Black feminism in the academy

Rina Arya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to be a critical reflection on the author's position as a Black female academic in the academy, and comes from a motivation to raise Black consciousness about the importance of Black feminist scholarship. Design/methodology/approach - The author identifies the unique position of Black feminism, which has had to define itself apart from second-wave feminism of the 1970s, which marginalised non-White women and the Civil Rights movement, which marginalised women. The oppression faced by Black feminists is apparent in the shifting platforms of identity that Black feminists occupy in the academy. Another obstacle is the restricted and incomplete picture of feminism in the academy, which sidelines Black feminist writing. One of the ways to raise awareness is to focus on the corpus of Black writing and to re-position it within academic core curricula, rather than relegating it to specialised courses. Findings - It is found that Black feminism is marginalised in the academy in scholarship and representation. It is also found that students are more receptive to ideas about feminism when approaching the subject indirectly. Research limitations/implications - One limitation of the study is an absence of theoretical literature from a UK context. Social implications - The paper highlights the marginalisation of Black feminism in the academy. Originality/value - The subjects of "feminism in academia" and the representation of "Black and minority ethnics in the Academy" have been explored in scholarship. However the combination of these terms, namely the role of the Black feminist in the academy, is a comparatively unexplored subject. Hence, the originality of this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-572
Number of pages17
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


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