Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
Dr Aisha Phoenix

Dr Aisha Phoenix

  • Academics
  • Research fellows

Lecturer in Social Justice

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow.

Research subject areas

  • Education
  • Diversity
  • Equality
  • Sociology

Contact details


Aisha’s primary research area is colourism, skin shade prejudice in which people of colour with light skin are privileged over those with darker skin shades. She was the principal investigator on a qualitative skin shade study that explored colourism among people of colour in the UK and she is a co-investigator on related quantitative projects.

She has also conducted research on: Muslim young people in schools and higher education institutions; perceptions of Islam; anti-Muslim racism and racism generally. Her PhD research focused on how Palestinian university students living in the West Bank narrated their lives under occupation to a foreign audience. In her work, she critically engages with issues of belonging and marginalisation and social justice. She is particularly interested in narrative approaches to understanding social issues.

Aisha has been named a UKRI Future Leader Fellow in June 2022. In her project she will conduct a large-scale study of young people's perceptions and experiences of colourism in the UK.

Previously, Aisha was the Post-Doctoral Researcher on the AHRC-funded ‘Re/presenting Islam on Campus Project’ at SOAS, University of London. The research, which was conducted at six UK higher education institutions, was published by Oxford University Press as the co-authored Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education monograph.

Aisha has an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London, Masters in Social Research (Goldsmiths) and Social Anthropology of Development (SOAS), a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism (City University) and a BA in Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern Studies (University of Oxford). Before returning to academia, Aisha worked as a media and advertising reporter at Bloomberg News in London.

Research interests

  • Colourism
  • Belonging
  • Anti-Muslim racism
  • Racialisation
  • Racism
  • Social justice

Latest publications

2022 Craddock et al. ‘Understanding colourism in the UK: development and assessment of the everyday colourism scale.’ Ethnic and Racial Studies. Online first.

2022 ‘Black Men’s Experiences of Colourism in the UK’. Co-authored with Nadia Craddock, Sociology, 56(5): 1015-1031.

2020 Scott-Baumann A et al. Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education. Co-authored monograph. Oxford University Press.

2018 ‘Negotiating British Muslim Belonging: A Qualitative Longitudinal Study’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42:10, 1632-1650.

2018 ‘From Text to Screen: Erasing Racialized Difference in the Handmaid’s Tale’, Communication, Culture & Critique, 11, 1: 206-208.

2014 ‘Colourism and the Politics of Beauty’, Feminist Review, 108: 97-105.

2012 ‘Racialisation, relationality and riots: intersections and interpellations’, Feminist Review, 100: 52-71. Co-authored with Ann Phoenix.

2011 ‘Somali Young Women and Hierarchies of Belonging’, YOUNG: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 19, 3: 313-331.

2008 ‘Broadcasters are out of tune with Britain’, Television Magazine, Vol. 45, 5, Royal Television Society.