Accessibility statement

Dr Katy Sian
Senior Lecturer



  • PhD (Leeds)
  • MA (Leeds)
  • BA (Leeds)

Katy Sian is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, she joined the department in 2015. Katy 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 at 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, post/decoloniality and anti-foundationalism. Her work contributes to broadening understandings of the political through an examination of the interconnections between racism, Islamophobia and colonialism.

Katy is active in the community around anti-racism issues and her research continues to involve her within conversations across third sector and interfaith organizations.

External memberships

  • Editorial Board Member of Race, Ethnicity and Education journal
  • Honorary member of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS), University of Leeds

Departmental roles

  • Deputy Admissions Tutor
  • Programme Lead: MA Criminology and Social Research
  • Equality and Diversity Officer



My research interests fall broadly within the following areas, in which I would also welcome PhD applications:

  • Critical race theory
  • Post/de-coloniality
  • Inter-ethnic relations
  • Islamophobia and the war on terror
  • Critical Sikh studies
  • Migration and Diaspora
  • Citizenship and Multiculturalism
  • Crime and racialization 


Selected publications


Navigating Institutional Racism in British Universties (2019) Palgrave Macmillan: Cham

Conversations in Postcolonial Thought (Nov 2014) Palgrave: London *Reviewed in Journal of Postcolonial Writing, by David Callahan, University of Aveiro, Portugal, June 2015

Unsettling Sikh and Muslim Conflict: Mistaken Identities, Forced Conversions and Postcolonial Formations (April 2013) Lexington Books: Lanham

Racism, Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights (June 2013) Routledge: London = with S. Sayyid and I. Law

Academic Journal Articles

'"Love Jihad", "Forced" Conversion Narratives, and Interfaith Marriage in the Sikh Diaspora' Religions, Vol. 12, No.12, 1-15, Dec 2021

'Rethinking Knowledge Production in Sociology: A Critical Analysis of the Conceptual, the Methodological and the Institutional' Social Policy and Society, Vol. 21, No. 1, 42-53, Oct 2021

‘Decolonizing Sikh Studies: A Feminist Manifesto’ Journal of World Philosophies, Vol. 5, No. 2, 43-60, Dec 2020 = with Dhamoon, R.

'Surveillance, Islamophobia, and Sikh Bodies in the War on Terror' Islamophobia Studies Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, 37-52, Fall 2017

'Born Radicals? Prevent, Positivism, and ‘Race-Thinking’' Palgrave Communications Journal, Vol. 3, No. 6, 1-8, Oct 2017

'Being Black in a White World: Understanding Racism in British universities' International Journal on Collective Identity Research, Vol. 176, No. 2, 1-26, Oct 2017

‘Spies, Surveillance and Stakeouts: Monitoring Muslim Moves in British State Schools’, Race, Ethnicity and Education, Vol. 18, No. 2, 183- 201, March 2015

‘Losing My Religion: Sikhs in the UK’ Sikh Formations, Vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 39-50, May 2013

‘Gurdwaras, Guns and Grudges in ‘post-racial’ America, Sikh Formations: Special Issue, The 3HO Sikh Community, Vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 293–297, December 2012

Understanding Inter-BrAsian Conflict: Sikhs and Muslims in the Diaspora (2011) Sikh Formations, Vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 111–131, August 2011

‘Forced’ Conversions in the British Sikh Diaspora’ (2011) South Asian Popular Culture, Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 115-130, July 2011

Special Issues

Editor: “Countering Racism in Counter-terrorism and Surveillance Discourse” Palgrave Communications Journal, Oct 2017, Vol. 3, No. 6

Book Chapters

'The Politics of Online Islamophobia and Misogyny' in Bhatia, M., Poynting, S., and Tufail, W. eds. (2018) Media, Crime and Racism, Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture, Springer: Cham

‘The Politics of Sikh Islamophobia’ in Behloul, S., Leuenberger, S., and Tunger Zanetti, A. eds. (2013) Debating Islam: Negotiating Religion, Europe, and the Self, Transcript Publishers: Bielefeld

‘Don’t Freak I’m a Sikh’ in Sayyid, S., and Vakil, A. eds. (2010) Thinking through Islamophobia, Hurst: London

Research Reports 

‘Framing racism and intolerance: public issues and denunciations: The Media and Muslims in the UK’ TOLERACE: CERS, University of Leeds (2011) = with S. Sayyid and I. Law

‘Debates on Difference and Integration in Education: Monitoring Extremism in the UK, Muslims in school’ TOLERACE: CERS, University of Leeds (2011) = with S. Sayyid and I. Law

‘The Geography of (anti-)Racism and Tolerance: Local Policy Responses, Discrimination and Employment: Muslims and employment in the UK’, TOLERACE: CERS, University of Leeds (2011) = with S. Sayyid and I. Law 

‘Analysis of Integration Policies and Public State-Endorsed Institutions at National/Regional Levels: Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’, TOLERACE: CERS, University of Leeds (2010) = with S. Sayyid and I. Law 

Commissioned Reports  

‘The Price of Inequality: Black Manifesto’, A Report by The 1990 Trust in conjunction with Equanomics and ROOTS Research Centre: London (2009) = with NGO contributors, policy think tanks and anti-racist organizations 

‘Institutional Racism and ‘Post-Racial’ Politics in the UK’, A report by Equanomics UK in conjunction with The 1990 Trust and ROOTS Research Centre: London (2009) = with Chouhan, K

Review Articles 

E. San Juan, Jr (2007) In the Wake of Terror: Class, Race, Nation, Ethnicity in the Postmodern World, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 388-399, February 2009

N. Ali, V. Kalra & S. Sayyid (eds) (2005) A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain, London: Hurst, Darkmatter, July 2007

Other Publications 



Contact details

Dr Katy Sian
Senior Lecturer
Department of Sociology LMB/223
University of York
YO10 5GD

Tel: +44(0)1904 32 4738