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Dr William Ackah

Lecturer in Community and Voluntary Sector Studies

BA Politics and Sociology (Liverpool)

PG Cert Teaching in Lifelong Learning Higher Education

MPhil Politics and Communication Studies (Liverpool)

PhD Government and Politics (Manchester)


  • William Ackah is Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Programme Director for Community Development and Development and Globalisation at Birkbeck University of London. He holds a PhD in Government from the University of Manchester and was 2016-17 Fulbright research scholar at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he conducted research on the impact of gentrification on African-American church congregations. He is current chair of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race an international organization that brings together academics, community activists and church leaders with the aim of tackling injustices faced by people of African descent around the world. He is the co-editor with Jualynne Dodson and R. Drew Smith of Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora (New York: Routledge, 2017). And his most recent work is ‘Ethics from the Underside’ in Brent Steele and Eric Heinze ed The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations (New York: Routledge 2018).


  • My research interests include:
    • Religion and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora
    • Pan-Africanism
    • Equality and Diversity Policy and Practice in the UK
    • Black Church Community Activism UK and USA
    • Anti-Racist and Decolonial Pedagogy


  • I teach the following topics:
    • The Politics of Race and Diaspora
    • Equality and Diversity: Politics and Practice in Britain
    • Community Action: Social Movement and Community Based Activism in Global Perspective

PhD/MPhil Supervison

  • I am currently supervising the following students:
    • Pauline Muir - ‘Sounds Mega’ Musical Discourse in Black Majority Churches in London (completed and graduated in 2018)
  • I am interested in supervising in the areas of:
    • Pan-Africanism
    • Black Community Politics UK
    • African and African Diaspora Religion/Spirituality


