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Comparative Literature

Ali Jimale AhmedSomali Week at SOAS:
A conversation with Prof. Ali Jimale Ahmed

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
19:00 - 22:00

The Alumni Theatre, room 110
Paul Webley Wing of Senate House
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, United Kingdom

SOAS in collaboration with Bloomsbury Somali Studies and the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies presents  Somali Week at SOAS. Please join us for the following events "A conversation with Prof. Ali Jimale Ahmed" and a panel discussion "Multiculturalism Post-Brexit". 

Panel 1: In conversation with Ali Jimale Ahmed, chaired by Dr Idil Osman

An opportunity to converse and discuss Prof. Ali Jimale Ahmed’s poetry, literature, and academic writings, and his thoughts on education, teaching, and the arts.

Prof Ali Jimale Ahmed, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Prof Jimale is the chair of Comparative Literature at Queens College, and teaches courses in African, Middle Eastern, and European literature. His books include The Invention of Somalia  (Red Sea Press, 1995),   Daybreak Is Near: Literature, Clans, and the Nation-State in Somalia  (Red Sea Press, 1996),  Fear Is a Cow  (Red Sea Press, 2002), and When Donkeys Give Birth to Calves: Totems, Wars, Horizons, Diasporas (Red Sea Press, 2012) and he was one of the first scholars to challenge and deconstruct the politicised narratives around Somali identity and culture and homogeneity

Panel 2: Multiculturalism Post-Brexit, chaired by Dr Idil Osman

The Brexit vote was a shock to many, with a key underlying reason being that this new and rising English nationalism is anti-immigration and even anti-multiculturalist in its orientation. Up until recent years, especially under New Labour, definitions of Britishness emphasised that modern Britain was a multi-national, multicultural society. There are many ways to be British and these ways were fluid and changing. Ethnic minorities, have to a certain extent, become more woven into the life of Britain and they were redefining what it meant to be British. Brexit has arguably put a dent on this progress. There is mounting evidence now that the result of Brexit have led to an uptick in racial abuse and harassment, generating a need to rebalance what it means to be British in order to give due emphasis to what we have in common as well as respect for difference. This session brings together panel members well-versed in matters related to multiculturalism and aims to shed light on the state of multiculturalism post-Brexit.

Dr Dafina Paca is a Cultural Studies scholar based at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. Her research interests are in representations of ethnic minorities and asylum seekers, gender issues, identity and cultural politics. Her doctoral thesis explored the discursive construction of identity/s by Kosovo Albanians in the UK. She has given numerous talks on identity politics in a globalizing world and representations of refugees and ethnic minority audiences. 

Dr Simon Goodman is a Research Fellow in psychology at Coventry University. He uses discursive psychology to address a number of issues. Much of this research explores the discursive construction of asylum seekers and refugees in which he has focussed on the ways in which potentially prejudicial arguments against asylum seekers are presented as reasonable and non-prejudicial. In addition, his work focuses on what is, and what is not, considered to be racist particularly with regard to asylum seeking. His research also explores the (largely negative) experiences of asylum seekers in the UK and the ways in which they make complaints and resist their negative presentations.

Guled Ibrahim has rapidly earned himself several university degrees, BA from the University of Minnesota, Jurist Doctor from Mitchel Hamline Law School, and international MBA from BPP Business School in London.  His personal drive in the field of public service and conflict resolutions is equally admirable.  He has been selected to participate in the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Conference in Hague in 2015, as well as the One Young World Summit in Ottawa in 2016.  Besides, his activities have already taken him to many countries across the globe.

Dr Idil Osman holds a PhD from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. Her thesis examined Diaspora media involvement in the Somali conflict. She is the author of the recently published article  The Somali Media, Diaspora Communities and the Concept of Conflict Re-creation and is the co-author of ‘Somalia to Europe; Stories of the Somali Diaspora, a book that chronicles the civil war experiences of Somali Europeans and their subsequent migration to the UK. She has worked for over a decade as a national and international journalist for the BBC, the Guardian and the Voice of America. Previously a Teaching Fellow in Media and Communication at University of Leicester's Department of Media and Communication, she's now a Research Associate and Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS.


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Chair: Ali Jimale Ahmed (On Leave)
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