Introduction: race critical public scholarship

Bhattcharyya, Gargi and Murji, Karim (2014). Introduction: race critical public scholarship. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(9) pp. 1359–1373.



In a climate marked by expanding scholarship in ethnic and racial studies alongside sweeping changes in universities and the conditions of academic work, we seek to explore the nature of and challenges for critically engaged research, teaching and scholarship on race and racism. In particular, we look at the connection between academic scholarship and political engagement and activity that we are calling race critical public scholarship. We situate the discussion within various recent debates about universities and ‘publics’, and the public orientation and reach of academic work. We set out three frames for these issues: the impact of social movements in establishing race and racism as legitimate topics of academic investigation and setting the agenda for race research; the differing role of academics as public intellectuals and scholar-activists in addressing and engaging with publics and race issues; and the scope and limits of public sociology in addressing the responsibilities and institutionalized power of the academy. We argue that each of these frames offers a partial insight, but that further work is needed based on cases and examples that explore the facility for and challenges of undertaking race critical scholarship.

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