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School of Geography

Shabna Begum


PhD student

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3363
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 218


Research Interests:
Migration and 'home-making; housing struggles and the politics of un/belonging in the city; squatting as social movement
PhD: Stay and Fight: How a Bengali squatters movement claimed 'home' and belonging in the East End of London, in the 1970s.
My research focuses on a Bengali squatters movements that developed in Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets in the 1970s. The movement involving hundreds of Bengali families and the formation of the Bengali Housing Action Group (BHAG) has largely escaped academic examination. The research seeks to address that silence and contends that BHAG provides a historically grounded case study of the intersection of three discreet bodies of work: competing claims about the politics of un/belonging in the context of transnational migration; discourse around spatial rights to city; and finally, social movements as vehicles for contestation. The research aims to make visible the dynamic interaction between these three discourses and to offer an analysis of those theoretical discussions closely embedded in the experience and reflections of the squatters.

Academic Background:

  • BA (Hons) Politics - SOAS
  • MA Sociology of Education (Distinction) - UCL (IOE)


  • Professor Kavita Datta School of Geography QMUL
  • Dr Olivia Sheringham School of Geography QMUL


  • QM Award