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Identity: An Alternative History

Lipika Pelham

28/02/2021 6:45 pm
Virtual Event, Available on KPlayer

A slave woman in 1840s America dresses as a white, disabled man to escape to freedom; 170 years later a black rights activist is ‘cancelled’ for denying her whiteness. From Pope Joan to Parasite, as long as we’ve drawn lines describing ourselves and each other, people have naturally fallen or deliberately stepped between them. In Passing: An Alternative History of Identity, award-winning BBC journalist and filmmaker Lipika Pelham reflects on tales of fluidity and transformation, including her own as a Bengali-Indian-Bangladeshi with a Hindu-Muslim background, who now speaks Hebrew after her eight years in Jerusalem.

In Association with The Rabin Chair Forum, George Washington University

Click here to buy Passing by Lipika Pelham from our independent bookselling partners Blackwell’s

Lipika Pelham


Lipika Pelham worked in the BBC newsroom for over a decade, and has reported from the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Having made several award-winning documentary films, she now writes and produces independent programmes for the BBC. Lipika is the author of Jerusalem on the Amstel, also published by Hurst, and The Unlikely Settler.

Matthew Stadlen


Matthew Stadlen is a broadcaster, writer and regular How To Academy host. Previously he was an LBC presenter, wrote The Matthew Stadlen Interview for the Telegraph and presented the TV series Five Minutes With and On The Road With for the BBC. He is a birdwatcher and photographer, and his book How To See Birds is out now. Twitter: @matthewstadlen

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