Seminar given on 22 October 2014 by Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (University College London and the Refugee Studies Centre), part of the RSC Michaelmas term 2014 Public Seminar Series.
Refugee camps are typically perceived as militarised and patriarchal spaces, and yet the Sahrawi refugee camps and their inhabitants have consistently been represented as ideal in nature: uniquely secular and democratic spaces, and characterised by gender equality. Drawing on extensive research with and about Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, Cuba, Spain, South Africa and Syria, Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh explores how, why and to what effect such idealised depictions have been projected onto the international arena. In this talk, she argues that secularism and the empowerment of Sahrawi refugee women have been strategically invoked to secure the humanitarian and political support of Western state and non-state actors who ensure the continued survival of the camps and their inhabitants. She challenges listeners to reflect critically on who benefits from assertions of good, bad and ideal refugees, and whose interests are advanced by interwoven discourses about the empowerment of women and secularism in contexts of war and peace. Read more about the book here: http://syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/fall-2013/ideal-refugees.html
Read more about the book here: syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu/fall-2013…gees.html