Dr Francis Ray White

Dr Francis Ray White

Francis Ray White is a Reader in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences. Their research, writing and teaching is in the area of gender studies, particularly around questions of queer, trans and fat embodiment. From January 2024 Francis will be the course leader for BA Sociology and BA Sociology and Criminology combined.

Francis has a PhD in Sociology and an MA in Gender, Culture and Modernity from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Their doctoral thesis, 'British Indie Music in the 1990s: Public Spheres, Media and Exclusion', concerned the gendered construction of artists in the music press during the Britpop era. Francis previously taught at Goldsmiths and the LSE Gender Institute, and has been at Westminster since 2007. 

Francis is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Fat Liberation and Scholarship. They are also a member of the Westminster QPlus Staff Network and module leader for the Westminster Elective module in LGBTQ Studies.

Francis' main research interest is in fat studies, and specifically in the intersections between fat, gender and queer theory. Their published work has critiqued constructions of fatness as anti-social (as linked with degeneration, devolution, sterility and death) in the discourses of the 'obesity epidemic', and explored fat/trans embodiment. Their current research investigates how bodyweight shapes people's experiences of (trans)gender.

Together with colleagues at Westminster and City University, Francis is part of the Non-Binary in Higher Education: Lived Experiences, Imagined Futures project which is  exploring non-binary students' and staff participation in higher education.

Francis was also a co-investigator on an ESRC funded project Trans Pregnancy: An International Exploration of Transmasculine Practices of Reproduction. Working with researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds and in Italy, USA and Australia the three-year project was the first study to address the sociological and health-care implications of the reproductive experiences of trans/masculine and non-binary people who become pregnant and/or give birth.

PhD Supervision

Jessica Clark: The Discursive Figure of the Child (2018-2021) PhD by Publication.

John Walter: Alien Sex Club (2013-16) Joint supervision with the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. 

Francis would be pleased to hear from students considering MPhil or PhD research in the following areas: fat studies; gendered/queer/trans/non-binary embodiment.

Selected Talks/Papers

'From the "Blank Canvas" to "Going Full Divine": Navigating Non-Binary Fat'. Fat Across Time Conference, University of Sheffield, 10 July 2023.

'Thinking with Fat/Trans Bodies: Fluidity and Liminality'. Fat Studies New Zealand Conference, online, 5-7 July 2022.

'The Language of Trans Pregnancy'. Language, Gender and Health Inequalities Conference, British Association of Applied Linguistics, Nottingham Trent University, 29 April 2022.

'Campfires and Classrooms: How to (Un)Do Gender in Space'. Living Gender in Diverse Times Conference, University of Sheffield, 21 May 2021.

'Media Representations of Trans Pregnancy'. Trans Pregnancy: Fertility, Reproduction and Bodily Autonomy - An International Conference, Leeds, 14-16 January 2020.

'Non-Binary in Higher Education: Lived Experiences, Imagining Futures'. Gender and Education Association International Conference, University of Portsmouth, 24-27 June 2019.

‘Not Another Talk About Toilets’. TransForming Spaces, Gendered Intelligence Conference, London, 9 November 2018.

'Transgender Parenthood, Reproductive Futures'. Undisciplining: Conversations from the Edges - Sociological Review Conference, Gateshead, 20 June 2018.

'Embodying the Fat/Trans Intersection'. Thickening Fat Symposium, Ryerson University, Toronto, 22 February 2018 and Thinking Gender Justice, UCD, Dublin, 24 May 2018.

'"As it is at the disco, so it shall be in life": Making Space at Unskinny Bop'. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 1 September 2017.

'Backrolls vs Gender Roles: Fat Activism for Trans People'. Brighton Trans and Non-Binary Conference, University of Brighton, 20 July 2017.

'Beautiful Futures? Fat Bodies and Queer Failures'. Politics of Beauty: Discourses and Intersections in the Global Sphere, University of Cambridge, 2-3 September 2016.

'Teaching Gender: Being Non-Binary'. Moving Beyond the Binaries of Sex and Gender: Non-Binary Identities, Bodies, and Discourses, University of Leeds, 22 March 2016.

'Fat / Trans: Queering the Activist Body'. PCA/ACA National Conference, Chicago, USA, 16-19 April 2014.

'No Fat Future? The Uses of Anti-Social Queer Theory for Fat Activism'. Queer Again? Power Politics and Ethics Conference, Humboldt University, Berlin, 23-5 September 2010.

  • Centre for Social Justice Research

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

fat studies, embodiment, queer, transgender, non-binary gender

Supervision interests

fat studies, embodiment, queer, transgender, non-binary gender