Yesterday, I presented my research project on a seminar at the Swedish Research Institute here in Istanbul (SRI). I have been at SRI for two months now where I have been writing articles based on my project on anti-Muslim racism, gender and art. One of the texts that I presented yesterday focuses on how a group of young Muslim girls uses spoken word poetry in order to formulate and express their subjectivity. Forums as Ortens bästa poet (Best poet of the suburb) served as important platforms during the last decade for several Muslim girls to share their stories through poetry. Their poems revolve around topics such as migration, inbetweenness, racism, and patriarchy but also reflections on love, friendship, grief and faith. The study is based on in-depth interviews with a group of girls about their poetry and the themes they choose to write about.
The Spoken word genre originates from the black arts movement in the USA and has historically served as a way to highlight the experiences of marginalized groups with a focus on themes such as class and racism. Over the years, the genre has also become popular outside the American context, especially among LGBTQ groups and diaspora communities around the world.
I ended yesterday’s presentation by showing this beautiful poem by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, a spoken word poet from the UK.