The Fire Now

Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence

Edited by Azeezat Johnson, Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Beth Kamunge
With a Foreword by Christina Sharpe
Afterword by George Yancy


Bringing together some of the UK’s leading scholars on race, this collection reframes anti-racist scholarship and activism for a new era by contributing a much-needed British angle to the US-led body of work on whiteness, anti-racist education, black queer studies and intersectionality.

Not so long ago, many spoke of a ‘post-racial’ era, claiming that advances made by people of colour showed that racial divisions were becoming a thing of the past. But the hollowness of such claims has been exposed by the rise of Trump and Brexit, both of which have revealed deep seated white resentment, and have been attended by a resurgence in hate crime and overt racial hatred on both sides of the Atlantic.

At a time when progress towards equality is not only stalling, but being actively reversed, how should anti-racist scholars respond? This collection carries on James Baldwin’s legacy of bearing witness to racial violence in its many forms. Its authors address how we got to this particular moment, arguing that it can only be truly understood by placing it within the wider historical and structural contexts that normalise racism and white supremacy. Its chapters engage with a wide range of contemporary issues and debates, from the whiteness of the recent women’s marches, to anti-racist education, to the question of Black resistance and intersectionality. Mapping out the problems we face, and the solutions we need, the book considers how anti-racist scholarship and activism can overcome the setbacks posed by the resurgence of white supremacy.

Author Bio

Remi Joseph-Salisbury is a senior lecturer at the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University. He is a founding member of the Critical Race and Ethnicities Network (CREN), and a Trustee for the Racial Justice Network. A committed activist, his writing has appeared in the Independent and the Voice.

Azeezat Johnson is a lecturer in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London. She completed her PhD at University of Sheffield on the clothing practices of Black Muslim women in Britain. Her research interests are focused on critical race studies, Black feminism, Muslim women and Islamophobia.

Beth Kamunge is an African black-feminist and doctoral researcher in food politics, at the University of Sheffield’s department of Geography.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword: The Heat and the Burdens of the Day - Christina Sharpe
  • Changing our Fate in The Fire Now - Beth Kamunge, Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Azeezat Johnson
  • Part I: Transforming Academia
    • 1. I Am Not a Writer - Muna Abdi
    • 2. An Academic Witness: White Supremacy within and beyond Academia - Azeezat Johnson
    • 3. Understanding Racism within the Academy: The Persistence of Racism within Higher Education - Jason Arday
    • 4. Black Study - Derrais Carter
    • 5. Confronting My Duty as an Academic: We Should All Be Activists - Remi Joseph-Salisbury
  • Part II: Intersectional Identities, Intersectional Struggles
    • 6. Majority Monitoring - Sai Murray
    • 7. Crippin’ Blackness: Narratives of Disabled People of Colour from Slavery to Trump - Viji Kuppan
    • 8. Intersectionality before the Courts: The Face Veil Cases - Amal Ali
    • 9. Colour-Blind Racism and the 2017 Women’s March: White Feminism, Activism, and Lessons for the Left - Adrienne Milner and Adekonyinsola Aromolaran
    • 10. ‘The Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis’: Structural Racism, Inequality and Climate Change - Leon Sealey-Huggins
  • Part III: Lessons from History, Connections Across Spaces
    • 11. Beware the Northern Fox: Keeping A Focus on Systematic Racism Post Trump and Brexit - Kehinde Andrews
    • 12. This Ain’t Nothing New: Contextualising Black Responses to Trump’s America - Layla Brown-Vincent
    • 13. Understanding the Present through the Past: Struggles against Racism - Moussa Traoré
    • 14. Fighting for Survival: Lessons from the Pan African Resistance - Tony Talburt
    • 15. Could It Happen Here? Canada’s Multicultural Oasis and Global Right Wing Drift - Sam Tecle and Carl James
    • 16. Domesticating Trump - Keguro Macharia
  • Part IV: Understanding and Reframing Oppression
    • 17. Writing in the Fire Now: Beth Dialogues with Wambui and Osop - Beth Kamunge, Wambui Mwangi and Osop Abdi Ali
    • 18. Movements Through Trauma: How to See Ourselves - Maryam Jameela
    • 19. Fundamental British Values: Moving Towards Anti-Racist And Multicultural Education? - Sadia Habib
    • 20. Teaching White Innocence in An Anti-Black Social Order: British Values and the Psychic Life of Coloniality - China Mills
    • 21. 'Be Exactly Who You Are': Black Feminism in Volatile Political Realities - Kadian Pow
    • 22. Laughter and the Politics of Place-Making - Patricia Noxolo
    • 23. Demanding the Impossible: Responding to The Fire Now - Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Azeezat Johnson and Beth Kamunge
  • Afterword - George Yancy


‘This powerful collection captures the voices of a new generation of revolutionary writers and activists who declare “no more!” to racial injustice. The Fire Now will burn in your thoughts for as long as racism and white privilege prevail.’
Heidi Safia Mirza, UCL Institute of Education (Emeritus)

‘These eloquent essays offer an inspiring landscape of resistance to white supremacy and racist violence in the age of Trump and Brexit. It belongs on the bookshelves of everyone who refuses to be silent in the face of profound injustice.’
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

‘A clarion call and a collaborative love letter, The Fire Now is a ferocious and diligent reckoning with newly energised forces of racism and white supremacy.’
Yasmin Gunaratnam, Goldsmiths University of London

‘Mobilizes the global resources of anti-racist activism and scholarship, bringing light and heat to a world desperately in need of both. The writing it contains is brilliant, timely and essential.’
Fred Moten, New York University

'An important book for the unpredictable and dangerous times in which we live. Now, more than ever, we need to understand the function of white supremacy and the anti-racist theories and practices to effectively combat it.'
Akwugo Emejulu, Warwick University

‘A handbook for those who wish to undertake anti-racist work in resurgently racist times. By curating a timely and diverse set of critical interventions, the editors have provided an indispensable book with which to confront our current political climate.’
Robbie Shilliam, Johns Hopkins University


Publication Date: 15 November 2018
304 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786993809
Hardback: 9781786993793
eBook ePub: 9781786993823
eBook PDF: 9781786993816
eBook Kindle: 9781786993830

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