Meeting the enemies: The ethics of discomfort in Deeyah Khan's 'White Right' and 'Jihad' Event as iCalendar

(Media and Communication, Politics and International Relations)

29 March 2019

1 - 2pm

Venue: Pat Hanan Room, Te Puna Reo / Cultures, Languages and Linguistics Building (207-501)

Dr Maria Flood | Keele University

This seminar will examine two films by human rights activist Deeyah Khan: White Right: Meeting the Enemy (2017) which follows Neo-Nazi and so-called ‘alt-right’ groups in the US, and Jihad: A Story of the Others (2015), about reformed radical Islamists based in the UK.

The recognition of the ‘human vulnerabilities’ (Khan 2017) of her subjects, encompassing both emotional fragilities and social marginality, is at the heart of Khan’s filmmaking practice. This talk will highlight a kind of emotional epistephilia in her work as well as what I call an ‘ethics of discomfort,’ an affect that can lead to transformative political and emotional exchanges. In the final section, I will consider audience positionality, highlighting both the potential and the limits of discomfort when confronting an apparently intransigent ideological adversary.

Dr Maria Flood is a lecturer in film at Keele University. Her PhD from the University of Cambridge focused on histories of violence in French and Algerian cinema and she was awarded a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cornell University in 2014. She has published widely on Francophone and world cinema and political violence. She is currently working on a British Academy funded project on the representation of radicalisation, affect and gender in contemporary world cinema.