Our Team…


We are the new Birkbeck Institute Interns. Together, we will be working with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities (BIH), the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) and Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS) and across the departments at Birkbeck to coordinate events, publish blogs and bring together the annual Birkbeck Graduate Conference, which is organised by the Birkbeck Institute

We are especially looking forward to the Graduate Conference which forms the centre piece of our internship. We will be overseeing the conference, which will be held on 8-9 June 2018, from beginning to end: coming up with the conference theme (will be out soon), disseminating the call for papers and ensuring that graduates from across Birkbeck have the opportunity to participate in and meaningfully engage with the two day event. We are currently recruiting for our Working Party to help organize the conference. If you a current PhD student at Birkbeck and are interested in joining please email bisr@bbk.ac.uk.

There are many other ways for Graduate Students to become involved in the activities of the Institutes:

So that you can become better acquainted with us, below are brief introductions of who we are and what we are working on at Birkbeck.

Haroon Forde

I am in my first year of a research degree, having arrived at Birkbeck with a background in education and international development. Through my work experience I spent a lot of time working in Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA and I would say that has been a big influence on my decision to become a research student and my current subject area.

Based in the department of geography and under the supervision of Dr Karen Wells, my research is a qualitative study about the migration of boys and young men from rural areas of Sudan to religious schools in the country’s centre, evaluating the role of indigenous pedagogy as a binary opposite to modern pedagogy in Sudan. The study also hopes to explore the socioeconomic factors that lead these students to choose indigenous education in an ever-changing climate.

This term, I have taken over as editor of the BIH blog and would encourage people to read it, as it provides really good insight into what takes place at conferences and seminars here. It’s also a really good opportunity for students to give feedback about seminars and lectures and so I would urge everyone to get involved by contributing to the blog.

Pauline Suwanban

Also new to Birkbeck, joining the Institutes is an invaluable opportunity for me to become fully integrated in its diverse and active community. Based in the department of English, my research is on sexual violence as pleasurable reading for women by women writers. My focus is on English romance novels that grew in popularity after WW1, especially the sub-genre of Orientalist/ Desert romances. I will question the recurring motifs of captivity, enforced obedience and rape of the heroine by a male ‘Other’.

The three pillars of the institutes: Humanities, Social Research and Gender & Sexuality form waves of engagement and multi-disciplinary discussions which I am keen to act as ambassador via event planning and digital media. Throughout this internship, I will be peering through a feminist lens, shining a light on issues such as gendered violence and the body.

Devin Frank

Like Haroon and Pauline I am a new research student to Birkbeck. I studied a Masters degree at Birkbeck a few years back and am now excited to re-engage with the college. My research is based out of the law department. I will be looking at concepts related to ethics and morality; asking what the law can tell us about the moral and ethical standards we hold public officials too.

What I have noticed about Birkbeck is that although there are fantastic projects occurring across departments, it can sometimes be difficult in engage with ideas that fall outside our focus area. For me, this internship is the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap. Not only do I want to engage with the research community outside the law school, but I hope to assist other students in exploring new ideas and discover what other disciplines can tell us about our own research. 

Azzam Al-Kassir

I am a second-year PhD student in the Department of Politics. My research interests are centred on Middle East politics and modern political Islamic thought. I am particularly interested in the processes of framing in social movements, focusing on Salafi-Jihadism.

My PhD thesis is entitled Continuity and Change in the Thought and Praxis of Salafi-Jihadism: Reading into the writings of the ideologues and strategists of al-Qaeda in Syria. I am developing a new paradigm that views the recent transformations in Islamic discourse and activism as embodiments of rational processes of ideational alignment and operational adaptation directed towards identifiable and time bound objectives.

I have a background in organising and publicising events and am very pleased to be working with the Institutes this year to help organise seminars and workshops that are meant to bring to light important social issues and promote new, innovative, and more inclusive methodologies. Also, I very much look forward to taking part in the preparation of the annual Graduate Conference.

The blog is run by the Interns at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.


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