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Feminist reading group

Azadi (freedom): Feminist works by scholars of colour 

This reading group will run on a monthly-basis where sessions will be held on the last Thursday of every month, always between 5-6pm to avoid meeting clashes. All sessions will be held over zoom.

Dr Geeta Ludhra will lead the series, with members of the Interculturality research group contributing occasional sessions during 2022. Our aim is to offer different perspectives across the globe, drawing on feminists of colour. The series includes a selection of readings across the academic year, to include academic research papers, books and podcasts, all written by critical feminists, anti-race and decolonial scholars of colour. The idea is to read work that provokes healthy discussion in reflexive ways. Where possible, we will select readings that are easily available through the Brunel library, or reasonably priced to purchase. We will upload papers to the website where we can easily access them.

The reading group name ‘Azadi’ is the Urdu word for freedom, inspired by one of Geeta’s favourite Indian writers, Arundhati Roy, and her recent book ‘Azadi’. Roy talks about the writer having the: ‘…freedom to be as complicated as she wants – to move through worlds, languages, and time, through societies, communities, and politics’ (Roy, 2020: 1). In this way, we encourage fluid conversations that provoke new questions.

As we read and engage in discussions throughout the year, we will unravel some of the deep and complicated questions in relation to, for example:

  • To what degree do critical feminist writers of colour have the ‘freedom’ and ‘safety’ to write about and through their lived ‘truths’?
  • What does it mean to write through a critical feminist lens that captures the intersections, nuances and complications of lived experiences?
  • How does this writing (whatever the month’s focus is) challenge some of the power dynamics and dominant feminist discourses?
  • What emotional tolls do feminist scholars of colour embody as part of their research and writing experiences?
  • How can poetry be used to address feminist issues and silences by scholars of colour? Geeta will share a personal example here. 

At the end of each session, the lead facilitator will encourage participants to share one key take-home message, or new question raised as part of the seminar. In this way, the Interculturality reading group offers a rich, safe and reflexive space for CBASS education staff and Postgraduate Doctoral researchers to discuss complicated feminist meanings and ideas from a global perspective. 

We expect a kind and respectful discussion during all sessions so that participants feel safe and encouraged to speak. We hope that you will join in these monthly discussions via the zoom link:

Meeting ID: 978 9608 1315; Passcode: 1372024688

Dates for 2021

Reading Month 1: 30th September, 2021
Paper: The Scent of Memory: Strangers, Our Own, and Others
Author: Avtar Brah
Source: Feminist Review, No. 61, Snakes and Ladders: Reviewing Feminisms at Century's End (Spring, 1999), pp. 4-26
Led by: Dr Geeta Ludhra
Click here to download the paper.
View the session slides

Reading Month 2: 28th October, 2021
A short pocket-sized book: How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division (2020).
Author: Elif Shafak
Published by: Wellcome collection.
Around £4.50. See How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division: The powerful, pocket-sized manifesto (Welcome collection): Amazon.co.uk: Shafak, Elif: 9781788165723: Books
Led by: Dr Geeta Ludhra
You will need to purchase this book.
View the session slides

Reading Month 3: 25th November, 2021
Paper: Embodying diversity: problems and paradoxes for Black feminists
Book: I will also share a book by Sara Ahmed as further reading
Author: Sara Ahmed
Journal: Race Ethnicity and Education
Details: Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2009, 41–52
Led by: Dr Geeta Ludhra
Click here to download the paper. 
View the session slides

NB: There is no reading group session in December 2021.

Dates for 2022

Reading Month 4: 27th January 2022
Paper: Power, Intersectionality and the Politics of Belonging
by Nira Yuval Davis
Led by: Professor Maria Tsouroufli
Click here to download the paper. 
Download the session slides. 

Reading Month 5: 24th February, 2022
Led by: Professor Maria Tsouroufli
Lorde, A. (1984). Sister Outsider. Crossing Press: USA
This should be in the library, or you will need to order a copy. 
Download the session slides. 

Reading Month 6: 31 March 2022
Led by: Dr Giuliana Ferri
Reading TBC. 
Download the session slides. 

Reading Month 7: 28tApril, 2022
Led by: Dr Geeta Ludhra
A paper by Dr Royona Mitra 
Click here to download the paper. 
Download the session slides. 

Reading Month 8: 26 May, 2022
Led by: Dr Ourania Filippakou
Reading by Angela Davis 
I would also like to recommend an interview that A. Davis gave in the New York Times last year. 
Download the session slides. 

Reading Month 9: 30 June, 2022
Lead by Dr Geeta Ludhra
Reading TBC 

Reading Month 10: 28 July, 2022
10 books/podcasts to celebrate South Asian Heritage Month.
Led by: Dr Geeta Ludhra 

There will be no reading group in August as most staff are usually on annual leave. The programme for 2022-23 will be published in August 2022.