Like many publications, this one has had a long gestation. The idea for it has emerged, over time, from a number of closely related ventures with which we have been centrally involved.
The first of these was a major conference, Nationalism, Identity and Minority Rights, organised by the three of us, at the University of Bristol in September 1999. The conference had two principal aims. The first was to achieve a critical nexus between the disciplines of sociology and politics with respect to debates on ethnicity, nationalism, and identity politics. The second key aim of the conference was to achieve an international perspective on these issues, drawing from as wide a variety of social and political contexts as possible. In both respects, the conference was regarded as a major success. Key commentators from within sociology and politics, as well as other related disciplines such as anthropology, cultural studies, and education, contributed to the conference. The internationalism of the conference was represented both by the range of contexts discussed, and by the participants themselves, who came from thirty-seven countries.
At the conference, the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, situated within the Sociology Department at the University of Bristol, and with Tariq Modood as its Director, was also launched. The Centre has subsequently become a key UK contributor to funded research in these areas.
Also closely associated with the centre has been the establishment in 2001 of the international journal, Ethnicities, edited by Stephen May and Tariq Modood.