Professor Ian Law

Professor Ian Law


I graduated from the University of Liverpool in Sociology and Geography and went on to obtain my PhD, on White Racism and Back Settlement in Liverpool, in 1985, during which he published A History of Race and Racism in Liverpool, 1660-1950 (MCRC 1981, with Henfrey) and The Local Politics of Race (Macmillan 1984, with Ben-Tovim, Gabriel and Stredder).

From 1986 to 1991 I worked for Leeds City Council on race equality and antiracism policy innovation, during which time I published Local Government and Thatcherism (Macmillan 1990, with Butcher et al).

In 1991 I moved to Leeds University in Social Policy and became a Professor of Racism and Ethnicity Studies in 2010, and an Emeritus Professor in 2019. Some key books published include Racism, Ethnicity and Social Policy (Harvester 1996),  Race in the News (Palgrave 2002), Racism and Ethnicity, global debates (Pearson 2010), Red Racisms (Palgrave 2012), Mediterranean Racisms (Palgrave 2014), Caribbean Racisms (Palgrave 2015 with Tate), Post-Soviet Racisms (Palgrave 2017 with Zakharov), Rethinking Roma (Palgrave 2018 with Kovats) and Challenging Islamophobia in Europe (Palgrave 2019 ed. with Easat-Daas, Merali and Sayyid).

I am Editor of the Mapping Global Racisms Series at Palgrave, a Honorary Professor at Nelson Mandela University, SA. and I recently completed a two year research post at Sodertorn University, Sweden.

Research interests

My primary research focus is global racism studies, building on the long tradition of critical race theory from W.E.B. Du Bois onwards. This involves the development of a new theory of the racialisation of the planet, polyracism, and associated geo-regional mapping of under-researched contexts.

I also lead the Counter-Islamophobia Kit: Countering Islamophobia through the Development of Best Practice in the Use of Counter-Narratives in EU Member States project funded by the EU Directorate of Justice and co-lead the Principles and Practice in Approaches to Deracialisation, countering the dynamics of contemporary racialisation in Brazil, South Africa, Sweden and the UK project funded by the Swedish Research Council with Nikolay Zakharov (Södertörn University).

Selected previous projects 

CIK, The Counter Islamophobia Toolkit Project (European Commission)


Mapping Global Racisms

Racist hostility and racist violence in Leeds

Chinese victims of racial harassment and violence

The racism reduction agenda

<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>


  • BA Hons, PhD University of Liverpool

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies