'(S)extremism': who we are

Lisa DowningProfessor Lisa Downing

Lisa is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality and a specialist in interdisciplinary sexuality and gender studies, critical theory, and the history of diagnostic and cultural concepts. Her enduring research interest is in questions of exceptionality, difficulty, and (ab)normality as they are represented and understood in cultural, medical, and political fields. Her most recent work has been on those figures who embody what she has termed ‘identity category violations’ – including female killers, female extremists, and the ‘selfish women’ of her most recent book title. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she works especially closely with colleagues in psychiatry and the other psy sciences and engages in training, collaboration, and publications with individuals and teams in these fields, and with creative practitioners.

Her recent publications include: The Cambridge Introduction to Michel Foucault (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters (co-authored with Libby Saxton, Routledge: 2009), The Subject of Murder: Gender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer (University of Chicago Press, 2013), Fuckology: Critical Essays on John Money’s Diagnostic Concepts (co-authored with Iain Morland and Nikki Sullivan, University of Chicago Press, 2015), and After Foucault (as editor, Cambridge University Press, 2018). Her next book project will be a short manifesto entitled Against Affect.

Academic profile

Navine G. Khan-DossosNavine G. Khan-Dossos 

Navine G. Khan-Dossos is a visual artist working between London and Athens. Her interests include Orientalism in the digital realm, geometry as information and decoration, image calibration, and Aniconism in contemporary culture. She has developed a form of geometric abstraction that merges the traditional Aniconism of Islamic art with the algorithmic nature of the interconnected world we live in. This is not the formal abstraction we understand from the western history of art, but something essentially informational, and committed to investigation and communication. Khan-Dossos is a painter, and uses this medium and its history to ask fundamental questions about the ways in which we see, understand, and, crucially, represent the world around us. Her work suggests that contrary to the mediatic impulses of the present, we must not rely upon, nor constantly reproduce, the figurative language of television, online media, videos, and the endlessly circulating images that shape our shared imagination of reality.


Other colleagues and PG students from Modern Languages and across the University of Birmingham are engaged with aspects of the project. These include: