Considering (auto)biography in teaching and learning about race and racism in a diverse university


The ‘sociological imagination’ – the recognition of the relationship between ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’ (Mills [1959] 2000. The Sociological Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 8) – is central to the discipline of sociology. This article reports findings of a 2014 study which investigated students’ views on whether the development of the sociological imagination could be more explicitly embedded in a module on Race and Racisms through an (auto)biographical approach from teachers and the module’s racially diverse students. After reviewing benefits and challenges to an (auto)biographical approach, the article presents findings from a student focus group, concluding that students would welcome (auto)biographical approaches to the topic of race and racism, with the caveat that this is handled sensitively with steps taken to minimise the risk of emotional harm.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > Sociology and Policy
Languages & Social Sciences
Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education on 28/4/17, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: autobiography,biography,race,sensitive issues,Education
Full Text Link: https://www.tan ... 17.2017.1319807
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-10-03
Published Online Date: 2017-04-28
Accepted Date: 2017-03-07
Submitted Date: 2015-03-03
Authors: Jones, Demelza ( 0000-0002-5985-1972)



Version: Accepted Version

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