Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Akwugo Emejulu


Before entering academia, I worked in a variety of grassroots roles—as a community organiser, a trade union organiser and a participatory action researcher—in both the United States and in Britain.

I am a Fellow of The New Institute in Hamburg, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin and an inaugural winner of the Flax Foundation's Emma Goldman Prize.

Research Projects

As a political sociologist, I have research interests in two areas: 1. racial, gender and class inequalities in Europe and the United States and 2. women of colour’s grassroots organising and activism.

Co-creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces across Europe (CCINDLE)

€3,325,433: Horizon Europe

Co-creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces across Europe (CCINDLE) is a six-nation comparative research project exploring how ordinary citizens, activists and policymakers might co-create solutions to Europe’s crisis of democracy in Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain. My Co-PIs and I focus on three areas: 1. the emboldened far right and how they undermine democracy, particularly through political violence 2. feminist social movement and institutional resistances to far right groups 3. envisioning intersectional feminist futures for Europe.

My co-principal investigators for this project are: Mieke Verloo (Radboud), Elena Pavan (Trento), Andrea Krizsan (Central European University), Petra Meier (Antwerp), Conny Roggeband (Amsterdam), Johanna Kantola (Helsinki), Emanuela Lombardo (Madrid Complutense), Marta Rawluzsko (Warsaw) and Elzbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn).

Women of Colour Resist

$126,682: Open Society Foundation

WoC Resist

Women of Colour Resist is a six-nation comparative research project that examines how women of colour activists in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Spain strategise, organise and mobilise in illiberal Europe. Women of colour, oftentimes operating in hostile contexts, work in innovative ways to advance their political interests. This project aims to make visible this creative work and to map the processes by which women of colour undertake their grassroots activism against austeirty, against the far right and for migrants' rights. My co-principal investigator for this project is Leah Bassel (Coventry).

Read the project report and the executive summary in Danish, English, Flemish, French, German and Spanish.

The Politics of Catastrophe

£23,921: University of Warwick

The Politics of Catastrophe examines how women of colour activists in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States operationalise an idea of ‘catastrophe’ as a political resource and protest frame for their organising, mobilising and solidarity work. In particular, this project aims to explore how women of colour activists working in two protest spaces: anti-austerity and migrants’ rights, frame their work as struggles against the inter-related catastrophes of: the unprecedented cuts to and privatisations of state-based social welfare provision; the political, policy and public opinion backlash against migrants in relation to increased surveillance, deportations and detentions; the rise of illiberal politics in terms of the electoral gains of far right parties, the mainstreaming of extremist language in political discourse and the spike in racist and xenophobic hate crimes.

Minority Women's Activism in Tough Times

£9,397: British Academy

In this cross-national comparative research project, my co-principal investigator, Leah Bassel, and I explore the effects of the 2008 economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures on minority women’s activism in France and Britain. In particular, we investigate how the crisis erodes minority women’s income and wealth but also galvanises their grassroots organising, activism and solidarity work for social justice.

Selected Publications


Precarious Solidarity

forthcoming, Manchester University Press (co-author: Leah Bassel, Coventry University)

Drawing on our research project Women of Colour Resist, which examines how women of colour activists in six European countries organise and mobilise against austerity, against the far right and for migrants’ rights, our new book explores how these activists define and enact solidarity. We specifically focus on how activists succeed but more often fail to build solidarity in their networks. We argue that these activists’ struggles with solidarity reflect broader socio-economic and political forces which doom to failure much solidarity work that seeks to meaningfully work across race, class, gender, sexuality and legal status. Because women of colour are operating in a context of extreme economic insecurity, this precarity translates into frail bonds between activists. Whilst precarity can be a point of common interest uniting activists and mobilising them to action, more often however, we see precarity as a condition that exhausts, frustrates and ultimately, undermines activists.

