Dr Ipek Demir


I am an interdisciplinary sociologist. I hold a BA (Ankara), and an MA (Sussex) in International Relations, and a PhD in Social and Political Thought (University of Sussex). Following my PhD, I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), University of Cambridge. Before joining the University of Leeds I worked at the University of Leicester.

In September 2020 I became the Director of Centre for Racism and Ethnicity (CERS), University of Leeds.


1. British Council/Jean Monnet Funding, University of Sussex

2. ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), University of Cambridge

3. AHRC Fellowship, Sociology, University of Leicester

4. I was a Senior Research Fellow on an EU FP7 project 'BioSHaRE-EU: Biobank Standardisation and Harmonisation for Research Excellence in the European Union', Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester.

External Profile:

I am a member of the UK Research Council - AHRC's Peer Review College/Board.

In 2013 I founded the BSA Diaspora, Migration and Transnationalism (DMT) Study Group and co-convened it for 5 years until September 2018.

I was Vice Chair of the European Sociological Association Sociology of Migration Research Network 35 (2013 - 2015).

I am an Assessor for Carnegie Trust Research.

I co-convened the BSA Race, Ethnicity and Migration (REM) Stream at the BSA annual conference 2014-2018.


  • Director of Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS)
  • Deputy Research Director
  • Academic Forum Lead

Research interests

My work sits at the intersections of the fields of diaspora studies, ethno-politics, race and identity, Global South, indigeneity, social and critical thought.

I have developed an expertise in the field of diaspora studies, transnationalism and Kurdish studies by using the conceptual tools and insight on translation, epistemology and race, and a new and innovative perspective on diaspora by employing the insights of race and ethnicity studies and translation studies. I am especially interested in how diasporic groups like the Kurds in Europe revive ethno-political identity ‘at a distance’, and how they translate, foreignise and cosmopolitanise Europe. The content of my work has been critical, interdisciplinary and with a global orientation and transnational ethos. In my most recent work I develop a decolonial perspective to diaspora, and also discuss how diasporas are primary agents of decolonisation of the Global North.

My other research examines the relationship between translation, interdisciplinarity, trust, epistemology, knowledge and data-sharing. In particular, I have investigated the theoretical and philosophical dimensions of border-making, conflict, and translation across the boundaries of knowledge communities. I have carried out research on epistemological challenges in biobank data-sharing, and most recently have uncovered impediments to sharing (grey) evidence between expert communities.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

  • I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • I was voted Academic of the Year in recognition of my engaging, innovative and supportive teaching. The award was based on nominations received from students during the 'I Love My Academic' campaign.
  • I was awarded HEA funding as part of the Teaching Enhancement Project
  • Completed PhD Students:
    1. Gemma Mitchell - Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of York
    2. Taghreed El-Hajj - Research Associate at Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine, Department of International Public Health
    3. David Straw – Teaching Fellow, University of Manchester
    4. Asmali bin Hj Sulaiman- Lecturer, Universiti Brunei Darussalam
  • I established and directed the following Summer Schools: University of Leicester, 2016; Kurdish Summer School, Kurdish Institute, Paris, 2017; Kurdish Summer School, Kurdish Institute, Paris, 2018. For a review of the school: See Kurdish Studies.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>