This blog contains my commentary and reflections on contemporary discourse relating to identity and place. I am specifically interested in identity in relationship to conflict, and how informal regimes of authority influence identity during social upheaval. The specific question I would like to answer with my research is how and why identities transform, ossify or become subsumed during and after violence or societal dissonance. In other words, since the root of many regional conflicts are usually attributed to competing identities, I want to know what effect in turn does conflict have on those identities? An ancillary question I have is how shadow structures facilitate or frustrate these changes.
I am also interested in exploring which characteristics of identities, particularly those involved in seemingly intractable or violent conflicts, have been or are being emphasized. These questions have led me to consider identity in the context of gender and sexuality in Islamic societies, as well as in the context of land, agriculture and natural resources, and how connections to the land or control of resources contribute to changes or continuities in identities. In terms of methodology, I prefer to explore how aspects of both qualitative and quantitative designs can contribute to more wholesome studies. By considering the benefits of both methods, I believe that dual methodology could reduce information dissonance, particularly in multi-ethnic, -religious and -cultural contexts.
I have generally narrowed my area of study to contemporary issues in the Middle East and Islamic communities in Africa (particularly the Sudanese regions, Egypt and the Congo), countries which are negotiating between nationalism, modernity and the legacy of colonialism. I am especially interested in multicultural and multi-religious societies (specifically Muslim and Christian communities), and communities who have strong connections to land and root their idea of their ‘self’ to a specific place.
My research and commentary on the topics of culture and belonging, and on the methods involved in their study, are posted on the page under the Identity tab. My research and commentaries notions of bodies and gender in Islamic culture are posted under the Bodies and Gender tab, and topics relating to land and agriculture are posted under the Place tab. The Home page contains short commentaries and review on contemporary discourse relating to these fields.
On a side note, I apologize for the current state of the blog. I am in the process of transferring and consolidating all of my work from previous blog spaces. I hope to have everything reposted by the end of February.
A humorous example of how information and communications created by one culture fail to translate to others, supporting the need for a cultural variable in ICT: http://glantz.net/blog/campaigns-that-failed-to-translate