Dr Ben Pitcher
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
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Ben Pitcher writes and teaches about race, politics and popular culture.
His most recent book is Consuming Race (2014), which offers some new ways of thinking about the centrality of race to our lives. The Politics of Multiculturalism (2009) explores the way antiracism has shaped governmental practices in twenty-first century Britain.
His work has been featured in national and international news media, and Ben has appeared on BBC Radio 4, Germany's Deutschlandfunk, Australia’s ABC Radio National and Voice of Islam radio. He has written for numerous blogs and websites, including The Guardian’s Comment is Free.
His website includes links to his books, articles and other writing, much of which can be downloaded for free.
He studied Literature at Goldsmiths (BA, first class) and Cultural Studies at Lancaster University (MA, distinction) and the University of East London (PhD). He was previously a Lecturer in Political Sociology at Oxford Brookes University.
Ben is currently External Examiner for the MA in Race, Media and Social Justice at Goldsmiths.
Ben is Co-Course Leader (with Naomi Rudoe) for the Undergraduate Sociology BA degree.
Ben’s teaching interests are in race, cultural studies and social theory. He leads the option modules 'Understanding Race' and 'Consuming Race', as well as the core modules 'Introducing Media and Cultural Studies' and 'Contemporary Social Theory'.
Ben is currently supervising PhD projects on Race and the Night Time Economy (Nikhaela Wicks), Race, Neoliberalism and Global City (Rohit Lekhi), and the Legitimization of Xenophobic Discourses in French Culture (Emmanuel Jouai). He would be pleased to hear from students considering PhD research on race, particularly in the areas of politics and popular culture.
Ben produces video and audio materials for his modules. His teaching regularly draws on film, TV and new media, and involves field trips to museums and galleries across London.
He has received Students’ Union awards for outstanding and innovative teaching, academic support, tutoring and supervision. In recognition of his contribution to teaching and learning, he was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship for 2014-17.
He has a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (higher distinction) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
As a member of the Sociology teaching team, Ben received a Westminster Teaching Excellence Team Award (2017).
Ben's current research project explores activations of the prehistoric past in the popular imagination.
From trends in leisure, diet and fitness to philosophies of education and childcare, from ideas about sustainable living and post-growth economics to the findings of genetic science, prehistory has become a significant reference point in contemporary culture.
The imaginative resources of prehistory are providing diverse clues about how to live a better, healthier or happier life.
This project explores why prehistory has come to resonate in our current historical moment. It considers the particular ways in which the distant past is accessed and activated, and speculates what these prehistoric engagements can tell us about the human present and its futures.
Ben’s latest book, Consuming Race (Routledge, 2014), explores how the meanings of race are made and remade in acts of creative consumption. Ranging across the terrain of popular culture, and finding race in some unusual and unexpected places, it gives us some fresh and innovative ways of thinking about the centrality of race to our lives.
He has recently written articles and chapters on the race, debt and the welfare state, the affects of landscape belonging (shortlisted for the 2017 Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence), the relationship between race and neoliberal capitalism, Barack Obama’s ‘post-black’ politics, the hegemonic position of certain ‘radical’ political projects, and on Top Gear and postfeminist media culture. An article on HBO drama The Wire and cultural studies was co-written with Dr Rebecca Bramall.
His first book, The Politics of Multiculturalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), is an account of the racial politics of the British State under New Labour. It sets out a framework for thinking about race in the twenty-first century, where racism is simultaneously rejected and reproduced. The Politics of Multiculturalism was shortlisted for the 2010 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.