Vron Ware is a writer and photographer. From 1977 to 1983 she worked at Searchlight (the anti-fascist and anti-racist magazine) which she edited from 1981-3. Her photographs from that period are regularly used in TV documentaries and dramas. From 1986 to 1992 she was a research officer at Women’s Design Service, which pioneered feminist perspectives on urban planning and environmental design. Her first academic job was in the department of cultural geography at the University of Greenwich. She lived in the US from 1999 to 2005 where she taught at the Program for Women’s and Gender Studies at Yale University. From 2014 to 2021 she was a professor of sociology and gender studies at Kingston University.
Her first book, Beyond the Pale: white women, racism and history (Verso 1992/2015), broke new ground by insisting on the importance of a gendered reading of the histories of colonialism, enslavement and abolition, and by demonstrating the relevance of this past for contemporary anti-racist feminist politics. Since then, she has continued to write on gender, race, the social construction of whiteness, national identity, militarism and the cultural heritage of war. Other books published include Out of Whiteness: color, politics & culture (with Les Back, Chicago 2002) and Who Cares about Britishness? (Arcadia 2007). In 2012 she published Military Migrants: fighting for YOUR country (Palgrave) which was the first book-length study of institutional racism in the modern British Army.
Her most recent book, Return of a Native: Learning from the Land (Repeater Books, 2022) is a multi-faceted study of the English countryside, drawing on her experience and memories of growing up in a rural place. Anchored from a lonely crossroads in north west Hampshire, the book weaves historical, sociological and geographical details into a dynamic, artful account of how our understanding of rurality has changed and what ‘the countryside’ is likely to become in the foreseeable future. Far from being a local history, the book offers insights into patterns of development and transformation that locate this particular place on maps of many different scales of understanding, whether parochial or planetary. From archaeology to AI, the subject matter is driven by a philosophical response to the climate emergency: one that reveals ‘everything’ to be ‘interconnected’. This research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust through two Research Fellowships, in 1998 and 2018.
A second book project, entitled The Military in our Midst, is the culmination of more than ten years of observing the impact of an army base on the surrounding landscape and community in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust through a Research Grant in 2018-2020, this is an ethnographic study carried out by a small team of experienced researchers. The aim is to compile a portrait of a garrison town, showing how the history of Britain’s military exploits abroad – not least Iraq and Afghanistan – has had a profound impact on this particular place. The book will be published in 2022/3.