Call for papers: Evolving understandings of racism and resistance

Evolving understandings of racism and resistance – local and global conceptions and struggles

Friday 1st May 2015

Keynote speakers to include: Stephen Small (Berkeley), John Solomos (Warwick)

One-day ESRC/BSA conference at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London in conjunction with the BSA Race and Ethnicity Study Group

Launching the ESRC-funded seminar series, ‘Racism and Political Mobilisation: learning from history and thinking internationally’, organised by Gargi Bhattacharyya (UEL), Satnam Virdee  (Glasgow) and Aaron Winter (UEL).

This conference responds to the urgent need to understand how and why people have mobilised around ethnicity to challenge racism or to fight for social justice, despite other exclusionary forms of ethnic politics. Whereas we have learned to argue against social policy that divides the population by ethnicity (Commission for Integration and Cohesion, 2007), there is little contemporary debate about the socially beneficial potential of calls to ethnic identity in enabling political mobilisation. At a time when there is widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics and unexpected and relatively unknown political groupings can emerge to prominence with little warning, it is essential that we understand the range of forms of ethnic mobilisation and the implications of these diverse forms of political engagement.

These questions become urgent in a context of the resurgence of racist movements across Europe and the continuation and intensification of communal divisions in many regions. In many urban spaces, the impacts of economic crises and war have remade the terrain of racism and inequality, hardening some divisions and giving rise to new kinds of ethnic mobilisation that reference religious, national, regional and ethnic identity in ways that reflect the transnational connectedness of these mobile populations.

We welcome papers relating to any of these questions and debates and, in particular, would welcome papers that examine:

  • contemporary and historical examples of movements against racism and the role of ethnic mobilisation within such movements;
  • the role played by ethnic mobilisations in wider movements for social justice;
  • changing terrains of racism and new articulations of anti-racist resistance.

Please send an abstract of 200 words to,, by 13/2/15.

Speakers will be asked to present for twenty minutes as part of a panel. There will be a small conference fee (£20 waged, £10 student and unwaged, fee waiver for representatives of campaign and community groups).

First published: 5 December 2014

<< 2014