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Refugee Research Centre



Intersectionality and the Spaces of Belonging

28-29 June 2012 Bangor University, UK

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London, UK http://www.uel.ac.uk/lss/staff/nirayuval-davis/ Nira Yuval-Davis will speak on the subject of her recent book, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations.

Prof. Jie-Hyun Lim, Director of the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea/ Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin http://www.rich.ac/eng/institute/lim.php<http://www.rich.ac/eng/institute/lim.php?pageNum=1&subNum=3> Jie-Hyun Lim will speak on his current research project, ‘A transnational history of victimhood nationalism: national mourning and global accountability’.

Dr Gurminder K. Bhambra, Director of the Social Theory Centre, University of Warwick, UK http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/bhambra/gurminderkbhambra/ Gurminder K. Bhambra will speak on her current research on early African-American sociologists and their conceptions of identity, inequality, and social theory.

Current debates on gender, nation, sexuality, religion and other categories of social divisions and belonging often address the relations between these categories with the term ‘intersectionality’: intersecting in an infinite variety of ways, each of these categories helps construct all the others. What we are, what we suffer, what we belong to, or what we long to be, is multifaceted and contradictory. Our longings, or aversions, are related to our belongings in but complicated and ambiguous ways, and what social group or category we belong to does not determine our political or cultural values, goals or dreams. And yet: the former inform the latter, if only to the extent that we do not wish to remain tomorrow what we are today. Nor do our positionings, situatedness and belongings simply add up to an ‘identity’ (a being so and not other) – as if my hold of ‘ethnicity no. 7’ plus ‘gender no. 2’ plus ‘citizenship in state no. 11’ etcetera could ever equate to exactly what ‘I am’: ‘citizenship in state no. 11’ does not mean the same depending on whether I am of this or that sex, or sexuality, or age, or ethnicity. These intersections complicate, perhaps thwart, any efforts to ground the cultural and political projects, coalitions, emancipation that we long for in the spaces (physical, virtual, rhetorical) we belong to. This conference explored critical contributions on all aspects of ‘spaces of belonging’ under the perspective of the concept of intersectionality. Theoretically informed contributions from scholars in all disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, broadly conceived, are invited, as well as from social and community activists or artists. Key themes of interest to the conference include, but are in no way limited to:

• Citizenship, cultural and state membership • Nation, race, ethnicity, nationality • Indigeneity •         Diasporas •  Religion •  Cosmopolitanism and human rights • Longing and the non-space of utopia • Majority-minority relations • Class and belonging •  Sex, gender and sexuality • Standpoints, dialogues and politics of recognition •   Virtual spaces of belonging • Belonging, feeling, intimacy •  Belonging and equality •   Age-spaces and ability-spaces


Past Conferences:

London: City of Paradox

3-5 April 2012

An international conference at the University of East London
Docklands Campus, London E16 2RD.

The 2012 Olympic Games have focused attention on London. Official representations of the Games stress the city’s inclusiveness and its history of bringing together the peoples and cultures of the world.

Please visit the main conference website for the programme and the audio recorded papers here.



Everyday Belongings: Theorising the self, society and change

Friday 17th February 2012,

Kanaris Theatre, Manchester Museum Programme

For further information please contact:

Dr Vanessa May (vanessa.may@manchester.ac.uk) ; Dr Michael Skey (m.skey@uel.ac.uk)


Belonging has been identified as a 'fundamental need' for humans across time and space. Moreover, questions of belonging continue to dominate the media and political agendas, whether in relation to youth gangs in inner cities or ethnic minorities in national settings. This one day symposium offers a framework for thinking critically about the different scales, sources and modes of belonging. It draws together experts from a range of disciplines and will conclude with a round-table discussion featuring some of the leading scholars currently working in the field. We invite academics, policy-makers and other interested groups to participate in what promises to be an intellectually stimulating event, which will discuss the latest approaches to conceptualising and researching belonging.

Speaker Biographies

Jon Bannister is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at Glasgow University. Jon's current research interest include the investigation of the foundations and interplay between (in)civility and management of (dis)order in the public realm, and the perception of behaviour, territoriality and youth 'gang'.; and, knowledge mobilisation and community safety. He is a co-founder of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Social Justice Research and Managing Editor of Urban Studies. He has published over 50 learned articles and research reports and has held research awards from a number of organisations, including;  the Economic Social Research Council, the National Council of Research Methods, the Home Office, Scottish Government and the Urban Studies Foundation.

Debra Ferreday is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. She has published widely on digital cultures, queer theory, and feminist cultural theory. Her work explores the questions of belonging and technologically mediated subjectivity across a range of media sites and drawing on a heterogeneous archive including digital cultures, subculture, global media and performance spaces. Her book on digital cultures, Online Belongings, was published by Peter Lang in 2009. He is currently working on a book on feminine identities entitled Rethinking Femininity, which will be published by Berg in 2013.

