[skip to content]

Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies

Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies

The Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies (CEMS) is an interdisciplinary research centre within the School's Law and Social Sciences Faculty. Its ambit involves interdisciplinary and cross-regional approaches to the study of ethnic minority issues.

The Centre’s remit is to:
  • promote research and teaching in the field of ethnic minority studies, with particular reference to interdisciplinary legal studies;
  • give a higher profile to ethnic minority studies at SOAS and to strengthen the reputation of SOAS as a centre of excellence and unique expertise in this field;
  • serve as a forum for presenting the results of such research and teaching for staff and students within SOAS and for researchers and interested persons from other institutions and organisations;
  • facilitate research funding applications and link projects in this field.

CEMS is based in the SOAS School of Law and is a re-incarnation of the earlier Group for Ethnic Minority Studies (GEMS) which was established in 1988. GEMS actively pursued research and teaching on ethnic minority issues with special reference to legal studies and has developed a national profile for SOAS as one of the leading academic centres of excellence in immigration and refugee studies, as well as ethnic minority legal studies. While the GEMS series of publications on Ethnic Minority Studies in co-operation with Trentham Books has been discontinued, a series of studies arising from the work of CEMS members has appeared in various publishing outlets, mainly Cavendish, Ashgate and Routledge. The School now has, in several departments and programmes, an active research and teaching programme related to ethnic minority studies and it is evident that more research work will develop out of such initiatives.

In 2003 Prof. Werner Menski, the Centre Chair, was awarded an AHRB grant of £226,000 for a three-year research project on 'Jaina Law and Identity in India and the UK' which was duly completed and is leading to spin-off work at present. This project could serve as a model for future research on ethnic minority communities and their specific socio-cultural and legal concerns.