Activities  2009 - 2010

  • Nadje Al-Ali  (SOAS) What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq
    In the run-up to war in Iraq, the Bush administration assured the world that America's interest was in liberation-especially for women. In my talk I will explores the situation of women women have fared since the invasion by contextualising the contemporary in historical perspective. My talk will expose the gap between rhetoric that placed women center stage and the present reality of their diminishing roles in the "new Iraq." Based on interviews with Iraqi women's rights activists, international policy makers, and NGO workers and illustrated with photographs taken by Iraqi women,I will correct the widespread view that the country's violence, sectarianism, and systematic erosion of women's rights come from something inherent in Muslim, Middle Eastern, or Iraqi culture. I will also demonstrate how in spite of competing political agendas, Iraqi women activists are resolutely pressing to be part of the political transition, reconstruction, and shaping of the new Iraq.
    Nadje Al-Ali is Reader in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
    Wednesday 7th  October   3.30 - 5pm  Room 254   Birkbeck Main Building

  • Jessica Benjamin - Colloquium
    This colloquium is a unique opportunity to discuss with Jessica Benjamin her work on intersubjectivity and thirdness in the analytic encounter and beyond. In particular, the colloquium will focus on her recent paper published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis: ‘A relational psychoanalysis perspective on the necessity of acknowledging failure in order to restore the facilitating and containing features of the intersubjective relationship (the shared third)’, Int J Psychoanal (2009) 90:441–450. The paper will be pre-circulated to those who register for the colloquium.
    Wednesday 14th October  3.30 - 5pm  Lower Meeting Room, 36, Gordon Square (press Birkbeck buzzer)

  • Burning Memories: Sacrifice and the Unconscious in History
    Memory of historical events is necessarily collective, but acquires personal characteristics that are of the same nature as individual memory in general. This idea is illustrated through memories of holocaust survivors as they construct themselves in a particular biography of an Israeli child. Holocaust memories are then connected to the ethos of military strength in Israeli society, which ethos undertakes to transform the historical marking of the Jews as victims, sacrificed by the nations on the altar of ethnic power. This is where the Palestinians enter the unconscious Israeli narrative, allowing the movement of the Jew away from the position of the sacrificed. The theme of sacrifice conversion marks itself in historical events such as the Naqba and the recent attack on Gaza. The talk examines the manner in which these themes feed into personal memory systems and reconstructs the workings of memory through the entire historical cycle.
    Speakers:  Uri Hadar, Stephen Frosh, Chair:  Lynne Segal
    Wednesday 14th October  7.30pm  Friends House, Euston Road

  • Psycho-Political Resistance in Israel-Palestine - 2 day Conference
    This conference is the first of its kind in the UK. It will address the remarkable work of certain groups in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank who are involved in joint resistance to ongoing military conflict and occupation. They deal with mental health and human rights on the front lines of a conflict which involves military aggression, internal group violence, systemic interference with basic human rights, brutalisation on many fronts and deep pessimism on all sides. The speakers at this conference will address any and all resources for combined resistance and shared hope. The recent catastrophic attack on the civilian population of Gaza, at the eye of the storm of sites of conflict in Western eyes, makes this event both critical and significant. Speakers to include: Mohamed Altawil; Nissim Avissar; Sami Awaida; Jessica Benjamin; Tova Buksbaum; Bea Campbell; Stan Cohen; Yasmeen Daher; Stephen Frosh; Uri Hadar; Seamas Heaney; Maureen Hetherington; Samah Jabr;  Ghada Karmi; Adah Kay; Yehudit Keshet; Keith Kahn-Harris; Richard Kuper; Elana Lakh; Moshe Landsman; Tony Lerman; Sheila Melzak; Mohamad Mukhaimar; Rateb Abu Rahmeh; Jacqueline Rose; Jihan Salem; Andrew Samuels;  Eyad el Sarraj; Lynne Segal; Felicity de Zulueta.
    Thursday 15th & Friday 16th October   Room B34  Birkbeck Main Building