Fugitive Feminism

2022, Silver Press

This is a book about studying the contours of Black women’s non-humaness, to shine a light on it, to contemplate it, to mourn it and ultimately step fully into non-humaness to become…something else. What does existence mean for Black women without the anchor of humanity and the struggle to inhabit it? What I’m contending with in this book is the problem of how one can be oneself without being human. Black women’s processes of becoming, of divesting from humanity, I name as ‘fugitive feminism’. I combine the concepts ‘fugitive’ and ‘feminism’ to signal that Black women’s becoming must be grounded in a collective process of speculative dialogue and action for liberation. I want to know what it means speculate about a new world and prefigure another mode of living and being. This is the task and promise of fugitive feminism.

You can buy my book here. Listen to a conversation with me and Gala Rexer for the Sarah Parker Remond Centre at UCL about Fugitive Feminism. Read a review in The Paris Review. Read another review in Electric Literature. Watch a book talk I gave at the Lighthouse for the Edinburgh Book Fringe. Read an interview with me in Les Glorieuses. Finally, The Stylist named Fugitive Feminism as one of the best non-fiction books of 2023.

To Exist is to Resist: Black Feminism in Europe

2019, Pluto Press (co-editor: Francesca Sobande, Cardiff University)

How might we theorise and practice Black feminism and womanism in Europe today? This is a provocative question as women of colour are too often erased from or misrecognised in the European imagination. Constructed as alien Others, women of colour exist in a contradictory state of invisibility—we are assumed to be absent from and irrelevant to European societies—or hypervisibility—we are presumed to be oppressed and passive and/or highly sexualised, angry and irrational. Across the political spectrum among ostensible allies, women of colour must struggle against our erasure and the debilitating constructions of ourselves that delegimitise our politics, interests and activisms. Furthermore, women of colour in Europe must negotiate the dominant discourses of racial, gender and intersectional politics of North American Black feminists and womanists that make it difficult to name and take action on our particular racialised, gendered and classed experiences in a European context. This new edited collection explores how women of colour across Europe are undertaking creative resistances to institutionalised inequalities, to imagine radical new futures outside and against the neo-colonial frames and practices of contemporary Europe.

Read an interview in The List and in Black Perspectives with Francesca and me about our book. Read a review in The Sociological Review.

Book cover

Minority Women and Austerity: Survival and Resistance in France and Britain

Foreword by Patricia Hill Collins

2017, Policy Press (co-author: Leah Bassel, Coventry University)

The 2008 economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures represent a contradictory moment for minority women in France and Britain. On the one hand, the ‘crisis’ is not necessarily a new experience for these women. In pre-crisis France and Britain, minority women were already in precarious social and economic circumstances. On the other hand, however, crisis and austerity do represent an important change in the circumstances of minority women. Due to the asymmetrical impacts of austerity, minority women are disproportionately disadvantaged by cuts to public spending thus sharpening and deepening their existing inequalities. Despite minority women’s routinised experiences of inequality, they are not passive objects at the mercy of economic restructurings and particular policy priorities. Minority women, often operating in hostile contexts among ostensible allies, are organising and mobilising in innovative ways to advance their intersectional social justice claims. Our new book examines minority women’s experiences of and activism within the austerity regimes of France and Britain. Through in depth case studies of the particular dynamics of austerity and activism in Scotland, England and France, we explore how the rebalancing of relations between the state, the market and civil society generate both opportunities and dilemmas for minority women activists, advancing a ‘politics of survival’ in these uncertain times.

Listen to an interview with me on the New Books in Critical Theory podcast. Read reviews of our book by the LSE Review of Books and Europe Now.

Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies and Politics in America and Britain

2015, Policy Press

Why is community development regularly invoked as a way of tackling social problems? Why do institutional actors routinely call upon community development to rebuild bonds and trust between different groups of people? What is at stake philosophically, politically and in policy terms when community development is championed as a strategy for social renewal? Through a comparative analysis of American and British community development since 1968, my book examines how key political and policy debates about social welfare, social justice and equality have been inscribed onto and embodied within the theory and practice of community development in these two countries.

