoethnographies documenting the subtle but impactful ways that women of colour experience raced and gendered inequalities in British academia is being published by Trentham Books on 10 November with a VIP launch in central London on the same day.
The book places the perspectives, experiences and career trajectories of women of colour in British academia at the centre of analysis, positioning academia as a space dominated by whiteness and patriarchy where women of colour must develop strategies for survival and success.
The book started as a research project developed by Black British Academics founder Dr Deborah Gabriel in 2014, as a project to link several aims of the Black Sister Network – a group within Black British Academics that aims to empower women of colour in academia through solidarity and collective activism.
The collection is edited by Dr Gabriel and Prof Shirley Anne Tate and features powerful testimonies from the contributors: Prof Claudia Bernard, Dr Jenny Douglas, Dr Ima Jackson, Dr Josephine Kwhali, Dr Heidi Safia Mirza, Dr Elizabeth Opara, Aisha Richards and Dr Marcia Wilson.
“We are at an important historical juncture where women’s voices are being listened to and acted upon, as rightly they should – when these voices speak to despicable acts of abuse. However, the voices being heard, validated and acknowledged are largely those of White women, whose voices are privileged. Women of colour have suffered raced and gendered discrimination and abuse for a very long time – yet our voices are routinely dismissed or ignored. Our book speaks for those whose experiences have long been marginalised within discourse, policy and practice related to gender equality in higher education.” Dr Gabriel
“This book expertly and elegantly weaves together the analytical, the affective and the political in a forceful engagement with race and racism in the academy. The strength of the book is gathered through its intersectionality and, especially, its focus on women’s experience. As such, the book is a must-read for all scholars and students interested in and affected by the British academy’s racialized environment.”
Professor Robbie Shilliam, School of Politics & International Relations, Queen Mary University of London
“Academic life is punctuated by dissenting voices challenging the hegemony of stultifying, racialised patriarchies. This pioneering collection draws on critical race studies to centre the marginalised female voice that is in constant conflict with an education system that at one level understands gender disparities while at the same time reducing the protests of women to privileged identities easily identifiable in the eyes of the most influential stakeholders, White, middle class, straight men. The authors in this collection should be applauded for their critical insight and transgressive methodologies yet the parochialism of the academy is evidence of border maintenance and backlash politics. Whose voices should be privileged? The myth of educational meritocracy is brought into question when the voices of Black women are denied. The desire for intellectual and political syntheses should be consistently welcomed in the academy and it is in this spirit that all should welcome as an essential text the important stories of Black women academics and their lived realities in the Ivory Tower.”
Professor Kevin Hylton, Head of the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Research Centre, Leeds Beckett University
“The testimonies of women of colour in the academy have tended to remain in the shadows, whitewashed by the structures of the Ivory Tower, dismissed as anecdotal evidence, rather than acknowledged as data indicating individual and structural forms of exclusion. This timely book starkly captures what the recent metrics of under-representation of women of colour actually means in academia. It amplifies the nuances of experience at the same time as encouraging agency in the face of tenaciously resistant-to-change systems of privileged activity. It is essential reading for anyone genuinely interested in improving the conditions of all women in contemporary higher education.”
Professor Vicky Gunn, Glasgow School of Art
“I am so pleased to know that you have arrived at this important milestone. My congratulations to you all! Deborah Husbands
“I am so proud of you! This is the beginning of a huge new movement in Black Academia.” Raona Williams
Historic line up of 'Inside Ivory Tower' book collective. Proud to be part of 1st book on UK black women academics! Sisters I salute you! @ShadesNoir @BLACKBAcademics @jenny_douglas1 @DrCBernard pic.twitter.com/3nHXNJdxlj— Heidi Safia Mirza (@HeidiMirza) November 11, 2017