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Centre for South Asian Studies: Blog



The Asylum Monologues

The so-called “European Refugee Crisis” has renewed a debate not on whether but on how much to control and limit immigration to Europe; in the process reducing the issue to one of numbers. But why do people cross borders and leave behind their home countries and loved ones?

What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in Scotland? What new boundaries do migrants face, once they arrive in a country that is foreign to them – and treats them as foreigners? These questions were being creatively examined through a performance of the Asylum Monologues, followed by a panel discussion on Monday 13th March 2017.

Ice&Fire, a theatre company that explores human rights issues through performance, created the first script of the Asylum Monologues in 2006. Since then the company has recorded and performed various testimonies of asylum seekers, aimed at raising awareness of asylum seekers’ experiences by sharing their stories with the communities to which they now belong. The three Ice&Fire performers took turns in telling the stories of a Kurdish unaccompanied minor, a young Pakistani man, and an Iranian woman and their experiences in Scotland. These narrations were candid and often bittersweet, taking the audience on…

Posted on 24 Apr 2017 10:39am

The Rafe Bullick Travel Scholarship: Two Months at Seva Mandir, Udaipur

During my Masters year at The University of Edinburgh studying Environment and Development I completed a number of modules that focused on South Asia and India in particular.

These modules included; Roots of Poverty and Development in South Asia and Gender and Development. Furthermore, having visited India in 2013, I had a keen interest in this region. For this reason, the opportunity to apply for the Rafe Bullick Travel Scholarship to be an intern at Seva Mandir a development NGO based in Udaipur, India, was particularly appealing. After finishing my dissertation in August I flew out to Udaipur to volunteer with Seva Mandir for two months before returning to Edinburgh for my graduation in November.

This Travel Scholarship administered through the Centre of South Asian Studies (CSAS) at the University of Edinburgh forms part of the Rafe Bullick Memorial Foundation. This foundation was set up in memory of Rafe Bullick, an University of Edinburgh graduate, who was closely associated with Seva Mandir. He regularly returned year upon year to volunteer and involve himself fully in work…

Posted on 22 Dec 2016 3:44pm

Academic freedom: "national security" threats in Turkey, India and the UK

Can the university be a space where academic freedom reigns while restrictions are increasingly threatening voices and lives outside its gates?

Or must spaces for politics be opened up on and off campus in order to address the invasion of national security (and capitalist) logics into the realms of open enquiry? On 27 October 2016, scholars and activists engaged these questions with a focus on the variable effects of the securitization of university space in Turkey, India and the UK.

A panel on Turkey included academics and students who have lost their jobs as a result of the broader crackdown on dissent following the failed coup in July. They highlighted the connections between increasing violence in the Kurdish regions of Turkey—which precipitated the “Academics for peace” petition that has been used as a pretext for dismissing many signatories from their posts—and the attempts of the state to impose controls on its critics. They asked if the focus on the plight of academics may mean that this violence recedes from…

Posted on 25 Nov 2016 9:42am

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