Marginalised voices in criminological teaching: the role of reading lists and how student learners engage with them.

Stockdale, Kelly, J. and Sweeney, Rowan ORCID: 0000-0003-4697-3302 (2021) Marginalised voices in criminological teaching: the role of reading lists and how student learners engage with them. British Society of Criminology Newsletter, 88. pp. 1-8.

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Much has been written on the inherent biases and power structures within criminology: there is acknowledgement that our discipline often reproduces the inequalities it seeks to overcome, and that the voices of historically marginalised scholars are still subjugated, repressed, and excluded across the discipline (Cunneen and Rowe, 2014; Carrington et al 2018). Whilst academic discussion seeks to explore what a postcolonial or counter-colonial criminology and criminal justice might involve (Agozino, 2013; Blagg and Anthony, 2019) we know little about the extent to which this has materialised within the criminology curriculum. Largescale decolonising work is needed within universities and across Higher Education (HE). Whilst debates around how to decolonise the curriculum continue, within learning and teaching, content that addresses colonial structures or race within criminology and criminal justice is often only included in a patchwork fashion across a module or degree programme, or is excluded altogether (Phillips et al, 2020). One way to explore which material is presented to students is to examine whose voices feature on criminology reading lists. In HE in the United Kingdom (UK) there is no clear scrutiny mechanism regarding module content or reading list composition beyond the QAA benchmark statements for criminology: individual departments collate and validate the reading lists used on their criminology courses via an internal process, which we argue is prone to biases and the perpetuation of problematic gendered and racialised narratives. Since 2019 we have conducted research to gain an understanding of the ‘criminology curriculum’ in the UK, with a specific focus on reading lists: both in terms of content and student interaction. Initial research focused on a new criminology programme developed in 2016 at a ‘new’ University (awarded university status in 2006) in England. As a new criminology course this provided an exciting opportunity for research as it was not under the same restraints pre-existing courses may face (e.g., previous investment in certain books and journal articles, materials had not already been developed, students were enrolling as a fresh cohort). In total 105 readings put forward for validation were analysed, then additional analysis of the full reading lists for selected core modules took place (see Stockdale and Sweeney, 2019 and forthcoming). We also explored how students (n=20) engaged with and used their reading lists, developing an ‘Intersectionality Matrix’ as a means of visualising which authors students engaged with, and as a prompt for discussion (Stockdale & Sweeney 2019, Stockdale, Sweeney, & McCluskey Dean, forthcoming). The projects then developed further taking the research to a different university where we have now worked with four students in research/curator roles to coproduce reading list content (Stockdale et al, forthcoming; Stockdale, Casselden, & Sweeney, 2021) and with other faculties to understand if there are differences between how social science students and those in STEM subjects engage with reading lists via conducting focus groups with students (n=18). Key findings from across these projects are discussed in this article.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Marginalised voices; Criminological teaching; Reading lists; Student learners
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Rowan Sweeney
Date Deposited: 15 May 2024 09:06
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 09:06

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