Listen to an interview with me about my book on the New Books in Political Science podcast.


Journal Articles

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2023) ‘The Lonely Activist: On Being Haunted’, The Sociological Review

Emejulu, A. and Sobande, F. (2023) 'Intersectional Vulnerabilities and the Banality of Harm: The Dangerous Desires of Women of Colour Activists', Meridians

Christoffersen, A. and Emejulu, A. (2023) 'Diversity Within: The Problems with "Intersectional" White Feminism in Practice', Social Politics 

Emejulu, A. (2022) 'Ambivalence as Misfeeling, Ambivalence as Refusal', Post45

Sobande, F. and Emejulu, A. (2021) 'Black Feminism Remixed: On Black Feminist Joy, Ambivalence and Futures', Culture, Theory and Critique

Emejulu, A. and van der Scheer, I. (2021) 'Refusing Politics as Usual: Mapping Women of Colour's Radical Praxis in London and Amsterdam', Identities.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2020) 'The Politics of Exhaustion', CITY: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture and Theory.

Emejulu, A. (2018) 'Can Political Science Decolonise? A Response to Neema Begum and Rima Saini', Political Studies Review.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2018) 'Austerity and the Politics of Becoming', Journal of Common Market Studies Annual Review, 56(S1): 109-119.

Mügge, L., Montoya, C., Emejulu, A. and Weldon, S.L. (2018) 'Intersectionality and the Politics of Knowledge Production', European Journal of Politics and Gender, 1(1-2): 17-36.

Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2018) 'Mourning the Old World Whilst Building the New? A Rejoinder', Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies Book Review Symposium on Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2017) Minority Women and Austerity: Survival and Resistance in France and Britain. Bristol: Policy Press.

Emejulu, A. (2018) 'On the Problems and Possibilities of Feminist Solidarity: The Women's March One Year On', IPPR Progressive Review, 24(4): 267-273.

Stewart, S. and Emejulu, A. (2017) 'Women as Sectarian Agents: Looking Beyond the Football Cliché in Scotland', European Journal of Women's Studies.

Emejulu, A. (2017) 'Feminism for the 99%: Towards a Populist Feminism?', Soundings 66 (Summer)

Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2017) ‘Caring Subjects: Migrant Women and the Third Sector in Scotland and England’, Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Emejulu, A. and McGregor, C. (2017) ‘Towards a Radical Digital Citizenship for Digital Education’, Critical Studies in Education.

Konstantoni, K. and Emejulu, A. (2017) ‘When Intersectionality Met Childhood Studies: The Dilemmas of a Travelling Concept’, Children’s Geographies 15(1): 6-22.

Emejulu, A. and Scanlon, E. (2016) 'Community Development and the Politics for Social Welfare: Rethinking Redistribution and Recognition Struggles in the United States', Community Development Journal, 51(1): 42-59.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2015) ‘Minority Women, Activism and Austerity’, Race & Class, 57(2): 86-95.

MacLeod, M.A. and Emejulu, A. (2014) ‘Neoliberalism with a Community Face? A Critical Analysis of Asset-Based Community Development in Scotland’, Journal of Community Practice, 22(4): 430-450.

Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2014) ‘Solidarity under Austerity: Intersectionality in France and the United Kingdom’, Politics & Gender, 10(1): 130-136.

Emejulu, A. (2013) 'Being and Belonging in Scotland: Exploring the Intersection of Ethnicity, Gender and National Identity among Scottish Pakistani Groups', Scottish Affairs, 84(3): 41-64.

Emejulu, A. (2011) 'Can "the People" Be Feminists? Analysing the Fate of Feminist Justice Claims in Populist Grassroots Movements in the United States', Interface: Special Issue on Feminism, Women's Movements and Women in Movements, 3(2): 123-151.

