British Citizenship, Race, and Rights


Course lead: Amit Singh

Photograph of Anwar Ditta Defence Campaign demonstration, April 1980
Photograph of Anwar Ditta Defence Campaign demonstration, April 1980 (Courtesy of Anwar Ditta and www.tandana.org)

This module examines the ways in which notions of Britishness and citizenship have been historically constructed since 1948. In particular, it outlines how Britain’s colonial history frames contemporary debates around citizenship, rights and race. The module examines the ways in which migrant populations have been ‘managed’ within Britain and the ways in which these communities have resisted racism (both at a state and inter-personal level) and struggled for equality. The module will address the rise and fall of the multiculturalism project, reflecting on the tragedy of the Grenfell fire, the deportations of the “Windrush scandal”, and the attacks on multicultural education as represented by the Trojan Horse affair.


Lectures

1. Postwar Citizenship in Britain

Dr James Hampshire, University of Sussex

Forthcoming ...

2. British Black Power

Dr John Narayan, Kings College London

This session examines how Britain possessed its own distinctive form of Black Power movement, which, whilst inspired and informed by its US counterpart, was rooted in anti-colonial politics, New Commonwealth immigration, and the onset of decolonisation. The session also explores how British Black Power offers valuable lessons about how the politics of anti-racism and anti-imperialism should be united in the 21st century.

3. Anti-Racist Feminism

Forthcoming ...

5. From Grunwick to Gate Gourmet

Prof Sundari Anitha, University of Lincoln

Forthcoming ...

6. From Windrush to Grenfell

Dr Luke de Noronha, University of Manchester

Both the Windrush scandal and the Grenfell fire raise urgent questions for sociologists, and for people concerned about tackling racism more broadly. Both remind us that racism is not just about individuals being intolerant, prejudiced, or bigoted, but about the social and institutional structures that organise who is entitled to what. In this lecture, I invite us to ask some questions about racism, rights and exclusion – particularly in relation to the history and contemporary dynamics of immigration control. It is by asking who is a member of the nation, who is excluded, how this changes over time, and what can be done to those denied membership, that we can develop critical methodologies for studying racism in anti-immigrant times.

7. The Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair

Prof John Holmwood, University of Nottingham

In early 2014, the media was full of stories of a ‘plot to Islamicise schools’ in Birmingham, Bradford and Oldham. Various official investigations claimed to find evidence of extremism, but when misconduct cases were brought against teachers in September 2015, the only charges were ‘undue religious influence’. The cases collapsed in May 2017 because of ‘impropriety’ on the part of lawyers acting for the government. Nonetheless, the affair led to important changes in policy – a new emphasis within Prevent on safeguarding children from non-violent extremism, and a requirement on schools to teach ‘fundamental British values’. Most recently, the latter has spilled over into arguments that ‘British values’ be taught using the Equality Act 2010 and its protected characteristics. This session will address the background to the affair in Government attacks on multiculturalism, the ‘authoritarian’ governance of schools under the academies programme, as well as secular liberal criticisms of the role of religion in schools.

John Holmwood was an expert witness for the defence in the professional misconduct case brought against senior teachers at Park View Education Trust.