Nawal Mustafa to defend her PhD thesis on 7 July 2023!

We are very honoured to announce that Nawal Mustafa will be defending her Ph.D. thesis, titled “A Class of Undesirables: ‘Race’, Regulation, and Interracialised Intimacies in Britain (1948-1968)” on the 7th of July at 11:45 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Nawal’s dissertation focuses on the period between 1948 and 1968 in the British metropole and examines the regulation of interracialised relationships during this time. The large-scale immigration from Britain’s former colonies to the metropole began after 1948, coinciding with the development of the British welfare state and job opportunities. The dissertation highlights the political and public discourse surrounding the settlement of colonial citizens, with employment, housing, and ‘miscegenation’ being recurring themes in political debates and media coverage. The author specifically explores the national discourse on interracialised relationships, particularly between White women and Black men, which attracted political and media attention. She argues that such relationships posed a threat to the racial order and the construction of a white British nation because they were seen as crossed racialised, gendered and class boundaries thereby challenging societal norms within Britain.

This research expands on legal scholarship by exploring the ways control and regulation occurred across diverse social authorities, including non-governmental institutions. It demonstrates that regulation of interracialized relationships went beyond strict legal codes or the state itself. This dissertation presents a comprehensive analysis of the locations where moral regulation occurred by examining the interconnectedness of various governmental and non-governmental departments and institutions. It highlights how institutions such as the police, the church, and immigration agencies played a role in regulating interracial relationships. By situating the analysis of UK policy and governance within the broader historical context of the British empire, the dissertation aligns with postcolonial and decolonial scholarship. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of colonial and metropolitan spaces and contributes to understanding how interracial relationships were racialized within the empire. Overall, the dissertation contributes to the field of ‘mixed race’ studies by providing a comprehensive analysis of the regulation of interracialized relationships, situating them within historical, social, and cultural processes, and exploring the nuanced ways in which they were governed.


  • Betty de Hart 
  • M.L.J.C. Schrover
  • Guno Jones
  • Elena Zambelli

Nawal’s defence will be held in public and might either be attended in person (VU Aula, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam) or online via this link. A registration is not necessary.