Menu Close
Lecturer in Sociology, University of York

Katy Sian is Lecturer in Sociology. She completed her PhD in 2009 at the University of Leeds in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. From 2010-2012 she worked on the TOLERACE project (FP7) as a post-doctoral researcher in the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS) University of Leeds, exploring the semantics of tolerance and anti-racism across Europe.

Katy moved to the University of Manchester in 2012 where she held a lecturing position in Sociology before taking up a Hallsworth Research Fellowship in 2013, exploring Sikh and Muslim conflict in the global Sikh diaspora. She has held visiting research posts at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI); the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society (CSRS) at the University of Victoria, Canada; and at the Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES) University of Coimbra, Portugal.

The main thrust of her scholarship is focused on critical race theory and the performance of postcolonial subjectivity among ethnically marked communities stranded in metropolitan archipelagos. The initial iteration of her research can be seen in her first monograph, Unsettling Sikh and Muslim Conflict: Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions, and Postcolonial Formations. This book has generated much debate with its pioneering mapping of Sikh-Muslim antagonism as it circulates throughout Britain. Katy is expanding this research by investigating Sikh-Muslim conflict in the USA and Canada where little work exists. Through its unique comparative lens her project explores how inter-ethnic relations are shaped by different diasporic histories and experiences. This research is innovative in that it examines the under-researched issue of inter-minority relations. Her work contributes to broadening understandings of conflict and its interconnections with racism, colonialism, identity, and the politics of inclusion and exclusion.

Katy’s research continues to take a global dimension; in particular she is interested in the expansion and reconfiguration of racism through Islamophobia and post-racial logics against the backdrop of the ‘war on terror’ which can be seen in her co-authored book, Racism, Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights. Her third book, Conversations in Postcolonial Thought, is an intellectual ethnography that endeavours to illustrate how postcolonial thinkers have interrupted structures of exploitation and exclusion by challenging hegemonic western epistemologies in the Global North. Through a decolonial lens she is interested in challenging the reproduction of colonial knowledge formations.

Katy’s research has aroused interest beyond the academic world and she has made several appearances in the media to discuss questions arising from her work. She is active in the community around anti-racism issues and her research continues to involve her within conversations across third sector and interfaith organizations. In 2014 Katy was one of the five winners of the ‘recognising the real heroes in the struggle against Islamophobia awards’ presented by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, London.


  • –present
    Lecturer in Sociology, University of York