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CLER Conversation: Raciolinguistic profiling and securitisation: Studying and travelling while Muslim

research talks
Tuesday 23 May 2023, 2pm - 4pm
Hillary Place Coach House Seminar Room

Please click here to register


This presentation analyses four cases, two in education and two in transport, that demonstrate everyday forms of profiling. This profiling is based on an overdetermination of personhood in relation to how Muslims are perceived in relation to security concerns. This also reflects how surveillance has permeated various aspects of ordinary life, even in seemingly unthreatening situations.

I draw on three key concepts: (1) Rosa and Flores’ (2017) raciolinguistic perspectives on how language and racialisation are co-naturalised in relation to an ideological ‘white listening subject’ (2) securitisation in relating these regimes of perception to security discourses and (3) McNamara’s ‘regimes of shibboleth consciousness’ which on Derrida’s ‘shibboleth’ (2005) which links to how minoritized individuals are identified and judged with potentially harmful consequences.

All of these factors converge to demonstrate how differentiated forms of justice are used on the basis of raciolinguistic profiling and specific words and languages in relation to those perceived as Muslim.  I will also relate my work to wider concerns around language and securitisation knowledge production which often centres around the sensibilities of privileged academics rather than the communities and knowledge from securitised communities.


Dr Kamran Khan is the director of the MOSAIC research group on multilingualism and an associate professor of language, social justice, and education at the University of Birmingham. He was previously a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Copenhagen leading a Horizon 2020-funded CVELANG project on the role of counter-extremism in language learning in the Danish ‘ghetto’ and ESOL context in the UK. He has previously worked on ESRC and European Commission-funded projects and co-led a British Academy project on Sociolinguistics and Security. He gained a joint-PhD at the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne with a College of Social Sciences scholarship and won the Edward Cadbury prize for best thesis in education. He is the author of ‘Becoming a Citizen: Linguistic trials and negotiations’ (Bloomsbury, 2019). His research interests include citizenship, security in relation to race, and language.


Professor Julia Snell, Associate Professor of English Language, School of English

Dr Rasha Soliman, Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Please email Louise Williams-Lewis with any dietary or access requirements.

Please note, 48 hours' notice is required for cancellations in order to avoid catering cancellation charges.


Derrida, J., 2005. Sovereignties in question: The poetics of Paul Celan (No. 44). Fordham Univ Press.
McNamara, T., 2020. The anti-shibboleth: The traumatic character of the shibboleth as silence. Applied Linguistics41(3), pp.334-351.
Rosa, J. and Flores, N., 2017. Unsettling race and language: Toward a raciolinguistic perspective. Language in Society46(5), pp.621-647.