A word from Tanya (Diversity Project Blog)
A short piece to introduce myself and to write a little about why I’m looking forward to working on our project. Charlotte and I tend to get quite passionate about most things diversity and inclusion related, particularly from intersectional perspectives. It’s common for us to meet, discuss our work and drink coffee. Not long after the ‘meeting task’ is complete, we are unpacking the ways in which a particular moment or experience that day/week was shaped by normative assumptions, usually socially constructed assumptions about what it is to belong to particular ‘groups’ in society (usually governed by the colour of our skin, our gender, age, sexuality, class, etc…)
This is not only what we notice in our own lives, and what we encourage students to discuss in classroom discussions and in their online blogs, but it is also something that we’re curious about in Psychology. On my module, The Developing Child, we encourage students to engage in debate about what we mean when we talk about childhood, and how childhood has been socially, historically and culturally constructed. In a nutshell, we critique
Developmental Psychology. One of the critiques of Developmental Psychology is the way in which its universalising and generalising claims can also result in normative assumptions being made. These normative assumptions make some groups very visible in research (usually white, middle class, mostly male). Therefore, any ‘others’ are at best, misrepresented or viewed as ‘different/a problem’, or at worst, they are written out completely and made invisible. We’ve spent the first term thinking quite deeply about how each of our own personal experiences in different social positions, provide us with experiences of privilege, and/or oppression at different times and places in our lives. We have then applied some of this thinking to how developmental psychology is understood
What I’ve noticed is how much we each have to offer, and what our own personal experiences can also reveal about wider structures in society. We’re beginning to reflect on the thought that Psychology as a subject, may not be immune from those social structures. As a lecturer, I really value the space to process these issues in class, and love that each week, students are able to bring their own experiences to the lecture and also their private blogs to make better sense of how we might work towards a way of ‘doing’ Psychology which accounts for a more diverse range of experiences. I’m looking forward to this term, and working with the students on the project to hear more about how they’ve found this way of working.
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