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

Demelza Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-878
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number7
Early online date28 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education on 28/4/17, available online:


  • autobiography
  • biography
  • race
  • sensitive issues


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