Exploring the Malaysian Space in the UK: An Ethnography of Malaysian Muslim Female Students in Manchester

Ireena Nasiha Ibnu // Migration Studies // April 25th 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133

The abstract is as follows:

For many years, Manchester has been a second home for thousands of Malaysian students. However, there is little information about what happens to them when coming to the UK. Building on nine months fieldwork with Malaysian students’ community in Manchester, this presentation explores the effort made by the Malaysian students abroad in sustaining the Malaysian space. Using the ethnography approach, I argue that the Malaysian students’ community in Manchester sustains the Malaysian space through the reciprocity, which they perceived as a social responsibility as being a Malay abroad. Thus, the presentation will demonstrate the practices made by the committee members and explore what are the challenges faced by them. As this research mainly focusing on the Malaysian Muslim female students, I am also interested to unpack how they negotiate the space and what are the elements that formed their experiences.

Short Biography:

Ireena Nasiha Ibnu, is a PhD student in Migration Studies at Global Studies, University of Sussex. Before starting her PhD degree, Ireena completed a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication at the National University of Malaysia (UKM) in Malaysia. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the transnational migration of Malaysian Muslim female students in the UK.

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Stylish clothes and affective trade: Vernacular perspectives on commodity circulation between Iran and Turkey

Yunlong Jia // Social Anthropology // April 18th 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133


Building on fieldwork with different groups of Iranian people, this presentation explores the transnational trading activities between Turkey and Iran. Trade and commodities have long been the interests of anthropological researches. Trading activities are not only important components of peoples’ working lives, they also actively shape the social and political structures of the physical worlds, as well as mediate between various realms which invest life with meaning. In particular, I take trade and commodities as a departing point to investigate into the worldly desire, ethnic affinity and affection associated with the circulation of goods and people. By doing so, I hope to shed light on the imaginative and migratory worlds, in which people construct their everyday life. 


Yunlong Jia is studying for a PhD in Social Anthropology. Before joining Sussex, Yunlong studied Anthropology and the Middle East at SOAS, University of London, and Persian Language and Literature in Beijing. His research currently focuses on the diverse experiences of Iranian migrants, refugees and traders in Turkey.

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Green gold: the politics of small-scale mining reform

Andrew Hook // Department of Human Geography/Institute of Development Studies // 11th April 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133Abstract:

In the context of growing attention on the environmental impacts of small-scale gold mining, particularly related to deforestation and mercury pollution, there has been an increase in policy attention on reforming the sector. The policy frameworks for dealing with the perceived problems have generally centred on ‘formalization’- style approaches according to which a combination of private property rights and supporting regulatory and technological frameworks will secure a more ‘responsible’ form of mining. This presentation will examine Guyana’s experiences in developing and implementing such policies. It will discuss some of the political dimensions that are often overlooked or over-simplified in policy approaches, even though they arguably have a strong bearing on both policy success and on the lives and livelihoods of poorer land users. These dimensions relate to contested local understandings of environmental change, unresolved contentiousness among poorer miners and indigenous groups over the structural basis of formal titles, and inherent ‘informality’ amidst intense resource competition, state fragility and remote geographies.



Andrew Hook is an ESRC- funded doctoral researcher in the Department of Human Geography. He spent one year conducting fieldwork in Guyana for this research project, having previously worked there as an ODI Fellow and a UNDP consultant.

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Global Studies PhD Lecture Series 2018 Spring timetable

Here is the full timetable for the Global Studies PhD Lecture Series Spring 2018:


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The Possibilities and Limitations of Discourses on Stress and Burnout among Aid Workers in Kenya

