From Looking to Learning: Working with and for Young Black Women in Systems of Whiteness

Stanger, Camilla. 2023. From Looking to Learning: Working with and for Young Black Women in Systems of Whiteness. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, ISSN 1468-1366 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

In this paper, I explore both the need and possibility for liberatory work with and in service of young Black women within two systems of Whiteness. First, I discuss a process of exclusion experienced by a group of young women in their inner-London 6th form college: namely being constructed as hypervisible and hypersexual, and subsequently being erased from sight within spaces connected to the college’s public image. I discuss this with reference to a neoliberal framework that insidiously sustains norms of Whiteness in increasingly marketised school settings. I also extend critical analysis to the research process itself, uncovering parallel processes of silencing and stereotyping, with reference to understandings of Whiteness as structurally violent yet invisiblised acts of looking. Crucially, however, I also explore the potential for resistance within these systems. Drawing on Black feminist pedagogical frameworks, I discuss the possibility for co-created spaces in which young Black women’s cultural practices and forms of knowledge take centre-stage. I ultimately find how forms of ‘dancing with’ and ‘listening to’ can serve as important practices of (un)learning for White teachers and/or researchers, specifically within UK schools and education research.

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Funding: This work was supported by a Goldsmiths University Studentship, offered by the Educational Studies Department, January 2014 – January 2017


Whiteness; neoliberalism; UK schools; black girls; white teachers/researchers; dance; critical pedagogy; critical research

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


3 November 2023Accepted
6 December 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

16 Jan 2024 10:11

Last Modified:

16 Jan 2024 10:17

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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