I hadn't seen Reem before. I had only heard of her when Shaimaa was telling me about strange names some of the children are given and how the shelter gives them nick names while they are there. Five-year-old Reem’s name on the birth certificate is Om Hammed. Reem watched me with eyes that shone with intelligence. Having lived on the street all of her five years, she was trained to eye up strangers and judge how dangerous or harmless they were just a few moments after meeting them; this is a talent most of the street kids you will meet have.
Proud to be part of the team organising this…
BISR Postgraduate Conference: Inside/Outside/In-Between: Perspectives on Space, Power and Subjectivities – CALL FOR PAPERS
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th May 2014 Birkbeck, University of London
Nelly Ali (Department of Geography, Environment and Development)
Mayur Suresh (School of Law)
Ceren Yalcin (Department of Psychosocial Studies)
Confirmed Keynotes: Veena Das and Gail Lewis
Where are you? What is it like there? These mundane questions invite reflection on how we provide an account of the spaces we inhabit, how we engage with the world and make it our own, or escape it to forge our lives elsewhere. The central theme of this conference is the idea of “space”. To exist inside a space conjures images of confinement, or conveys the notion of being at home. Being on the “outside” invokes ideas of exile or freedom. “In-between” conjures ideas about the ability to traverse different spaces, or to live in perpetual no-where-ness. We are interested in not only how spaces may come to define and confine us, but also how we come to inhabit these spaces, and the range of movement that these spaces enable.
This conference provides the opportunity for PhD students from a range of disciplines to present and discuss their on-going work. We invite panels and papers from postgraduate students on issues raised by the conference title: Inside/Outside/In-between: Perspectives on Space, Power and Subjectivities.
Issues and questions that proposals might address include:
• Prisons may enclose us, jails may confine us. National boundaries may attempt to box us into discrete identities, forcing us to choose between belonging and alienation. Some spaces can be imagined as disciplinary projects. How might we imagine life in these situations? And what can such visions of life help us reimagine our relationship with sovereign power.
• Other spaces may provide us with comfort, and the warmth they engender may protect us from the harshness outside. Intimate spaces sometimes allow us to articulate more delicate sensibilities of love and affection. How might we politically imagine intimate spaces?
• Moving out of one space and into another involves crossing a frontier. At the border, we are often asked, why are you here? Where are you going? We produce our passports, saying as little as possible. Since the border is often policed, with armies facing off on each side, this space between spaces is often a point of conflict, rupture, revolutions and restorations. Yet crossing a border may signal a new life, or an escape from an old one.
• We also want to think of the body as a space in which people act. People tattoo and pierce themselves or may refashion their bodies in particular ways through gestures or medical procedures. What do such bodily practices and performances say about how we conceive of ourselves? People transition from one sex to another and allowing us to imagine the body itself as a border that can be crossed.
• From the Occupy movement to the Arab spring, and now to Brazil and Turkey, people have taken to the streets, and claimed cities for their own. What are these new forms of protest? What do they tell us about how the state imagines spaces?
• The internet has often been imagined as a space of freedom and has provided a new space of political activism. With Wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s revelations, our imagination of this online space has been irrevocably altered. What is the role of digital space in political activism? What kind of place is the internet?
Please note the above is only a guide and not exhaustive – all papers that focus on space, power and subjectivities will be considered.
Papers, Panel and Poster Sessions
The BISR Postgraduate Conference is an opportunity for PhD students from any university in the UK or beyond to either present an individual paper or organise a panel or poster session. If you are interested in organising a panel or poster session, you may put out a call for papers and email the organisers with the final selection or abstracts. Each abstract should be about 300 words. We ask that you try to ensure that there be at least 3 and at most 4 presenters for the panel that you put together.
We are running two poster sessions during the conference and you are welcome to present your research at this event to generate discussion or publicise your findings. If you would like to contribute to this session, please send us a 100-word summary of your poster.
