Andrew Pitt Junior Research Fellow in Black British Studies
I am a public sociologist, broadcaster and event director. My research is situated at the intersections of socio-historical analysis; politics, Black feminism, family studies and racism studies. I am co-host and co-founder of the Surviving Society podcast and the Deputy Director of Leading Routes (See #BlackinAcademia events & campaign).
In the broadest sense, my intellectual project is primarily focused on collaborative scholarship and dialogical knowledge production; as well as the democratisation of generative modes of understanding and navigating education. Throughout my work and research so far, I have remained attentive to uplifting and supporting people whose thinking, organising and creative expressions have been overlooked, denied and rejected amongst our research and teaching communities. As a scholar with multiple neurodiverse traits, I am passionate about inclusive education and creative scholarship produced beyond the written word.
My postdoctoral research is titled – Black in the suburbs: beyond the hegemonic whiteness of English suburban imaginings and builds on my PhD research which used the concepts of hegemonic whiteness and cultures of racism to show how Black mixed-race families in semi-rural/suburban places become susceptible to both negotiating and reproducing the unspoken power dynamics of dominating cultures, which demand the consent of both the (white) racial majority and the racially minoritised.
Black in the suburbs recovers the forgotten Black lives and histories of English suburbia, to challenge public and political imaginings that present these places as bastions of white Englishness. This research develops my conceptual and theoretical expertise on racialisation and cultures of racism in the suburbs, and empirical research with Black mixed-race families in Worcestershire, through novel research that locates contemporary life stories within the longer histories of Black lives in the English suburbs since 1945. This research will contribute to the extensive body of Black British studies scholarship that seeks to track and retrieve the heterogeneity of Black life in Britain. With this, my research focus over the next three years will locate the intimate histories and contemporary manifestations of Blackness within English suburbia (primarily in the West Midland counties with surround Birmingham and Wolverhampton), in this way, reclaiming suburban place as an always already multi ethnic landscape.
The focus on the suburbs of the West Midlands will also be contextualised alongside key political and racialised tensions on a local and national level. On a local level, I will contribute to existing scholarship which traces the growth of the far right in the West Midlands beginning with Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech and the political mobilisation of the English Defence League (2008 – present) and The British National Party (1982 – 2010). I will also address regional depictions of riots such as the 1962 Dudley Race Riots and 1985 Handsworth Riots. On a national level, I will locate regional representations of the passing of Race Relations legislation(s) and the media depictions in suburbia of Black people in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
2021: Lewis, C. (2021). The perpetuation of inequality. Soundings: A journal of politics and culture 79, 134-137
2021: Lewis, C., Regis, T., & Ofori-Addo, G. (2021). Sociological podcasting: radical hope, care and solidarity in a time of crisis. Soundings: A journal of politics and culture 79, 94-109
2020: Lewis, C. Retrieving memories of dialogical knowledge production: COVID-19 and the global (re) awakening to systemic racism, European Journal of Women’s Studies 27(4): 13-19.
2019: Benson, M. and Lewis, C. Brexit, British People of Colour in the EU-27 and everyday racism in Britain and Europe, Ethnic and Racial Studies 42(13): 2211-2228.
Policy and Research Reports
2021: Report consultant and reviewer for Cancer Research UK diversity data in grant funding report
2019: Williams, P., Bath, S., Arday, J. and Lewis, C. The Broken Pipeline: barriers to black PhD students accessing research council funding – This report has proven to have a promising impact on multiple sectors beyond its substantial influence in Higher Education. Our recommendations have been cited as inspiring at least seven BAME PhD scholarships at UKHEI’s since 2019 and is cited as a key reference for the 2021 Office for Students £8 million Funding competition to improve access and participation for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in postgraduate research study
Print and Digital News Media
2020: Lewis, C. ‘Blended Families Showed Up For Each Other In Lockdown. Let’s Embrace That’, Huff Post.
2019: Lewis, C. Please Can We Stop Talking About ‘Mixed-Race’ Identity (On Its Own)? Discover Society
2019: Lewis, C. Black History Month Interview, E-International Relations
2019: Benson, M. and Lewis, C. Talking with British People of Colour in the EU27, LSE Brexit Blog
2018: Lewis, C. ‘How I make my stepfamily work’, Black Ballad
2018: Lewis, C. ‘“No, where are you really from?”: Being a UK citizen of colour living in the EU27’, LSE Brexit Blog
2017: Lewis, C. “Bringing Voices Together: Inclusivity in Independent Publishing in Contemporary Britain”, The British Library Blog
The Surviving Society Podcast – https://linktr.ee/survivingsocietypodcast
Leading Routes – https://leadingroutes.org/