This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Caroline Faria from The University of Texas at Austin. The title of her talk will be,"It's my day...and I want it big!": neoliberal globalization and the rise and rise of an East African wedding industry.
Caroline Faria is a feminist political geographer working on gender, nationalism and globalization in East Africa. Through a feminist and postcolonial lens, she examines how the nation is bounded, reproduced and contested in the performances of gendered bodies and the interplay between nationalism and globalization in this process. Her current work focuses on the politics of beauty, following the production, distribution and consumption of beauty products from Dubai to Kampala and onto the emerging markets in the newly independent republic of South Sudan. Via a feminist commodity chain analysis, she explores the gendered, racialized and nationalized notions of fashion and beauty in the region, and the contradictory ways in which the foreign, the modern and the cosmopolitan are both celebrated and worried over in this industry.