IV MAP-FGM International Seminar: FGM/C: From medicine to critical anthropology

International Day against Violence against Women: MAP-FGM video at the University
At University

On the 24 and 25 November 2017 the forth and last seminar of the MAP-FGM project had been held at the Department of Political Science of the Roma Tre University. Titled “FGM/C: From Medicine to Critical anthropology”, this event gathered more than 25 speakers from all over the world (researchers, professionals and activists) who shared their knowledge and expertise on FGM/C at the presence of around 250 participants (students, doctors, researchers, NGOs and women’s shelters staff, etc.) and inspiring discussions took place. The website https://mapfgmrome.wordpress.com/ gives access to the main information about the seminar and its speakers.

The seminar has been opened by the institutional representatives of Roma Tre (L. Chiappetta Cajola, as Vice-Rector, and M. Siclari, as Vice-Director of the Dept. of Political Science) and its Committee for Equal Opportunities (P. Gallo), together with the coordinators of the project, M. Thill for the URJC, M. Fusaschi and G. Cavatorta for Roma Tre.

The first session, Gender Studies and Public Anthropology, challenged in a very innovative way the understanding of how both local socio-cultural gender relationships and the bio-politics on the gendered (migrant) bodies articulate with the reproduction of the practices of FGM/C. F. Bimbi analyzed the proceedings of the Italian Law on FGM/C from a feminist and intersectional perspective; G. Coene discussed the proposals of considering male circumcision as an harmful practice; S. Johnsdotter investigated the emergence of movements that advocate genital integrity and children rights; I. M. Hidayana presented his research in Indonesia on “female circumcision” and discussed the state ambiguities on this issue, also considering the rising of religious fundamentalism. G. Rebucini, proposed to widen the discussion on FGM/C accounting for the biomedical treatments on the genitals of intersex people.

In the afternoon, a focus on Rwanda has been proposed during the session Gukuna, about a controversial modification”. M. Fusaschi presented her research on a practice of extensive modification of women’s genitals that could be considered as a IV type FGM/C, discussing the aporias on a such kind of categorization. Then the documentary Sacred Water (2016) has been projected and a video presentation with the filmmaker O. Jourdain followed.

In the session on “Biomedical Paradigm and Critical Anthropology”, the social and political stakes of medicalization has been investigated, considering different places. A. Andro, proposed a genealogy of how FGM/C became a globalized biopolitical issue; M. Villani, presented the findings of her research in France on a local hospital providing free clitoral repair surgery to migrant women; R. Falcao, focused on Senegal and explored the reasons why claims for social change concerning FGM/C aren’t always shared within practicing communities; I. Sougueh Guedi, presented the results of a survey realized in 2015 in Djibouti on the multiple layers of resistance to the abandonment of all practices of FGM/C. C. Carvalho, underlined the importance of considering the individual social-self, along with the social body and its body politic in understanding local biomedical practices on FGM/C.

The next day, the session Political Stakes. Insights from UE and the world has been a unique occasion to engage in a reflexive analysis on grassroots movement and public policies on FGM/C, that is at several levels (NGOs, ONU institutions, states). E. Ayuk, discussed the difficulties for Cameroon in dealing with migrations from neighboring countries in which FGM are practiced; B. Pomeranzi outlined the rising of the grassroots feminist transnational movement of African and European women and underlined the need for laws and policies that do not foster racism; C. Caldera, presented the history of the NGO AIDOS, and discussed the pros and cons in using anthropology for elaborating and implementing a fully transcultural approach in the field; O. H. Abdulcadir & L. Catania discussed the reasons for having proposed, as gynecologists, an alternative rite in Italy; J.L. Amselle, analyzed how representations of sexualities and FGM/C became, in Mali, an issue for political struggle; F. Pompeo, critically discussed the tensions between diversity and universalist aspirations which are at stake in welfare services and public policies.

The seminar ended with a closing ceremony: M. Thill (URJC), E. Leye (VUB), A. Kaplan (Wassu Foundation), M. Pellicciari (Celli Foundation), C. Carvalho (ISCTE) and M. Fusaschi (University of Roma Tre) had a finally discussion on the remarkable results of the MAP-FGM Project.