1st Edition

Black British Intellectuals and Education Multiculturalism’s hidden history

By Paul Warmington Copyright 2014
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ask any moderately interested Briton to name a black intellectual and chances are the response will be an American name: Malcolm X or Barack Obama, Toni Morrison or Cornel West. Yet Britain has its own robust black intellectual traditions and its own master teachers, among them C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. However, while in the USA black public intellectuals are an embedded, if often embattled, feature of national life, black British thinkers remain routinely marginalized.

    Black British Intellectuals and Education counters this neglect by exploring histories of race, education and social justice through the work of black British public intellectuals: academics, educators and campaigners. The book provides a critical history of diverse currents in black British intellectual production, from the eighteenth century, through post-war migration and into the ‘post-multicultural’ present, focusing on the sometimes hidden impacts of black thinkers on education and social justice. Firstly, it argues that black British thinkers have helped fundamentally to shape educational policy, practice and philosophy, particularly in the post-war period. Secondly, it suggests that education has been one of the key spaces in which the mass consciousness of being black and British has emerged, and a key site in which black British intellectual positions have been defined and differentiated.

    Chapters explore:

    • the early development of black British intellectual life, from the slave narratives to the anti-colonial movements of the early twentieth century

    • how African-Caribbean and Asian communities began to organize against racial inequalities in schooling in the post-Windrush era of the 1950s and 60s

    • how, from out of these grassroots struggles, black intellectuals and activists of the 1970s, 80s and 90s developed radical critiques of education, youth and structural racism

    • the influence of multiculturalism, black cultural studies and black feminism on education

    • current developments in black British educational work, including ‘post-racial’ approaches, Critical Race Theory and black social conservatism.

    Black British Intellectuals and Education will be of key relevance to undergraduates, postgraduates and academics engaged in research on race, ethnicity, education, social justice and cultural studies.

    1. Black British Intellectuals: Race, Education and Social Justice  2. Early Black British Thinkers  3. Post-War Black Education Movements  4. The Schooling of the Black Working-Class  5. Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education  6. Black British Cultural Studies  7. Black Feminism and Education  8. New Critical Theories of Race and Education  9. ‘Post-Multicultural’ Education?


    Paul Warmington is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education at the University of Birmingham, UK.

    ‘This informative monograph surveys the work of black intellectuals in Britain during a period of enormous cultural transformation. Warmington (Univ. of Birmingham, UK) records how issues of race intersected with Marxism, feminism, postmodernism, and post colonialism ... Warmington’s book reveals an often-hidden history of minority intellectuals ... Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students/faculty.'  - D. L. LeMahieu, Lake Forest College, in CHOICE, December 2014

    ‘The nature and function of intellectuals has been a central theme in progressive education and remains one of the defining features in writings on social movements. In this book, Paul Warmington joins the luminaries of Gramsci, Fanon, Foucault, and Said in documenting the role of intellectuals, this time within the particular history of Great Britain. The specificity of black British intellectual life captured here provides a powerful portrait of social suffering, generative interpretations of lived conditions, and freedom as both a practical and theoretical endeavor. Warmington is one of only few scholars who could have pulled off such an accomplishment. A book like this has the ability henceforth to set and define a field of study.’ - Professor Zeus Leonardo, University of California at Berkeley, USA

    ‘Warmington provides a much-needed addition to our collective understanding of the politics of race – reminding us that race has been an arena of struggle and a focal point for organising against injustice, not just an occasion to profess identity or proclaim culture. This work will enable new generations to benefit from the important contributions of black radical intellectuals and, I wish and hope, reinvigorate that tradition for our own challenging times.’ - Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, School of Law and Social Sciences, University of East London, UK

    ‘This landmark study reveals the key role that black intellectuals have played, and continue to play, in shaping the British education system and wider cultural debates. Warmington’s extensive research documents the individuals and movements that have exerted a powerful, but often unrecognised, influence from the Eighteenth Century through to the present, and challenges conventional narratives by demonstrating that black British intellectuals have been a vital and compelling presence at the centre of some of the most important developments in educational theory and practice.’ - Professor David Gillborn, Centre for Research in Race and Education, University of Birmingham, UK