Racism, fundamentalism and education explored at Public Lecture

25 January 2016

The recent terror attacks on the streets of Paris, the beaches of Tunisia and other places across the world have dominated the media in recent months, as has news of young people seduced by the idea of Jihad.

Racism, Fundamentalism and a Democratic Education: The Challenge for Us All is Canterbury Christ Church University’s next Public Lecture in this year’s series, taking place on 11 February.

Professor Linden West is an internationally renowned expert in narrative research and in illuminating the complexity of educational processes in diverse settings, including marginalised communities. He is also Director of the M.Phil and PhD programme in the Faculty of Education at Christ Church. His lecture will draw on his in-depth research conducted in a post-industrial city, Stoke-on-Trent, in the English Midlands, where racism, Islamophobia and Islamism have found purchase. Stoke is taken as emblematic of many struggling communities across Europe and the wider world.

Born in Stoke, Professor West explores the consequences of rapid economic decline, the collapse of working class self-help traditions, intergenerational fractures, the stigmatisation of particular estates and Islamophobia, as well as mental distress and the hollowing out of representative democracy. Taken together, this constitutes a toxic cocktail.

Professor West said: “We found resources of hope in schools, communities and in new experiments in adult education. A major experiment in democratic workers’ education, as well as the struggle among the miners of the city, against Nazi fundamentalism, in the last century, inspires local people today to develop education projects with a range of groups and schools, building dialogue and understanding across difference. Those involved feel challenged by the rise of racism and fundamentalism. Such forces in fact challenge us all to think seriously about what is happening and what government, universities, schools, churches, mosques, and local communities can do in response.”

The lecture will take place at 6pm on Thursday 11 February 2016 in the Old Sessions House, North Holmes Road, preceded by a drinks reception from 5.15pm. The evening will also mark the launch of Professor West’s new book, Distress in the City: Racism, Fundamentalism and a Democratic Education, published by Trentham Books.

To book your place at Racism, Fundamentalism and a Democratic Education: A Challenge for Us All , or for more information on the University’s Public Lecture series, please email Kate Kitney, Corporate Communications Officer at Canterbury Christ Church University, kate.kitney@canterbury.ac.uk.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With almost 18,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 95% of our UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 02:51:00