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Akwugo Emejulu


PhD (University of Strathclyde)

MPhil (distinction) (University of Glasgow), Urban Policy and Practice

PgCert (distinction) (University of Edinburgh), Digital Education

BA (Hons) (American University), Political Science


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 joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick in February 2017 as Professor of Sociology. Previously, I was Senior Lecturer and the founding Programme Director of the MSc Social Justice and Community Action at the University of Edinburgh.

Research Projects

As a political sociologist, I have research interests in two areas: investigating racial, ethnic and gender social and economic inequalities in Europe and the United States and exploring women of colour’s grassroots organising and activism for social citizenship and social justice.


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 (University of Leicester), 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.

Check out our project website here.

Selected Publications


Book cover

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

Foreword by Patricia Hill Collins

2017, Policy Press (co-authored with Leah Bassel)

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.

To Exist is to Resist: Black Feminism in Europe

forthcoming 2019, Pluto Press (Co-Editors: Geetha Marcus, University of Glasgow and Francesca Sobande, University of Dundee)

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.

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 Aritcles

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., Kutchstacher, M. and Emejulu, A. (eds) (2017) ‘Intersectionality and Childhood Studies: A Critical Dialogue across Time, Space and Place’ Special Issue for Children’s Geographies 15(1).

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.

Carpenter, M., Emejulu, A. and Taylor, M. (eds) (2016) 50th Anniversary Special Issue for the Community Development Journal, 51(1).

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. 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.

Emejulu, A. and Bassel, L. (2013) ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis: Enterprise and Austerity as a Double Hazard for Non-Governmental Organisations in France and the UK’, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, Briefing No. 2.

Doctoral Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students on areas related to grassroots activism, community development and organising, and race, class, gender and ethnicity more generally. I am also particularly interested in working with students who wish to use intersectional, critical race, feminist or post-structuralist methodologies in their research.

University of Edinburgh (external supervisor)

Shirley-Pat Chamberlain, 'A Comparative case study of the role of civil society organizations in indigenous social citizenship reconstruction in Canadian civil society'

Ashlee Christoffersen, 'Institutionalising intersectionality? Applications and interventions'

Hoda Mobasseri, 'Muslim feminism and Muslim women's negotiations of public and private spaces'

Sara Stewart, 'Gender, class and ethno-Christian identities and the intergenerational transmission of sectarianism in Scotland'

Completed PhD Students

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

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



SO9C6: Social Theory for Social Justice


SO353: Feminist Pedagogy/Feminist Activism