‘Modern Mobility & Identity’ – ASMCF/SSFH PG Study Day
Session 2 of the last parallel session of the day addressed the question of identity in various ways. First with Bryony Leighton (Oxford), who explored the development of prosthetic design throughout the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries with her paper named ‘You’re made of metal: Where does the Fle Foot Cheetah running blade sit within the narratives of disabled identity?’. She particularly emphasised the change of perception of disabled people, thanks to athletes like Anne-Marie Le Fur, who won gold in the T44 100m in London 2012 Paralympics. The success and exposure given to Paralympic athletes motivated young people with disabilities to register for sports after the Paralympics of 2012 and 2016. Clíona Hensey (NUI Galway) explored the francophone writer Zahia Rahmani’s troubled identity in ‘”Au désert j’ai dü me rendre”: The desert as hybrid space of mobility and immobility in Zahia Rahmani’s Musulman: Roman’. Hensey developed the paradoxes faced by the writer: being called musulman but not feeling like one; being rejected in France and also in Algeria as she is the daughter of a harki. Going to the desert and living in the margins of society was then a way, for Zahia Rahmani to return to her origins. Finally, with ‘Observations from the Twitterverse: Lay portrayals of the standard on Francophone Twitter’, Emma Humphries (Nottingham) focused on non-standard language and showed how grammar errors and misspelled words trigger a condescension that can go up to bullying from Twitter users. This tendency, which can be seen in many social media, is often aggravated by the anonymity granted by the internet, which leads people to believe they can write and tweet everything they want.
Anais Pedron, Queen Mary University of London