Claiming the Somali- a two part panel discussion School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) 6.30pm-10pm | £6.00 (Somali Week Festival in partnership with SOAS, Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and UCL) Panel 1 – Dealing with diversity in the Somali culture
Chair: Dr. Idil Osman This evening will be dedicated to exploring themes surrounding the voices, history, culture of Somali society in the Horn and the Diaspora. Social and political movements have emerged from the Horn that show multiple claims to power, diverse social relations and in some cases changing landscapes. In a two-part discussion this session will address some enduring issues.
The first panel will provide perspectives on diversity in the Somali culture, approaches, meanings and practices including minority rights. In an attempt to bridge gaps in understanding the panel of experts will highlight these diversities with a focus on the impact the Diaspora has in exacerbating or promoting tolerance in Somali societies. Prof. Cawo Abdi has recently published a book on Somali Diaspora groups in South Africa, USA and the United Arab Emirates. She’s particularly interested in the issue of human rights, especially from a gender perspective. Dr. Rasheed Farrah’s doctoral research analyses the experiences of the Gabooye, Yibir and Tumaal minority groups with emphasis on their experiences of facing discrimination in education. Abdirahman ‘Guri Barwaaqo’ is a connoisseur of Somali language, art critic, and currently the head of the Department of Culture and Language at Hargeysa University.
Among his books are Magac Bilaashoo ma Baxo (Nicknames Don’t Lie), Mahaadhooyinkii Gaarriye (a biography of Gaarriye) and Hal-bixinta Ereyada Kumbuyutarka (a book on Somali terminology for technical items). Dr. Idil Osman holds a PhD from Cardiff University where she also teaches journalism, media and cultural studies. Her thesis examined Diaspora media involvement in the Somali conflict. She is the author of the recently published article The Somali Media, Diaspora Communities and the Concept of Conflict Re-creation. Idil is also the co-author of Somalia to Europe; Stories of the Somali Diaspora, a book that chronicles the civil war experiences of Somali Europeans and their subsequent migration to the UK. Prior to commencing her PhD, she worked as a journalist for the BBC and the Voice of America, specialising in stories related to the Horn of Africa. Panel 2 – Somali studies at a crossroads Chair: Mohammed Abdullahi Artan
The second panel will explore Somali studies in academia and highlight the ongoing marginalisation of Somali scholars and activists in knowledge production. Emerging scholars are contending with the power and privilege of Western epistemes and those that perpetuate the exclusion and marginalisation of Somali voices. With many Somali Diaspora academics engaging more and more with producing knowledge about and for Somali studies as a discipline, what does this mean for the future of Somali studies? Will emerging Somali academic/scholars be able to engage with non-Somali scholars as well as those living in the Horn to challenge hierarchies? How can Somali studies as a discipline work to include as many Somali voices as possible and strengthen diversity in order to foster debate within Somali communities everywhere?
Safia Aidid is a PhD candidate at the History Faculty, Harvard University. She is researching post-World War II Somali anticolonial nationalism and the Ethiopian empire, and was responsible for initiating the debate on #CadaanStudies on Twitter and other media outlets.
Ridwan Osman is a PhD Candidate in the Education Department, University of Cambridge researching civic education in Somaliland. Dr. Siham Rayale undertook her PhD at SOAS, University of London where she conducted research on women’s political participation in Somaliland between 1991-2012.
Mohammed Abdullahi Artan is the founder of two businesses; Nuur Media Productions, a video production company, and Looh Press, a publishing company which distributes books written in various languages including; Somali, English and Arabic.