Prof. Dr. Parvati Nair

parvatiParvati Nair is the Founding Director of the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM). She is also Professor of Hispanic, Cultural and Migration Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, where she was formerly the Director of the Centre for the Study of Migration. She completed her undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies at the University of London. Her research is in the field of Cultural Studies, with a particular interest in the geopolitical and cultural contexts of the Hispanic world. Her research focus is on the fields of community, migration, displacement, marginality, ethnicity, gender and cultural memory. Much of her work has focused on these issues as represented in photography, film and music. Her first two books focused solely on Spain in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Her subsequent research has acquired a broader and more comparative focus. She is interested in studying questions of culture, identity, memory and narrative in terms of travel, translation and translocation. This necessarily involves aresearch methodology and focus that take into account globalization, mobility and migrancy as features of contemporary culture. Her preferred research methodology combines the theoretical analysis of cultural texts and media with ethnographic fieldwork. She has a keen interest in photography and music, especially with regard to the ways in which cultural and aesthetic representation provide inroads to knowledge and power for communities that are marginal, displaced or rendered migrant. She combines theoretical analysis on such cultural production with fieldwork. She is also the founder and Principal Editor of Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture. 

Books (single-authored)

A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastião Salgado, 2011, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

This is the first in-depth study of the work of Sebastião Salgado, widely considered the greatest documentary photographer of our time. This book offers detailed analyses of Salgado's best-known photo-essays on workers, landlessness and mass migrations, including his on-going project on nature photography. With thisproject, Salgado has turned his lens from human turmoil to those parts of the planet not yet ravaged by modernity. In interpreting the photographer's oeuvre, this book engages with broad questions of aesthetics, history, ethics and politics in documentary photography. Underpinning all of Salgado's major projects is a concern with displacement, exploitation and destruction---of people, communities, and land. Also notable is the force of his visual aesthetic. Salgado's images exalt reality, compelling viewers to look, to wonder and hence to envision the world otherwise.

Rumbo al norte: inmigración y movimientos culturales entre el Magreb y España, 2006, Barcelona: Edicions Bellaterra

Through reference to photography, film and ethnographic fieldwork, this book examines cultural overlaps and crossings that occur in the context of Moroccan immigration in Spain. Of relevance here are the long-standing connections and antagonisms that have shaped the history of the Straits of Gibraltar, which impacts on the perceptions and representations of Moroccans in contemporary Spanish culture and frames thecontexts that immigrants from the Maghreb must negotiate. This book considers questions of ethnicity, cultural and political crossings, urban space, memory and mobility through analyses of visual and other texts, ethnography and oral histories.

Configuring Community: Theories, Narratives and Practices of Community Identities in Contemporary Spain, 2004, London: Modern Humanities Research Association

This book focuses on the concept of community in Spain in the last two decades of the twentieth century, following the end of the dictatorship and the transition to democracy. Characteristic of this time were the abrupt refiguring of Spanish identity with an attendant focus on community, as opposed to nation, and the urgency of economic acceleration. Through reference to literature, music, film and photography, I argue that the notion of community itself becomes dislodged and mobilised from its traditional moorings in such contexts, rendered open-ended and contingent upon the larger context of Spain’s entry into Europe and the overriding context of globalization.

Books (co-edited)

Hispanic and Lusophone Women Filmmakers: Critical Discourses and Cinematic Practices, co-edited with Julian Gutiérrez-Albilla, Manchester University Press (in press, forthcoming on January 22nd 2013)

This volume offers the first comprehensive study of the work of female filmmakers from Hispanic and Lusophone cultures. The volume contains eighteen chapters written by contributors in Spain, Latin America and the United States, each on a specific filmmaker or group of filmmakers, and a substantial introduction that covers issues of gender, culture and the film industry. The volume is organized under the four thematic and theoretical sub-headings of Exile and Migration, History and Memory, Conflict and Violence, and Subjectivity.

Gender and Spanish Cinema, co-edited with Steven Marsh, 2004, Oxford: Berg Publishers

This volume examines gender as portrayed in various genres of Spanish cinema to uncover aspects of Spanish society and constructions of regional and national identity, as well as to analyse the ways in which gender interacts with ethnicity, class, politics and history. Topics considered also include nationalism, race, memory and psychoanalysis. Contributions come from leading academics in the United Kingdom, the US andSpain.

