On being myself in academia for nearly two decades: Part I

Things that white academics have said to me When I see a hijabi-babe, I watch and wait to see if it slips to see her hair. You don’t want to do that [top] job when you have kids. Are you trying to find a husband? When I see her, I don’t see race. I seeContinue reading “On being myself in academia for nearly two decades: Part I”

Memoirs from Black and South Asian Britons

Without doubt, in the coming academic year the course I’m most excited about teaching is my new module ‘There is Black in the Union Jack’ on the Black and South Asian presence in Britain. You can find out more about the course, including a selection of readings, in a previous post and the documentary fromContinue reading “Memoirs from Black and South Asian Britons”

Teaching Black and South Asian British History

I’m currently on leave and due to teach again from September 2018. When asked what I wanted to teach, I decided to refresh my course on genocide studies and offer a new course on Black and South Asian British history. I’ve taught these histories before, but I’ve never put together a dedicated survey. My thoughtsContinue reading “Teaching Black and South Asian British History”

Decolonizing British history

The general election is being held today. I voted by post a while ago so I’ve missed the ritual of going to the polling station and casting a ballot in person. I’m already nervous about the results. I expect that Theresa May will continue to be Prime Minister and that I will continue to feelContinue reading “Decolonizing British history”

The labour of racialization

For a while, I’ve been making a concerted effort to read more broadly about race in everyday lived experience. I made the decision after reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015). I had an exceptionally powerful and visceral response to this work, partly because I encountered it during a period of immenseContinue reading “The labour of racialization”

Exhibiting Melbourne’s histories

I’m currently conducting archival research for my second book in Australia. During my trip, I’ll be visiting libraries, museums and state depositories in Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart and Sydney. I’ll also be giving a conference paper for a conference on Colonial Formations at the University of Wollongong. It is a wonderful opportunity to make substantial progressContinue reading “Exhibiting Melbourne’s histories”

Why I describe myself as a historian of ‘displayed peoples’, not ‘human zoos’

My first book Peoples on Parade was published five years ago this month. I will never forget the day that the first copies were delivered. After so many years, having my book in my hands left me utterly overwhelmed. I spent a long time leafing through every page as I absorbed the book’s beautiful reality.Continue reading “Why I describe myself as a historian of ‘displayed peoples’, not ‘human zoos’”

‘Dear Leader…Winter is coming’

Finding unexpected things in the archives is always a joy. Recently I spent a week in Dublin visiting the wonderful National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland. The library is in an impressive nineteenth-century building opened in 1890 and full of beautifully crafted woodwork and marble. I found so much that I finallyContinue reading “‘Dear Leader…Winter is coming’”