Public Lecture Series, 2013-14
Film-maker Zoe Mavroudi will introduce and screen her
film Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV Witch-Hunt (2013), 53 min.
Time: Monday, 24 February: 17.30-19.30
Venue: Kemmy Business School (KBG12), U Limerick
Ruins is a documentary about the shocking persecution and public
shaming of HIV-positive women in Greece, in the run-up to the country’s 2012
national elections. It tells the story of the criminalization of HIV-positive
women who were detained by the Greek police, forcibly tested, charged with a
felony, imprisoned and publicly exposed, when their mug shots and personal data
were published in the media.
The case received great publicity in Greece and caused an international outcry.
However no political figures or media opinion-makers were held accountable.
Ruins addresses this grim moment in Greek democracy; it includes exclusive
interviews with two of the HIV-positive women and two of their mothers, as well
as interviews with doctors, lawyers, journalists, academics and activists, who
campaigned for their release.
The documentary is directed by Zoe Mavroudi. Zoe’s theatre work has been
produced in the US and in Europe. Her screenplays have won awards and honors at
international festivals and contests, such as the Berlin Film Festival 2013 and
the Evolution International Film Festival 2012. Her award-winning screenplay
Safeword is currently under option in the US. For the London run of her solo
play Beauty is Prison-Time she received three Off West End Theatre Award
nominations in 2011, including for most promising new playwright and best female
performance. RUINS is her directorial debut. The documentary was funded by Union
Solidarity International and Unite the Union.
Dr Tracey Jensen
University of East London
Title: Thrifty mothers, skivers/strivers and the cultural politics
Time: Thursday, April 10 2014, 1pm
Venue: Foundation Building (F1030), U Limerick
The erosion of the universal welfare state and the post-war social contract
has continued at a brisk pace since the forming of the Coalition government, but
post-austerity these erosions are overlaid with a new moral imperative around
‘thrift’ and its virtues, embrace the challenge of ‘doing more with less’,
finding ways to live on, and thrive, in a time of increasing precarity and
contingency. ‘Thrift’ has been embraced, governmentally and individually, as a
moral orientation which can cure us of our profligacy and our spendthrift
habits. In particular it is women – and more specifically mothers – who are
compelled, invited and required to become the desirable thrifty subject.
Consequently the figures of failure, waste, excess and indiscipline are also
powerfully gendered - and held up as evidence of a bloated welfare state. This
lecture examines the ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant, 2011) of thrift, the futures it
tantalisingly promises, the consoling and constructed national nostalgias that
it animates and the pathologies it (re)circulates about the ‘wrong’ kind of
family consumption. In particular this paper explores the potency of gender in
both the re-invention of divisive moral categories of worth, and in popular
resistance to the austerity project.
Professor Nicola Mai
London Metropolitan University
Title: Queering Sexual Humanitarianism: Migration, Sex Work and (anti)Trafficking
Time: Thursday May 28. 19.00 -21.00
Venue: Charles Parsons Lecture, Theatre Main Building, U Limerick
Professor Nicola Mai will also screen his film Normal, which addresses
the complexity of migrants' trajectories within the global sex industry.
The social protection of vulnerable migrant groups has become a strategic border
between the West and the Rest of the world. Asylum and fundamental rights are
allocated on the basis of well-rehearsed politics of compassion, whose
credibility is assessed on the basis of the performance of stereotypical
victimhood scripts. Anti-trafficking moral panics and social interventions play
a strategic role within the deployment of these neoliberal governmentalities. By
criminalising the involvement of young female and male migrants in the sex
industry in terms of trafficking and exploitation, they enforce new biographical
borders and hierarchies of mobility. By engaging in the global sex industry
young migrant men and women challenge these borders and hierarchies because they
are able to afford, morally and economically, ‘abroad’ cosmopolitan
individualised lifestyles that are ambivalently queer in relation to established
sexual/gender roles ‘at home’. This complexity and fluidity is not recognized in
public debates and policies on the nexus between migration and the sex industry.
Doing so would mean recognising the shared conditions of increased
exploitability and fragmentation we all experience in neoliberal times, whether
we migrate or not, whether we sell sex or not.
Dr Róisín Ryan-Flood
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Director of the Centre for Intimate and
Sexual Citizenship (CISC) at the University of Essex.
Title: Silence and Secrecy in the Research Process'
Time: Tuesday 10 June 2014, 4pm
Ryan-Flood is the author of Lesbian Motherhood: Gender, Families and
Sexual Citizenship (Palgrave, 2009) and co-editor (with Rosalind Gill) of
Silence and Secrecy in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections (Routledge,
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