Voicing Affect - Evans-Pritchard 2020 Lecture 1

The Evans-Pritchard Lectures 2020

Dr Marlene Schäfers (Middle East and North Africa Research Group, University of Ghent)

Theme: Voices that Matter: Kurdist Female Selves and Affective Politics in Contemporary Turkey

Kurdish women have captured unprecedented global attention as combatants deployed at frontlines in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. In much public discourse, these women are portrayed as unexpectedly yet courageously defying their own society’s putative attempts at silencing them. Kurdish women, it is alleged, are finally “raising their voices.” Rather than judging whether Kurdish women have finally acquired voice or are still being silenced, this series of lectures questions the commonplace association between silence and repression, voice and agency. Instead, the lectures ask how the voice has become such a central site for determining Middle Eastern women’s empowerment and agency, and how this animates the voice as a powerful nexus of governmental control and intervention, subaltern desire and resistance. Focusing on the struggles of Kurdish female singers, poets and women’s activists to raise their voices in eastern Turkey, the series investigates how these women's voices shape subjects and assemble publics, circulate thanks to a variety of technologies, and become a site of governmental intervention and bureaucratic management. Bringing a material understanding of voice to bear on dominant figurative conceptions, the lectures critically reflect on the limits of the imperative advanced by contemporary politics of representation that one ought to “have a voice” in order to gain political agency. They demonstrate that one of the central postulates of liberal politics – that gaining a voice is inherently empowering – obscures how voices routinely draw the subjects emitting them into complex webs of political, moral and affective relations that do not stand apart from existing frames of hegemony.


Thursday, 7 May (Week 2) Voicing Affect
Thursday, 14 May (Week 3) Voicing the Self
Thursday, 21 May (Week 4) Claiming Voice
Thursday, 28 May (Week 5) Public Voice

All lectures take place at 5.00 pm in the Old Library, All Souls College
Open to the public – all welcome
 

 

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