Out of Sight: Constructing, Experiencing, Changing Peripheries – 20 March 2014

The peripheral is not only what is imagined as geographically distant, but encompasses those seen as the distant amongst us – the stranger, the outcast, the pariah.

What does it mean, in the age of digital technologies, to be “peripheral” – on the fringes and out of sight? How are communities imagined as peripheral empowered or disempowered through networks and practices? How is the peripheral constructed and mediated by new media, as place, as geography, as relationship and as a category of being?

This event will discuss the idea of the peripheral, examining communities and subjectivities imagined as distant, aiming to explore the nature of peripherality, to examine experiences of being strange or far away, and to debate whether new media changes or impacts how categories of distance/difference are constructed.

Scheduled Events:

17:15 – 17:30 Introduction by Kareena Coelho and Emma Duester

17:30 – 18:00 Dr. Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Dr. Puwar is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London whose research interests are focused on postcolonialism, gender, race and critical methodologies.

Dr. Puwar is a member of the Feminist Review editorial collective, and the co-convenor of the BSA Race Forum and co-organizer of the Methods Lab. Her publications include the book Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of spaceFashion and Orientalism, as well as Noise of the Past, a collaborative public intervention in war and memory launched in Coventry Cathedral.


An exploration of hitherto marginalised bodies in central sites.

18:00 – 18:30 Aimee Joyce (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Aimee Joyce is a research student in the Anthropology Department of Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research is titled: ‘Negotiating Space in a Contested Landscape: the interactions of three confessions on the Polish borderlands.’ Based on fieldwork conducted on the Polish-Belarusian border this project explores ideas of religion and nationality through dissecting the local landscape. The landscape is a continuously reworked palimpsest, a witness to history, and identity building, a trigger to memory and the space for emotional and religious engagement.


The title of this presentation comes from the comments made about my fieldsite by a census taker in 1931. He was despairing at ‘those inhabitants of the swampy forestland along the Eastern frontier, without any defined sense of ethnic identity who describe themselves as “tutejszy” meaning “local” or “from here”’ but he was concerned particularly with the ‘ethnicity’ of the Eastern Orthodox population. In this panel I want to discuss the experience of the minority Eastern Orthodox population on the Eastern borders of Poland. ​In doing this I will be using what Sarah Green (2005)​ has described as the ordinariness and ambiguity of borderland towns to explore how one group can be made peripheral through everyday actions.

18:30-19:00: Ashwani Sharma (University of East London)

Dr. Sharma is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London, whose research is focused on race, globalization, psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory, world cinema, diasporic media, visual art, music and digital culture.

Dr. Sharma is the co-editor of darkmatter and is also the co-editor of the Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music. He is currently working on a collection of essays: ‘Global Media Culture post 9/1 and British Asian Popular Culture.”


The mutations of contemporary communication capitalism are reconfiguring notions of centre/periphery, inside/outside, subject/object, self/other, past/future, material/immaterial, west/non-west, whiteness/blackness. This talk focuses on black cultures incorporation into the workings of a ‘post-racial’ media that fetishes, abstracts and exploits difference, marginality and otherness. I consider how the ‘grammar of (racial) suffering’ is coded and ‘traded’ in the spectacle and circuits of paranoid info-capitalism and global empire.  I speculate on the possibilities of the aesthetics of the ‘black radical tradition’ as critique, and in reimagining contemporary futurity and the fugitive subjectivity of resistance.

19:00 – 19:30 Prof. Marianne Franklin (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Prof. Marianne Franklin has a background in History, Music, and Politics. Her past and current research addresses: digital publics; power, resistance and the Internet; ICTs for Development and Internet Governance debates; diasporas, everyday life, and the web; transnational social movements online and on the ground; music, culture, and politics.

Co-Chair of the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition at the UN Internet Governance Forum, Dr. Franklin has also held office in other international associations; on the International Communications Section Executive and as Chair of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of the International Studies Association. She is member of the international editorial board of Information, Communication and Society, the International Feminist Journal of Politics, and Review of Policy Research. Editor of the Key Thinkers: Past and Present series in Information, Communication, and Society 2006-2011, she was one of the founding co-editors of the RIPE Series in Global Political Economy. Her latest book is Digital Dilemmas; Power, Resistance and the Internet.


This presentation looks at the virtual, web-mediated, dimensions of peripheries in internet dependent societies. In the same period that has seen the rise of the internet the levels of homelessness around the world have also increased. Yet despite no small amount of prejudice about whether the internet is relevant, or useful to homeless folk, individuals and organizations advocating on their behalf have been active online since the outset albeit in an uneven way under difficult conditions. Once seen as peripheral to homelessness issues, individuals, community organizations, and advocacy networks are now making fuller use of the internet to provide services, support, and a platform to generate content by, and for those in this situation and for whom not being web-savvy enough or having access exacerbates their exclusion from the rights and benefits of citizenship today in real life and in cyberspace. This talk, taken from a chapter in Digital Dilemmas (Franklin, OUP 2013), reviews fieldwork with a New York street paper and emerging online networks a decade ago with recent research into how street papers, as print media that provides an outlet and source of income for homeless writers and vendors, face up to the challenges of digital publishing and sales to their ability to fulfil this mission. It does so by addressing whether Spivak’s much cited question, “can the subaltern speak?” applies to the online environment and, in that light, how those “digital natives” of today experiencing homelessness use the internet to find a room and a voice of their own online.

19:30 – 20:00 Panel Discussion

20:00 – 20: 30 Audience Q & A

20:30 – 22:00 Wine Reception

– organized by Emma Duester and Kareena Coelho; this event is funded by the MeCSSA PGN network and Radical Media Forum-


 Directions: From Goldsmiths Library or main building (Richard Hoggart Building): walk down Lewisham Way until you reach the next crossroads. You would have passed the Old Haberdasher pub on your right and crossed St. Donnat’s Rd to get there. When you reach the crossroad of Lewisham Way with Shardeloes Rd, turn right on Shardeloes Rd and walk down for about 30 m. Surrey House is the entire building on your left hand side, facing Lewisham Way but the main entry is on Shardeloes Rd.



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