  • Ignes Sodre - Seminar

  • Yasemin Soysal (Essex) Migration, Citizenship and Work: Dilemmas for the European Social Project
    Originally citizenship emerged as a corrective to the injustices caused by the capitalist market, by incorporating working classes through social benefits and ensuring social cohesion.  European welfare states have successfully followed this formula for the most part of the post-World War II period.  In the last couple of decades however certain developments have unsettled this formula.  For one, the very meaning of ‘work’ and ‘worker’, on which the welfare state based on, has changed.  The life-time, full employment is less and less a reality for large sections of labor market participants—flexibility, risk and precariousness have become defining elements of working life.  The welfare state itself has gone through transformation as well, increasingly moving away from a system of ‘passive benefits’ to ‘social investment’ in human capital. These developments are coupled with a new emphasis in education on ‘active citizenship,’ which envision participatory individuals, who are effective and adaptable in an increasingly competitive global market, and ready to contribute at local, national and international levels. In my talk, I will consider the implications of this new alignment in policy between work, social benefits, and participation, for the migrant populations in Europe. I will give further consideration to the ramifications of the recently intensified debates on ‘social cohesion’, ‘integration’ and ‘responsibility’ in the light of this new societal realignment; and reflect on the changing foundations of good citizenship and good society in Europe.
    Wednesday 11th November  3.30 - 5pm  Room G01, Clore Management Centre

  • Dr Róisín Ryan-Flood and Professor Ros Gill - Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process
    Feminist research is informed by a history of breaking silences, of demanding that women’s voices be heard, recorded and included in wider intellectual genealogies and histories. This has led to an emphasis on voice and speaking out in the research endeavour. Moments of secrecy and silence are less often addressed. This gives rise to a number of questions: What are the silences, secrets, omissions and political consequences of such moments? What particular dilemmas and constraints do they represent or entail? What are their implications for research praxis? Are such moments always indicative of voicelessness or powerlessness? Or may they also constitute a productive moment in the research encounter? Contributors to a new volume entitled Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections, reflect on these questions. The editors of this book, Róisín Ryan-Flood and Rosalind Gill, provide an overview of the context for work on secrecy and silence and why these concepts matter for feminist scholars.
    Wednesday 25th  November  12.30 - 2pm   Lower Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Sq.

  • Ignes Sodre - Seminar Tuesday 8th December

  • Janet Newman (Open University) Working the Spaces of Power
    Wednesday 20th January  2010 3.3 - 5pm    Room 539  Birkbeck Main Building

  • SOCIAL RESEARCH - MAKING A DIFFERENCE? Seminar to explore how social researchers at Birkbeck are making a difference - culturally, socially, politically - through their research  Thursday 21st January 2010 12 - 2  Room B02, Main Building

  • Winter Colloquium  -  Beyond the Pink Curtain? Eastern European Sexualities, Homophobia and Western EyesThis interdisciplinary Colloquium will  bring together scholars in the social sciences, history, Slavic and other area studies, as well as activists from LGBT communities, to examine the relationships between gender, nation and sexuality. How, for example, did the emergence of revised national identities after 1989 relate to new conceptions of non-normative gender and sexuality? What were the local dimensions of the ‘lesbian and gay question’, and why did they develop? How did queer sexualities in this region evolve historically? And what influence does that historical legacy have today? What are the specificities and particularities of Central and Eastern European sexual identities, within the region and compared with Western and other non-Western formations?Friday 22nd  January 2010   Room 541  Birkbeck College Main Building   9.30 – 5pm

  • Ignes Sodre - Seminar Tuesday 26th January 1pm - 3pm  Room 153 Birkbeck Main Building

  • Ignes Sodre - Imparadised in Hell: Idealisation, Erotisation and the Return of the Split-offThis lecture will explore the use of physical illness and deterioration as metaphors for mental illness. Various pathological unconscious mechanisms of defence will be illustrated  through the use of examples from literature, mainly from Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Mann's Death in Venice.Wednesday 10th February  8.30pm - 10pm  Room B35  Birkbeck Main Building

  • Doing Critical Social Research Seminar Series
    Professor Liz Stanley, Edinburgh UniversityBack to the future? On sociological research and analysis of letters inThomas & Znaniecki's The Polish Peasant... and contemporaneously Wednesday 24th February   12.30 - 2   Lower Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Sq (Birkbeck buzzer)

  • Diagnosing the Contemporary - Seminar Series
    John Clarke (OU) - Crises and Conjunctures: looking for the here and now Professor of Social Policy, Social Policy and Criminology Wednesday 10th March  3.30 Room 254  Birkbeck Main Building

