About the theme

Hands in the air representing the research theme Minority Identities: Rights and Representation at the University of Reading's Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The issue of minority rights engages insistent and enduring questions around ideas of justice, equality, social inclusion and cultural participation that animate both intellectual and public culture in the twenty-first century. This Research Theme explores the interface where issues of rights meet those of representation and thereby offers a timely opportunity for Arts and Humanities and Social Science Research to engage in multi-disciplinary projects that offer a productive exchange between intellectual enquiry and public policy agendas.

In a world which is undeniably globalised yet stubbornly unequal and politically volatile, the questions about who can make representation - who has the right to be seen or heard, to have a history and to represent one - become both intellectually challenging and a matter of serious social and cultural concern. There is a growing and urgent need to find critical and creative methods for representing and creating communities, peoples and nations that challenge the historical marginalisation of one group by another.

The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, with their interest in self-representation and their understanding of the affective power of expressive cultural forms, are increasingly seen as an important means of articulating social cohesion and imagining more progressive and fluid sites of identity and community. Unlike multicultural or diasporic paradigms, which tend to assume a coherent and stable ethnic or sexual or religious identity and grouping, the dialectic between rights and representation allows for the study of marginalisation to explore the more entangled, multiple and complex nature of contemporary identifications and attachments. It also foregrounds the role of culture in developing and disseminating rights-bearing discourses.

Marginalised peoples are often those who have migrated or have been displaced and therefore it follows that research in this area is frequently international and transnational in nature. In its focus on cross-cultural and outernational structures of encounter, expression and belonging, this theme examines belonging and questions of centre / periphery and home / unhomeliness on a global scale. Equally, it seeks to establish a strong local strand of research based on the representation and self-representation of marginalised and minority communities.

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  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Home Page

Special Collections

If you would like to know more about how the Special Collections of the University can extend your research into Rights and Representation, come along to the 'Rights and Representation in the Special Collections' event, later this term. 


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