Dr Meghan Tinsley

Presidential Fellow (Academic)

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Dr Meghan Tinsley joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Manchester in September 2018, after receiving her PhD from Boston University in May 2018. She also holds an MSc in Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies from the London School of Economics (2010) and a BA in International Relations and French from Wellesley College (2007). During Easter Term 2019, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge. Her research concerns the consolidation of nations through racialised state violence. Her work has been published in a number of international sociological and interdisciplinary journals, including Memory StudiesCurrent SociologyPostcolonial Studies, and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism.

She is currently engaged in three research projects: the first, entitled Remembering the Forgotten: Muslims in the British and French First World War Centenary (under contract, Routledge), examines how a century-old conflict widely perceived as a European civil war remains a catalyst for constructing collective identity in two post-imperial, multicultural nations. She argues that the dominant narrative of Muslim colonial subjects at war writes the nation’s own idea of its contemporary self onto the past. In this narrative, empire is rewritten as multiculturalism, and colonial soldiers establish the conditions under which contemporary Muslims might belong to the nation. 
Her second project, Race and Police Violence: Causality in Global and Individual Perspective, examines the relationship between global processes of racialisation and state violence against black civilians. She will analyse how individual police killings of black civilians in the U.S. and UK have been represented in police reports, popular media, and social movements, and will compare these to the discourses on police killings in Brazil and South Africa. Her approach to data analysis will be both individual and global: rather than aggregating data on police killings, she will analyse a smaller sample of individual killings in detail. Yet through a critical analysis of the discourse surrounding them, she will also make sense of these individual killings as consequences of, and contributions to, global white supremacy.

A third strand of research concerns nostalgia. Her first paper from this project traces the history of nostalgia as theory and practice. It asks, further, whether nostalgia is inherently regressive, or whether it may, under some circumstances, work in tandem with utopian thinking to imagine a new society. The next stage of this project will compare representations of the past in centre-right political discourse and far-right white supremacist discourse.

Areas of expertise

  • HM Sociology - race and ethnicity, postcolonial theory, nationalism, collective memory

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2018 - Doctor of Philosophy, 'We Will Re-Member Them': Muslims in the British and French World War I Centenary, Boston University
  • 2010 - Master of Science, Proclaiming Independence: Language and National Identity in Sékou Touré's Guinea, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)
  • 2007 - Bachelor of Arts Wellesley College

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