Professor 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 Studies (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.
  5. SSP Pump Prime Funding (ongoing)
  6. White Rose Collaboration Award (ongoing): The UK-Rwanda Partnership: Externalising Borders, Offshoring and Resistance

External Profile:

  • I am a member of the UK Research Council - AHRC's Peer Review College/Board.
  • Leverhulme Prize Panel
  • 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 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)
  • Chair of Decolonising Research Task and Finish Group of the University of Leeds
  • School REF Reading Group

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 and migration by using the conceptual tools and insight on translation, epistemology, indigeneity, and race and ethnicity. I am especially interested in how new migrants negotiate the ethno-racial hierarchies in the new home as well as how diasporic groups in Europe revive ethno-political identity ‘at a distance’, and how they translate, foreignise, cosmopolitanise and decolonise Europe.

The content of my work has been critical, interdisciplinary and with a global orientation and transnational ethos. In my recent work I develop a decolonial perspective to diaspora, and also discuss how diasporas are primary agents of decolonisation of the Global North. See here and a recent review of my book here.

My other research examines the relationship between translation, interdisciplinarity, trust, epistemology, knowledge, risk and data-sharing. In particular, I have investigated the theoretical and philosophical dimensions of border-making, risk 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 as well as considered how global health research can be decolonised. I am a member of the Steering Group of the Royal College of MidWives which put together the Decolonising Midwifery Education Toolkit, rolled out to shape midwifery education and practice across the UK and beyond.

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

Student education

  • 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.
  • Superstar Award from the Leicester University Student Union (2018)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leeds Partnership Award on the category ‘PhD Supervision’ (2021)
  • I was awarded HEA funding as part of the Teaching Enhancement Project (2011-2013)
  • Erasmus Teaching: Department of Sociology, University of Gothenburg (September 2011)
  • External Examiner: Department of Sociology, University of York (2016-2020)
  • External Examiner: Sociology, University of Manchester (from 2022 onwards)
  • Open Access Sociology Resource Creator: I am part of the connected sociologies curriculum project which is developing open access teaching materials and resources to students and teachers of sociology from sixth from to university level. See here for my contribution.

Phd Supervision and Training:

  • Current PhD Students:
    • Johanna Loock
    • Enze He
    • Aureja Stirbyte
    • Sarah Oakes
    • Rachel Grandey
  • Completed PhD Students:
    • Gemma Mitchell - ISMH Hastings Research Fellow, University of Stirling; Previously: Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of York
    • Taghreed El-Hajj - Postdoctoral Fellow,  Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine, Department of International Public Health
    • David Straw – Lecturer, University of Westminster; Previously: Teaching Fellow, University of Manchester
    • Asmali bin Hj Sulaiman- Lecturer, Universiti Brunei Darussalam

PhD Training:

  • 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.
  • I have run workshops for PhD students on interdisciplinary research at 3 UK universities: University of Leicester, University of Warwick, University of Hull, and one on impact at the University of Leeds.
  • ‘Leverhulme Extinction Studies DTP Supervisor’, University of Leeds. See here for more.

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>