Richard Jenkins is an anthropologist who has always worked in multidisciplinary settings, having done field research in Belfast, the West Midlands, south Wales, Denmark, and south-west England. He has investigated the transition to adulthood, ethnicity and racism, nationalism, informal economic activity, the social lives of people with learning difficulties, and modern supernatural and witchcraft beliefs. Perhaps the central theme unifying these diverse projects is a concern with processes of identification, as discussed in Social Identity (3rd edition, 2008), Rethinking Ethnicity (2nd edition, 2008) and Being Danish (2nd edition due in 2012).

Michael Skey was awarded his PhD in October 2008 from the LSE and has since taught sociology at the University of Leicester and Media and Cultural Studies at University of Kingston. He is currently a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of East London. His research interests are in the areas of national belonging and globalisation, ethnic majorities, discourse theory, media, and every day life. He has published work on mass rituals, theories of nationalism, home and cosmopolitan identities, and his monograph, entitled National Belonging and Everyday Life, came out at the end of 2011.

Gill Valentine is a Professor of Geography at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include social identities and belonging (including work around gender, sexuality, disability, religion/belief and migration), family life, and consumption cultures. Gill has been awarded research grants and contracts from UK and European Research Councils, charities, Government Departments, and non-governmental organisations to a value of over £4 million'. She is currently holds a European Research Council award titled 'Living with Difference: making communities out of strangers in an era of superdiversity and supermobility'

Sarah Wilson is a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Stirling. She is currently working on an ESRC-funded project ('Young People Creating Belonging: Spaces, Sounds and Sight') which combines theoretical interests in the sociology of family and relationships with developing sensory (primarily visual and audio) methods. This project builds on two projects on young people's experience of parental substance misuse.

Nira Yuval-Davis is the Director of the Research Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London. She has been an expert consultant to various international organisations such as Amnesty International, the UNDP and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. She is a partner in a four-year EU research programme on EUborderscapes due to start in March 2012. Professor Yuval-Davis has written three major monographs, about 20 refereed articles and chapters in books on theoretical and empirical aspects of intersected nationalisms, racisms, multiculturalisms, fundamentalisms, citizenships, identities, belonging/s and gender relations. Her latest book is a monograph, entitled: The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations (Sage, November 2011


Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging

Thursday 27 January 2011

A conference on race, religion, and public policy

(organised by CMRB and Runnymede Trust )

This conference explores the ways in which questions of race, religion and religious affiliation operate in state policies and civil society in Britain and beyond.

It examines how matters of faith are constructed in relation to old and new forms of racism and to other contemporary political projects of belonging. It considers the implications for citizenship and social solidarity in the context of “the Big Society”.

These issues will be examined in relation to specific questions which have occupied the British public in recent years: constructions of “faith communities” in relation to ethnic identities; the place of religion in equality legislation and legal pluralism; debates about dress codes; and the effect of particular forms of religious education, including separate faith schools.

The conference brings together academics and researchers, community activists, race equality groups, and leading figures from secular, Christian, Muslim and Jewish organisations.


Welcome and introduction:

Dr Rob Berkeley, Director, Runnymede Trust

Opening Plenary: Raising the Questions

Baroness Prof Haleh Afshar, York University;

Gita Sahgal, writer and film-maker

Panel 1: Faith Communities and Racism

Dr AbdoolKarim Vakil, Kings College London;

Cassandra Balchin, Muslim Women’s Network;

Dr Ben Gidley,Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford University

Panel 2: The Debate on ‘The Veil’

Prof Sawitri Saharso, VU University, Amsterdam;

Rania Hafez, University of East London;

Prof Karima Bennoune, Rutgers University

Panel 3: Faith, Racism and Education

Dr Rob Berkeley, Runnymede Trust;

Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia;

Marieme Helie-Lucas, Women Living Under Muslim Laws

Plenary 2: Outcomes of discussion/ continuing initiatives

Prof David Feldman, Pear’s Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck College;

Prof Sami Zubaida, Birkbeck College;

Prof Nira Yuval-Davis, Director CMRB, University of East London

Conference Report Conference Report - Mary Sutton

Migration, Racism and Religion - 4 February 2010

Mufti Barkatulla
Prof. Chetan Bhatt
Dr. Edie Friedman
Prof. Rob Furbey
Humera Khan
Dr. Philip Marfleet
Dr. David Muir
Pragna Patel
Rev. Angus Ritchie
Rev. Arlington Trotman
Dr. Abel Ugba
Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis

Faith Organisations and Migrants Today: The gender question?
Pragna Patel

Migration, Racism and Religion conference - Conference Report Steve Thorpe



© 2011

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London: City of Paradox
Intersectionality and the Spaces of Belonging
Everyday Belonging: Theorising the Self, Society and Change
Past Conferences


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