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Palgrave Macmillan

Dismantling Race in Higher Education

Racism, Whiteness and Decolonising the Academy

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Challenges current discourses on racial inequality in higher education and sets out new ways of understanding race and racism in the academy
  • Includes contributions from key and emerging scholars in the field
  • Explores the intersectional issues faced by BME students and academics in relation to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class

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About this book

This book reveals the roots of structural racism that limit social mobility and equality within Britain for Black and ethnicised students and academics in its inherently white Higher Education institutions. It brings together both established and emerging scholars in the fields of Race and Education to explore what institutional racism in British Higher Education looks like in colour-blind 'post-race' times, when racism is deemed to be ‘off the political agenda’. Keeping pace with our rapidly changing global universities, this edited collection asks difficult and challenging questions, including why black academics leave the system; why the curriculum is still white; how elite universities reproduce race privilege; and how Black, Muslim and Gypsy traveller students are disadvantaged and excluded.

The book also discusses why British racial equality legislation has failed to address racism, and explores what the Black student movement is doing about this. As the authors powerfully argue, it is only by dismantling the invisible architecture of post-colonial white privilege that the 21st century struggle for a truly decolonised academy can begin. This collection will be essential reading for students and academics working in the fields of Education, Sociology, and Race.

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Table of contents (22 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. Seize the Day! The Irresistible Rise of Decolonising Movements


“This collection of essays is a timely intervention given the discussions going on in Whitehall and on campuses about access, equality and the legacy of colonialism and empire in our universities. Whilst attention must of course attention must be paid to who is able to participate in higher education, we must also focus on issues of race within the institutions themselves.” (The Rt Hon David Lammy, MP, The Labour Party)

“Arday and Mirza tackle the perennial status of racism in the academy. Beyond the common refrain that Whites are the center of the problem, the contributors rightfully focus our efforts at dismantling the ideology of whiteness itself.” (Professor Zeus Leonardo, University of California, Berkeley, USA)

“This book is an essential guide to the most important questions facing Higher Education globally. Behind a façade of pleasant sounding aspirations, such as ‘free speech’ and ‘academic standards’, a war is being waged to determine the knowledge that universitiesare allowed to teach and the racialized nature of the staff and student body.” (Professor David Gillborn, University of Birmingham, UK)

“This landmark publication takes on an ambitious project: fiercely critical analyses intertwined with intersectional visions of hope and tools for a different practice. A new generation of critical voices takes us closer to the tipping point where ‘enough =enough’ can trigger genuine transformation.” (Professor Philomena Essed, Antioch University, USA)

“Dismantling Race in Higher Education is a must read edited volume for those individuals who are really interested in understanding the influences of race within the UK higher education enterprise. Both Dr Jason Arday and Professor Heidi Safia Mirza assembled an all-star team of UK ‘race studies’ scholars and researchers to put this book together. In my opinion, it includes important content that may stimulate a new generation of ‘race studies’ thought leaders in the UK. This edited volume has immense potential to become a classic text for higher education scholars and researchers throughout the UK higher education system and beyond.” (Professor James Moore III, The Ohio State University, USA)

“Covering multiple experiences, histories, policies and pedagogies, Dismantling Race is an impressive contribution to scholarship on higher education. Across a set of beautifully curated chapters the imbrication of whiteness in the British Academy is catalogued, reported and explained. Few, having read the book, will doubt that higher education is institutionally racist; and few will doubt the urgency of contemporary decolonizing initiatives.” (Professor Robbie Shilliam, John Hopkins University, USA)

Editors and Affiliations

  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

    Jason Arday

  • Goldsmiths College, University of London, London, UK

    Heidi Safia Mirza

About the editors

Jason Arday is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at Roehampton University, UK, a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust and Co-Chair of the Runnymede Academic Forum. 
Heidi Safia Mirza is Professor of Race, Faith and Culture at Goldsmith's College, University of London, UK. She is known for her pioneering intersectional research on race, gender and identity in education.

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