Identity & (Un)belonging: A Conversation with Lipika Pelham5 Mar 2021 – 14:00 - 15:30 GMT
About this Event
Join the Feminist Thinking Seminars for a discussion with Lipika Pelham on her latest book Passing: An Alternative History of Identity. Passing and our discussion will discuss themes of fluidity and transformation, touching upon the “sociopolitical identity problems facing many who are disempowered and marginalised owing to skin-colour, sexuality, gender, caste, class or religion”.
About the guest:
Lipika Pelham is an author and filmmaker. She worked in the BBC newsroom for over a decade, and has reported from the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Having made several award-winning documentary films, she now writes and produces independent programmes for the BBC. Lipika is the author of different books, such as “The Unlikely Settler: A Memoir”, “Jerusalem on the Amstel” and “Passing: an Alternative History of Identity”.
About the book:
“A slave woman in 1840s America dresses as a white, disabled man to escape to freedom, while a twenty-first-century black rights activist is ‘cancelled’ for denying her whiteness. A Victorian explorer disguises himself as a Muslim in Arabia’s forbidden holy city. A trans man claiming to have been assigned male at birth is exposed and murdered by bigots in 1993. Today, Japanese untouchables leave home and change their name.
All of them have ‘passed’, performing or claiming an identity that society hasn’t assigned or recognised as theirs. For as long as we’ve drawn lines describing ourselves and each other, people have naturally fallen or deliberately stepped between them. What do their stories—in life and in art—tell us about the changing meanings of identity? About our need for labels, despite their obvious limitations?”