Notes on: Arday, J., Belluigi, D. & Thomas, D. (2021). Attempting to break the chain: reimagining inclusive pedagogy and decolonising the curriculum within the Academy. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 53 (3) 298 – 313.

The abstract claims that antiracist education has a potential to truly reflect the cultural hybridity of our society but that Whiteness is an instrument of power and privilege that omits particular types of knowledge, particularly limiting the engagement and inclusivity for BAME learners. The paper draws on a CRT framework and centralises the marginalised voices of 15 BAME students and three academics of colour.

Tate and Bagguley introduce the argument that Whiteness is about power and privilege that omits certain types of knowledge which impacts on BAME learners. There have been challenging campaigns to advocate 'a curriculum that reflects the multiple histories of Black and indigenous populations globally but particularly with in the United Kingdom' (299). Antiracist education provides a suitable basis for re-conceptualising how knowledge might be rethought and how the gatekeepers have often 'resembled the White middle-class', how the liberal assumptions of multiculturalism 'have been integral in uncovering and dismantling the hidden power structures that are responsible for the inequality and racism that pervades within institutions' [is this right? Uncovering and dismantling?]. There have been fewer BAME gatekeepers of knowledge. Pervasive curriculum and pedagogies 'remain a site for the systemic reproduction of racism' [citing Pilkington 2013).

This unrepresentative curriculum contradicts and compromises lofty egalitarian ideas and is complicit in misinterpreting BAME individuals, silencing them, minoritising them and otheing them, inaccurately representing their contribution to world history and global society, omitting them and their identities pedagogically. We need new canons of knowledge, more inclusive and representative ones. Current gatekeepers must relinquish their monopoly and the centrality of Whiteness. There is now 'an emerging rearguard action' [sic] which sees POC taking ownership of the canon to diversify and 'decolonise existing the curriculum' [sic]

The UK education system in all its levels has been accused of lacking conceptualisation of race and racism and has not stayed abreast with an increasingly diverse and multi-ethnic British population. This makes it complicit in facilitating racial inequality and disparities regarding academic achievement [citing Alexander and Arday 2015]. Learners experience difficulties in engaging in a curriculum 'that reflects their history and lived experience'. The Eurocentric paradigm has been dominant, in isolation from other contexts and factors that have 'shaped the lexicon of the curriculum, particularly when considering the impact on contribution of people of colour'. The books we consume are central to developing an inclusive learning space but we need a focus to address the paucity of cultural diversity which sustains exclusion by 'omitting knowledge or sustaining dominant stereotypes about ethnic minority groups'.

[Then repetition of the central argument about Eurocentric curricula]. Instead we are going to centre the experience of BAME learners and glean their understandings and its impact, while exploring their perspectives about the 'potential absence of the curriculum that embraces diversity and decolonisation' (300). The current curriculum is exclusionary and therefore develops discriminatory spaces and propagates racial inequalities. A CRT theoretical framework will centralise marginalised voices and challenge normative orthodoxy and it will also provide some conclusions on the role of the gatekeepers who delivered knowledge 'and whether this endeavour has included the pedagogical input of students and academics of colour'.

There have been continual calls to decolonise the curriculum, especially by antiracist scholar-activists, demands for a more intersectional lexicon. Recent studies include his. Iniquity is shown by poor diversification among academic staff and the omission of students from curriculum design processes. Whiteness is central and entrenched in a historical legacy that is deeply rooted, 'having been imposed through colonial mechanisms as a "symbol of purity" and claims to legitimate and verifiable knowledge' [what in the UK?]. This Whiteness facilitates 'daily overt, covert and subtle racism and the marginalisation of people of colour'.

White supremacy also constructs knowledge in educational spaces and historical contexts, frames Black histories and omits their contribution, facilitates historic amnesia, marginalises academics and students of colour and this is 'symptomatic of the entrenched institutional racism which still influences much of the discriminatory terrain in the Academy and society more generally' [endless assertions really]. There are continued barriers, historical discriminatory patterns, reluctance for gatekeepers to open the canons, implementation procedures which undermine policies addressing inequality. The UK higher education system '"remains a colonial outpost" and its curricula, [sic] reproduces hegemonic identities instead of eliminating many (Heleta 2016,  Freire 1970)' (301). He wants to bring about 'fundamental epistemological change within the Academy'.

