Transforming the Ivory tower is a must-read for Black women considering a career in academia. In fact, it should be a must read for vice-chancellors, senior management and all academic staff.
The narrative case studies shared by Black women academics underline the diplomacy, resilience and authenticity needed to navigate a challenging landscape, where race, gender, class, diversity and poor cultural competencies of peers and senior management in academia play a major role in the professional experiences of being a Black woman in academia.
Decolonizing universities, disciplines, curriculum, and course syllabi have been discussed vigorously in various platforms and in publications for years, with many institutions committing to decolonizing their curriculums. However, In the wake of Covid- 19 and Black Lives Matter protests, institutions are increasingly questioned about their diversity and inclusion policies and practices.
As universities have rushed to share statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Transforming the Ivory Tower provides direction towards some of the issues that need to be addressed, and importantly, the transformational work being done within and beyond academia by Black women.
Jessica Oddy is a PhD researcher at the University of East London.