Chantelle Lewis

Dr Chantelle Lewis

Junior Research Fellow in Black British Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford

Dr Lewis is a public sociologist, broadcaster and event director. Her research is situated at the intersections of socio-historical analysis; politics, Black feminism, family studies and racism studies. She is 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, Chantelle's 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 her work and research so far, she has 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, she is passionate about inclusive education and creative scholarship produced beyond the written word.

Dr Lewis' postdoctoral research is titled - Black in the suburbs: beyond the hegemonic whiteness of English suburban imaginings and builds on her 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 her 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, her 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, Dr Lewis 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). She will also address regional depictions of riots such as the 1962 Dudley Race Riots and 1985 Handsworth Riots. On a national level, she 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.