Gurminder Bhambra, University of Warwick

5 December 2017

‘Brexit’ has been less focused on the pros and cons of EU membership than a proxy for discussions about race and migration; specifically, who belongs and has rights (or should have rights) and who doesn’t (and shouldn’t). The racialized discourses at work over the last year have been present not only in the politics of the event; they have been implicit in much social scientific analysis as well. Populist political claims, I argue, are being mirrored by an equivalent social scientific ‘presentism’ that elides proper historical context. In this talk, I discuss the importance of understanding Brexit in the context of an historical sociological understanding of empire that would enable us to make better sense of the politics of the present.


Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and Guest Professor of Sociology and History at the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Linnaeus University, Sweden. During March 2017 she was a Visiting Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She is currently working on a manuscript, Racialised Citizenship and the Complicity of Social Science.

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