[More on the impact of Whiteness on the decolonising agenda — it is real weird English here: 'Dismantling the dominant discourse that pervades regarding this context requires in many ways a disruption Whiteness given it centrality with regards to decolonising the canon' (301). It's all down to colonial domination which sees civilisation in White European terms and which thus imposes Eurocentric discourses and subjugates other views of knowledge — [the reference here is Andrews 2016 — the Guardian article!]. Local knowledges were subjugated and Western knowledge promoted as universal, at the expense of other knowledge canons [Shay does a lot of work here, and another Andrews, 2019]. This led to 'prolonged and sustained oppression' (302), and the notion of Whites  as superior. Said gets a mention on the normalisation of racism. Again this will contradict the liberal university as a microcosm of our 'ethically [sic] rich and diverse society'. As it is, HEA in the West facilitates and entrenches the power of the dominant White majorities, although there is now a global debate 'concerning epistemological transformations', and a pressure towards dismantling curriculum [citing himself 2019], although the curriculum is still intertwined with empire and institutional racism.

The Global North is seen as superior, the West is to be universalised. The history of 'patriarchy, slavery, imperialism, colonialism, White supremacy and capitalism' is not be interrogated (303). This is epistemological blindness, which becomes 'another weapon of racism and means of enacting "epistemic violence"', in Spivak's terms.

Methodology [this should be as gripping as the other examples]. Bloody hell it is ! 15 BAME students and three academics of colour were recruited from seven UK-based universities, Russell group and post 92 institutions. 15 60 minute semistructured interviews, one focus group interview to glean perspectives, extensive BAME academic networks. Purposeful sampling. Social media platforms and convenience sampling to diversify the pool of participants [this time Cohen et al are explicitly cited]. We still have the sentence about the ballot box (304) and we now claim to have excerpts from the semistructured interviews and focus group interviews. Same claims about the researchers and how the interviews were recorded and transcribed, and flipcharts produced, same things about thematic analysis and NVivo via Braun and Clark. This time, the 'analysis phase of this study was also informed by a CRT framework that situates society as fundamentally stratified along racial lines' (304). Very similar remarks about organic bias and how to eliminate it [again attributed to Cohen et al. this time]. New features include 'a critical race – grounded methodology process (Malagon et al. 2009)'. Apparently primary research data is 'positioned' along existing pieces which have been already conducted on decolonising the curriculum. Tikly is referred to here.

Three themes are identified — feelings of belonging and marginalisation; the importance of diverse and culturally broad curriculum; the importance 'of a decolonised curriculum for all' (305) these themes were 'comprised in an attempt to glean and illuminate the problematic nature of our current curriculum'. Participants' experiences 'of a dominant Eurocentric canon' were highlighted to argue for 'a more inclusive Academy' which coincides with 'a critical mass of scholar-activists attempting to illuminate the experiences of individuals that remain on the periphery'. The expressions here are intended to provide a catalyst for senior stakeholders and universities, a 'robust body of narratives' to focus on the lack of diversification within our curriculum' and its effects on BAME students and staff.

So they are drawing on 'the interviews conducted in this study, as well as a review of existing literature' (305) arguing that the curriculum 'currently omits other bodies of knowledge associated with BAME lived experiences', and that this denies these students 'their identity and history [again]. We need instead curriculum that 'encompasses all histories [sic] in an unfiltered way that does not subjugate particular groups of people' [attributed to Leonardo 2016]. Not surprisingly feelings of exclusion and belonging were highlighted as a primary factor, as one quote illustrates — she felt that none of the curriculum related to her and that when lecturers did talk about Black people it was '"in quite bad and limiting terms"'.

There was often a wish to 'see oneself reflected in the knowledge provided'[?]. In a lecture about race [actually what most of the comments were about] , the contexts 'presented from a curriculum point of view in many cases speak to England stereotypes about people of colour and this does [sic] create a sense of belonging', but you have to attend to get good marks. There is often little chance to discuss these contexts, agreeing with Leonardo that learning spaces admit students of colour by centring Whiteness, which 'resonates' with a member of staff who says that some of his students feel excluded but BAME students are often not consulted when designing curriculum content [on race and racism?] . Nor are issues of race and ethnicity often discussed in pedagogical spaces — it makes people uncomfortable so some Black students self censor. Sometimes there is a resistance to acknowledge racially discriminatory practice and this might be seen 'within context [sic] of White fragility'. A Black student agrees that talking about race and racism is difficult and that he encountered exclusionary environments and reluctance to engage. There was 'a consensus that the existing canon oppresses and sterilises other histories and knowledge' (306).

