CMRB Event: Borders, Boundaries and Beyond: A Feminist Exploration of the Making of Borders, Boundaries and Identities in Post-colonial Bangladesh – Rumana Hashem and Zobaida Nasreen


CMRB (The Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging)

at the University of East London is pleased to announce as part of its

Borders and Bordering Seminar Series:

Borders, Boundaries and Beyond: A Feminist Exploration of the Making of Borders, Boundaries and Identities in Post-colonial Bangladesh

Rumana Hashem and Zobaida Nasreen

(University of East London and Durham University)

This seminar will take place in

EB.G.06, Docklands Campus, University of East London, E16 2RD, nearest tube: Cyprus DLR


4-6pm, Monday 9th March 2015

The event is free but spaces are limited so please reserve a place by following the below link

Abstract: This presentation draws on two PhD studies and seeks to critically discuss the making of borders, boundaries and identities, especially how borders and boundaries are drawn, contested and redrawn in particular historical and socio-political location, in this case South-east Bangladesh. With a reference to our empirical studies about the post-colonial Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), we explore how the borders of Bangladesh and the redrawn boundaries of the CHT affect groups/collectivities with regard to gender, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status within the nation-state. The presentation relies on the concept of situated and contextual narratives to provide a multi-level, intersectional and discursive analysis of the creation of Bangladesh’s border. Accordingly, we adopt a translocational social-field framework for grasping the making of boundaries of different groups of women. We demonstrate, going beyond a structural assessment, that while the contested and redrawn borders of the nation-state of Bangladesh have enabled spheres for identity politics and hegemony of Bengali nation over ‘other nations/collectivities’, the redrawing of territorial borders has enabled the construction of identities of certain groups and individuals who form identities through cultural belonging, whose boundaries are regularly shifting and contested in relation to their gender, religion, culture, language and nationality. The discussion is interdisciplinary in nature and it draws on political-sociological and political-anthropological scholarship in particular.

Rumana Hashem is a Bangladeshi-born activist-sociologist and a post-doctoral associate affiliated with the CMRB. Originally a rights-activist and journalist, Rumana holds a PhD in gendered relations in the armed conflict in south-east Bangladesh, obtained from the University of East London. She completed a Bachelors and Masters from Dhaka University. Her MA dissertation explored state-violence against sex-workers in Bangladesh, and has led to the achievement of two awards, namely, a DAAD Fellowship (2000) at International Women’s University and a two-year DFG Post-colonial Studies Fellowship (2001-2003) at University of Munich. At UEL, she co-coordinates a research project ‘Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion: Civic Engagement through the Preservation and Access to Refugee Archives’ that is aimed at developing an oral history of different refugee communities in London. She serves the Sociology journal as an associate reviewer combined with serving the London Roots Collective as a Trainer, the Phulbari Solidarity Group as the Co-ordinator, and Nari Diganta a secular Bengali women’s organisation in East London as an organising member. Rumana taught Sociological modules at the University of Leicester, University of East London and at BRAC University. She published in the Sage Research Cases Methodologies, Feminism & Psychology, DIEGESIS, The Journal of Social Science and other peer-reviewed journals. Contact on twitter @rumanahashem

Zobaida Nasreen is a Commonwealth Fellow and a PhD Candidate in Political Anthropology at Durham University. Her research title is, ‘State violence, Forced Displacement and the Indigenous Women’s Narratives in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh’. She is a faculty member (on Sabbatical) in the department of Anthropology at Dhaka University, and she taught on undergraduate courses at the Independence University in Bangladesh. Originally a left feminist- activist, Zobaida serves the East London’s Bengali women’s organisation Nari Diganta as a Movement and Advocacy Secretary. for more information on the EU Borderscapes project, for details of the UEL Borderscapes team and for information on CMRB


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