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All inclusive: lustrum UG, 5-15 June 2019

Science programme Conference: “Growing together: Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion”

Saran Stewart

Unapologetically Black and Authentically Me:
Survival Narratives of Afro-Caribbean Women Academics in Higher Education across the Diaspora

Even though there are more black women receiving higher degrees and entering the ranks of professors than ever before…, we are still likely to be seen as intruders in the academic world who do not really belong
~ bell hooks (2010)

As transnational women living in Jamaica, New Zealand, Netherlands, USA, Canada, UK and Australia, I bring together our narratives using heuristic inquiry and portraiture to deconstruct and make sense of Afro-Caribbean women experiences in academia.

In this presentation, I compare our intersectional identities in the academy to that of refugees and juxtapose Warsan Shire’s poem Home, where she describes the forced reasons why people leave their country of birth, and juxtapose the psycho-social and emotional pains of the refugee crisis and working in academia as Afro-Caribbean women.

Employing both heuristic inquiry and portraiture, I recognize myself and my participants as the units of measure, and the concerted effort to “discover the nature and meaning of phenomenon through internal pathways of self, using the processes of self-reflection, exploration, and elucidation” for surviving the academy, whole (Douglas & Moustakas, 1985).

This presentation challenges the colonial epistemologies of knowing and knowledge as I interweave individual narratives within and between forms of portraiture to illustrate (our) their experiences and strategies to transgress the academy. Throughout the study, the participants grapple with their search for an elusive home in the academy, and a sense of belonging within their transnational spaces.

Saran Stewart
Saran Stewart

Saran Stewart, PhD is a senior lecturer of Comparative Higher Education and Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

She was recently selected as a 2018 African Diaspora Emerging Scholar by the Comparative and International Education Society. She is a Salzburg Global Fellow and recipient of the 2017 and 2018 Principal's Awards for Most Outstanding Researcher and Best Research Publication from The UWI, respectively.

At the core of her research, Dr. Stewart’s research examines issues in comparative education, decolonizing methodologies, postcolonial theories, critical/inclusive pedagogy and access and equity issues in higher education.

She is co-editor of the book, Race, Equity and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education (Stylus) and editor of the 2019 forthcoming book, Decolonizing Qualitative Methodologies for and by the Caribbean (Information Age Publishing).

Her research has been published in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Student Affairs, Postcolonial Directions in Education Journal and the Journal of Negro Education, to name a few.

She is also the Coordinator for the M.A. in Higher Educational Management and M.A. in Student Personnel Administration programmes as well as the Chief Editor of the Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean.

Last modified:04 April 2019 3.32 p.m.
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