Keynote speakers

Docent Nazar Akrami, Uppsala University

On the psychological approaches to prejudice and discrimination

Abstract: While the study of prejudice and discrimination within psychology is very broad it can still be summarized in three main approaches – the personality, focusing the characteristics of the individual – the social, focusing on for example group membership, identity and situational factors (e.g., social norms) – and the cognitive, focusing on memory processes and stereotyping. My aim is to provide a brief review of theory and methodology within each approach and spend some time discussing shortcomings and advantages. I will continue by discussing why attempts to integrate these approaches have failed by providing an example based on the personality and social approaches. Finally, and as a happy end, I present empirical evidence highlighting the unique contribution of the personality as well as the social psychological approach in explaining prejudice.

Nazar Akrami revived his Ph.D. from Uppsala University in 2005. Akrami began his post-doc research and teaching career at Uppsala University before moving to the National University of Singapore for a short period. In 2008, he was appointed as a research assistant professor by the Swedish Research Council until 2010. He is now holding a senior lecturer position (docent) at Uppsala University. Akrami received early career award for outstanding young researcher in psychology in 2007, from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Akrami’s research interests fall within personality and social psychology and include social cognition, social identity processes, attitudes, stereotyping and prejudice, research methods and psychological assessment.


Prof. Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Duke Divinity School

Bodies Matter: Habituation at Odds With Faithful Belief

Abstract: Drawing upon a study of an interracial church in the U.S., this presentation will discuss the disconnect between standard Christian belief in most white churches in the United States that members are welcoming of persons of all races and ethnicities and the actual “inclusion” of significant numbers of non-white persons —i.e., the existence of significantly interracial congregations. Drawing upon the history of this church, the disconnect will be illustrated through attention to bodily habituations (Pierre Bourdieu) that shape experience in such a way as to make whites “uncomfortable” when they are not the dominant race. With attention to practices in the church that have had more success in altering deeply embedded, yet unacknowledged, prejudice, the presentation will conclude with thoughts on the challenges of bodily habituation for defining faithful belief.

Mary McClintock Fulkerson received her Ph.D. form Vanderbilt University and is now Professor of theology at Duke Divinity School. Her primary interest are e.g. feminist theologies, contemporary Protestant theology, and authority in theology. Her book, Changing the Subject: Women’s Discourses and Feminist Theology, examines the liberating practices of feminist academics and non-feminist church women. Her book Places of Redemption: Theology for a Worldly Church is on ecclesial practices that enable resistance to racism and other contemporary forms of social brokenness, interpreting the doctrine of the church in light of racial diversity and the differently abled. In addition, her work is published in journals such as Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and Modern Theology. Her publication titled The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theology is a collection of essays on feminist theology and globalization, which she co-edited with Sheila Briggs. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and a member of the national Advocacy for Women Task Force of the PC(USA). She is currently involved in the “Pauli Murray Project: Activating History for Social Change,” a Duke Human Rights Center project on racial healing and reconciliation in Durham County through history-telling.


Prof. Karim Murji, University of West London

A theorist-activist: some lessons of Stuart Hall

Abstract: In this presentation I will draw on some aspects of the work and legacy of Stuart Hall for thinking about race, social research, public engagement and academia itself. The range and influence of Hall’s work makes it too diverse for anyone to capture; it has been subject to numerous interpretations and commentaries, especially what has been called ‘a cottage industry’ since his death, so there are many ways of referring to and drawing on Hall.  I stress to this to make clear that my own use of his work is partial and heuristic, and also to suggest that there may be traces of this in Hall’s own method. Whether accurately referred to a ‘synthesiser’ rather than an original or systematic thinker or not, I want to look at this as a virtue of his work and its engagement with the politics of the present through his stress upon conjunctures and conjunctural analysis in the practice of sociology and of cultural studies – and their implications for and connections to politics. My purpose here is to draw on and highlight some aspects of Hall’s work in particular on (a) race, racism and the ‘post racial’ present?  (b) the relationship between biographies and academic practice; (c) public intellectual and scholar-activism roles and whether it is useful to think of Hall as a theorist-activist; and (d) the decolonial confrontation with whiteness and white privilege in higher education and beyond.

Karim Murji is a Professor based in the Graduate School at the University of West London and was previously at the Open University, UK.  He has written widely on culture, ethnicity and racism as applied to fields such as race equality, policing, public sociology, and cultural diasporas. His new book is Racism, Policy and Politics (Policy press 2017). Edited book include, with John Solomos, Theories of Race and Ethnicity: Contemporary Debates and Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2015); and with Gargi Bhattacharyya, Race Critical Public Scholarship (Routledge 2014). Since 2013 he has been part of the editorial team of Sociology, and, with Sarah Neal, he is the Editor of Current Sociology.


Prof. Yvette Taylor, University of Strathclyde

The Queer Map, Academia and Me

Abstract: I will consider processes of being, or becoming, on the academic map and the emotional disjunctures across time and place felt in occupying academia, in conducting research and in moving through intersecting spaces of teaching-research. The promise of entering and achieving in Higher Education is at once seductive and disturbing, felt and encountered across the university environment, via administrative, teaching and research concerns. These points of arriving, departing and travelling through institutional space intersect with what I feel about occupying academia. The emotional ‘stickiness’ of these contexts contrasts with the vision of the engaged, inclusive institution that now welcomes all through its door, with this rhetoric of arrival and belonging effacing starting points, varied journeys, different labours and divided recognitions. These are emotional matters manifest in teaching and research encounters, where a ‘critical pedagogy’ may be read as a failure, mobilized by the angry, emotional feminist academic, rather than her ‘neutral’ ‘objective’ ‘rational’ un-emotional counterpart. In arguing for an emotional presence constituted in and through teaching and research, I consider the emotional landscape of class and sexuality in particular, asking what is taken with us as we travel through academia, where feminist research in particular has been critical of the travelling subject (or ‘self’), who tells only their own story. I will use examples from recent research projects, including ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’ (2015) and ‘Fitting Into Place? Class and Gender Geographies and Temporalities’ (2012).

Yvette Taylor is Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde. She has obtained a wide variety of funding, including ESRC projects ‘From the Coal Face to the Car Park? Gender and Class in the North East of England’ (2007-2009), ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’ (2011-2013) and British Academy mid-career fellowship ‘Critical Terrain: Dividing Lines and Lives’ (2013-2014). She will begin a 3year EU Norface project in March on ‘Comparing Intersectional Life Course Inequalities amongst LGBTQ Citizens in Four European Counties’. Yvette has published four sole-authored books based on funded research:Working-class Lesbian Life (2007); Lesbian and Gay Parenting (2009); Fitting Into Place? Class and Gender Geographies and Temporalities (2012) and Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth (2015). Edited titles include Educational Diversity: the subject of difference and different subjects (2012); The Entrepreneurial University. Public Engagements, Intersecting Impacts(2014); Feeling Academic in the Neo-Liberal University? Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures (forthcoming, 2018). Yvette edits the Palgrave Gender and Education Series and co-edits the Routledge Advances in Critical Diversities Series.