School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies Research Network

We are an interdisciplinary network of researchers working on ethnicity, race and diverse societies ‎from many departments across the University of Sussex, including Sociology, Cultural Studies, ‎Geography, Anthropology, Education, Business, International Relations, History, Law and others. ‎

The main aims are:

  • To increase the visibility of ongoing research activities and promote new research on ethnicity, racism and diverse societies across the University of Sussex;
  • To develop partnerships with research institutions, community organisations, national, supranational and local government organisations and policy makers;
  • To support our research student community through activities that facilitate collaboration between staff and doctoral students working on ethnicity, race, and diverse societies.

Upcoming events: 

Wednesday 26 April 2023, Queer, Iranian and in exile: Comparing the experiences of Iranian queer refugees living in Turkey, the UK and Canada

Title: Queer, Iranian and in exile: Comparing the experiences of Iranian queer refugees living in Turkey, the UK and Canada

GenSeM IMISCOE & Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies Network:

Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023

Time: 3pm

Venue: Ashdown House 106

Sign up here to attend online: Eventbrite 

Moira Dustin, (Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex)
Nuno Ferreira, (Professor of Law, University of Sussex
Kamran Matin, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Mehran Rezaei Toroghi, Research Fellow in Law, University of Sussex

Sarah Scuzzarello, Senior Lecturer, University of Sussex

Wednesday 29 March 2023, Racist and Imperial Genealogies in LGBT- free Zones and Struggles over Europe in Poland

Title: Racist and Imperial Genealogies in LGBT-free Zones and Struggles over Europe in Poland

Pawel Lewicki (Associate Director, European Studies Centre, Pittsburg)

Sussex European Institute & Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies Network:

Date: Wednesday 29 March 2023

Time: 4 - 5.30pm

Venue: Via Zoom, link for registration will be provided nearer the time

Wednesday 15 March 2023, Interrogating Muslims: The Liberal-Secular Matrix of Integration

Title: Interrogating Muslims: The Liberal-Secular Matrix of Integration

Schirin Amir-Moazami (Professor of Islam in Europe, Freie Universität Berlin)

Sussex European Institute & Ethnicity, Race and Diverse Societies Network:

Date: Wednesday 15 March 2023

Time: 2 - 4pm

Venue: G22 Freeman

 Past events:

Social exclusion, symbolic bounaries and convival labour in East London's context of ongoing immigration

Date: Wednesday 28 April 2021

Time: 2pm London UK time

Venue: On-line via Zoom

Speaker: Professor Susanne Wessendorf, Coventry University


In much public discourse on immigrants in Western Europe, perceptions towards newcomers are discussed in relation to what white national majorities think. However, today, new migrants often move into places which are already settled by previous migrants. This lecture investigates the local experiences, perceptions and attitudes towards newcomers among long-established ethnic minorities in an area which they have made their home, and where they predominate not just in numbers but also by way of shops, religious sites, school population, etc. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in East London (UK), it looks at long-established ethnic minority residents’ attitudes towards newcomers from Eastern Europe, and how these are shaped by their own histories of exclusion. By bringing together theories on symbolic boundary making with the concept of ‘convivial labour’, the lecture illustrates how experiences of stigmatization impact on perceptions of white newcomers, and how, in the context of socio-economic precariousness, these perceptions are characterized by a combination of empathy and resentment.

Chair: Dr Laura Morosanu

Europe's unsafe environment anti-migrant violence in COVID times

Date: Wednesday 17 March 2021

Time: 4-5pm London UK time

Venue: On-line via Zoom

Speaker: Dr Maurice Stierl, University of Warwick


The Covid-19 crisis has prompted a range of novel mobility restrictions that have impacted migrant and displaced communities particularly harshly. Focussing on the situation at Europe’s external borders, I will examine the drastic anti-migrant deterrence and racialised containment measures that have emerged over the first year of the pandemic. Although these measures need to be understood in the continuity of the EU border regime, we can nonetheless observe a shift: from hostile Europe to unsafe Europe. While practically, Europe’s manifold hostile environment policies vis-à-vis precarious migrants persist, the Covid-19 emergency has allowed to justify ‘keeping them out’ or ‘containing them elsewhere’ in the name of their own protection, far away from Europe’s unsafe environment, plagued by a rampant pandemic.

Chair: Dr Aleks Lewicki, University of Sussex


The Colonial Dimensions of Human Rights: Reparations as Decolonisation?