A central tenet was the importance of 'a diverse and multiculturally broad curriculum' (307) broader knowledges, links between different histories to 'reflect the varying diasporas' [?] and the diverse community. This would help establish a broad worldview and help 'circumnavigate a multicultural society'. Pedagogy should be developed to help teachers teach different knowledges and histories, 'particularly Black and ethnic minority history'. One academic reported fear of being able to competently teach 'race and racism' [the same as different knowledges and histories? — She evidently thought so because avoiding race and racism leads to dominant Eurocentric curriculum]. Suitable pedagogical training was 'something considered to be easily achievable if universities are able to acknowledge the need for decolonising the curriculum', as Arday 2019 has suggested. All we need is continuous collaboration with students of colour and collegiate working, a more integral part for BAME students. A number of scholar-activists have suggested this including Shay 2016

There is also a consensus for decolonising the curriculum to provide benefits for all. In the past, people of colour, especially women have been left to explain what might be seen as Black issues, but it should be a collective responsibility, undertaken by all levels of the University structure, a way 'for the sector to truly be a reflection of equality, egalitarianism and wider society' (308), to develop momentum to challenge other forms of discrimination. This is because 'university institutions were fundamentally responsible for the types of discriminatory cultures that existed'. POC need to have a space for they feel they belong. Current structures 'continually oppress particularly minority groups intersectionally'. The 'salient thread' is more engagement for  BAME students 'to provide curricula that embraces [sic] diversification and reflects the hybridity of our multicultural society'.

[One of the] conclusions. Decolonisation is gathering momentum in addressing 'epistemic violence' by equipping communities of learning with sufficient intellectual capital. We must counter such violence by creating space for indigenous histories 'particularly from the global South'. The involvement of White allies is essential. Historical amnesia must be overcome. Targeted interventions might include 'PhD studentships for aspiring ethnic minority scholars to diversify academic communities and pedagogical input' [as suggested by Leading Routes] (309). This would do more than just diversify academic communities and workforces but bring about 'substantial paradigms shifts, which dismantle existing cultural and structural racist practices that continually oppress and marginalise'.

Colonialism still persists [actually it 'still transpires throughout all of society's major institutions']. We must be aware of the need to contribute to the pedagogical transformation of diverse curricula. The Eurocentric curriculum is 'intertwined with epistemic violence' and thus does not contribute much to reimagine the past and shape the present and future. We can only do this once we have reconstructed the 'negative narrative that pervades the global South while providing an unfiltered enumeration regarding the atrocities of empire'. Opposition to change is deeply entrenched in University structures 'because it disrupts the centrality of Whiteness' [Andrews's Guardian article cited again]. There will be an inevitable rejection of antiracist pedagogy arising from 'fragility and resistance from academics', and this will appear as' intellectual challenges to existing oppressive pedagogies that create a province for particular types of "gatekeepers" to maintain a monopoly on the types of knowledge to be proffered, legitimised and celebrated (Heleta 2016)' [? ] (310). There will be discomfort and some senior stakeholders and academics 'have an overwhelming desire to celebrate and filter the effects of empire and the colonial oppression, enslavement and brutality that ensued' [so says Shay].

We need a collective and concerted effort to redesign the curriculum although this will be exhausting. It requires 'activism, advocacy, dissent, disruption and protest'. Some senior leaders have been complicit in suppressing and ignoring calls for more diverse curricula and they must be held accountable. Freire sees the need for educational space to create new bodies of knowledge. We need a newer narrative focusing on the positive contributions of POC. Radical departures are always challenging because they are 'always simultaneously symbolic and visceral'. However there is now a global foothold of a movement, 'a coalition of students and educators… Antiracist activists… Scholar activists' who will hold universities accountable through 'nonviolence, intellectual and evidence-based discourses', decentre Eurocentrism and 'dismantle epistemic violence'.

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