Whose voices are prioritised in criminology, and why does it matter?

Dr Kelly Stockdale1, Ms Rowan Sweeney2

1Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
2York St. John University, York, United Kingdom

This paper presents in-depth research into the reading lists used by a new criminology Bachelor of Arts degree programme at a post-92, English University. Our research highlights that there is a distinct lack of representation and diversity within the authorship of texts in the context of both core and recommended reading for students. We found reading lists to be overwhelmingly white and male. Of the 104 core readings on the BA criminology course, only 94% of first authors across these core readings were by white academics. Work by females and people of colour only tended to feature on distinct modules which focused on gender or ethnicity, race, and crime. Voices from the global majority are excluded from fundamental concepts and criminological theory modules.

This presentation will discuss our research findings in depth, highlighting where black and female voices are neglected, marginalised, and excluded in the criminology curriculum.

We will argue that criminology needs to pay greater attention to the literature used to facilitate criminological teaching and learning. Whilst reading lists are only one small (and some would argue tokenistic) part of decolonising the criminology curriculum, this presentation aims to make visible the extent to which current criminology courses are excluding and marginalising certain voices. White academics need to recognise their positionality and approach to developing reading lists and course content; and the problematic notion that work written by academics from the global majority, or who identify as female, nonbinary, and/or LGBTQ+ (and intersections of these) is regarded as unusual or less significant needs to be dissolved. Ultimately, this presentation will advocate that core criminology curricula in the UK must work to meaningfully include more work by those who have been historically marginalised, excluded, and erased to prevent the re/production of harmful racialized narratives and support critical criminological thinking among students.


Rowan Sweeney Biographical Sketch:

I am a Doctoral Researcher and Teaching Assistant in Criminology at York St John University. My research relates to criminological teaching and learning, critical theory, restorative justice, intersectionality, decolonization, and social justice.

Kelly Stockdale Biographical Sketch:

I am a senior lecturer in criminology at Northumbria University and programme lead for the BSc (Hons) criminology programme. My research relates to criminal justice, restorative justice, and people’s lived experiences when in contact with criminal justice agencies. I also research the criminology curriculum and student’s experiences when reading and studying criminology.


Dec 08 2021