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Race Forum at Birkbeck


The Race Forum at Birkbeck is a public space for multidisciplinary discussions about 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality. It hosts seminars and symposia which explore histories and legacies of empire and considers how local debates on 'race' and racism are shaped by the global geopolitics of the twenty-first century. We hope to bring students and academics from different disciplines and institutions together with others outside the academy.

It is a place for discussions on the politics and ethics of multidisciplinary work on 'race' and postcoloniality; 'race', class, criminalisation, policing and imprisonment; migration and detention; militarism; state surveillance and the 'war on terror’; the 'war on drugs' and the resurgence of both ultra-nationalist and anti-racist political cultures across the world.

Events held at the Race Forum further explore music and cultural politics; 'race', gender, 'sexuality' and desire; addiction; 'urban regeneration', gentrification and displacement; 'race', class and education and histories of racial and sexual violence.

Past events when the Race Forum was based in the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck included:


Speakers included Les Back (Goldsmiths), Avtar Brah (Birkbeck), Stephen Frosh (Birkbeck), Michael Keith (Oxford), Stuart Hall (O.U), Gail Lewis (Birkbeck), Ann Phoenix (IoE), Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths), John Solomos (Warwick), Brett St. Louis (Goldsmiths) and Nira Yuval-Davis (UEL).



In 2010, visiting speakers included Michael Keith (COMPAS, Oxford) and Jessica Sims (The Runnymede Trust).

May 2013 | MA Culture Diaspora Ethnicity & Race Forum Annual Lecture | 'A Second Skin': Embodied intersectionality, transnationalism and narratives of identity and belonging among Muslim women in Britain' | Heidi Safia Mirza (Goldsmiths)


May 2014 | MA Culture Diaspora Ethnicity & Race Forum Annual Lecture | sponsored by the Department of Psychosocial Studies & The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research | 'Debility/Capacity: Debt, Disability and Disaster Capitalism' | Jasbir Puar (Rutgers)


June 2014 | Race Forum & Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths Public Lecture | 'Indigenous Studies in the First World: Contested Territory, Cultural Entrapment and Race in the 21st Century' | Aileen Moreton-Robinson (QUT)


June 2015 | MA Culture Diaspora Ethnicity & Race Forum Annual Lecture | 'For a Sociological Reconstruction: W.E.B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall and Segregated Sociology' | Les Back (Goldsmiths)


May 2016 | MA Culture Diaspora Ethnicity & MA Psychosocial Studies Annual Lecture | 'Brick Walls: Racism and Other Hard Histories' | Sara Ahmed (Goldsmiths)

February 2017 | Race Forum & MA Culture Diaspora Ethnicity Public Lecture | 'Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain' | Catherine Hall (UCL)

May 2017 | The Politics of Racism: A Symposium for John Solomos

Speakers included Claire Alexander (Manchester), Les Back (Goldsmiths), Parminder Bhachu (Clark), Chetan Bhatt (LSE), Gargi Bhattacharyya (UEL), Alice Bloch (Manchester), David Theo Goldberg (Irvine, California) Syd Jeffers (UEL), Michael Keith (Oxford), Errol Lawrence, Ann Phoenix (IoE at UCL), John Solomos (Warwick) and Brett St. Louis (Goldsmiths).


The Race Forum is open to all. For further information or if you wish to join the mailing list, please email Yasmeen at


For related programmes, please see:

The Department of Psychosocial Studies is an Institutional Founding Sponsor of the Association for Psychosocial Studies, the learned society established in 2014 to promote the development of the field.