• Learning in  Womanist Ways

    Learning in
    Womanist Ways

    Narratives of first-generation African Caribbean women by Jan Etienne

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Introduction to Learning in Womanist Ways

Learning in Womanist Ways explores the benefits of lifelong learning for black Caribbean women who came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. The book features interviews of these women about their experiences of formal and informal learning, uniquely set out as dramatic scenes that reveal the women’s authentic voices as they are in their communities.

This insightful account challenges the notion that being black, female and older means deteriorating health, poverty and isolation. Presenting a different and positive reality, the book combines contemporary narrative study with black feminist epistemology, exploring the social and cultural identities brought to learning.

Mum Frances with baby Garfield and Linda, new arrivals seeking housing

Mum Frances with baby Garfield and Linda, new arrivals seeking housing

Neola and Cleo, new arrivals to the UK. Our first day seeking employment

Neola and Cleo, new arrivals to the UK. Our first day seeking employment

Veronica, Education Can Raise You High But Never Forget Your Soul

Veronica, Education Can Raise You High But Never Forget Your Soul

Dou Dou, Syl and Bol, We Just Contemplatig The Commess In The Church Hall

Dou Dou, Syl and Bol, We Just Contemplatig The Commess In The Church Hall

Eugenia, Oh How I Yearn For Lost  Womanist Teachings From My Older Sisters

Eugenia, Oh How I Yearn For Lost Womanist Teachings From My Older Sisters

Ma Khodra, Learning Is Talking History , We Have To Pass It On, Good Or Bad

Ma Khodra, Learning Is Talking History , We Have To Pass It On, Good Or Bad

Learning Matriarchs, What Story You Coming To Learn About From Mama Mamaguise Today?

Learning Matriarchs, What Story You Coming To Learn About From Mama Mamaguise Today?

Cynthia, A Life Focussed On My Son's Education Has Meant A Happy Life All Round

Cynthia, A Life Focussed On My Son's Education Has Meant A Happy Life All Round

Ma Lejay, Learning And Cursing  Keeps Us Living, We Have To Argue About The Price Of Fish

Ma Lejay, Learning And Cursing Keeps Us Living, We Have To Argue About The Price Of Fish

Jean, Now I Am Studying Photography And Having The Best Time Ever

Jean, Now I Am Studying Photography And Having The Best Time Ever

‘Anyone wanting to understand the power of collective experience in constructing a better world will find this book invaluable. It vividly illustrates the transformative power of learning communities constructed by older black women, posing a much needed challenge both to conventional ideas of community organizing and to policy and research around communities and diversity.

Etienne’s writing is theoretically informed and grounded in powerful narratives, which present a complex weave of past and present aspirations, struggles and social responsibilities. It reveals how creative movements to pursue social change can be constructed differently through the solidarity of older black women’s shared
experience.’

Dr Linda Milbourne, Associate Fellow, Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham

'This book breaks new ground by making central the experiences of African Caribbean, older women – a group usually rendered silent in social theory and research. It foregrounds their voices and situates them as active, lifelong learners whose narratives illuminate their creativity in negotiating structural constraints and contributing to their communities.

The word innovative is frequently overused, but this book forges new and engaging ways of bringing together the author’s reflexivity and the drama of the women’s everyday lives. It deserves to be widely read.'

Ann Phoenix, Professor of Psychosocial Studies, UCL Institute of Education

‘This is no ordinary book on ageing, migration and education; it is a hopeful and empowering story of the wisdom of ageing and learning through lifelong struggle.

Paying tribute to the African Caribbean women of her mother’s generation, Etienne sensitively reveals the power of shared ‘other ways of knowing’ that lies at the heart of their ‘matriarchal learning hubs’.

Heidi Safia Mirza, Professor of Race, Faith and Culture, Goldsmiths College, University of London.