Public talk to discuss the impact of racism on Black women academics
The lecture, entitled ‘Putting Feelings into Words: Racism and Wellbeing in Universities’, will be Professor Shirley Anne Tate’s first public lecture in her new role and will take place on Wednesday 21 June at Leeds Beckett’s Headingley Campus.
It will run from 5pm to 7.15pm and will include a panel discussion and question and answer session to launch a special issue of Race, Ethnicity and Education Journal, entitled ‘Building the Anti-Racist University: Next Steps’ and guest edited by Professor Tate with Dr Paul Bagguley at the University of Leeds. To book a place at the event, please click here.
Professor Tate explained: “Employee wellbeing is a strategic priority of UK universities and relates to those feelings which can be spoken. To say this already implicates questions of power, governmentality and affective management because of those feelings that are ruled as out of place and unvoiceable. If there is already an unvoiceability regime in place, then only some answers will be recognised as acceptable to voice when asked ‘how do you feel?’ about certain aspects of your life as a Black woman university employee.
“Questions about, and answers which speak, the daily racism and racist micro-aggressions experienced by Black women academics will not be asked or recognised. What is interesting about wellbeing as a management strategy is its deracination, its lack of attention to the fact of racism and its negative impacts on the psyches and bodies of Black women academics. What would wellbeing strategies do if, in answer to the question of ‘feeling’, Black women answered, ‘angry’, ‘upset’, ‘marginalised’, ‘racially discriminated against’, or ‘ashamed’?”
Professor Tate’s talk will focus on the impacts of this unvoiceable shame and negative feelings associated with institutional silencing. She will also examine the impact of deracination (the assumption that everyone is white, which is the racialised norm) on Black women academics’ wellbeing from the standpoint of having ‘liveable’ lives at work.
The special issue of Race, Ethnicity and Education Journal draws on the successes and failures of past projects to look forward to what needs to be done in the future to create the anti-racist university. It brings together current thinking from across the world and across multiple academic disciplines to show that we are not yet past the need for anti-racist action in higher education.
Professor Shirley Anne Tate joined Leeds Beckett University in April 2017 and has written widely on topics including the body, ‘mixed race’, beauty, and the cultures of skin. The focus of her research is Black diaspora politics and she will begin a new international collaboration this summer, looking into what needs to be done to tackle racialisation across the UK, Sweden, South Africa and Brazil and how National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) play a vital role in national approaches to countering racism.
Professor Tate is Patron of Black British Academics, an independent organisation working proactively to enhance race equality across the higher education sector, and Editor of Emerald’s Critical Mixed Race Studies book series.