Upcoming Conferences

27 11 2010

Some very interesting conferences and seminars have been announced recently and caught our eyes:

SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and Department of Development Studies Joint Seminar with Department of Anthropology seminar series

Wednesday 1st December 3-5 pm Room G51

Nicola Frost (Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies / Food Studies Centre, SOAS)

Making Mela in Brick Lane

The Baishakhi Mela is held annually in May in and around Brick Lane in East London. It celebrates Bengali New Year, and can attract around 100,000 people to the area. The large local Bangladeshi population values the event as an opportunity to gather together, and to present Bangladeshi culinary and musical traditions to a wider audience. What began as a small, community-based affair, has grown to become a huge logistical undertaking, heavy with resonance in local politics, as well as being a significant economic driver for associated businesses. In 2006 and 2007 the Mela was organised through collaboration between the Baishakhi Mela Trust, consisting of local business people and other community workers, and the arts and events team from Tower Hamlets council. This relationship is complex, and open to a variety of conflicting interpretations. Central to these tensions are the interdependent questions of finance and ownership: while control of budgets entails a degree of authority, the festival has its own life and momentum that largely evades attempts to codify, regulate, and strategise. This paper examines these issues with reference to the 2007 event.

All welcome. For further information please contact Paru Raman (pr1@soas.ac.uk)

LONDONICITY 2011: THE FIRST ANNUAL LONDON STUDIES CONFERENCE

Tuesday 12 July until Thursday 14 July 2011 at the Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL

We would like to extend a very warm invitation to international scholars, researchers, and those with other significant interests in London to join with us, as either a Speaker or a Delegate, to celebrate the launch of this unique annual event!

The great world city of London which is the focus of our conference is the product of some two thousand years of growth and development, setback and renewal. The short passage to and from the North Sea along the River Thames made London one of the major European ports from Roman times onwards. Its maritime significance was eventually consolidated by the opening of its vast dock system in the heyday of the great imperial metropolis from 1800 on. Following further enormous change in the later 20th Century, London Docklands now serve a very different post-industrial function as the financial district moves eastwards and the population and its way of life transforms.

Profoundly historic and yet also ultramodern, London is a city of many different facets, logical and contradictory by turns. It is the seat of both the British monarchy and the home of parliamentary democracy, the two co-existing in what some regard as a typically ingenious British compromise. It is a city dominated by the financial and political industries, and yet these have been profoundly called into question in the new age of austerity and of political reform. And if London led the world in pioneering one of the great public transportation systems, this is now struggling to cope with the demands of the ever larger population – now numbering over seven million – as its members inhabit a city marked by a cultural diversity borne of long-term international migration.

London is marked by the many traditions of great wealth, and yet, in part, still blighted by the scars of poverty and deprivation. A city ravaged, within living memory, by the horrors of world war, its urban landscape has been endlessly transfigured in sometimes spectacular, sometimes merely startling fashion within a few short decades. London thus reflects many of the glories of urbanisation and yet is also marked by many of its inevitable contradictions, from the great beauties of its artistic and architectural heritage to the dramatic challenges it now faces – alongside other world cities – to reduce its excessive carbon footprint, its pollution, and its criminality.

These striking ambiguities provide the context for our conference, at the approaches to Olympic Year 2012, as we seek to analyse, critque and celebrate London’s proud identity and heritage.

CRONEM 7th Annual Conference

Joint international multidisciplinary conference with VU Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (VISOR), Free University Amsterdam

Global Migration and Multiculturalism: Religion, Society, Policy and Politics

28 – 29 June 2011, University of Surrey (Deadline 15 February 2011)

In our seventh annual conference CRONEM and VISOR want to explore a number of overlapping themes arising from the relationship between global migration and cultural diversity through different disciplinary understandings of the links between religion, society, policy and politics.

The extensive literature, which now exists concerning the movement of people, information and material objects across nation-state borders around the globe, has not only provided us with an understanding of the political economy of this movement but also its social and cultural dimensions. The minorities created by this movement raise crucial issues concerning citizenship rights and duties within modern nation-states and the co-existence of these rights and duties with transnational ties and global imagined communities. Identity politics, minority community representation and how minority individuals relate (and are expected to relate) to the national cultures within which they live present political and policy challenges for nation-states and supra-national entities such as the European Union.

These challenges in many parts of the globe frequently highlight the changing relationship between politics and religion. These changes have been discussed in terms of an emerging ‘post-secular’ society, especially within parts of the European region, for example, or in North America. Other commentators have focussed on the increasing securitisation of both immigration and integration in recent decades and especially since 9/11. In the European region this issue overlaps with religion insofar as Islam(ism), in particular, has come to be perceived as a significant transnational security threat which, in turn, has affected both public and individual perceptions of Muslim minorities within many countries, permeating the media.

These are just two topical examples illustrating the broad spectrum of concerns over the entry, settlement and integration or accommodation of migrants against the backdrop of economic considerations and governmental efforts to control flows. We wish to encourage submission of papers and posters, which focus on this range of issues around the world from different disciplinary perspectives. Papers and posters, which analyse individual perceptions and understandings, are just as welcome as those, which explore group dynamics and collective processes.

Individual paper / poster proposalSymposium proposal

For any additional information, please contact Mrs Mirela Dumic (m.dumic@surrey.ac.uk).

RC 21 in Amsterdam Conference Theme: The struggle to belong – Dealing with diversity in 21st urban settings

Deadline for abstracts: 21 December 2010

We invite proposals for papers for the following theme: Youth geographies and spatial identity

Recognizing that youth researchers have a privileged vantage point from which to view social change and continuity, this is a call for papers that seek to interrogate these themes. How do young people deal with change in their own lives whilst negotiating social, cultural and economic uncertainty in contemporary urban settings?

We invite papers that highlight these issues in any number of ways. Papers are not limited to empirical discussions; we also invite analyses of methodological and ethical matters of concern.

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