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Stories from the ̶p̶e̶r̶i̶p̶h̶e̶r̶y̶ Centre: Counter-narratives of Anglophone Caribbean Teachers on the Permanence of Racism in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Industry



Change log


Deokiesingh, Jenson 


It is my experiences with racisms that birthed this thesis. It is one of the first attempts in the field of applied linguistics to explore the lived experiences of Anglophone Caribbean teachers with racisms in the TESOL industry. Synergising Critical Race Theory, the polarising theoretical lens that views racism as being an ontological affirmation (Bell, 1992), and decoloniality that avows that coloniality remains ubiquitous in spite of the official end of colonialism (Maldonado-Torres, 2010), my work uses these disparate yet similarly-related perspectives to foreground the entangled relationship between racism and coloniality in the contemporaneous milieu in shaping the underdiscussed marginalisation, invalidation and erasures of Caribbean teachers in TESOL.

Drawing inspiration from the work of Chen (2010) and Nakhid et al (2022), I introduce ‘Caribbean as Method’, a critical syncretism that engages with and prioritises Caribbeanness, an onto-epistomological affirmation of Caribbean knowledges to the research process that is in conversation with the criticality, politicism and emancipatory underpinning of decolonising and affirming methodologies as well as other liberatory methodological approaches that speak against the white logic and methodological frameworks that have settled in applied linguistics. Engaging in ole talking, a culturally specific form of storytelling indigenous to the Anglophone Caribbean, this study delves into the personal and professional experiences of twelve Caribbean teachers to understand the essence of racisms as it is mapped in the field. This approach rejects the traditional Husserlian notion that subjectivity is isolated from the intersubjective experiences and explicitly addresses the socio-political, historical and economic domains of the phenomena being examined.

Emerging from analysis of the ole talks are three chapters that explicate the modus operandi of racisms etched in TESOL. The first - “Space Invaders”- plunges into how the white colonial gaze discursively constructs Black and Brown as bodies as materials of objectification thus corroding their subjectivity and humanity. Undergoing processes of raciolinguistic survelliance, policing based on the co-naturalisation of race and language, racialised Caribbean teachers are cast not only as linguistic trespassers irrespective of speaking what is deemed as “standard” English, but their corporeal presence often induces disorientation in the spaces they enter. The second chapter- “On Violence”- interrogates parochial conceptions of violence to illuminate how TESOL is a site for the production, replication and maintenance of violence, specifically colonial, epistemic, linguistic, physical and psychological that inflict pain and impact the mental health and identities on these teachers. The last chapter - “De(Valuation): Disqualifying Caribbean Teachers” - argues that neoliberalism is in fact racial neoliberalism, a new configuration of colonialism that privatises racism and reinforces white supremacy that deskills and dehumanises Caribbean Teachers in TESOL. The thesis concludes by suggesting that racism in TESOL be conceived as a deliberate system of devaluation predicated on the continuous reduction of racialised subjects through the interlocking processes of discreditation, deskilling and dehumanisation. It then briefly returns to the Caribbean way of being and offers an-other opening to envisioning a new TESOL imaginary.





Liu, Yongcan


Caribbean, coloniality, poetics, racism, TESOL


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge