Stephen Lawrence Research Centre

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The Stephen Lawrence Research Centre aims to drive forward conversations that will shape and influence how we think about race and social justice. It intends to honour the enduring legacy of Stephen Lawrence’s life and his family’s ongoing pursuit of justice by asking new questions, debating critical issues, raising awareness, and advocating to bring about positive change.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 16 of 16
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    British Muslim men and clothes: the role of stigma and the political (re)configurations around sartorial choices
    (Taylor and Francis, 2023-09-27) Rajina, Fatima
    This article examines the changing perceptions of dress, focusing on the lungi, funjabi and the thobe, amongst the British Bangladeshi Muslim male diaspora in the East End of London. Through various historical trajectories, I argue that the research participants in this article dress their bodies according to the current meanings attributed to the garments. These meanings are (re)-configured using a meta-constructed stigma guideline they interpret using their faith, Islam, and the wider dominant discourse around acceptability and respectability. Drawing on in-depth interviews with British Bangladeshi Muslims in East London, I demonstrate how the ubiquitous presence of the Islamophobia arc is invisible yet dictates everyday behaviours and responses. In addition, framing masculinity via the Muslim gaze has intensified clear demarcations of what constitutes religious and/or ethnic dress. To extrapolate the continuous interplay in constructing a British Bangladeshi Muslim male identity via clothing, I explore this as paradigmatic of how stigma is located, consequently determining men’s sartorial choices. The article ends by considering how the socio-positioning qua the political landscape facilitates a structural restriction that trickles down to individual’s choices in what the appropriate Muslim male body can look like in the public sphere.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Decoding “decoloniality” in the academy: tensions and challenges in “decolonising” as a “new” language and praxis in British history and geography
    (Taylor and Francis, 2022-07-26) Rai, Rohini; Campion, Karis
    The academy in Britain has witnessed the rise of a “decolonial turn”, which ironically is set against the backdrop of persistent racial disparities amongst staff and students within higher education. Taking the cases of the disciplines of history and geography and drawing from qualitative interviews and focus groups among students and academics in these disciplines, this paper examines “decolonising” as– (a) a “new” language being articulated by various actors within the neoliberal university; and (b) an emergent praxis at the levels of learned societies, university departments and beyond, to address racialized inequalities and coloniality. This paper outlines some key tensions and challenges faced by “decoloniality” at both conceptual and practical levels, and overall suggests the need for an anti-racist collaborative effort to make meaningful “decolonial” changes within higher education in Britain
  • ItemOpen Access
    Racial Illiteracies and Whiteness: Exploring Black Mixed-Race Narrations of Race in the Family
    (Genealogy, 2022-06-22) Campion, Karis; Lewis, Chantelle Jessica
    Drawing upon fifty-five interviews with Black mixed-race people located in Britain’s second-largest city, Birmingham, and a nearby satellite town, Bromsgrove, this article critically explores how race, identity, and whiteness, are negotiated in mixed-race families. Whilst existing studies tend to centre upon the experiences of white parents raising their children, in this article, we foreground Black mixed-race perspectives of familial practices. Whiteness can often function as an ever-present non-presence in explorations of mixed identities. We utilise concepts such as white fragility, white complicity and the white gaze to make whiteness visible and to address how racial illiteracies can manifest within everyday family settings. In doing so, we suggest that white family members can, on occasion, participate in processes of white domination even in the smallest everyday acts and conversations that deny, avoid, dismiss and, in some cases, even perpetuate racism. By identifying these moments in Black mixed-race lives, we complicate some of the studies that document the racial literacies of white parents and explore how mistakes are made. We suggest that these encounters can create moments of disjuncture in familial settings that are characterised by a complex layer of love, intimacy and racial difference. By bringing these issues to the fore, we centre the emotional labour it can take on the part of Black mixed-race people to make sense of and resist these experiences whilst simultaneously maintaining closeness within familial relationships.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revitalising race equality policy? Assessing the impact of the Race Equality Charter Mark for British universities
    (Race, Ethnicity and Education, 2021-05-10) Campion, Karis; Clark, Ken
    The Race Equality Charter (REC) was introduced in 2014 as a national policy initiative that aims to support UK universities in developing cultural and systemic changes to promote race equality for Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff and students. Drawing on quantitative data, we locate the REC within a complex picture of undergraduate student diversity and significant attainment gaps between white students and Black and ethnic minority groups. Using qualitative interviews and observations to further explore the questions our quantitative analysis raises, we show that the REC is not perceived as a significant vehicle for progressing race equality work in award-holding institutions. Rather, it is mostly applied as an enhancement tool to help shape and sustain existing race equality initiatives that produce incremental change. This, we argue, suggests the REC’s intention to inspire race equality approaches that favour institutional strategic planning at the highest level, is yet to be realised.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mapping Black mixed-race Birmingham: Place, locality and identity
    (Sage, 2021-03-30) Campion, Karis
    Utilizing narrations of urban space derived from interviews with 37 Mixed White and Black Caribbean people in the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham, this article argues that place should be central to the theorization of mixed-race. Whilst Critical Mixed-Race Studies tends to privilege racial identity as the defining feature of the mixed-race experience, this article argues that mixed-race subjects identify with and through their respective localities to cultivate and perform their racialized identities. Drawing on personalized mental maps and routes through the city, the discussion sheds light on how conceptualizations of neighbourhood and territory are entangled with expressions of racial identity and belonging. By showing how the local histories, identities and characters of places come to be written on the bodies of mixed-race subjects, I demonstrate the power that place has in organizing social life and shaping identities. In doing so the article warns against the critical absence of place, and particularly the local, in empirical analyses of mixed-race identity. It suggests that for the development of de-essentialist understandings of mixedness which exist outside the realm of personal identifications, it is necessary to engage critically with place as an analytical framework.
