Photo of Dr Arshad Isakjee

Dr Arshad Isakjee BA (hons), MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography Geography and Planning


Informal Migration into Europe (Calais, The English Channel, the Balkans)

I research the politics of informal and irregular migration into Europe. This strand of research began in 2015, as the Calais migrant camp in Northern France grew in size and was eventually demolished the following year.
Working with Dr Thom Davies (University of Nottingham) and Dr Surindar Dhesi (University of Birmingham), our inter-disciplinary project incorporated environmental health analysis to show the hidden ways through which harm was being perpetrated on refugees, to encourage them to leave. Through this research we have explored how EU, British and French policies contribute to violence, both active and inactive, that migrants suffer. In articles in Critical Public Health, Antipode and Geoforum among other publications, my colleagues and I have described how the politics of deliberate inaction - a withdrawal of the state - is strategically deployed in ways which lead directly to damage to refugee health. We have also published more generally around the nature of the informal migrant camp in Europe through the lens of postcolonialism, emphasising how processes of racialisation are inextricable from the analysis of border governance of migrants and refugees.

In 2018 we began working with No Name Kitchen to explore both violence and also resistance to border violence in the Balkans, alone the European Union borderzone. Funded by the Antipode Activist-Scholar Grant, we are examining the logics and mechanisms through which liberal institutions such as the EU perpetuate border injustice to secure borders, principally through the use of so-called 'pushbacks'. We have published an article in Antipode on this topic and are now writing about the ways in which activist groups are constructing archives, documenting border violence as a form of resistance against violent pushbacks.

Governance of British Muslims

I research the securitisation and securitised identities of Muslims in the UK. My doctoral research completed at the University of Birmingham looked at the early iteration of the Prevent programme, and contextualised it within broader policy directed towards governing Muslim minorities in Birmingham and the UK. I am interested in Islamophobia and the often exclusionary politics of belonging that is played out through institutional and governmental discourse and policy, which routinely serves to racialise Muslim minorities as 'risky' citizens. From this work I have written papers for journals including Environment and Planning A, Ethnic and Racial Studies and Ethnicities. I have given evidence to government on Islamophobia and Muslim identity through work with the All Party Parliamentary group on Islamophobia, and have made a number of national media appearances speaking on these issues. I have also collaborated with the food geographer Bridin Caroll to write about Halal food consumption in the UK for Social and Cultural Geography, combining our relevant interests on Muslim identities and food practices.

Increasingly through both research strands presented here, I am considering the ways in which Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment feed hostility towards refugees and migrants.

Research Group Membership

Research Grants

Fragile resistance on the EU border: the peaceful geographies of the refugee crisis


December 2018 - December 2025