Silvia Hassouna MA (Maastricht), PhD (Aberystwyth)
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (ESRC)
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
Silvia Hassouna is Associate Lecturer in Human Geography in the department of Geography and Earth Sciences of Aberystwyth University. Her research interests lie within the study of national identity, heritage, histories of the nation-state, political imaginations and possible futures.
Silvia's PhD research was funded by an AberDoc Scholarship and examines different representational strategies developed by Palestinian cultural practitioners, i.e. curators, artists, museum directors, tour guides and stakeholders, as part of a shift in national narratives that has occurred since the 1990s. The project identifies museums as key sites of emerging identity configurations within shifting structures of colonialism and development. The thesis is based on ethnographic research conducted between 2018 and 2019 with curators, artists, tour guides, museum directors, staff and volunteers working at newly opened museums in the urban centres of Bethlehem and Ramallah. It provides an empirical and interpretative account of the current proliferation of cultural initiatives within Palestinian civil society, which neither identify with popular culture nor with official discourses of memorialisation.
Silvia holds a master's degree in Globalisation and Development Studies from Maastricht University, the Netherlands; as part of the degree, she developed a research focus on civil society organisations in contested borders and conflict areas and conducted her fieldwork in Jerusalem.
She obtained her undergraduate degree in Intercultural Communication from University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy.
Hassouna, S. (2017). Book Review: When Humans Become Migrants, Antropologia Rivista Semestrale, Vol 4(1).
Hassouna, S. (2016). Spaces for Dialogue in a Segregated Landscape, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 34(1), 57-82, doi: 10.1002/crq.
Corno, F., Lal, R., & Hassouna, S. (2016). Building bridges: Enabling intercultural competences within double degree programs. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology, 2016, 398-405.
Hassouna, S. (2015). An Assessment of Dialogue-Based Initiatives in Light of the Anti-Normalization Criticisms and Mobility Restrictions, Young Voices from Jerusalem, Palestine-Israel Journal, 21(2), pp. 52-59.
Living with Global Change (GS11000)
Researching People and Place (GS20510)
Place and Identity (GS14220)
Climate Change: impacts, perceptions, adaptations (GS10810)
Key Concepts in Geography (GGM3120).
I completed my MA degree in Globalisation and Development Studies at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and my PhD at Aberystwyth University.
My research interests focus on three interconnected strands:
(i) Critical approaches to the study of nationalism and national identity, with particular focus on the role of museums and archives in the articulation of national identities.
(ii) Cultural and artistic approaches to geopolitics. My particular concerns are in the production of imaginative geographies through creative practices, including exhibitions and visual culture.
(iii) Postcolonial and decolonial critiques to geographical knowledge, colonialism and settler colonialism. My current work focuses on environmental practices that challenge colonial constructions of nature in Palestine. This builds on previous research with Palestinian activists and researchers on art-ecology collaborations (funded by RGS-IBG Frederick Soddy Award in 2019).
I teach across a broad range of subjects in human geography and sociology. I have contributed to the first and second year curriculum with introductory modules, including:
Concepts for geographers, concepts for sociologists, place and identity, qualitative research methods, research design, living with global change and the politics of climate change.
At the individual and small group level, I have tutored first and second year students and led dissertation tutorials.
My current research project "Towards Hopeful Geographical Imaginations: creative alternatives and decolonial futures beyond the nation-state" is funded through the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. During the fellowship I aim to consolidate my PhD research contributions by focusing on cultural initiatives as central sites of prefigurative politics, where new possibilities and progressive futures are imagined and enacted.
My project explores environmental and cultural practices in Bethlehem and Ramallah, West Bank, that challenge dominant colonial and geopolitical discourses. The PhD draws upon extensive fieldwork in Israel/Palestine, using participant observation at museums exhibitions, art festivals and guided walks with interviews with artists, curators, cultural activists and volunteers. My PhD thesis demonstrated how creative interventions, which draw upon personal stories and ecological activism, refuse the abstracting and homogenising logics of the nation-state model and nurture alternative visions for the future.
I am a member of the Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group.