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    Writing History: Thinking Beyond the Past in the Present
    (Duke University Press, 2020-04) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
    As a collaborative work that reflects on Stuart Hall’s early life in colonial Jamaica and his experience of the transitions that shaped the making of postcolonial Britain, Familiar Stranger offers a number of provocations about the meaning and methods of history and their relationship to present. This essay explores how both the form and key themes of the text provide a generative space to think critically about approaches to historical writing. Likewise, it examines how Familiar Stranger offers a means of conceptualizing the relationship between histories of Britain’s racialized colonial past and its afterlives in the present. Keywords: Race; (Post)Coloniality; Archive; Black Britain
  • ItemEmbargo
    Black Pasts, White Nationalist Racecraft and the Political Work of History
    (University of Manchester Press, 2020-11-01) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
  • ItemOpen Access
    Men Cry too - Masculinity and the feminization of lovers’ rock
    (Ashgate, 2014-12-05) Palmer, Lisa Amanda
    This chapter explores lovers’ rock and the ambiguities that exist around the gendered and sexual politics of the genre. It considers how lovers’ rock has become 'feminized' as ‘female’ reggae music. While black female artists and audiences cannot simply be categorised as passive participants and recipients of lovers rock, their access, participation and autonomy is negotiated upon a masculinized and patriarchal terrain. The chapter considers the ways in which this process of feminization works to conceal masculine power and masculine vulnerabilities within lovers’ rock in spite of the fact that the genre is often praised for providing a platform for black female performers to take centre stage in reggae music. I argue that the centrality of masculinity actually structures lovers’ rock’s historical development, its musical production and circulation as well as the thematic concerns of the genre.
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    Blackness in Britain
    (Routledge, 2016-05-06) Palmer, Lisa Amanda; Andrews, Kehinde
    Black Studies is a hugely important, and yet undervalued, academic field of enquiry that is marked by its disciplinary absence and omission from academic curricula in Britain. There is a long and rich history of research on Blackness and Black populations in Britain. However Blackness in Britain has too often been framed through the lens of racialised deficits, constructed as both marginal and pathological. Blackness in Britain attends to and grapples with the absence of Black Studies in Britain and the parallel crisis of Black marginality in British society. It begins to map the field of Black Studies scholarship from a British context, by collating new and established voices from scholars writing about Blackness in Britain. Split into five parts, it examines: Black studies and the challenge of the Black British intellectual; Revolution, resistance and state violence; Blackness and belonging; exclusion and inequality in education; experiences of Black women and the gendering of Blackness in Britain. This interdisciplinary collection represents a landmark in building Black Studies in British academia, presenting key debates about Black experiences in relation to Britain, Black Europe and the wider Black diaspora. With contributions from across various disciplines including sociology, human geography, medical sociology, cultural studies, education studies, post-colonial English literature, history, and criminology, the book will be essential reading for scholars and students of the multi- and inter-disciplinary area of Black Studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Diane Abbott, misogynoir and the politics of Black British feminism’s anticolonial imperatives: ‘In Britain too, it’s as if we don’t exist’
    (Sage, 2019-12-06) Palmer, Lisa Amanda
    This article argues that it is remiss to understand the acute intensification of White supremacist politics in contemporary Britain without paying close attention to how this racism is inherently gendered and sexualised. This will be discussed in relation to the gendered racism of ‘misogynoir’ as experienced by the British Member of Parliament Diane Abbott. The article uses Shirley Anne Tate’s powerful analysis of the Sable-Saffron Venus in the English imaginary to argue that forms of British, and more explicitly English, national identity have been worked out on the back of systemic efforts to erase the material and epistemic presence of Black women in Britain from the British body politic. It further argues that the politics of erasure extends to the epistemic elision of Black British feminist theorising within the field of social theory. What then are the consequences and interplay of both the lived and epistemic acts of violence? I explore these issues by mapping Black British feminism’s anticolonial politics to argue that we should bring this tradition to bear in our analysis of this most recent iteration of racism in our contemporary times.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Temporal Dimensions of Thinking Black
