Elevate Difference

Reviews by Alicia Izharuddin

Alicia Izharuddin

Alicia Izharuddin is a PhD student in Gender and Southeast Asian studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where she studies the role of religion in film-making and popular culture. During her free time, she runs, plays classical piano, and makes clothes. She blogs at Cycads.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

There is something quite redemptive about the 2010 edition of Ntozake Shange's experimental “choreo-poem,” For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf, which is published as a tie-in to Tyler Perry's underwhelming film adaptation, For Colored Girls.

Orgasm Inc.

The orgasm. Feminists laud it, good lovers work hard to give it, pharmaceutical companies make it a business model. The inability to experience an orgasm is thought to be as devastating as the inability to delight in the joy of wine, sunrise, spring flowers, and other wonderment. But this is hardly an overstatement. Last week in London, I had the sheer privilege of attending a hugely popular talk by a doyenne of second wave feminism, Shere Hite.

The Material of Knowledge: Feminist Disclosures

This is a book for the post post-modernist thinker. Written by professor of political science, Susan Hekman, The Material of Knowledge: Feminist Disclosures seeks to alleviate the theorist's conundrum with the material consequences in the events of natural disaster and destruction. Many theorists today are curiously silent on tsunamis, terrorist attacks, and earthquakes and Hekman sees this as a problem of post-modern thinking.

The Rey Chow Reader

Not many theorists would re-imagine Jane Eyre as a Maoist. However, postcolonial thinker Rey Chow does and with great aplomb. Furthermore, it's not in the context of English literature in which Chow invokes the fictional heroine, but rather the issue of Orientalism in today's academia. According to Chow, the Maoist Jane Eyre is a romantic and a self-styled victim that is embodied in the non-native scholar of East Asian studies who bemoans the loss of cultural “authenticity” in an increasingly globalised world.

Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology

Body 2 Body is the product of Malaysia’s young, hip and well-connected who’ve banded together to compile a collection of short stories and essays on living la vida non-normative.


For those familiar with women’s “lifestyle” magazines, the call to be “sexy” in some way or another is not new. We women need to have “sexy” everything: attitude, legs, skin, armpits, you name it. So pervasive is this message that I’m surprised that no one has spontaneously combusted from sexual arousal at the sight of a women’s magazine devotee.

Privilege: A Reader

A historian once said that the more one can know about something, the more you can control it. Michel Foucault was specifically talking about the control of psychiatric patients, prison inmates, and people's sex lives, but we can certainly extend his thoughts to a plethora of other examples.

Women of Color and Feminism

If many postmodern feminists would have it, colour or “race” wouldn't be of primary concern in theorising oppression; a woman would be seen as much more than her race, class, and sexuality. In other words, every woman's experience of oppression is nuanced, different.

The Mosque in Morgantown

Reading the official synopsis of The Mosque in Morgantown, I quickly got the impression that it was a documentary film that revolved around the battle between journalist-activist Asra Nomani and “the extremists” in her hometown Morgantown, West Virginia.

Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society

Institutional racism: we all know it exists, yet many deny it does. In this book, Sherene Razack, author of Looking White People in the Eye, edits a set of deeply disturbing accounts of racially-motivated public policies and resultant public consciousness in North America.


Nesrine Malik’s scathing review of the ITV drama Compulsion got me thinking a lot more about modern day adaptations of pre-twentieth century literary works featuring ethnic Indian actors.

Walking the Precipice: Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan

A deluge of books on Islamic fundamentalism had swamped the world's bookshelves following the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Some 100 books and 5,600 articles were written on the subject, many focussing on the lives of Afghan women under Taliban rule.

He Likes Guys

As a member of my college cinema club, I would show a film a couple of nights every month. Usually, the featured movie would be preceded by a surprise short film—nothing too long, but always something entertaining. Recently, I showed "Laundromat" by Edward Gunawan from a collection of acclaimed gay short films, He Likes Guys, to my unsuspecting audience.