Tanja J. Burkhard's book Transnational Black Feminism and Qualitative Research: Black Women, Racialization, and Migration is reviewed.


Tanja J. Burkhard's book Transnational Black Feminism and Qualitative

Research: Black Women, Racialization, and Migration is reviewed.

In transnational Black Feminism and Qualitative disquisition, TanjaJ. Burkhard centers on the narratives of Black women as told by themselves, whilst proposing transnational Black Feminism (TBF) as a qualitative frame to tell and assay these stories. Throughout 75 runners, this short text makes a theoretical, empirical, and methodological donation to the study of race, gender, migration/ borders, and intersectionality in the social lores. It's written in a clear and engaging style, furnishing an excellent overview of and primer to transnational Black Feminist qualitative inquiry. The frame is proposed as a way of undertaking disquisition with people that we know and love, without compromising the quality of the disquisition of the important connections that sustain us.

The first two chapters of the book concentrate on the pivotal methodological and theoretical challenges and openings that arise from conducting disquisition using a TBF frame. At the heart of this is Burkhard’s offer of TBF as a disquisition frame that supports researchers to take over disquisition within their communities whilst attending to the original, public and global surrounds that frame and shape the lives of Black women across time and space.

Constitutionally, TBF is a system of analysis and fabricator which contextualizes ‘Black women’s ways of knowing by placing them frontally and center in the qualitative disquisition process’( 3), whilst examining the structural, nonfictional, spatial, and affective forces that shape Black women’s complex, changing lives. In her use of the frame, Burkhard encourages us to suppose both through and beyond borders of nation countries, sewing vestments amongst the landmasses of Africa, the Americas, and Europe to contextualize and assay the lives of transnational Black women living in the US.

Crucially, the frame emphasizes how multiple spaces simultaneously configure what we make of ourselves and others. Using her empirical data, for illustration, Burkhard shows how ideas about what Blackness is are culturally, spatially, and temporally contingent. TB, thus, e pushes back on the idea that the US (or any one state) should constitute the primary or only position of connection for Black feminism – or that Black feminism and Black/ African women located in the US are not always shaping and being shaped by another corridor of the world. The frame, therefore, disrupts methodological prepossessions with the nation-state as the primary unit of analysis. rather, TBF proposes a transnational sense that works to consider the connections between different spaces and places in shaping the different exploits of Black women.


After setting out TBF as a qualitative frame, the ultimate two chapters of the book present and assay the empirical data collected for this disquisition. This consists of a series of interviews conducted with seven Black women with whom the author holds particular connections of varying degrees of closeness, as well as reflexive perceptivity from the author herself.

At the core of the book’s empirical discussion is a sensitive and dutiful commitment to telling the stories of these women. Burkhard weaves the words of her disquisition actors into the fabric of her canny political analysis, whilst bringing attention to the affective complications of conducting qualitative disquisition. After all, as she emphasizes, the ‘data’ she collects are the particular stories of real individual people. And indeed, there are corridors of their stories that can constantly be delicate, traumatic, and emotional to tell and to hear. From this view, qualitative inquiry is revealed to be a complex affective affair that requires perceptivity to how ethics, power, and reciprocity frame how the disquisition is conducted.


The final chapter, which specifically addresses questions around reflexivity and reciprocity, is perhaps one of the most precious corridors of the book for those presently conducting or looking to embark upon directing their qualitative disquisition, especially with racialized communities. Burkhard insists on the ‘ need to suppose critically about engaging in solidarity, the coalition- structure, and() to suppose about what exploitation and reciprocity may mean in their particular surrounds ’( 60). This means moving down from extractive modes of disquisition where the disquisition hassle begins and ends with the interview.

Burkhard describes how their reciprocal heritage in the disquisition conducted for this book manifested in conditioning analogous to English training, furnishing emotional support, and supporting with claims for sanctum. But she notes the pitfall of researchers risking their health and good in bearing this labor under the spirit of reciprocity. this speaks to wider enterprises about much of the spare overdue labor that women disproportionately take over both within academia and down formerly. This does not abstract from the value of this book, still. So, as a florilegium and qualitative researcher, I was left curious about some of the strategies that Burkhard put in place to navigate this aspect of her disquisition. How exactly does a researcher set up these boundaries? Who decides what they are and is predicated on what criteria? Which resources proved important in supporting a healthy dynamic of reciprocity? These are ongoing questions for multitudinous researchers working on systems-founded ethics of reciprocity.


Not only is it important to consider how qualitative disquisition is conducted, but also how we tell the stories entrusted to us as researchers. Burkhard’s perceptivity to Black feminist fabricator can be seen in her attention to what she refers to as the poetics of Black women’s lives. She litigates poetry out of the words from the interviews she conducted. Drawing on the interview content, she pangs together the words of her multiple actors in beautiful poems which exercise an emotional aspect whilst slipping light on the harsh politics which frame transnational Black women’s lives in the US.

Integrating Poems into the text the book works truly well as the poems add texture and color to the stories that sit at the heart of Burkhard’s political analysis. The poems speak vividly to the fundamental goods that move us and make us. But they do this without inching on or diverting from the incisive analysis of how disquisition actors responded to the politics of race, gender, class, nation, and so on. Constructing poetry from interview content is a curious and amping way to engage with qualitative data. It would have been interesting to know further about how the creative process of constructing these poems worked, setting it up further as an implicit tool for other researchers to draw on.


In this book, Burkhard makes a compelling argument for espousing TBF as a system of qualitative inquiry, showing how TBF accounts for the significance of terrain, - ref-reflexivity, and researcher-party power dynamics. Crucially, Burkhard does not recoil down from bringing her full researcher tone to the text and disquisition. Reflecting on her particular narrative and exploits as a Black German woman and former international pupil, she shows how the differences and parallels in which she shared with her disquisition actors – who were also Black women but of different backgrounds – colored the types of exchanges they had in their interviews. Bringing these aspects of a particular narrative into the discussion illustrates the value of engaging in a strong practice of reflexivity from both theoretical and methodological perspectives.

The book’s keen attention to the particular ways in which researchers enjoy positionalities shape and frame qualitative inquiry adds to feminist affirmations that lores are ‘deposited’ – that is, the knowledge that we produce is always deposited within and therefore shaped by the specific geospatial, temporal and cultural terrain of the researcher as much as the disquisition actors. Given TBF’s attention to the connections between space, power, and the product of knowledge, this concise book is an especially precious resource for researchers committed to conducting further indifferent disquisition that disrupts academic traditions of exploitative and extractive knowledge product. For Black women researchers, in particular, this text enhances our understanding of how to conduct rigorous but sensitive qualitative disquisition amongst and within our communities.

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