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Heidi Safia Mirza

Staff details

PositionVisiting Professor of Race, Faith and Culture
Department Sociology
Email heidi.mirza (@gold.ac.uk)
Heidi Safia Mirza

“Sociology is your life and my life: We all have stories to tell...we must tell them ...our voices must be heard !”

Academic background 

Professor Mirza's work focuses on gender, race, faith and culture using postcolonial and black feminist theoretical frameworks to explore equality and human rights issues for Muslim, Black and minority communities. Coming from Trinidad and schooled in Brixton she is one of the first female professors of colour in UK and was awarded the prestigious # Eight Women of Colour Awards. She has widely researched educational inequalities, including the experiences of young Black and Asian women in school and processes of racialisation in higher education.  Her recent work explores current debates on multiculturalism and diversity, as well as cultural and religious difference, Islamophobia and gendered violence.

Teaching

Professor Mirza’s teaching includes her pioneering masters Course Race, Gender and Social Justice. She also supervises doctoral students in the cutting-edge field of social and cultural identity and has an excellent completion rate. Her PhDs student’s projects include studies on race, faith, gender, class and culture in educational settings; refugees and migration; multiculturalism and Islamophobia; gender and sexual violence; Muslim and Asian women in education.

Public appointments

Professor Mirza was appointed by the Minister of State for Education to the Government’s Schools Standards Task Force, where she shaped many initiatives to  raise standards in education for Caribbean and minority ethnic pupils.  She also established the Runnymede Collection at the BCA (Black Cultural Archives), a race-relations archive documenting the late 20th Century civil rights struggle for Multicultural Britain. She was Commissioner on the GLA Mayor's Commission on African and Asian Heritage and appointed by the Lord Chancellor to the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (TNA). She is an expert consultant to English Heritage advising on Blue Plaques and bringing in under-represented groups into the English national story.

 

Research Interests

Professor Mirza’s research includes British lead on the European Union (EU) project ‘Young Migrant Women in Secondary Education: Promoting integration and mutual understanding through dialogue and exchange’.  She was co-principle investigator on the ethnicity strand of ‘Understanding Society’, the ESRC funded UK Household Longitudinal Study, the largest study of its kind in the world.  She also directed the Rayne Foundation study on refugee education and ‘Respecting Difference’ which promotes the understanding of race, faith and culture for teacher educators in higher education.

Professor Mirza has published extensively on the intersectionality of race, gender, Black British feminisms, multiculturalism, postcolonial theory and educational inequalities. She is author of several best-selling books including,

Young Female and Black (Routledge 1992), which was voted in the BERA (British Educational Research Association) top 40 most influential educational studies in Britain.

Black British Feminism: A Reader (Routledge 1997) now celebrating 20 years of success.

Tackling the Roots of Racism, Lessons for Success, with Reena Bhavnani and Veena Meetoo (Bristol, Policy Press, 2005)

Gender and Educational Desire: Why Black Women Succeed and Fail (Routledge 2009),

Black and Postcolonial Feminisms in New Times: Researching Educational Inequalities, co-edited with Cynthia Joseph (Routledge, 2010),

Respecting difference: Race, faith and culture for teacher educators, with Veena Meetoo (UCL IOE  2012).

Her most recent book is Dismantling Race in Higher Education: Racism, whiteness and decolonising the academy, co-edited with Jason Arday (Palgrave MacMillan forthcoming).

She co-authored the seminal OfSTED school government inspection report Educational Inequality: Mapping Race, Class, and Gender 

Publications

Book

Race, Gender and Educational Desire: Why black women succeed and fail
Mirza, Heidi. 2009. Race, Gender and Educational Desire: Why black women succeed and fail. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-44876-5

Book Section

‘“It's a sun tan, isn't it?”: Auto-biography as an Identificatory Practice'
Ahmed, Sara. 1997. ‘“It's a sun tan, isn't it?”: Auto-biography as an Identificatory Practice'. In: Heidi Mirza, ed. Black British Feminism: A Reader. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 153-167. ISBN 978-0415152891

Article

'The Branch on which I sit' Heidi Safia Mirza in conversation with Yasmin Gunaratnam
Mirza, Heidi and Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2014. 'The Branch on which I sit' Heidi Safia Mirza in conversation with Yasmin Gunaratnam. Feminist Review, 108, pp. 125-133. ISSN 0141-7789

‘A second skin’: Embodied intersectionality, transnationalism and narratives of identity and belonging among Muslim women in Britain
Mirza, Heidi. 2013. ‘A second skin’: Embodied intersectionality, transnationalism and narratives of identity and belonging among Muslim women in Britain. Women's Studies International Forum, 36, pp. 5-15. ISSN 0277-5395

Plotting a History: Black and postcolonial feminisms in ‘new times’
Mirza, Heidi. 2009. Plotting a History: Black and postcolonial feminisms in ‘new times’. Race Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), pp. 1-10. ISSN 1361-3324

Conference or Workshop Item

Conversation on Black British Feminisms
Ahmed, Sara and Mirza, Heidi. 2014. 'Conversation on Black British Feminisms'. In: Conversation on Black British Feminisms. George Wood Theatre, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom.

Screening and Panel Discussion on the work of Angela Davis, Free Angela and Other Political Prisoners
Ahmed, Sara; Anim-Addo, Joan; Bernard, Claudia A.; Mirza, Heidi; Puwar, Nirmal and Thobani, Sunera. 2013. 'Screening and Panel Discussion on the work of Angela Davis, Free Angela and Other Political Prisoners'. In: Centre for Feminist Research Screening and Panel Discussion. Goldsmiths, Universirty of London, United Kingdom.