Date: Wednesday 24 February 2021

Time: 2pm, London UK time

Venue: Online via Zoom

Speaker: Professor Colin Samson, University of Essex


While human rights are often seen as embodiments of the liberal principles enshrined in western democracies, they have been criticised for their limited and selective application. I would like to add to this by suggesting that human rights also have a colonial dimension. With a number of historical and contemporary illustrations, I will argue that colonialism infuses human rights due to the persistence of actions that betray convictions in the innate inferiority of many non-European peoples by the exponents of human rights themselves. Notions of human inequality infuses the ideas of the architects and inheritors of the American Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, 19th century British liberals and even the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which made no reference to ongoing colonialism. To decolonise human rights would mean freeing them from the snapshot approach of what Ariella Aisha Azoulay calls the ‘fetishized declarations.’ This would involve examining the human right to dominate assumed by colonising and enslaving states and highlighting the ongoing effects of this assumption. This could lead us to entertaining reparations or reparative justice, and also to the indigenizing of law. The presentation will end with some remarks on the possibilities of reparations and the opposition to them.

Chair: Dr Aneira Edmunds

"Leaving feels like a funeral". Motivations for migration and choices of destination for EU families who left the UK after the EU referendum. 

Date: Wednesday 11 November 2020

Time: 1-2pm, London UK time

Venue: Online via Zoom

Registration: Via eventbrite

Speakers: Professor Nando Sigona

During the Brexit negotiations, estimates on net-migration by the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed two parallel trends: declining new arrivals from the EU (EU immigration) and increasing departures of EU nationals who were living in the UK (EU emigration). To date, however, little is known of the latter, and the circumstances and factors that inform and shape their decisions to leave the UK. Drawing on the Eurochildren project dataset (, this paper offers insights into motivations and experiences of those EU nationals who have left the UK since the EU referendum in June 2016.

Some interviewees returned to their country of birth, others to their hometown. For some, leaving Britain meant to settle down in a new country altogether. In their variety, these ‘leaving trajectories’ reveal a range of challenges EU nationals who leave the UK have to overcome, including for those who go ‘back home’. 

Chair: Dr Laura Morosanu

Queer Asylum in Germany: Legal and Social Realities of LGBTQI + People Seeking Asylum 

Date: tbc

Time: tbc

Venue: tbc

Speakers: Dr Nina Held & Dr Mengia Tschalaer

Title: Queer Asylum in Germany: Legal and Social Realities of LGBTQI+ People Seeking Asylum

Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity are grounds for seeking asylum in Europe. However, lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people belong to the least visible and most vulnerable group and they often lack significant access to social and legal support. Nina Held (University of Sussex) and Mengia Tschalaer (University of Bristol) will discuss the asylum experience of LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in Germany drawing on data from their EU-funded projects on LGBTQI+ asylum in Germany Queer Muslim Asylum in Germany and SOGICA –Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum. Both projects deploy an intersectional approach aiming to understand how sexuality, gender, gender identity, religion, class, age, ‘race’, nationality and (dis)ability shape asylum experiences for LGBTQI+ individuals. Mengia will present on Germany's legal assessment of asylum claims made by lesbians racialized as Black. Drawing on the cases of one lesbian and one gender-non-binary woman from Uganda, this presentation illustrates the manner in which protection-worthiness within Germany's asylum is measured against de-racialized conceptualizations of female victimhood. Nina will explore ways in which the social experiences of LGBTQI+ people claiming asylum in Germany are shaped by gender, sexuality, ‘race’, religion, class as well as ‘refugeeness’, arguing that ‘refugeeness’ needs to be added as a category in intersectional analysis. The final part of the workshop discusses the policy relevant implications the findings deriving from these two projects have for Germany and the EU more generally (incl. the UK). Nina and Mengia are the authors of a recently published policy brief “Queer Asylum in Germany: Better Visibility and Access to Legal and Social Support for LGBTQI+ People Seeking Asylum” and of several journal articles that highlight the importance of an intersectional approach to queer asylum. 

Chair: Dr Aleks Lewicki

De-Exceptionalising the Domestic: Methodological De-Nationalism and Domestic Labour
De-Exceptionalising the Domestic: Methodological De-Nationalism and Domestic Labour

Talk by: Professor Bridget Anderson, Migration Mobilities Bristol Research Centre, University of Bristol

2nd October 2019, 1-3pm in Arts C, C333, third floor, School of Global Studies


The doing of domestic work reflects, reproduces and entrenches complex inequalities and social hierarchies, effectively making and re-shaping difference across different axes. Research has examined this difference making in terms of migration, race and gender, and in this presentation I will take difference making as a starting point to see how attention to how differences are made can help us find commonalities. I will start by consider immigration controls as difference making mechanisms, interacting with social ideas of race and nation; I will then consider the role of states in exceptionalising domestic work and taking it outside the labour market. I will then give some examples of how examining the mechanisms for institutionalising difference rather than naturalising difference can help us uncover important connections between different groups of migrants and between migrants and citizens that have the potential to be both analytically and politically productive. To illustrate this I will draw on a range of previous research but principally a project conducted for the ILO in 2016 on working conditions and attitudes towards migrant domestic workers in Thailand and Malaysia.

