Merissa Brown

Positionality Killed the PhD

Compiling this blog post, “Positionality Killed the PhD,” was an essential act of shedding light on the incongruities that plague academia’s commitment to decoloniality. I felt that the symbolic façade of institutions constantly speaking about decolonisation while remaining steeped in colonial legacies needed to be torn away. I felt it was crucial to reveal the disheartening chasm between rhetoric and reality. This reflection isn’t merely a personal musing; it’s an urgent call to recognise that university procedures and systems perpetuate inequalities and power imbalances, particularly when researching issues that pertain to marginalised communities. As I grapple with these dilemmas, I often feel isolated, burdened by the weight of dismantling oppressive systems while actively participating in them—a predicament that feels inherently hypocritical.

As a Black woman, the urgency of addressing these issues weighs even heavier on my shoulders. The blog post served as a medium to share my frustrations and vulnerabilities openly, allowing my authentic voice to resonate. Departing from the conventional, impersonal academic tone, I sought to disrupt the very narrative that reinforces colonialism within academic spaces. Ultimately, this blog post is a declaration of my commitment to challenging the status quo within academia, and an invitation for others to join in this critical conversation. It’s a testament to the power of personal narratives in questioning our relationships with oppressive systems and advancing the true meaning of decolonisation.

Pragya Roy

Why Have Another Anti Racist Blog?

The Anti-Racist Blog was developed from my lived experiences as an international, Postgraduate Researcher of Colour in the University. Confronted with racism in academic spaces, I wanted to create a space for expressing and documenting distinct narratives of PGRs of colour who might have encountered similar experiences of racially-directed discrimination, violence and/or exclusion from predominantly white spaces in the University.

This space resonated with my broader political motivation of creating anti-racist knowledge, disrupting traditionally male- and white-dominant systems of power, and amplifying voices of People of Colour through various digital storytelling tools.

I hope this space serves as a room (of our own) to build solidarity across marginalised communities in Sheffield, who may or may not be directly or indirectly associated with the University. 

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