Being Black in a White World: Understanding Racism in British Universities

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This paper critically examines the experiences of racism encountered by academics working within British universities. The conceptual position is underpinned by a critical race theory and postcolonial feminist framework. These theoretical approaches intertwine to present a rich and complex set of snapshots that document the various challenges and barriers faced by British academics of colour/difference in higher education. The empirical data that informs this piece has been generated by a series of qualitative, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with academics of colour and of difference, and who are based broadly within the social sciences and humanities. Those interviewed come from a range of different racial, religious and ethnonational backgrounds, and occupy different academic positions within the university structure. Through a close engagement with the empirical material, this paper analyses the effects of the structural and systemic nature of racism as experienced by my respondents. The account is focused around three key themes including microaggressions and institutional racism, teaching, and promotion and support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number176
Number of pages26
JournalPapeles del Centro de Estudios sobre la Identidad Colectiva
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

(c) 2017 Papeles del CEIC. International Journal on Collective Identity Research


  • institutional racism
  • identity
  • whiteness
  • universities
  • Britain
  • higher education

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