Belonging as Affect: Co-creating safe spaces in migrant community projects

Speaker: Sukhmani Khorana, Cultural Studies, University of Wollongong

Chair: Dr Elaine Swan


This paper reflects on belonging as a ‘feeling of our times’, albeit a political one that attempts to move past a superficial libertarian focus on harmony. Instead, through the case study of a recent migrant community project in south west Sydney, I examine what belonging looks and feels like when the focus is on co-creating cultural safety through institutional and creative approaches. This lens on belonging also reverses the discursive construction of new migrants as those requiring integration initiatives to fit in, or of certain others in need of de-radicalisation. Instead, it asks – what will make them feel safe enough to invest in the local and national communities? This is not to discount the value of resettlement programs and English-language classes. Rather, it is about augmenting those with projects that decentre the majority community, and make space for cultural belonging to emerge.

Location: Freeman G31

Time: Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 2pm

Everyday nationhood for the 21st century

Speaker: Professor Jon Fox, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Jon Fox


In 2008, Cynthia Miller-Idriss and I published an article called ‘everyday nationhood’, where we explored how nationhood mattered to ordinary people in their everyday lives.  We felt that top-down approaches to nationalism either neglected this perspective or, worse, inferred a kind of popular nationalist resonance across time and space.  We wanted to know, who cares? – that is, who, of the people in whose name nationalism claims to speak, is invested in or animated by nationalism in everyday life? The answer we suggested was not many.  But whilst nationalism held little experiential relevance for most people, there were other ways in which the category of the nation was meaningful, and made meaningful, for ordinary people. We went on to elaborate four ways ordinary people invoked and enacted ideas about nationhood in the varied contexts of their everyday lives.  Ten years on, the ‘who cares?’ question suggests a rather different set of answers.  Now, there is also a sizeable segment of the population who not only care about nationalism but have also become the principal architects of these new nationalisms.  We appear to be witnessing an inversion of nationalism’s earlier top-down logic with the commitment, urgency, and passion now, at least in part, coming from below.  This is an angry, exclusionary, and at times vindictive nationalism.  Whilst earlier versions of civic nationalism appear to cruise along as before, its earlier ethnic counterpart has now been supplanted by a new and exclusionary racial nationalism.  The purpose of this paper then is to revisit the question of everyday nationhood in light of these changes.  We propose four new modalities of being national:  1) tweeting the nation: the proliferation of everyday nationhood into the far reaches of social media in ways that both democratise and reinvigorate nationalism; 2) feeling the nation: the everyday anger, fear, and resentment that fuels these nationalist revivals; 3) marching the nation: the popular mobilisation of nationalist foot soldiers who transform the virtual world of social media into the actual world of (sometimes violent) confrontation; and 4) branding the nation: the new repertoire of national symbols that turn the nation into an exclusive club.  We argue that nationalism from below has become a DIY nationalism, where yesterday’s consumers have become today’s producers.  Our aim is not to come up with a new theory of nationalism for the 21st century, but rather to elaborate a conceptual framework for how these new nationalisms operate at the level of the everyday. 

Location: Freeman G31

Time: Wednesday, 6 February, 2-3.30 pm

Research Network Members

Anne-Marie Angelo                             

Alison Bailey                                       

Laia Becares                                      

Stephanie Berry                                  

Gurminder Bhambra                           

Amy Clarke                                         

Mike Collyer                                        

Elizabeth Craig                                   

Esra Demirkol Colosio                         

Mairead Dunne                                   

Moira Dustin                                       

Galina Goncharenko                           

Mariagiulia Grassilli                             

Nuno Ferreira                                     

Ven Fitchett

Neal Harris                                          

Nina Held                                            

Iftikhar Hussain                                  

Malcolm James                                   

Pamela Kea                                         

Russell King                                         

Eleftheria Lekakis                                

Vítor Lopes Andrade                          

Caterina Mazzilli                                 

Luke Martell                                        

JoAnn Mcgregor                                 

Melissa Milewski                                

Linda Morrice                                     

Sally Munt                                              

Alexa Neale                                         

Roberta Piazza                                  

Naaz Rashid                                        

Althea-Maria Rivas                             

Ben Rogaly                                          

Debbie Samaniego

Sarah Scuzzarello                           

Lizzie Seal                                           

Paul Statham                                       

Elaine Swan                                         

Dolores Tierney                                  

Divya Tolia-Kelly                                 

Marie Tuley                                                       

Clive Webb                                         

Susann Wiedlitzka                              

Catherine Will                                    

Dean Wilson                                       

Julia Winstone         


 If you would like to join the research network and mailing list, or if you are a student interested in research on ethnicity, race or diverse societies, please contact us.