Pockets of Hope? Anti-racist scholar activism Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Dr Laura Connelly
York Hope Consortium Symposium
For this instalment, we will be joined by the brilliant Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Dr Laura Connelly to discuss 'Hope' in the context of their book 'Anti-Racist Scholar-Activism'.
The book, Anti-racist scholar-activism raises urgent questions about the role of contemporary universities and the academics that work within them. As profound socio-racial crises collide with mass anti-racist mobilisations, this book focuses on the praxes of academics working within, and against, their institutions in pursuit of anti-racist social justice. Amidst a searing critique of the university's neoliberal and imperial character, Joseph-Salisbury and Connelly situate the university as a contested space, full of contradictions and tensions.
Drawing upon original empirical data, the book considers how anti-racist scholar-activisms navigate barriers and backlash in order to leverage the opportunities and resources of the university in service to communities of resistance. Showing praxes of anti-racist scholar-activism to be complex, diverse, and multi-faceted, and paying particular attention to how scholar-activisms grapple with their own complicities in the harms perpetuated and perpetuated by Higher Education institutions, this book is a call to arms for academics who are, or want to be, committed to social justice.
Hope matters. Its significance is particularly poignant during the present moment of uncertainty, during which narratives of multiple and overlapping crises abound. Humans and non-humans encounter one another in extraordinary ways. Automation disrupts the economies of labour with which we are familiar. Artificial intelligence challenges recognisable forms of human personhood. Climate change endangers the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Unprecedented prosperity coexists with growing inequality.
Religious and ethnic polarisation jeopardises the hard-won gains by movements for social justice in recent decades. Democracies across the world face erosions. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the COVID19 pandemic struck, changing our world in ways that few other events in recent memory have. As fear, anxiety, hatred and disappointment loom, it is easy to lose sight of the possibilities offered by hope.
Yet, hope has never been more important.