The overarching question that connects my work concerns the relationship between individual subjectivities, and cultural, social and political formations. More specifically, my research examines processes of subject formation in relation to community and governing practices that seek to stabilise collective identities in the face of migration. I have explored these processes in contexts such as migrant community formation; multiculturalism, cohesion and integration; queer diasporas; national genetic genealogies; and, currently, the citizenship naturalisation process (funded by the British Academy).
PhD Supervision Interests
I would be interested in supervising research students within the areas related to my research interests, for example: Multiculturalisms; 'race', racisms; Migration and related aspects, including but not restricted to: migrant/diasporic/transnational lives; migration and national politics (policies, border controls, etc.). Sexuality and migration including but not restricted to: queer migrants and migrations; sexuality and migration (e.g. sexuality and border control); intimacy and migration. Citizenship and related including but not restricted to: cultural aspects of citizenship, sexual citizenship, intimate citizenship, citizenship and affect, or transnational citizenship; citizenship training or the like (e.g. citizenship curriculum in England; citizenship classes and ceremonies for immigrants), and so on.
Current doctoral supervision:
Sarah Becklake - The Making of 'Destino Guatemala'. The Politics and Embodiment of 'Global Tourism Competition' in La Antigua, Guatemala
Shona Legaspi - post-war Polish migrants in the Lancaster area.
Ana Bê Pereira - research topic: everyday experiences of people living with a chronic illness in England and Portugal
Sabrina Squires - research topic: class and sexuality in GLBT cultures and politics
Hasan Yilmaz - internal migration, community, religion and identity in Turkey.
Past doctoral supervision/postdoctoral mentoring
Mia FalovNeighbourhood Regeneration and Social Exclusion in Denmark and England
Michaela Fay Internationalisms: Feminism, Mobility, Belonging: Exploring the International Women's University 'Technology and Culture'
Jennie Germann Molz Destination World: Performing the Self and the Global in Round-the-World Travel Narratives
Elisabeth Grindel - Temporary Sojours in the Periphery. Spouses of International Students in Lancaster, United Kingdom
Nina Held - research topic: race, sexuality and space in lesbian bars
Joyce Hsiu-Yeh Journey to the West: Traveling, Learning and Consuming Englishness
Adi Kuntsman Violent belongings: Russian-speaking GLBT immigrants in Israel
Chun-Yu Lin - 'From Strangers to Spouses'? International Marriage Immigrants in Taiwan
Leon Moosavi Defying Gravity: 'Race', Islamophobia and Belonging in the Experiences of Muslim Convverts in Britain
Elisavet Pakis Playing in the Dark: Performing (Im)possible Lesbian Subjects
Muzeyyen Pandir - Orientalism in the European Union: A Critical Analysis of EU narratives on the EU, Europe and Turkey
Lewis Turner Passing and crossing; an ethnography of gender transitions
I came to Lancaster in January 1999, following an 18 month postdoctoral fellowship in Montreal (my adopted city). Although I miss the radical weather of Quebec, I feel extremely privileged to be at Lancaster University. Also, having completed my PhD Goldsmiths' College (University of London), the return to England felt like a return to my 'intellectual home'.
My research interests are situated within the areas of critical race studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, postcolonialism, multiculturalism and nation formation, critical migration and diaspora studies, the cultural politics of emotions.
1) Multicultural Horizons: My most recent book is on discourses of multiculturalism in Britain (2000-2006). Entitled Multicultural Horizons: Diversity and the Limits of the Civil Nation, this book examines how the 'New Britain' of the twenty-first century is variously re-imagined as multicultural. Although the book is not about the Blair government per se, it covers the debates about 'multiculture' that circulate in the public domain during the Blair era. Introducing the concept of 'multicultural intimacies', I attend to the intensity of feeling that multiculturalism invariably ignites, and propose a new form of critical engagement with the cultural politics of multiculturalism, one that attends to ideals of mixing, loving thy neighbour and feelings for the nation. In the first study of its kind, this book considers the anxieties, desires, and issues that form representations of 'multicultural Britain' available in the British public domain -policy and consultation documents emanating for the most part from the Home Office, reports and debates in the national press, photographic stills, and a television documentary. Drawing on insights from critical race studies, feminist and queer studies, postcolonialism and psychoanalysis, my analysis considers:
2) Affecting citizenship: following on from my previous book, Multicultural Horizons, my current research focuses on the British naturalisation process as a site of 'citizenship-in-the-making'. The distinctive character of this study is its focus on the experiences of applicants and non-applicants (ESOL teachers/providers; Council registrars; ceremony officials; etc). The study draws on original ethnographic material to explore the making of citizenship: it traces the work, processes, documentation, artefacts, storing, educational and other practices involved in 'making citizens', while it also attends to the 'lived experience' of naturalisation from the perspective of a range of subject positions. In short, the study approaches naturalisation through material, cognitive (learnt), performative, and affective practices. The research is funded by the British Academy (Small Grants).
I have also written about forms of 'governing through affect' in the politics of 'community cohesion' in Britain under New Labour, and examines how interethnic proximities are conceived, monitored and managed. I argue that there is ashift of attention, in policies aimed at 'delivering cohesion', from the rational, autonomous subject to the affective subject. See my article entitled 'Proximities by design? Affective citizenship and the management of unease' is published in Citizenship Studies 14(1) 2010.
3) Technologies of reassurance and 'white unease': this research strand is about how digital photography, morphing technologies, population statistics and genetics are variously combined to operate as technologies of reassurance at a time of when we are said to be undergoing deeply transformative changes that threaten to fragment white Britain. For more information, see my electronic article The blood in our veins: White unease, introspection, and the promise of corporeal transparency in multicultural times.
Queer migrations and queer diasporas
In some of my past publications, I extended my expertise in migration and diaspora studies by bringing questions of sexuality more to the fore. My interest here include:
'queer diasporas': this includes a critical intervention of queer theory in theoretical discourses of diaspora, as well as an interest in the deployment the notion of a 'queer diaspora' in some quarters of queer theory, to describe the transnationalisation of the queer movement and of queer culture.
'queer migration': I have written about narratives of queer migrations and their conceptions of home and emancipation.
Émigré cultures and transnational belongings
My PhD dissertation, now published as Migrant Belongings. Memory, Space, Identity (Berg, 2000), concerns the formation of an Italian émigré culture and identity within institutional discourses and practices of collective belonging(s). The book links theories of performativity and of diaspora, offering insights into the study of cultural identity, migration and diasporas. More specifically, I reassess questions of sex/gender, ethnicity and 'race' in relation to broader questions of culture, nation, and multilocal spaces of belonging. Using a combination of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and the analytical survey of printed documents, I examine the ways in which new meanings of identity are encased in different forms of representation of the Italian presence in Britain: written histories and monographs; cultural productions; politics of identity; and the daily life of two London-based church-cum-social clubs (where I pay special attention to the relationship between the construction of the identity of places and the formation of group identity). Advancing a corporeal approach to identity formation, I argue that displays of the Italian presence in London operate through the repetition of regulatory norms that produces the effect of materialisation of cultural belonging through the dual process of ethnicising and gendering of individual and collective 'bodies'. In addition, the prominence of 'memory work' in Italian practices of identity leads me to interrogate geographically based definitions of diaspora.
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