  • Doing Critical Social Research Seminar Series
    Gail Hornstein (Mount Holyoke College/ BISR Fellow) - Divided Loyalties: the politics of participant observationWednesday 17th March  12.30 - 2pm  Lower Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Sq. (Birkbeck buzzer)

  • Ignes Sodre - Mania and Projective IdentificationThe theme of this workshop will be 'cure by mania' of self and of object. Itexplores manic reparation and the process of projective identificationTuesday 23rd March  1pm - 3pm  Room 153, Birkbeck Main Building

  • Eric Kaufmann - Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Demography and Politics in the 21st Century - Book LaunchEric Kaufmann will speak about his new book followed by a drinkds reception. The book will be available at reducded rate.Thursday 25th March  6pm  Room 403  Birkbeck Main Building

  • Diane Perrons (LSE) - Gender and Social Justice after the CrisisThe economic crisis of 2007-? was sparked primarily by mis-management of capital markets through speculation and excessive risk taking by very highly paid men (predominantly) in the financial centres of the western world, but the underlying causes are deeply rooted in the neo-liberal model of global development itself.  Neo-liberalism is associated with unsustainable increases in earnings inequalities and a related imbalance between productivity and wages resulting in a fall in the share of output accruing to labour. These inequalities formed a key element in generating the crisis. The paper explores the processes leading to and explanations for rising earnings inequality and enduring gender inequality theoretically, and with reference to selected illustrations. As the processes generating current inequalities are so profound and embedded, it is necessary to move beyond marginal adjustments to the current neo-liberal orthodoxy and specify alterative models of development in order to secure economic and social sustainability as well as socially just societies.Wednesday 28th April  3.30 - 5pm  Room 152  Birkbeck Main Building

  • Dr Paul Sweetman (University of Southampton) The use and potential of visual methods: some thoughts on habitus, ethics and recognitionPaul Sweetman will talk about the increased interest in visual methods of research and their potential for uncovering or illuminating aspects of practice which might not otherwise be easily articulated. He will also suggest that concerns over anonymity and confidentiality in the use of visual methods may sometimes be misplaced, and that to focus on  such concerns may be to overlook alternative possibilities, not least the potential visual methods can offer for both participant involvement and understanding, and positive forms of recognition.Wednesday 5th  May  12.30 - 2pm   Lower Meeting Room 36 Gordon Sq.

  • Tom Wengraf - Interpreting Biographical - Narrative  InterviewsAssuming that “biographic narrative expression” is expressive both of conscious concerns and also of unconscious cultural, societal and individual presuppositions and processes, BNIM supports research into the complexities of the lived experience of individuals and collectives. It facilitates understanding both the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ worlds of ‘historically-evolving persons in historically-evolving situations’, and particularly the interactivity of such inner and outer world dynamics.  In this workshop, the BNIM approach to interpreting biographic narrative material will be considered. Those attending will form a BNIM interpretation panel engaged in one key feature of the BNIM interpretation package – chunk-by-chunk future-blind exploration of the self-presenting story-constructing work of the interviewee as they improvise their interview response in a BNIM interview.Thursday 13th May  12 - 2pm  Lower Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Sq

  • Human Rights and Visual Culture - A Colloquium+ Free screenings  6.30pm  – 8.30pm   Thursday 10th June  Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Sq.How are human rights represented and disseminated through visual culture? What is the role of visual culture in the formation of human rights politics and practices?  How radical is the use of visual, online and web based media by human rights activists?  Is there a visual politics of human rights?  This colloquium will bring scholars, campaigners and practitioners together to show examples of human rights in film, television, digital media and photography and discuss ways in which we can conceptualise and understand the emergence of visual culture in the human rights political arena.Speakers include:Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck),  Oscar Guardiola- Rivera (Birkbeck),  Roger Hallas (Syracuse), Jacqueline Maingard (Bristol), Les Moran (Birkbeck), Gita Sahgal (filmmaker and journalist, and former Head of the Gender Unit for Amnesty International),  Emma Sandon (Birkbeck) Michael Uwemedimo (Roehampton)

  • Beyond Citizenship: Feminism and the transformation of Belonging
    An international and interdisciplinary conference     30th June - 2nd July 2010