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Mon, 12 Oct


Online Seminar

Faith, secular attachments and outside belongings

Tiger Atmospheres and Geographies of Belonging presented by Dr Michele Lobo and Professor Anna Hickey-Moody Hosted by the TASA Emotions and Affect Thematic Group.

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Faith, secular attachments and outside belongings
Faith, secular attachments and outside belongings

Time & Location

12 Oct 2020, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm AEDT

Online Seminar

About the event

Faith, secular attachments and outside belongings

Presenter: Professor Anna Hickey-Moody

In her 1996 book titled Outside Belongings, Eslpeth Probyn characterises attachment to peripheries and surfaces, in contrast to identification with nationality and/or dominant models of heterosexual domestic life. Following Probyn, I suggest that the edges and surfaces of communities, organisations, and belief systems are critically engaged spaces, and that they are needed more than ever with the continued global rise of the far-right. I consider the politics of “becoming other”, of life at the edges of social formations, faith and race, outside belongings in/as family and discuss the significance, and complexity of such attachments. While online communities can span countries and continents, many communities are more spatially situated, anchored in the places and institutions that support everyday lives, such as schools, shops, workplaces, leisure and sports facilities, and religious institutions, including churches, mosques, and temples. Research into the practices that enable affective attachments to community shows that it is the everyday spaces and personal encounters that can destabilise prejudice and stereotyping and allow for a sense of belonging to emerge (Askins, 2015, 2016; Grzymala-Kazlowska, 2018; Williamson, 2016). Faith plays an important part in this process, not just because faith communities are important in the everyday lives of many of my research participants, but also because faith in others and a belief in the importance of diversity motivates many participant’s engagements with people from ethnic and cultural backgrounds different to their own. Much has changed since Probyn published Outside Belongings (1996), with a vote for marriage equality not just in Australia but many other countries, notably the Republic of Ireland, and the accompanying rise and celebration of ‘rainbow families’. Outside Belongings came back into my mind in two very different fieldwork settings in East London and Adelaide when discussing social and community values with two different families consisting of white Christian lesbian mothers and a black son. The feelings of outside belonging that organise family and attachment were articulated by these mothers in terms of nationality, class, race, gender, and family, in insightful ways that resonated across the two fieldwork sites.


Anna Hickey-Moody is a Professor of Media and Communication at RMIT University and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow 2017-2021. Anna has held teaching, research and leadership positions at The University of Sydney, Goldsmiths, Monash and UniSA.

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