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Dr Iris Wigger BA in Sociology, MA Socioeconomics, MA Sociology, PhD in Sociology

Photo of Dr Iris Wigger

Lecturer in Sociology

Dr Iris Wigger studied Sociology at Hamburg and the University of Essex after completing a vocational training and State diploma as a social worker. She works as a lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, was Programme Director for Sociology and Sociology with Criminology at Loughborough between 2013 and 2015 and was appointed as external examiner in Sociology at the University of Northampton (2014-2016).

Before coming to Loughborough, Iris Wigger was a temporary lecturer in the School of Sociology at University College Dublin and a Research Associate at the History Department of the University of Hamburg.

Iris became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2011. Her research and teaching interests are in historical sociology and racism analysis, migration discourses, nationalism and imperialism, social theory, stereotyping and the History of Ideas. She has written on the sociology of racism, intersectionality and the History of Ideas, and is co-editor of Racism and Modernity (2011) together with Sabine Ritter. She has recently completed a research monograph titled The 'Black Horror on the Rhine' Intersections of Race, Nation, Gender and Class in 1920's Germany (forthcoming with Palgrave in spring 2017).

Iris has been awarded a Research Grant in the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant scheme in autumn 2016 for her new research project: ‘The end of tolerance?! Race, Sex and Violence in Germany’s media discourse on migration’

This research will provide a critical discourse analysis of the role and overlapping of racist and sexist stereotypical perceptions of migrant men in Germany's current print media discourse on migration and discuss their representation in wider historical and social context. It will examine the intersecting of narratives of race, sex and violence in this discourse and critically reflect on the representation of migrant men as a racial and sexual threat to German women. The researcher will historically contextualise these narratives – showing analytically how they can draw upon and reinforce an age-old tradition of German and wider Western race stereotypes linked to non-white men and their sexuality. The project design will create considerable theoretical innovation and advance research. While several studies have focused on representations of migrants in the media, only few have studied intersectionalities of discrimination in them, and even fewer have attempted to look at these in historical context.

Iris' key publications include Wigger, I. The 'Black Horror on the Rhine' Intersections of Race, Nation, Gender and Class in 1920's Germany (in press and forthcoming with Palgrave in early 2017); I. Wigger, S. Ritter (eds.): Racism and Modernity. Edited collection in honour of Wulf D. Hund, 2011; A 'Race' in the Making. Robert Knox and the Racialisation of the Irish in Nineteenth Century British Anthropology, in I. Wigger, S. Ritter (eds.): Racism and Modernity., 2011, pp 131-148; 'Black Shame' - the campaign against 'racial degeneration' and female degradation in interwar Europe, RACE & CLASS (2010); and Wigger, I, Klein, K, Bruder Mohr. Angelo Soliman und der Rassismus der Aufklaerung. [Brother Moor. Angelo Soliman and the Racism of the Enlightenment] in Wulf D. Hund (ed) Entfremdete Koerper. Rassismus als Leichenschaendung [Alienated Bodies. Racism as Body Snatching], 2009, 81-115.

Her recent and forthcoming research papers include:

-          Forthcoming: Gendered Racism and the racialisation of sexism in Germany’s media discourse on migration, accepted for presentation at the Symposium ‘Migration und Maennlichkeiten. Konstruktionen von Geschlecht und Differenz in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft’ [Migration and Masculinities. Constructions of gender and difference in the immigration society], University of Vienna, January 2017.

-      German Society Between ‘Open Doors' for Refugees and ‘the End of Tolerance'? Representations of Migration in Contemporary Germany and the Rising Tide of Populist Nationalism, Anti-Immigration and Islamophobia, presented at the Third ISA Forum of Sociology, July 2016, Vienna, Austria

-      The transnationality and internationality of anti-Black racism in the Aftermath of the Great War. Revisiting the Black Horror campaign. Annual Scolma Conference ‘There came darkness’ - Africa, Africans, and World War 1 - SCOLMA UK Libraries and Archives Group, British Library London, JUL-2015

-      Racism, black stereotypicality and alienated bodies in the Early Enlightenment: The Case of Angelo Soliman. Differences, Inequalities and the Sociological Imagination, European Sociological Association Conference, Prague, AUG-2015.

-      'The Irish, as a race, differ from the English': Cultural representation, racialisation and othering in the Victorian Era. International CULTHIST CONFERENCE Symbols, Representation, Expression in the History of Culture, DAKAM (Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center), OCT-2014, Istanbul.

Iris Wigger teaches on a range of first and second year core modules helping students to understand the basics of key sociological themes and theories early in their studies and contributes to the third year theory Module ‘Individual and Society’. Iris also offers two optional modules; one exploring representations of ‘race’ and racism in Modern Society; and a second option on the history of stereotyping in the West. Both reflect her particular interest in the ways in which cultural stereotypes tend to distort our complex social world by categorising people, and ascribing fixed, allegedly ‘natural’ qualities to them.

Dr Wigger is interested in supervising PhD students especially in the research areas of racism analysis, stereotyping, representations of migration, intersectionality, nationalism, imperialism, and the History of Ideas.

Her former PhD students include Dr Yuwei (Renee) Wang (supervised together with Sabina Mihelj), who completed her thesis on 'Representations of Han in the late Qing period and Early republican China' (2013) and Dr Michael Cotter (supervised with Mike Pickering), who completed his PhD research on 'New Ways to Express Old Hatred - The Re-emergence of Racism in Contemporary British Comedy' with great success in 2015.