Chapters in edited books

'Displacing the hero: masculine ambivalence in the cinema of Luis García Berlanga' in Entertaining Ideologies: 100 Years of European Cinema, ed. D. Holmes,Manchester: Manchester University Press,June 2000

'Homing the Other: the Immigrant as New European in David Planell's Bazar in Beyond Boundaries, ed. Andy Hollis, Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, December 2000

'Elusive song: flamenco as field and negotiation among the gitanos in Córdoba prison', in Constructing Identity in Twentieth Century Spain: Theoretical debates and Narrative Practices, ed. Jo Labanyi, Oxford University Press, 2002

'Vocal In-roads: Flamenco, Orality and Postmodernity in Las 3000 Viviendas: Viejo Patio (EMI, 1999)' in Music, Culture, Identity, edited by Richard Young Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2002

'Border-Line Men: Gender, Place and Power in Representations of Moroccans in Recent Spanish Cinema' in Gender and Spanish Cinema edited by Parvati Nair and Steven Marsh, Oxford, Berg Publishers, 2004, 103-118

'Fotografía en torno al Estrecho,' in Dos siglos de imágenes de Andalucía edited by Alberto Egea, Sevilla, Centro de Estudios Andaluces, 2006

‘Voicing Risk: Displacement and Relocation in Spanish-Moroccan Raï' in Between the Local and the Global: Popular Music and National Identity edited by Ian Biddle and Vanessa Knights, London: Ashgate, 2007, 65-80

'Europe's "Last" Wall: Contiguity, Exchange and Heterotopia in Ceuta, the Confluence of Europe and North Africa" in Border Interrogations edited by Simon Doubleday and Benita Sampedro, Oxford, Berghahn Publishers, 2008, 15-41

'Trazar frontera: inmigración y movimientos culturales en España,' chapter in Irene Blásquez and Ángel Chueca (editors), Migraciones internacionales en el Mediterráneo y UE: un reto, 2009, p.11-21

'After-Images: Trauma, History and Connection in the Photography of Alfredo Jaar,' chapter in The Eyes of Gutete Emerita, 2010, edited by Pamela Prado, Santiago de Chile: Dirac Publishers, 63-78

‘Postcolonial Theories of Migration: Historicizing Displacement, Dissonance and Difference,’ in Immanuel Ness (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Global Human Migration (forthcoming in 2012, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell)

‘Reconfiguring the Rural: Fettered Geographies, Unsettled Histories and the Abyss of Alienation in Recent Socially Engaged Cinema from Spain,’ in Julian Guierrez-Albilla and Parvati Nair (eds)., Hispanic and Lusophone Women Filmmakers: Critical Discourses and Cinematic Practices (in press, Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming in 2012)

'Travelling Song: Music, Iteration and Translation in La leyenda del tiempo (The Legend of Time, Isaki Lacuesta, 2006)', in Rob Stone and Lisa Shaw (eds.), Screening Songs (forthcoming in 2012, Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Articles in refereed journals

'Between Being and Becoming: an ethnographic examination of border crossings in Alma gitana (Chus Gutiérrez, 1995)', Tesserae, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 5:2, December 1999, 173-188

‘Albums of No Return: Ethnicity, Displacement and Recognition in Photographs of Moroccan Immigrants in Spain', Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 1, March 2000, 59-73

'Straddling the personal and the public: elastic boundaries or a case-study of two gitana daughters of reknowned flamencos' in Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies, Spring 2001, 49-63

'In Modernity's Wake: transculturality, deterritorialization and the question of community in Lasflores de otro mundo', in Postscript, April 2002, 38-49

'Memory in Motion: Ethnicity, Hybridity and Globalization in Self-Photographs of Moroccan Immigrants in Spain', Journal of Romance Studies, Vol.3.1, 2003, 73-86

'Moor-Veiled Matters: the hijab as troubling interrogative of the relation between the West and Islam', new formations, no. 51, winter 2003-2004, 39-49

'The Regard of the Gypsy: Ramón Zabalza's gitano photographs and the visual challenge to the stereotype' in Prácticas de poder y estrategias de resistencia en la España democrática, edited by Óscar Cornago Bernal, special issue of Iberoamericana, 24.4, 2006

'Voicing Risk: migration, transgression and relocation in Spanish/Moroccan raï' in Interventions, Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, Summer 2006, 67-82

'Autography from the Margins,' Hispanic Research Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2008, 181-190

‘Islamigration or the Other Within: Testing the Limits of European Democracy and Tolerance’, in Revista de Derecho Migratorio y Extranjería, Volume 21, July 2009, 11-20

‘The Body Politic of Dissent: the Paperless and the Indignant,’ Citizenship Studies, Volume 16, Numbers 5-6, 1 August 2012 , pp. 783-792

‘The Refuge of Photography: Perspectives on Asylum, Citizenship and Belonging in London’ in Moving Worlds, special issue edited by David Farrier, Autumn 2012.

‘Beirut: City of Lines,’ Wasafiri, forthcoming in March 2013

Refereed Web Articles

‘Fire Under Plastic: immigration, or the open wounds of late capitalism’

‘After-images: Trauma, History and Connection in the Work of Alfredo Jaar’

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