Critical Race Theory

From its origins in US legal studies, CRT has grown to become one of the most important perspectives on racism in education internationally. Frequently attacked by detractors who over-simplify and caricature the approach, CRT offers an insightful and nuanced approach to understanding the processes that shape and sustain race inequality in society.

CRRE members, past and present, are among the leading CRT educationists internationally and the approach informs much of the centre’s work.

Critical Race Theory: some clarifications 

(Vini Lander, Professor Race and Education, Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, Leeds Beckett University and David Gillborn, CRRE)

In recent weeks Critical Race Theory (CRT) has received a great deal of publicity, on both sides of the Atlantic. Much of the discussion is fuelled by gross and inaccurate caricatures of CRT. 

Contrary to some of the depictions on Twitter, on talk-shows and even in Parliament; 

  • CRT does not view all White people as evil and racist.
  • CRT does not peddle a view of Black people as powerless victims.
  • CRT does not imagine that racism is the only social problem and thereby erase issues of class, gender, disability and other forms of discrimination. 

CRT is a thoughtful and multi-faceted approach to understanding how racism operates across society, including through both individual actions and through structural processes that shape the everyday reality in education, the health service, the criminal justice system and politics. 

CRT began in the US but has grown to become an international approach, used by scholars in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and South America. Those who use and contribute to CRT are a very diverse group of people, including members of different ethnic groups, different nationalities, different genders and people with disabilities.

CRT with David Gillborn: Staying Critical and Realistic 

In this podcast, Professor David Gillborn shares his own journey with CRT and how it helped him become a better thinker, a better scholar and a better anti-racist activist. 

CRT in Education: a primer

For a brief introduction to CRT in education, read a primer prepared for the British Educational Research Association (BERA) by Nicola Rollock and David Gillborn.

Download the Critical Race Theory Primer (PDF, 93.29KB) 

CRT in the UK

David Gillborn, together with Paul Warmington, analyse the first ten years of CRT in the UK. Speaking in a keynote session at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Gillborn & Warmington describe the growth of CRT in the UK, reflect on the distinctive qualities of ‘BritCrit’, and analyse the nature of the attacks that have been levelled against the approach.  

A special issue of the journal ‘Race Ethnicity and Education’ brought together new writing on CRT in education from UK authors. Find out more about the 'Critical Theory in England' special issue  

The best CRT in legal and educational studies

There are many excellent collections that include outstanding pieces of CRT scholarship. Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education, co-edited by David Gillborn (CRRE Director), is the first book to bring together the most important examples from the worlds of Law and Education. The first edition has been adopted as a core text by many courses internationally; the second edition builds on this success and includes new sections on racism in the everyday world of education and intersections between race and dis/ability.

CRT in Education: a mini-library of the best writing in the field

Read the introduction to CRT: Major Themes in Education (PDF)

Routledge have published a four volume collection of some of the very best research in Critical Race Theory in Education edited by Adrienne Dixson, David Gillborn, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Laurence Parker, Nicola Rollock and Paul Warmington. 

  • Volume 1 looks at foundational writing in CRT and examines some of the signature themes in the approach;
  • Volume 2 focuses on Whiteness and White Supremacy.
  • Volume 3 looks at key writings in several off-shoot movements, including LatCrit, DisCrit, QueerCrit and international approaches to CRT.
  • Volume 4 considers developments in CRT methods and epistemology.

The collection is part of the 'Major Themes in Education' series