    (Wiley, 2019-10-09) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
    This commentary was delivered at the 2019 Historical Research/Wiley Lecture at Queen Mary University of London on 6 June 2019. It was followed by a conversation with Rob Waters.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘Each one teach one’ Visualising Black intellectual life in Handsworth beyond the epistemology of ‘white sociology’
    (Taylor and Francis, 2019-08-01) Palmer, Lisa Amanda
    Handsworth, a suburb in north-west Birmingham, became an important generative epistemic location that produced a number of contested discourses on race and racism in Britain during the 1970s and early 1980s. Using archival sources, this article will focus on Handsworth as an important epistemic space where white sociological studies on ‘race relations’ converged and diverged with the counter-hegemonic political activism of the African Caribbean Self-Help Organisation (ACSHO). This group of young Black working class Pan-Africanists in Handsworth were the coordinating committee for a national delegation of activists who attended the Sixth Pan African Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1974. Their activism in Handsworth was further captured by the photographer, Vanley Burke. Burke’s photography and archive not only engages with the politics of creating alternative cites of knowledge production, they also enable us to map, trace and reconstruct some of these important sites of Black intellectual life in Britain.
  • ItemEmbargo
    History Beyond Borders: Teaching Black Britain and Reimagining Black Liberation
    (Zed Books, 2019-02-01) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
  • ItemOpen Access
    Black Britain and the Politics of Race in the Twentieth Century
    (Wiley, 2014-08-24) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
    This essay examines a growing literature on postcolonial Black Britain that seeks to suture the ties between prewar and postwar histories of Black political activity in Britain. By examining how people of African descent articulated the political conditions of being Black in metropolitan Britain during the 20th century, recent studies have shown how non-state actors shaped ideas about the relationship between race and citizenship. In unearthing the myriad of ways that people of African descent navigated the politics of being both Black and British, this body of work has begun to offer critical perspectives on postcolonial Black Britain’s place within the political history of the African Diaspora. Moreover, this essay argues that new work on Black Britain and the politics of race yields fruitful ground for dismantling some of the artificial historiographical partitions that have oftentimes separated metropolitan race politics in the postwar era from the broader history of empire, decolonization, and transnational anti-racist movements organized around the pursuit of Black freedom.
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    London Is The Place For Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race
    (Oxford University Press, 2016-01-04) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
    London Is The Place for Me explores how Afro-Caribbean migrants navigated the politics of race and citizenship in Britain and reconfigured the boundaries of what it meant to be both Black and British at a critical juncture in the history of Empire and twentieth century transnational race politics. The book situates their experience within a broader context of Black imperial and diasporic political participation, and examines the pushback-both legal and physical-that the migrants' presence provoked.
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    U.S. Negroes, Your Fight is Our Fight: Black Britons and the 1963 March on Washington
    (Palgrave, 2015-05) Perry, Kennetta Hammond
    This essay examines the diasporic character the 1963 March on Washington movement for Jobs and Freedom in Britain. In the months leading up to the march Black British activists and intellectuals closely followed events in Alabama, Mississippi and in towns and cities throughout the South as Black Americans organized sit-ins, boycotts, marches and other forms of mass protest demanding the rights of full citizenship guaranteed to them by the U.S. constitution. In addition to bearing witness to the struggles of Black Americans, Black Britons collectively organized in solidarity with the Black freedom movement in America and invoked the iconography and rhetoric of American racial (in)justice to articulate the dynamics shaping the local politics of race Britain. In doing so, I argue that by organizing events like the London solidarity march, Black Britons transformed the 1963 March on Washington into a type of discursive capital that wielded a powerful story about race, citizenship and the dilemmas of blackness that transcended the boundaries of the American nation and engendered the relations which constitute the (re)making of diaspora.