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How diverse is your reading list? Exploring issues of representation and decolonisation in the UK

Schucan Bird, K; Pitman, L; (2019) How diverse is your reading list? Exploring issues of representation and decolonisation in the UK. Higher Education 10.1007/s10734-019-00446-9. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

There is a growing impetus, from university students and administrations, to decolonise the curriculum and develop diverse reading lists. Yet, there is limited theoretical or empirical analysis of the authorship of current reading lists to justify this imperative. The present study developed and applied a method for auditing the authorship on reading lists of two modules, one from science and one from social science, in a research-intensive British university. The paper explores whether these reading lists can be considered descriptively representative of the student body or scholarly community. The analysis of reading lists found empirical basis for concerns that university curricula are dominated by white, male and Eurocentric authors, with some exceptions. The reading lists did not represent the diverse local student body but came closer to representing the demographic profile of academic staff. To interpret these findings, the paper argues that reading lists have a role to play in decolonising our universities, and offer opportunities to critique and deconstruct disciplinary boundaries. Further research is required to explore student and staff views of reading lists and the meaning of diversity, to evaluate existing tools, and address barriers to decolonising our curricula on a global scale.

Type: Article
Title: How diverse is your reading list? Exploring issues of representation and decolonisation in the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10734-019-00446-9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00446-9
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081484
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