Chris Allen is a social scientist with expertise in Islamophobia, the socio-political problematisation of Muslims & Islam in contemporary society, manifestations of hate, bigotry & discrimination, the radical and far-right, the role of religion in the public & political spaces as also notions of identity relating to Britishness. He also maintains an interest in popular culture more widely in particular the role and function of the media, more specifically social media, film and television. Chris is currently based at the University of Birmingham where he is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology & Criminology.
Chris has been undertaking research for the past two decades, much of which has been dedicated to exploring the phenomenon of Islamophobia. Having explored the discourse and theory of Islamophobia as part of his Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded doctoral studies that he completed in 2006, he has since been at the forefront of research into this timely and politically salient phenomenon. This has included research that has sought to understand such issues as the experience of Muslim women victims of hate crime to the anti-Islam ideologies of the far-right, the impact of counter-terror legislation through to governmental engagement of Muslim communities. He has published widely both in the UK and elsewhere including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Sweden and the United States among others. Notable achievements in terms of his publications include him being the first to publish a sole-authored monograph that sought to consider Islamophobia – simply titled Islamophobia (here) – while also being the first to publish peer-reviewed journal articles on the English Defence League (here), Britain First (here) and National Action (here).
As well as publishing in peer-reviewed journal articles, he also writes for a range of non-academic and non-specialist sources including the Huffington Post (see here), the Conversation UK (see here) and Perspektif (see here) among others. As a commitment to public engagement, he regularly gives talks about his areas of expertise in various non-academic settings and regularly appears in the broadcast and print media also.
Over the past decade, he has accepted various independent advisory roles across the British political spectrum. Until recently, he was an independent adviser to the British Government on Anti-Muslim Hate and Islamophobia. During that same period, he also contributed written and oral evidence to a range of different government bodies and commissions including the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, All Party Parliamentary Group on Universities, Home Affairs Select Committee on Hate Crimes, and the Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life among others. He was also an expert witness for the defence in the National College of Teaching and Leadership’s professional misconduct case against senior leaders of Park View Educational Trust.
Chris is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Royal Society of Arts and the US Government’s International Visiting Leadership Program. He is also an alumnus of the John Adams Society.
Prior to undertaking his PhD, Chris worked in variety of different roles including working in finance in the City of London and stockbroking in Birmingham for companies such as Charles Schwab, AMP, Irish Life and Halifax among others. More recently, he was Director of Policy & Research at BRAP, an equalities and human rights organisation based in the West Midlands region of the UK. In the past two decades he has also held positions at the University of Wolverhampton, the Open University, Markfield Institute of Higher Education, FAIR (Forum Against Islamophobia & Racism), and Islamic Relief.
Chris originates from Bermondsey in London, is proud of his working class roots (see here), enjoys film and cinema (with a particular penchant for horror and zombie genres), has an eclectic taste in music, and is a lifelong supporter of Millwall Football Club.
In commitment to being a public academic, the following short manifesto was begun at the start of 2018 as a means of capturing the approach preferred by Chris in his professional endeavours. It is meant to capture an ethos as opposed to being a dogma that has to be rigidly adhered to.
“My role as a public academic, demands that I:
- produce/publish evidence-based outputs that speak across audiences, to academics and also non-
- value & commit to research-led teaching & learning
- meaningfully contribute to public & political debates where my expertise is relevant
- seek collaboration & collegiality over competition
- prioritise shared and common goals over personal and strategic processes (for example, promotion and the REF respectively)
- support others to advocate & act where they are better placed to do so
- share knowledge freely through an ongoing commitment to open access in its broadest understanding
- remain independent, staying true to the principles honesty, openness, fairness and equality
- agitate & annoy as and when necessary.”