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Racism and Nationalism After the Scottish Referendum and 2015 General Election

Organised by Dr Brendan McGeever, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism. Hosted by Birkbeck Institute for Social Research and supported by the Centre of British Politics and Public Life, Birkbeck, University of London

Event Information

13th November, 2015
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Room 101, 30 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DT
Speakers: Dr Steve Garner, Open University; Dr Bethan Harries, University of Manchester; Dr Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin; Dr Brendan McGeever, Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; Dr Nasar Meer, University of Edinburgh; Professor Anoop Nayak, Newcastle University; Professor Satnam Virdee, University of Glasgow

This one day colloquium will revisit the relationship between racism and nationalism in light of historic events of the past 12 months – the Scottish Referendum of September 2014 and the General Election of May 2015. Given the dramatic electoral surge of the SNP and the prospect of the EU Referendum to come, the ‘constitutional crisis’ in British politics is now impossible to ignore. With UKIP on the rise electorally and the future of the Union seeming uncertain, it seems pertinent to revisit the nature of racism and nationalism across Britain today – even more so given the current refugee and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding across Europe.

Whatever constitutional resettlement occurs in Britain over the coming months and years seems likely to be accompanied by a reposing of what it means to be ‘English’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Welsh’, ‘Northern Irish’ and ‘British’. What remains unclear, however, is how the politics of racism and related issues of ethnicity and belonging will be addressed within the unfolding of these ‘national questions’. What does the apparent weakening of ‘Britishness’ mean for black and minority ethnic people across Britain? How will these processes shape and be shaped by gender relations within and across communities? These are just some of the questions that we will explore.

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