Course Race, space and affect- critical inquires into processes of othering, racialization and non-belonging


Course leader: Iram Khawaja

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Arts

Course fee: 0.00 DKK

Status: Course is finished

Semester: Spring 2024

Application deadline: 05/02/2024

Cancellation deadline: 05/02/2024

Course type: Blended learning

Start date: 04/04/2024


All students are placed on a waiting list until we reach application deadline.


The application deadline will close the 5 February as we have almost reached the amount of applicants for the course.

In this course we will introduce central theoretical and methodological perspectives on othering, belonging and racialization specifically looking into how body, space, affect and race intersect and are entangled in specific educational contexts. As Nirmal Puwar (2004) reminds us; 
“Social spaces are not blank and open for any body to occupy. Over time, through processes of historical sedimentation, certain types of bodies are designated as being the “natural” occupants of specific spaces…. Some bodies have the right to belong in certain locations, while others are marked out as trespassers who are in accordance with how both spaces and bodies are imagined, politically, historically and conceptually circumscribed as being “out of place.” (p. 51) 

Space and race are interlocked and mutually constitutive in processes of differentiation. From the demarcation, stratification, and planning of specific neighborhoods and areas as white, brown or Black (e.g. Lipsitz, 2007, Neely & Samura 2011) to the more subtle affective experiences of feeling more or less welcome and at ease in specific contexts and spaces within e.g. education or work places (Puwar 2004, Ahmed 2012, Berisha 2023), bodies are more less easily able to pass through or be stopped. The latter, the affective experiences of being stopped are often what becomes telling of the spatialized racial structures of a given space. In Sara Ahmed’s analysis of academic space and non-belonging (2012) she speaks about arrivals – how bodies arrive in certain spaces and how certain affects stick to certain racialized, gendered bodies. Affects that encompass surprise, shame, and anger. This relates to how bodies become telling of certain spaces, and how relations of belonging to particular somewheres emerge through (1) proximity/distance to the bodily norm constructed in and through a given space, and (2) how bodies differentially become (in)visible in relation to the (3) affective, epistemic, and ontological logics of the given space. When one becomes visible as a disruption that demands explanation, you are not assumed to be someone who naturally belong to that space (Khawaja 2011). 

In this course we wish to delve into how some bodies, groups, positions and spaces are marked as othered and how these processes and demarcations are intwined with racialization, affect and embodied knowledge making.
We will examine: 
1. How it is possible to understand and conceptualize processes of othering, racialization and non-belonging as entangled with how spaces, bodies and affects (are allowed to) come into being?  
2. How it is possible to investigate and interrograte these processes methodologically? Do we need need different forms of methods, sensibilities and approaches to grasp the often ephemeral, affective, embodied and spatialized processes of othering and racialization?       

Drawing on a combination of post- and decolonial theory, affect theory, critical race theory, queer and posthumanist feminist theory, we will focus on the theoretical perspectives, methodological potentials and analytical scopes of these perspectives in carving out new ways of understanding and researching what it means to be othered. This entails looking into e.g. autobiographical methods, archiving, hauntology and memory work.    


Day 1. 
9.00-10.00     Welcome and introduction
10.00-12.00   Nirmal Puwar- Space, body, affect and carrying as method (presentation and discussion in groups) 
12.00-13.00   Lunch 
13.00-15.00   Amani Hassani-  Mapping racialisation and exploring spatial narratives (presentation and discussion in groups)
15.00-16.00   Interviews and writing (the students interview each other) and write down their reflections 

Day 2. 
9.00-9.15      Introduction 
9.15-11.00    Iram Khawaja- Memory work- an example of an affective methodology to capture the embodied, racialized and spatialized processes of becoming (presentation and exercise) Nirmal Puwar- example of carrying as method. Amani Hassani- example of spatial tours. 
11.00-12.00  Reflections on methodological approaches - Nirmal Puwar and Amani Hassani 
12.00-13.00  Lunch 
13.00-15.45  Feedback sessions on students' reflections on how space, body, affect and otherness come into play in their research projects.  
15.45-16.00  Closing remarks 


The students will gain insight into 
1. Central conceptualizations of otherness, racialization and belonging 
2. Analytical potentials of looking into ways in which race, space and affect intersect in specific historical and institutional contexts 
3. Methodological reflections on investigating spatialized, affective and embodied processes of racialization and othering  


Ahmed, S. (2012) On being included- Racism and diversity in institutional life, London, Duke University Press.
Berisha, T. (2023) Racialized Spatial Attachments – Researcher Positionality and Access in a Danish Suburban High School. Kvinder, Køn og Forskning. 23(2).
Ivinson Gabrielle, Renold E. J. (2021) What more do bodies know? Moving with the gendered affects of place. Body & Society 27(1): 85–112.
Hassani, A. (2023). Convivial narratives as agency: Middle-class Muslims evading racialisation in Copenhagen. The Sociological Review.
Hvenegård-Lassen, K. og Staunæs, D. (2021). “Shooting the elephant in the (prayer)room: Politics of moods, racial hauntologies and idiomatic diffractions”.  V. Bozalek, M. Zembylas, S. Motata og D. Holscher (red.), Higher Education Hauntologies: Living with Ghosts for a Justice-to-Come. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge: 50-62
Khawaja, I., Staunæs, D., & Vertelyte, M. (2023). How Racial Matter Comes to Matter: Memory Work, Animacy and Childhood Dolls. Body and Society, 29(3), 29-54.
Khawaja Iram (2022) Memory work as engaged critical pedagogy: creating collaborative spaces for reflections on racialisation, privilege and whiteness. Nordic Journal of Social Research 13(1): 94–107.
Lipsitz, G. (2007) The racialization of space and the spatialization of race: Theorizing the Hidden Architecture of Landscape. Landscape Journal, vol. 26, 1-14.
Neely, B. & Samura, M. (2011) Social geographies of race: connecting race and space, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34:11, 1933-1952.
Puwar, Nirmal. 2004. Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place. Berg.
Puwar Nirmal (2021) Carrying as method: listening to bodies as archives. Body & Society 27(1): 3–26.
Springgay Sarah E., Truman Stephanie E. (2017) A transmaterial approach to walking methodologies: embodiment, affect, and a sonic art performance. Body & Society 23(4): 27–58.

Target group:

PhD students both at early and late stages of their fellowship who are interested in and engaged with questions related to how space, body and affect are entangled in processes of inclusion/exclusion and othering.  


A combination of lectures, plenum discussions, group work and feedback sessions.  


Nirmal Puwar, Professor, Goldsmiths College, UK, Email:
Amani Hassani, Early career fellow, Brunel University London, UK. Email:
Iram Khawaja, associate professor, DPU, AU, DK, Email:  


Campus Emdrup, room D165

Course dates:

  • 04 April 2024 09:00 - 16:00
  • 05 April 2024 09:00 - 16:00