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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.132

Failed Journeys of the Self and Gendered Absences


  • Maryam TAFAKORY

Primary authors


Performing in a site where my body is forbidden for being female was not a new territory in my work. I was on my way to Ūrāmān Takht in Kurdistan- a few kilometers from Iraq border- filming Darwish-men (Sufis) in a Pir-Shaliar ceremony, through the lens of a female filmmaker entering a space where women are not permitted. This time, I had everything planned so precise that 'failing' never occurred to me, and so it happened. I was in tears feeling as if I lost a child for whom I am not allowed to attend the funeral. This was after all, my PhD submission film. I was guided out and into the women’s room in the basement. I sat on the floor, hiding my camera in my bag, a woman placed a cup of tea in front of me. Seeing my watery eyes, she asked if it was a family member that I lost. I remained silent, ashamed of my tears for a research failure where women have gathered, grieving the loss of their fathers. Unaware that I was about to witness a secret ritual performed by Darwish-women. Had I known my failure would result in unveiling a concealed performance for decades, I would have planned to fail much earlier.