The organisers welcomed 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, were invited, as well as from social and community activists or artists.
‘The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Constellations’
Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London.
‘A Transnational History of Victimhood Nationalism: National Mourning and Global Accountability’
Professor Jie-Hyun Lim, Director of the Institute of Comparative History and Culture, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea
‘African American Sociology: Identity, Inequality and Emancipation’
Dr Gurminder K. Bhambra, Director of the Social Theory Research Centre, University of Warwick, UK
This conference was organised by the Belonging and Ethnicity Research Group (BERG) jointly with the Bangor School of Social Sciences, the British Sociological Association Theory Study Group and WISERD.
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 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’ (being one way 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.