The Race and the Populist Politics of Deindustrialization Initiative examines the ways that race, immigration, and sectarianism get caught up in class resentments heightened by deindustrialization. It also foregrounds voices, experiences, and perspectives of communities of colour. Immigrant and racialized workers were an integral part of the process of industrialization, and thus also in the constitution of working-class communities. As a result, they bore the full effects of deindustrialization in combination with historical and ongoing forms of racial inequity. In addition, the sectarian divide is foundational to any examination of deindustrializing Belfast, as “the Troubles” coincided with plant closures and layoffs. This initiative addresses the following research questions: To what extent does deindustrialization fracture local and class solidarities, widening racial divisions? How have racial anxieties and class resentments combined to feed right-wing populism? Where has this trend not developed, and why?

Thematic Initiatives