As we indicate in the Introduction, although we will delineate some broad principles and orientations of anti-racist scholar-activism, this book is not intended to be a ‘how-to’ guide. The accounts presented throughout the book show that such an endeavour would not only be incredibly difficult but would belie the nuance, complexity, and multiplicity of what is invoked through the terms ‘scholar-activist’ and ‘scholar-activism’. It is not our intention to present anti-racist scholar-activism as an essentialist entity that can be easily captured
Anti-racist scholar-activism raises urgent questions about the role of contemporary universities and the academics who work within them. As profound socio-racial crises collide with mass anti-racist mobilisations, this book focuses on the praxes of academics working within, and against, their institutions in pursuit of anti-racist social justice. Amidst a searing critique of the university’s neoliberal and imperial character, Joseph-Salisbury and Connelly situate the university as a contested space, full of contradictions and tensions. Drawing upon original empirical data, the book considers how anti-racist scholar-activists navigate barriers and backlash in order to leverage the opportunities and resources of the university in service to communities of resistance. Showing praxes of anti-racist scholar-activism to be complex, diverse, and multifaceted, and paying particular attention to how scholar-activists grapple with their own complicities in the harms perpetrated and perpetuated by higher education institutions, this book is a call to arms for academics who are, or would like to be, committed to social justice.
Opposition to anti-racist scholar-activism within the academy
Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Laura Connelly
antagonistic relationships with much of the academy. As Harney and Moten contend in their discussion of the subversive intellectual, ‘the university needs what she bears but cannot bear what she brings’.
This tension results in attempts to curtail, dismiss, ridicule, or silence anti-racist scholar-activist work, casting it as not theoretical or objective enough, and too political and threatening. As scholar-activists clash with their institutions, they are habitually ‘pushed to the margins, forced to take risks, situated in
this chapter and for the rest of the book. Building upon these foundations, we consider three elements to working in service: questions of accountability (are anti-racist scholar-activists accountable, and if so, to whom?); usefulness (is our work useful, and if so, to whom?); and accessibility and reach (is our work accessible and reachable, and if so, to whom?) In each of these sections, we conceptualise the notion of working in service as a counter-hegemonic principle. In doing so, we argue that the notion of working in service should be conceptualised as a
morally and ethically justifiable. Thereafter, we look at reparative theft in practice and do so in two sections. The first focuses particularly on the reparative theft of more material resources – for example: money, time, labour, and space. The second considers how social and symbolic capital constitutes a resource that can, and should, be stolen from our institutions. Ultimately, we argue that reparative theft is a key form of praxis – a fundamental component – of anti-racist scholar-activism, one that enables scholar-activists to exploit the contradictions of the
. Harlow noted that the scholar-activist had not been known to wear either diamonds or gold. 26 An attractive woman – by all accounts elegant and articulate – First had an imposing personality and her energy was formidable. Described by those who knew her as scathing, relentless, harsh and intimidating – as well as generous, uncertain and even insecure – former South African Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs, who was a close friend, noted the obvious contradictions of First’s position as a white person in a black political environment; a middle-class activist in a
Pan-Africanism, but he also had an influence on Pan-Africanism in the Caribbean. Jamaican scholar Horace Campbell described him as an outstanding “scholar-activist in the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois, C.L.R. James, Marcus Garvey, or George Padmore” (see Morris, Cudjoe, Grant and Duggan in this volume) and as one of the Caribbean’s most significant contributors to Pan-Africanism. 25 Similarly, Jamaican scholar Robert A. Hill described Rodney as:
a Pan-African thinker and political activist in the fullest sense [who] stands out as a unique
European cities: modernity, race and colonialism is a multidisciplinary collection of scholarly studies that sets out to rethink urban Europe from a race-conscious perspective, reflexively and critically aware of colonial entanglements and what came to be known as ‘‘modernity’’. The twelve original contributions engage various combinations of urban studies, postcolonial, decolonial and race critical theories. The results are empirical and theoretical analyses critically centring on the multiple ways in which race partakes in the production of urban space in the twenty-first-century former metropole. European cities across the East–West divide get in this way decentred and detached from dominant Eurocentric analyses and (self-)representations; viewed from global and historical perspectives, their aura of alleged ‘‘modernity’’ leaves the proscenium to offer the reader an opportunity to start imagining and understanding urban living and politics otherwise. After decades of rigorous critical race scholarship on various global urban regions, European cities is a comprehensive attempt to squarely centre race in analyses of urban Europe. The book may appeal to all students and learners both within and outside academia; scholars; activists; journalists; and policy makers interested in urban life, governance, planning, racism, Europe and colonialism.
It was, by and large, the latter that provided an organising principle for his work and continues to inform the praxes of many anti-racist scholar-activists today. Indeed, liberal misunderstandings of racism provide inadequate foundations for building anti-racist responses. As Gargi Bhattacharyya states:
as long as we think that racism happens between you and me – and it's because I didn't know enough about what you like to eat for your dinner, and what your mum
Resistance, respectability and Black deaths in police custody
This chapter investigates the role of women in anti-racist campaigns against policing in twenty-first-century Britain. It argues that imperial discourses about gender norms and respectability have helped to shape how race and crime are constituted in the contemporary period. The chapter argues that the colonial roots of race and gender norms are fundamental to conceptualising one of the key findings of the field research which informs this chapter – that women lead almost every campaign against a black death in police custody in post-2011 England. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with activists, ethnographic observations at protests and scholar-activist participation in campaigns against black deaths in custody, this chapter demonstrates how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century imperial discourses on respectability and nation do not simply contextualise racialised policing in the contemporary period, but expose the racialised and gendered norms that legitimise racist policing in modern Britain.