Theorising Race and Racism in Education

Alternate Fridays 14:00-16:00
Easter term 2018: ‘Theorists from across the globe’

Donald McIntyre Building, Room 2S3, Faculty of Education

Convened by: Arathi Sriprakash, Amina Shareef, Sharon Walker, Amberley Middleton, Christy Kultz

Session 1: April 27, 2018

Using humour and critique, Fanon considers racial constructions, in this case, ‘black’, and how these shape the ways in which those racialized as black understand being human.

Fanon, F (2008 [1962 – English version]). Black Skin, White Masks. Pluto Press  

Suggested Chapters: If you are short of time and unable to read the whole book, give particular attention to Chapter 4 The So-Called Dependency Complex of Colonized Peoples, and Chapter 5 The Fact of Blackness

Session 2: May 11 2018

This paper explores both the personal narratives of a group of black and white undergraduate students and the institutional discourse at one historically white and Afrikaans medium university in post-apartheid South Africa.

Walker, M. (2005) ‘Rainbow nation or new racism? Theorizing race and identity formation in South African higher education,’ Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8(2): 129-146

This article explores the production of post-apartheid Afrikaner identity in South Africa.

Verway, C. & Quayle, M. (2012) ‘Whiteness, racism and Afrikaner identity in post-apartheid South Africa,’ African Affairs, 111(445): 551-575

Session 3: May 25 2018

This paper begins a dialogue on the particular vulnerability of women and girls to anti-Muslim hate crime, predicated on the long-lived vilification of Muslims by the media and the state.

Perry, B. (2014) ‘Gendered Islamophobia: hate crime against Muslim women, Social Identities,’ Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 20(1): 74-89

This article examines the public debate leading to the 2004 French law banning conspicuous religious signs in schools and French colonial attitudes to veiling in Algeria, in conjunction with discourses on the veil that have arisen in other western contexts.

Al-Saji, A. (2010) ‘The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A philosophical analysis,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism, 36(8): 875-902

Session 4: June 8 2018

In this article, Du Bois explains how he sees the carving up of Africa by many European nations, that is the scrabble for colonies, as an underlying cause of World War I.  

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1915) ‘The African Roots of War,’ The Atlantic Monthly, pp.707-714

Worlds of Color explores the problem of the color line and how it relates to the catastrophe of World War I.  

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1925) ‘Worlds of Color,’ Foreign Affairs, 3(3): 423-444

Past Reading Lists: 

Platform Capitalism Reading Group

In recent discussions of capitalist transformation, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are many criticisms which can be raised of the platform metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how social, economic, political, cultural and technological factors are collectively contributing to systemic transformation

This intensive five week reading group explores platform capitalism, the growing focus on the platform and its implications for sociological and educational research. Each session will be an informal discussion of two papers, chapters, essays or talks:

The meetings will take place from 4pm to 6pm in DMB 2S5 in The Donald McIntyre Building in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. This is a fifteen minutes walk from Cambridge train station and we welcome all attendees. We would appreciate if you could e-mail your intention to attend to so we can update you with further details.

It will also be possible to follow the reading group remotely, thanks to Naomi Barnes. If you’d like to do so, please join the Slack group created by Naomi where further details will be posted in advance of the reading group. We’d particularly encourage people to blog their thoughts about the reading and we will distribute any posts to all participants in advance of each week’s session.

Social Justice and Education


Goals for education are commonly driven by claims and desire to pursue social justice in one form or another.  However, critical theorisation and articulation of what is meant by social justice is often neglected. This new reading group will focus on understanding and critiquing multiple origins, ideas and theories of justice. Through group engagement with a range of literature the aim is to develop deeper knowledge and understanding of our own positionalities, with particular regard to the relationships between social justice and education research, policy and practice.  Students and staff are invited to come along to the first session and to share ideas on how we can collaboratively develop this space.

Second meeting: 21 November, 4-5.30pm, room tbc

Sen, A.K. (2009) The Idea of Justice (London, Penguin, Allen Lane), Chapter 2, [Rawls and Beyond], pp.52-74.

Nussbaum, M.C. (2004) Beyond the social contract: Capabilities and global justice, Oxford Developmental Studies, 32(1), pp.3-18.

Brighouse, H. (2004) Justice (Cambridge, Polity Press), Chapter 4, [The Capability Approach], pp.67-83.

First meeting: 25 October, 12.30-2.00pm, DMB 2S10

Suggested reading for session 1:

Rawls, J. (1999) A Theory of Justice. Revised edition (Cambridge Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), Chapter 1.

Brighouse, H. (2004) Justice (Cambridge, Polity Press), Chapters 1-3.

If you wish to take part please contact Caroline Sarojini Hart at If you are unable to attend but would like to take part in future meetings please do also get in touch. We anticipate the next meeting will take place in late November 2018.