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Reading to Resist: The Disruptive Potential of Black British Literature 
Professor Suzanne Scafe
14th May 1-2pm

The decline of the Humanities as a valued area of study in British Higher Education institutions has coincided both with an explosion in the production and publication of Black British writing, and an increase in its impact on cultural institutions in the UK and beyond. This writing has changed cultural conversations in politics, the media, and education, forcing teachers and students, critics and other gatekeepers of British cultural and social institutions to engage with truths, histories, and communities that have been excluded from public discourse and marginalised in the national imaginary.

This presentation argues for an urgent reconsideration of the value given to the study of Black British literature in Higher Education; for an approach to teaching Black British literature that values its disruptive potential, and the role this work plays in recentring epistemological hierarchies, in challenging practices of denial and structures of exclusion, and in changing lives.

Suzanne Scafe is a Visiting Professor in the School of Humanities.  She is the author of Teaching Black Literature (1989), co-editor of The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain (1985) a collection of essays, I Am Black/White/Yellow: The Black Body in Europe (2007), and numerous essays on Black British writing and culture and on Caribbean women’s fiction. She was a member of OWAAD and the Brixton Black Women’s Group.

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