Deadline for submission of abstracts is 21st December 2013. Notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of January 2014. Please submit proposed titles and abstracts of not more than 300 words to BISRpgConference@gmail.com by 21st December 2013.
For more information and updates on the conference please visit bisrpgconference.wordpress.com
It is too often forgotten that it is not always the global South that benefits, learns from or receives from the global North. This complex binary is translated globally, nationally and locally. We are not surprised to see British NGOs raise funds for a relief effort after a natural disaster abroad, or to provide services to migrants in the UK; however, it is rare to come across a charity founded and supported by British Muslims serving 80% of its beneficiaries from outside the Muslim community.
I came across this picture on Facebook today. It’s one of those that are hard to ignore isn’t it. For a long time, every time I close my eyelids, I’m going to see that child in rags sleeping on the boot of a Mercedes car parallel to a stray dog sleeping on top of a Kia. But that’s for a few days and after that, like you, reader, the image will disappear as I get caught up in my own life, the worlds ups and downs and perhaps in it’s politics and natural disasters. That’s only normal.
But there is something else that passes my mind when I look at this picture for a while. The story. I had never really thought of this before, but having stumbled on this photograph I realised how incredibly lucky the children I work with are. I cannot even believe I just typed that! The irony! But they are lucky, they are luckier than that child because they have, more than finding refuge, have found a listening ear to their story and a bridge for their voice.
It reminded me of something Stephen King had once written in “Different Seasons” though of course he was writing about something different: “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
(Extremely grateful to the lovely Mohamed Ateya for translating this post – thank you!)
و ارتفع ذراعها الصغير فى الهواء و هتفت بشجاعة و حماس : “لقد فعلها والدى!!” سلمى _طفلة صغيرة تبلغ من العمر أربع سنوات_ قالتها و لم تكن تعلم حجم الصدمة و الالم التى خلفتها كلماتها بالمتدربين ربما لسنوات قادمة . فجاءت ردة الفعل المتحمسة لاحد المدربين قائلا “لا يحق لاحدهم ان يمس المناطق الخاصة فى جسدى” بينما قاموا بشجاعة (بالطبع شجاعة , فقد كنا بمصر فى النهاية ) بالاشارة الى أثدائهم و مؤخراتهم ليوضحوا للصغار أمامهم عن مقصدهم . و بعد جلسات خاصة لاستشارى الاطفال مع الطفلة تبين انه كان يتم التحرش بالطفلة من قبل والدها لفترة من الزمن . و بينما كانت الفتاة الشجاعة مع فريق العمل الشجاع الذين كانوا يؤدون دور رائد مع الاطفال قرروا ان يشركوا والدة الطفلة بالامر . و لكن انكرت الوالدة قول الطفلة و هددتها ان تصمت و قالت لها ان الاطفال الذين يكذبون تكون نهايتهم نار الجحيم , ولا تزال سلمى تعانى حتى الان . (more…)
(A huge thank you to the incredible Zaha Kheir (email@example.com) for translating this post)
Su pequeño brazo se alzó con valentía y entusiasmo cuando dijo “¡mi padre lo hace!” La pequeña Salma, de 4 años de edad, no tenía ni idea del impacto y el dolor que sus palabras iban a causar en sus entrenadores durante los años venideros. Esta viva respuesta le vino a la entrenadora mientras decía “ningún adulto puede tocar las partes privadas de mi cuerpo” al tiempo que con valentía (por supuesto con valentía, pues estamos hablando de Egipto) tocaban sus pechos y apuntaban a sus vaginas para indicar a los pequeños que se encontraban enfrente de ellos a qué se estaban refiriendo. (more…)
Her little arm flew up in the air with courage and enthusiasm as she said, “my daddy does that!!” Salma, the little 4 year old, did not have a clue of the shock and pain that her words were to cause the trainers for the next few years. This eager response came to the trainer saying “no adult can touch the private parts of my body” as they bravely (of course bravely, were in Egypt after all) touched their own breasts and pointed at their own bottoms and vaginas to indicate to the little people in front of them what they were talking about. (more…)