Dr Iris Wigger

BA in Sociology, MA Socioeconomics, MA Sociology, PhD in Sociology

  • School EDI Co-Lead
  • Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Dr Iris Wigger works as a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy at Loughborough University, UK.

Iris Wigger is a historical sociologist with an expertise in historically grounded racism analysis, Critical Whiteness Studies, ‘intersectional stereotyping’ and the History of Ideas.

She has written on the sociology of racism, intersectionality and the History of Ideas, and is the author of The ‘Black Horror on the Rhine’ Intersections of Race, Nation, Gender and Class in 1920s Germany (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and co-editor of Racism and Modernity (2012) together with Sabine Ritter. Her research outputs include: Wigger, I (2024) Navigating 'race' and challenging racisms in the Academy: the career geographies of a German UK sociologistGlobalisation, Societies and Education, pp.1-14, ISSN: 1476-7724. DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2023.2300794, Wigger, I, Yendell, A, Herbert, D (2021) The end of ‘Welcome Culture’? How the Cologne assaults reframed Germany’s immigration discourseEuropean Journal of Communication, pp.026732312110121-026732312110121, ISSN: 0267-3231. DOI: 10.1177/02673231211012173, Wigger, I and Hadley, S (2020) Angelo Soliman: desecrated bodies and the spectre of Enlightenment racismRace & Class, 62(2), pp.80-107, ISSN: 0306-3968. DOI: 10.1177/0306396820942470 and Wigger, I (2019) Anti-Muslim racism and the racialisation of sexual violence: ‘intersectional stereotyping’ in mass media representations of male Muslim migrants in GermanyCulture and Religion, ISSN: 1475-5610. DOI: 10.1080/14755610.2019.1658609.

Iris Wigger is the lead of an international research network and project on 'Mixed relationships and racialised boundaries in Europe (1920s-present)’ funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (2023/24). She developed this research project with her international, diverse research team and with the support of the Runnymede Trust and wider research network. https://www.lboro.ac.uk/schools/social-sciences-humanities/research/dimensions-of-inequality/mixed-relationships/. She also received funding and support from the Independent Social Research Foundation in 2021/22 to form an international research team with leading researchers in the field and develop a broader European-focused research network on this subject. https://www.isrf.org/fellows-projects/mixed-relationships-racialised-boundaries-white-normativity/.

 Iris Wigger previously led a British Academy/Leverhulme funded Research Project titled ‘The end of tolerance?! Race, Sex and Violence in Germany’s media discourse on migration’ (2017-2019). Iris has achieved outstanding international impact from her research on racism in Europe’s past and present, and has worked as Senior academic advisor on the internationally successful TV Documentary film - ‘They called them the Children of Shame’ (2020). This Docdays Production historical documentary about the 1920s mixed-heritage Rhineland children and racism targeting them was broadcasted on German and French TV and online (in German, French, English, Spanish and Arabic) via You Tube. https://www.dw.com/en/they-called-them-the-children-of-shame/a-55680718. The English version of the documentary alone achieving over 1.8 M. views on You Tube since 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J26kgGn5TdQ.

Iris was awarded a Visiting Professorship for her outstanding academic work in racism analysis at University College Dublin in 2018. She won a personal ‘Research-informed teaching award’ and a ‘highly commended’ award in the University’s Teaching Best Practice Awards at Loughborough University with Katie Coveney (in 2022) and shares a team award with the LU Sociology team for innovative pedagogy and research-led teaching practices (2020). She was also nominated for the MAIA Women’s Network ‘Inspiring women’ award in 2023.

Iris has also been working as EDI C0-Director with Dr Liz Mavroudi, co-leading EDI work and driving work on Anti-racism in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at LU (2021-2024).

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.

Current Postgraduate Research Students

  • Mr Yi Xu: The Formation of National Identity beyond Nations: the Role of Supra-national and national identity in the genesis of Chinese society (co-supervisor N. Sotirakopoulos, York)

Recent Postgraduate Research Students

  • Dr Michael Cotter (2015): The Transformation of British Comic Racism in the Cultural Public Sphere (co-supervisor M. Pickering)
  • Dr Yuwei Wang (2013): Representations of the Han during the Late Qing and Early Republican Period (co-supervisor S. Mihelj)
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.