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Cross-disciplinary, collaborative and student-led: developing a change process for diversifying reading lists

Adewumi, Barbara, Bailey, Laura R., Mires-Richards, Emma, Quinlan, Kathleen M., Agyeman, Evangeline, Alabi, Aisha, Jeyasingh, Miriam, Konadu-Mensah, Collins, Laviniere, Wayne, Mighton, Patrice, and others. (2022) Cross-disciplinary, collaborative and student-led: developing a change process for diversifying reading lists. London Review of Education, 20 (1). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1474-8460. E-ISSN 1474-8479. (doi:10.14324/LRE.20.1.01) (KAR id:82728)

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Increasingly across many UK higher education institutions staff and students are questioning and challenging systemic inequalities that affect racially minoritised groups in their learning and sense of belonging within the curriculum. Students are calling for inclusion of diverse sources of knowledge and perspectives, especially from scholars of colour and from the Global South, to enrich what is currently perceived to be a Eurocentric canon. One way to promote more culturally aligned pedagogy is through diversifying reading lists. This article presents findings from two pilot studies that explored the reading lists in one department in social sciences and one in the humanities at the University of Kent, UK. Applying critical race theory as a guiding framework, the first part of the article examines the ways in which a diverse curriculum must include the voices of the marginalised. It then describes the methods: a desk-based review of the reading lists, interviews with academics to inform the work, disseminate the findings, instigate further action and identify future needs, and student focus groups. Crucially, the project resulted from the collaboration between students and staff, and across departments and disciplines. We found that reading lists in both departments overwhelmingly comprised items by White male authors. Students and staff both reflected on the importance of not only curriculum diversification but also barriers to diversification and decolonisation. The article discusses the impact of this project, which has led to a Diversity Mark process, and the Diversity Mark Toolkit, which can be used in any discipline when putting together reading lists to create a more culturally competent curriculum. It concludes by considering other systemic changes needed, with particular attention to changes needed in library services and collections.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.14324/LRE.20.1.01
Uncontrolled keywords: decolonising, reading lists, race, critical race theory, higher education
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Barbara Adewumi
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2021 09:21 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 12:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Adewumi, Barbara:
Bailey, Laura R.:
Quinlan, Kathleen M.:
Thomas, Dave S.P:
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