2016-08-26 13.19.36Gemma Houldey // Development Studies // 21st March 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
It is widely recognised that humanitarian workers are likely to suffer from severe forms of stress. A survey of aid workers conducted by the Guardian newspaper in 2015 found that approximately twenty per cent of their 754 self-selected respondents had suffered from PTSD and panic attacks, whilst forty four per cent suffered from depression. Academic studies addressing the health and wellbeing of aid workers have referred to the increasing instances of burnout in both national and international staff working in emergency settings (Cardozo et al., 2005; Eriksson et al., 2009). However these sorts of findings often give insufficient attention to the diversity of the aid sector; the fact that, for instance, approximately ninety per cent of its professionals are nationals from the global south. Using the examples of national and international aid workers I spoke to during a year of field research in Kenya, I will highlight that an aid worker’s identity, including their professional identity in the workplace and the socio-cultural context in which they operate, has implications for the way they conceptualise, articulate and respond to emotional challenges in their lives.
Gemma Houldey conducted one year of field research in Kenya for her Development Studies Phd, investigating how identity shapes the way aid workers understand and manage stress. She has worked in the aid sector for 15 years, for international NGOs including Christian Aid, War on Want and Amnesty International, and for national NGOs in Uganda and Palestine.
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Teaching and learning in contemporary India: neoliberal subjectivities and relational ontologies

Rich Thornton // Anthropology // 21st February //1-2pm // Arts C133

On February 21st 2018, the new Global Studies lecture series started with a lecture from Rich Thornton.

The abstract is as follows:

This lecture offers a summary of how the neoliberalisation of education in India is affecting both teacher attitudes towards their practice, and their ideas as to how they can learn from the children they teach. It first provides an overview of how education has been neoliberalised in India by focusing on low-fee private schools, education ‘start-ups’, and teacher training methods. It then outlines how neoliberal subjectivities are generated in new, rapidly-trained teachers, and what subjectification occurs in these new networks of epistemology and power. The lecture concludes by questioning how theories of relational ontology (the idea that existence is about relations and not entities) might help us understand how schooling can shift from within via a focus on the relationships between teachers and children, and between the children themselves.

Short Biography:

Rich Thornton is currently in the first year of his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He has spent a large part of the last two years researching and volunteering with arts and education projects in Delhi, India, and is now being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to complete his PhD.  He also holds an MSc in Cultural Anthropology from Utrecht University. Before rejoining academia in 2015, he worked as a theatre maker, journalist and arts practitioner but mainly gained an income from working in cafes in London …

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International Institutions as the Battlefields: The EU-US Rivalry over a WTO’s Agreement on Competition Policy


Hammed Roohani // International Relations // Wednesday 3rd May 2017 // 1-3pm // Arts C133

Hammed’s study examines the capacity of the WTO for fostering cooperation between the EU and the US for the Agreement on Competition Policy. Given the successful cooperation of the two in other international arrangements, the research sets out to assess the WTO’s impact – as the immediate underlying institution on which the interactions unfolded – over terms of cooperation in 1997-2004.

The study accommodates its inquiry by questioning the WTO’s ability in curbing enforcement risks.  Using the negotiation’s documents as the main sources of data, the empirical findings of the study suggest that the WTO had a substantial impact on the quality of the interactions. As expected from an international institution, the WTO did provide a workable solution for cheating concerns, nevertheless, that solution in its own right failed to ensure cooperation between the two sides. The findings indicate that to remain relevant to intentional economic cooperation, the WTO must compete with other fora by improvising a wider space for possible enforcement solutions. The study also suggests that a future research agenda over the international arrangements for competition policy must be informed by a revised understanding of the two rational theories of interstate cooperation, i.e. Neoliberal Institutionalism and Neorealism so much so that the two are not substitutes but the former is subordinated to the latter.


Hammed is a research student and AT in SPRU. His research interests lie at the wider intersection of international institutions/organizations, states and enterprises where they meet to create, develop and revise the global governing infrastructures of international production, trade and investment. His current study addresses international cooperation for the institutions of competition policy in multilateral, regional and bilateral arrangements.

Before starting a PhD, Hammed had done an MA in Politics and International Relations in University of Warwick, an MBA on International Marketing and an Advanced Degree in Multilateral Trade (WTO) Negotiations.

He currently teaches the PG Research Methods in BMEC.

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