  • Books
    • W. Ackah, J. Dodson, and R.D Smith (eds) 2017 Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the Afrian Diaspora. London, Routledge.
    • R. Drew Smith, W.Ackah et al (eds) 2015 Contesting Post-Racialism: Conflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa. Jackson, University of Mississippi.
    • R. Drew Smith, W. Ackah and A. Reddie (eds) 2014 Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism Europe, Africa, and North America. New York, PalgraveMacmillan
    • Ackah, W (1999) Pan-Africanism: Exploring the Contradictions: Politics, Identity and Development in Africa and the African Diaspora. Aldershot, Ashgate.
    • Ackah, W and Christian, M (ed)(1997) Black Organisation and Identity in Liverpool: A Local, National and Global Perspective. Liverpool, Charles Wootton College.
  • Journal Articles
    • ‘Conceptualizing Racialized Black Political Activity within European Spaces: A Political Opportunities Approach.’  African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (2011), 4(2) 161-176.
    • ‘Back to Black or Diversity in the Diaspora: Re-Imagining Pan-African Christian Identities in the 21st Century.’  Black Theology: An International Journal (2010), 8(2).
    • ‘Do the Ties Still Bind: Reflections on Pan-African Consciousness and Identity in the Twentieth Century’.  Africa Quarterly (2001), 40(1).
  • Chapters in Books
    • W. Ackah (2018) ‘Ethics from the Underside of History’ in Steele B and Heinze E (eds) Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations. London, Routledge.
    • W.Ackah (2018) ‘Reflections on Religion and Race in Urban Spaces Across Africa and the African Diaspora’ in Smith, R.D, Boddie, S and Peters R. (eds)  Urban Ministry Reconsidered: Contexts and Approaches. Louisville, Westminster John Knox.
    • W. Ackah (2017) ‘Mapping the Religious Expressions and Spirituality of African Descendant Communities.’ In Ackah. W, Dodson, J and Smith R.D Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora. London, Routledge. pp1-14.
    • W. Ackah (2015) ‘Whither Transcendence? Framing the Contours of Transatlantic Black Unity in Contested Post-Racialised Times.’ In Smith, R.D., Ackah W. et al Contesting Post-Racialism Conflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa. Jackson, University of Mississippi. pp229-242.
    • W. Ackah and R.D Smith (2014) ‘Introduction’ in Churches Blackness and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, Africa and North America. New York, Palgrave Macmillan. pp1-8.
    • W. Ackah (2012) ‘The Experience of my Experience: Reflections on Working in “Deranged” White British Academic Space.’ in Christian, M(ed) Integrated but Unequal: Black Faculty in Predominantly White Space. New Jersey, Africa World Press. pp189-206.
    • ‘The Intersection of African Identities in the 21st Century: Old and New Diasporas and the African Continent’ in Airewele, P.S. and Edozie, R.K. (eds) Reframing Contemporary Africa: Politics, Economics and Culture in the Global Era (2009) Washington, CQ.
    • with Newman, J. ‘Ghanaian Seventh Day Adventists on and offline: problematising the virtual communities discourse’ in Karim, H.K. The Media of Diaspora (2003) New York, Routledge.
    • ‘Pan-Africanism: Reflections on an Era’ in Christian, M. (ed) Black Identity in the Twentieth Century (2002) London, Hansib.
    • ‘What is Black Studies?’ in Torkington N.P.K. (ed) The Social Construction of Knowledge: A Case for Black Studies (1996) Liverpool, Liverpool Hope.
    • ‘The Complexities of the Black Experience in Theory and Practice’ in Torkington, N.P.K. (ed) The Social Construction of Knowledge: A Case for Black Studies (1996) Liverpool, Liverpool, Hope.
  • Selected Conference Presentations
    • ‘Ethics from the Underside.’ American Political Studies Association San Francisco USA August 2017.
    • ‘Black Space Matters’ Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race Howard University Washington DC USA July 2017.
    • ‘The Black Church, Education and the African Diaspora’ American Educational Research Association San Antonio USA April 2017 Presidential Panel
    • ‘Race, Religion and Gentrification: A Case Study of Pittsburgh.’ American Association of Geographers. Boston USA April 2017.
    • ‘Towards a Black Studies in Britain: Critical Reflections on Academic Theory and Contextual Practices.’ Black Studies Association Birmingham City University, Birmingham October 2015
    • ‘Collisions of Race, Religion and Place: The Case of London’s First Black Faith Based School.’ American Association of Geographers Conference Chicago USA April 2015
    • ‘Theologies of Race and Religion: Seventh Day Adventist Education in the UK’ Abraham Kuyper Conference Princeton Theological Seminary, USA April 2015 Invited Presenter
    • ‘Faith Based Social Capital amongst Migrant Communities in the UK.’ Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, Faith Based Activism in Black Empowerment Times, South Africa, July 2014
    • ‘Global Justice and the Black Church’ Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Dallas USA February 2014 Keynote Panelist
    • ‘Comparing Faith Based Political Activism Amongst African and African Caribbean Church Communities.’ European Sociological Association Social Relations in Turbulent Times, Geneva Sept 2011
    • ‘In God We Trust/Distrust Looking for Transcendence in Black Theological Discourses.’  Fortieth Anniversary of the Church and Black Experience Garrett Theological Seminary, Chicago, Sept 2010. Keynote Respondent

Professional Membership

  • Political Studies Association
  • British Sociological Association
  • European Sociological Association
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

Honours and Awards

  • PhD, University of Manchester, Department of Government
    • 'Political Opportunities' and Black Community Organisations: The Case of Structural Fund in Liverpool and Manchester - Supervisor Professor Martin Burch, external examiner Professor John Solomos. Winner of the 2006 Political Studies Association Walter Bagehot Prize for best dissertation in Government and Public Administration
  • Programme Director of Cert HE in Community Leadership - winner of 2009 Times Higher Education Supplement Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community Award


  • Co-Convenor of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race
  • R. Drew Smith, W. Ackah et al (eds) forthcoming 2013 Color and Transcendence: Contested Post-Racialism and Conflicted Churches in the US and South Africa. University of Mississippi and UNISA Press
  • July 2013 co-convenor of International Conference on Black Church Activism and 21st Century Captivities Accra Ghana

Contact details


Tel: + 44 (0)20 3073 8354