Black in the Ivory Tower: The Subversiveness of Black Women at Lund University

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för etnologi

Sammanfattning: In Sweden the research about Black people’s experiences in academia is quite limited, because of a self-image that is colourblind which prevents the acknowledgement of Black existence (practice, thought, bodies). This thesis is a cultural analytical attempt to contribute and widen the research field of critical studies in Swedish academia, through exploring Black female’s emotional and body experiences in the spatiotemporal space of Lund University. More particularly, this thesis is built around fieldwork and six participants that either work or study the university. Furthermore, theories of orientation and Narratives are applied; by doing so it examines Black women’s geographies via past, present, and future. Deploying a Black feminist lens on Black women’s accounts, the thesis argues that their mere existence is a subversive practice in the academy. The use of queer phenomenology and Black feminist theory make the negotiation Black women endure in Swedish academia visible. Meanwhile, according to previous research, conditions stemming from colonial structures and Swedish exceptionalism, try to uphold the Ivory Tower as it is, thus (in)directly control the practices, thoughts, and bodies of Black women. Under these conditions, the participants orient towards the possibilities of a community. Where even the smallest (non)-verbal dialogues could make them feel less lonely and validate Black existence. Moreover, Black women are forced into the margins as their bodies could be a threat to the social order in Swedish academia. To acknowledge these structures, this thesis suggests a form of shared burden to not only talk about marginalised groups in academia but also talk about institutionalized Whiteness in the space. To get a deeper understanding of how bodies are oriented in academic settings. Furthermore, this thesis advocates for further research on this subject to continue to widen the field of critical studies in the Swedish academy.

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