Bassel, L. and Emejulu, A. (2010) ‘Struggles for Institutional Space in France and the UK: Intersectionality and the Politics of Policy’, Politics and Gender, 6(4): 517-544.

Book Chapters

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2017) ‘Whose Crisis Counts? Minority Women, Austerity and Activism in France and Britain’, in Kantola, J. and Lombardo, E. (eds) Gender and the Economic Crisis in Europe. London: Palgrave.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2017) ‘Resisting Epistemic Violence: Women of Colour’s Anti-Austerity Activism’ in Whyte, D. and Cooper, V. (eds) The Violence of Austerity. London: Pluto Press.


Blogs, Briefing Papers and Commissioned Reports

Emejulu, A. (2022) 'Rassimus im Alltag', Taz. English version is here: 'On Being and Blackness in Berlin'

Emejulu, A. (2020) 'George Floyd: Why the Sight of Those Brave, Exhausted Protestors Gives Me Hope', The Conversation.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2019) 'The Whitewashing of Austerity Britain', Red Pepper.

Emejulu, A. and Mügge, L. (2018) 'Who is Seen and Heard in Politics? Intersectionality and Political Representation', APSA Migration and Citizenship Newsletter.

Emejulu, A. (2017) 'Surprise! Black Women are Political Actors', HuffPost.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2017) 'They Cut, We Bleed: Women of Colour's Anti-Austerity Activism', Pluto Press.

Emejulu, A. (2017) 'The University is not Innocent', Verso Books.

Emejulu, A. (2017) 'Another University is Possible', Verso Books.

Emejulu, A. (2016) ‘On the Hideous Whiteness of Brexit’, Verso Books.

Emejulu, A. (2016) ‘The Centre of a Whirlwind: Watching Whiteness Work’, Verso Books

Emejulu, A. (2016) ‘Trump and Liberal Democracy’s Crisis of Knowledge’, The Sociological Review.

Emejulu, A. (2016) ‘Beyond Feminism’s White Gaze’, Discover Society.

Emejulu, A. (2015) 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Anti-Austerity: Women of Colour and the Politics of Solidarity', Verso Books.

Sosenko, F., Netto, G., Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2013) In It Together? Perceptions on Ethnicity, Recession and Austerity in Three Glasgow Communities. Glasgow: Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights.

Doctoral Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in areas related to grassroots activism, community organising and social movements. I am also particularly interested in working with students who wish to use intersectional, critical race, feminist and/or post-structuralist methodologies and methods in their research.

University of Warwick

Iria Dominguez, ‘Intersectional feminist solidarity movements and the rise of the far right in Spain’

Sue Lemos, 'Pioneers of our own future: The lives and politics of queer Black people and people of colour in Britain'

Oska Paul, 'Migrant-led responses to displacement in Athens: Men, masculinity and manhood'

Adebayo Quadry-Adekanbi, ‘Queering African feminist activism’

Shuzhuo Shi, ‘Covid-19, Sinophobia and the possibilities for racial solidarity’

Shona Smith, ‘Black disabled women's lived experiences in Britain’

Yuting Wu, 'Absent Presence? British Chinese feminist activism since 1970'

Completed PhD Students

Melody Howse, 'Black formations and the politics of space in Berlin' (Completed, November 2023)

Cristina Asenjo Palma, 'Enhancing well-being: A matter of assets or rights?' (Completed, June 2023)

Ashlee Christoffersen, 'The politics of intersectional practice: Representation, coalition and solidarity' (Completed, June 2020)

Sara Lindores, 'Gender, class and ethno-Christian identities and the intergenerational transmission of sectarianism in Scotland' (Completed, October 2019)

Geetha Marcus, 'From the margins to the centre: The educational experiences of Gypsy and Traveller girls in Scottish schools' (Completed, June 2016)

Patricia Cacho, 'Race, rurality and Black and Minority Ethnic young people: Exploring the silences in Highland Scotland' (Completed, May 2016)


On research leave