The importance of Black Studies: Transforming the study of race and racism

9 November 2017, 5.00 PM - 9 November 2017, 6.30 PM

G4/5, 10 Woodland Road

The Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship Seminar Series

Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University) 

The importance of Black Studies: Transforming the study of race and racism

University curricular are overwhelmingly Eurocentric, providing a narrow framework of knowledge through which to view the world. Issues of race and racism when taught tend to be marginalised as something additional, extra, a disposable luxury. The key to transforming teaching is to embed the study of racism into the core ideas, transforming some of the very key concepts at the foundation of knowledge. The example that this paper will use is that of Blackness, the diasporic connection between those with roots on the African continent. Blackness remakes the way we understand the nation, troubling one of the most taken for granted notions in the academy. Through the lens of Blackness the nation state becomes a social construction, largely used to mask Empire and as a tool to maintain an unjust social order. So Blackness is not an addendum, we cannot fully understand the concept of the nation state without engaging with the critique it presents. The challenge for the academy is not just to include concepts such as Blackness on the edges, but to accept that without engaging with them the core ideas of knowledge are incomplete. To do so also challenges our national conception of race and racism and shatters the race relations paradigm. 


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