BARRIERS TO BLACK ACADEMIA

Black Academia Series, Vol. 1, 2024

BARRIERS TO BLACK ACADEMIA — SLAVERY, COLONIALISM AND THE CASE FOR REPARATIVE JUSTICE ONLINE SYMPOSIA ANALYTICAL REPORT FOR ROUNDTABLE

By L’myah Sherae and Malik Al Nasir

Edited by Dr Leona Vaughn, Malik Al Nasir and Dr Rebecca Loy

Commissioned by Professor Fiona Beveridge, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, and Dr Laura Sandy, Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS), under the auspices of Professor Alison S. Fell, Dean of Histories, Languages and Cultures, this report is a critical exploration of the barriers faced by Black academics in the UK.

The report originated from a series of online symposia titled “Barriers to Black Academia – Slavery, Colonialism and the Case for Reparative Justice,” initiated on UNESCO’s International Slavery Remembrance Day (23 August 2021) and culminating at a roundtable discussion at the University of Bristol on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (25 March 2022). 

Conceived by Malik Al Nasir (PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and director of Fore-Word Press) and co-curated with Dr Leona Vaughn (Derby Fellow for Slavery and Unfree Labour), these symposia featured a keynote by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and panels of Black and minority ethnic academics and specialists in slavery, reparations, education, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The report synthesises the thematic issues from the symposia, highlighting the historical context and ongoing manifestations of barriers in academia as a legacy of enslavement and colonialism. It provides a foundation for policy recommendations aimed at promoting ‘positive action’ initiatives through legislative and policy changes.

Accompanying this report is a policy brief co-authored by the report’s authors and the co-convenors of the symposia, Malik Al Nasir and Dr Leona Vaughn.

The report is free to download.

This report informed a follow-on roundtable titled “Lifting the Barriers to Black Academia through Decolonisation and Positive Action,” hosted by Professor Philip Taylor at the University of Bristol. The objective of this roundtable resulted in a comprehensive report titled “Lifting The Barriers To Black Academia Through Decolonisation And Positive Action — Policy Roundtable Report, Black Academia Series, Vol. 2, 2024.” which aims to present policy recommendations to universities, academic funding bodies, local education authorities, and the Houses of Parliament.

Cite as: Sherae, L., Al Nasir, A. M. (2024). ‘Barriers to Black Academia - Slavery, Colonialism and the Case for Reparative Justice’ Online Symposia Analytical Report for Roundtable, ed. Vaughn, L., Al Nasir, A. M., Loy, R., Fore-Word Press. Black Academia Series, Vol. 1, pp. 1-40. Available at blackacademia.co.uk/barriers-to-black-academia