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It's the getting there that counts!

Rebecca Farnum

PhD Student, Department of Geography, King's College London.


Becca is an interdisciplinary geek who loves everything to do with food, water, the Middle East, and justice. The American is more likely to be found on a plane or train than in her room and undertook her first international expedition without her parents at age 14. An avid lover of teaching and learning, Becca works with Norfolk County Council Outdoor Education and The Brilliant Club to share her passions.

Talk summary:

Over the last seven years of her time at various universities, Becca has spent a total of about six months in the Middle East, trotting between countries like Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Kuwait, Jordan, and Turkey. Her visits have included cheers of “Obama! Obama! America! Obama!" in Cairo’s outdoor markets after the democracy speech of 2009, international pickup games of football on the streets of the West Bank, and scuba diving in the Gulf. They’ve also included evacuations to bomb shelters during the 2014 war in Gaza, three-hour security interviews at borders, and cultural restrictions on clothing and physical activity. This talk will consider the challenges – and joys – of spending time in cultures generally misunderstood and overly stereotyped in Western media and research. Using stories from her time in the field, Becca will reflect on ‘meta methodology’ issues, such as how to respectfully approach differing moralities, gender norms, or understandings of law and justice without losing one’s own identity or being untrue to personal values. Contemplating what it means to be intrepid, she’ll attempt to de-mystify the Middle East even as she encourages the re-mystification of the familiar.

More about the speaker:

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