EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 08 Feb 2023 | 17:00–18:30

From Carceral Geographies to Racialized Borders: A Queer Feminist Ethnography

Razan Ghazzawi (EUME Fellow 2022/23), Chair: Himmat Zoubi (EUME Fellow 2018-23)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

This postdoctoral research project is an extension of my PhD thesis, which is an ethnographic and autoethnographic exploration of the sexual politics around checkpoints, prisons, and asylum regimes, since the 2011 uprising. It specifically looks at political violence and political subjectivity on the everyday and by the ‘commons,’ beyond the activist, public figures, and revolutionary subjectivities, from a queer of color perspective. This postdoctoral research project brings Germany and the question of ‘borders’ to the conversation about the intersection of queerness, political subjectivity, and the carcerality of the Syrian and Lebanese states. In the doctoral thesis, I argued that checkpoints, prisons, and asylum as sites that function not only as sites of technologies of carcerality in Syria and Lebanon, but also as sites of political subject-formation against the state, the military, prison, and asylum policies. My postdoctoral research project, therefore, interrogates the intersection between race and asylum in Germany, and how self-identified LGBTQ artists, migrants, students, and refugees of color in Germany conceptualize race and racialization based on their everyday lived experiences in Germany. The talk will briefly discuss the doctoral thesis and a subsection on the sex workers’ prison strike in Adraa prison, and then it will introduce the postdoctoral project. It will end with reflections on the state of fieldwork and obstacles in doing fieldwork as a newcomer in Berlin.

Razan Ghazzawi (they/she) is a postdoctoral EUME Fellow at the Forum Transegionale Studien in the academic year 2022/23. They hold an MA in Gender, Sexuality, and the Body from the University of Leeds, UK, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Balamand University in Lebanon. They also received their PhD in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Sussex, Brighton. In their thesis “Pedagogies of Everyday Queer Protests: Rethinking Political Subjectivity and Violence in Syria and Lebanon 2011-2021,” they examine everyday queer and trans encounters at checkpoints, prisons, and queer asylum in the contexts of “war on terror” and the “refugee crisis.” They are a former prisoner from the Syrian state and an award winner of Frontline Defender in 2012.

Himmat Zoubi (Zu'bi) is a Palestinian researcher and feminist activist. She received her PhD in Sociology from Ben-Gurion University and holds two Master's degrees, one in Criminology and another in Gender Studies. Her work focuses on cities and urbanization in colonial context. Alongside her current project, “Re-urbanizing Palestine, Cultural Spaces and Palestinian Urbanity”, Zoubi is working on her book project “De-Urbanizing Palestine: Transforming Hayfa with Haifa (1948-1953)” about replacing Hayfa (the term Hayfa is used to distinguish between pre-1948 Hayfa and post-occupation Haifa) with Haifa during a transition period between the colonial British Mandate and the Israeli State. She published several book chapters and articles on gender, cities and settler colonialism, memory and oral history, indigenous knowledge and resistance. oubi was a EUME Fellow during the academic years 2018-21. In 2021/22 she was a postdoctoral fellow of the International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies (IRGAC) at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, associated with The Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at Freie Universität and EUME. In the academic year 2022/23, she remains a EUME Fellow.

Please note that the Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. We kindly ask for prior registration via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speaker(s), the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available on SoundCloud.

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