Evans-Pritchard Lectures 2020

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

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

All lectures take place at 5.00 pm in the Old Library, All Souls College – 7, 14, 21 and 28 May

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.

Tuesday 2 May 2017 (2nd Week, Trinity Term)

Wednesday 3 May 2017 (2nd Week, Trinity Term)

Monday 8 May 2017 (3rd Week, Trinity Term)

Tuesday 9 May 2017 (3rd Week, Trinity Term)

Wednesday 2 May 2018 (2nd Week, Trinity Term)

Tuesday 8 May 2018 (3rd Week, Trinity Term)

Tuesday 15 May 2018 (4th Week, Trinity Term)

Tuesday 22 May 2018 (5th Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 24 May 2018 (5th Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 16 May 2019 (3rd Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 23 May 2019 (4th Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 30 May 2019 (5th Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 6 June 2019 (6th Week, Trinity Term)

Thursday 7 May 2020 (16th Week, Hilary Term)

Thursday 14 May 2020 (17th Week, Hilary Term)

Thursday 21 May 2020 (18th Week, Hilary Term)

Thursday 28 May 2020 (19th Week, Hilary Term)

This series features in the following public collections: