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Ashjan Ajour

I am a Teaching Fellow in Sociology convening a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules. I completed my PhD in sociology at Goldsmiths in 2019 and my MA in gender studies and development at Birzeit University in 2013. My research interests and teaching experience are situated in political sociology; gender studies; feminist theories and movements; political subjectivity and social movements; postcolonial theory; decolonisation and global indigenous politics including politics of Middle East and Israel-Palestine conflict.

Prior to living and entering the world of academia in London, I lived and worked in Palestine, serving local development NGOs in a management capacity. I have more than 10 years’ experience working for international development agencies. I managed programs in my work with the German Development Organisation (GIZ), Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief (SOIR) and with other local and international organisations in Palestine. This extensive experience on the ground in a complex political environment within a conflict area, brings life to political theory. I have learned to apply this experience in my teaching and in my research where I can ground abstract theory to a real world setting. For example, the development and use of case studies in my teaching, where students would be exposed to the actual practices of international development agencies and be able to assess the application of political theories.

Teaching

I taught in the United Kingdom and Palestine at Goldsmiths and Birzeit university. In 2103, I taught at the Women’s Studies Institute two modules: Introduction to Feminist Theories and Woman in Arab Society. Between 2016-2019, I worked as a Graduate Trainee Tutor and Associate Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths and taught the core modules Culture and Society.

My experience in teaching has made me excited about the possibilities for expanding teaching and research opportunities in feminist theories and non-western politics from Global South. I had the opportunity to critically teach postcolonial and transitional gender studies that decolonise gender. I believe that students should be introduced not only to mainstream theories and liberal Eurocentric ideas but also to more marginalised approaches, such as postcolonial, decolonial, and anti-racist approaches which challenge the racialised hierarchies.

Research

‘Reclaiming Humanity: The formation of political subjectivity in the experience of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons’

My PhD research project in sociology at Goldsmiths engages anthropologically with the lived experience and political subjectivity of Palestinian hunger strikers in the Israeli prison system. Drawing on extensive in-depth interviews and ethnographically-informed methods, it provides narrative and analytical insights into embodied resistance. The thesis shows that the hunger strike as not only a political strategy for liberation but also entails a kind of limit experience. It sheds light on the singularity of the participants’ view of the hunger strike as moving beyond the political into a realm of ‘spiritualisation’ of struggle which profoundly defines their politics of resistance.

My doctorate required an inter-disciplinary approach combining politics, sociology, history, anthropology and feminist theories. Gender is central to my research and feminist ethnography was applied in my engagement with the complex concept of the lived experience. I used feminist decolonising methodology in analysing resistance subjectivity. These research methods are sensitive to gender and greatly assisted in the interviewing of former women prisoners.

Supervisors: Alberto Toscano (Main) and Mariam Motamedi Fraser (Second)

Examiners: Elena Loizidou (Birkbeck) and Goldie Osuri (University of Warwick)

Grade: Pass the thesis without any corrections

Funding: The British Council (HESPAL)

My MA dissertation entitled “Representations of Power and Knowledge in the Discourse of Liberal Women’s Organizations”, which was published in 2014, examined the liberal discourses adopted by Palestinian women’s organizations and the ways in which feminism is shaped by colonialism and nationalism in a colonial setting. It is a critical analysis of feminist liberal discourse in the Women’s NGOs in that I used theoretical perspectives from post-colonial feminism.

Publications
  • Ajour, 2020.'The Spiritualisation of Politics and Instrumentalisation of Body in Resistance:Conceptualising Hunger Striking Subjectivity' accepted by Cultural Politics - Duke University Press.(Forthcoming).
  • Ajour, 2019. 'Reclaiming Humanity: The Formation of Political Subjectivity in the Experience of Palestinian Hunger Strikers in Israeli prisons'. Book proposal is under review by Palgrave.
  • Ajour, 2017 'The Transgressive Practices of Revolutionary Subjectivity: The Hunger Strike in Occupied Palestine', in Tropos 4(1) – Journal for the Society of Comparative Cultural Inquiry.
  • Ajour, 2014 'The Representations of Power and Knowledge in the Discourse of Liberal Women’s Organizations in the Post Oslo period'. Muwatin (The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy), Ramallah, Palestine.
  • This was based on my MA dissertation and thanks to a Scholarship Award from Muwatin.
  • Ajour, and et al, 2013 'Needs Assessment Study of Marginalized Female Adolescents (15-19 years old)'. Mercy Crops & Riyada Consulting Firm.
Selected Conferences
  • Presenting a paper in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from 20-24 November, 2019, Homeland, Body and Palestinian Subjectivity: On hunger strikes in Israeli prisons” on the panel Ethnographies of Palestinian Futures.
  • The American Anthropological Association has awarded me the Palestine Israel Fellowship Fund for Travel (PIFFT).
  • Presenting a paper at SOAS Annual Palestine Research Seminar (February 2016).
  • Presented a paper in “Everyday Resistance: Countering Domination via Non-violent Means” Conference, held at the University of Coventry, 22 and 23rd of June, 2018.
  • Acted as a discussant of a paper in the 16th Annual NYLON Conference in Berlin. March 23 – 25, 2018, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
  • Presented a paper in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) conference Anthropology Matters! in Washington DC from November 29 to December 3, 2017.
  • Presented a paper at BRISMES Annual Conference 2017: Movement and Migration in the Middle East: People and Ideas in Flux. Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh 5 – 7 July 2017. I participated in a panel on Rethinking Justice, Rights, Resistance and Solidarity in Israel-Palestine.
  • Presenting a paper in Performance and performativity conference at Leeds University on 15th June. 2016 on dispossession and subjectivation.
  • Presentation at SOAS/Center for Gender studies in Gender and the colonial conference workshops (May 2014).

 

 

 

 

Dr Asjhan Ajour

Email: Ashjan dot Ajour at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room: E0.18