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Silvia Binenti


Silvia Binenti

PhD Candidate in Human Geography
AHRC Scholar (LAHP)


Department of Geography
University College London

North-West Wing
Gower Street


Working title: “Mundane objects of popular geopolitics: an ethnography of activist t-shirts

Many large e-commerce sites now have a section dedicated to activist products – clothing in particular – signalling a growing market for “wearing” political views and communicating politically through purposefully designed garments and accessories. In this context, public opinion on geopolitical matters can be seen as an animated battleground of competing objects. Through a multi-sited ethnography, my research aims to study the popular geopolitics of commodities of everyday activism – such as t-shirts with political prints – and explore their ability to shape political affect, discourse and action.


Research Questions

Q.1 How is political merchandise designed, produced, distributed and used?

Q.2 How does political merchandise act and interact to form and perform political subjectivities?

Q.3 To what extent do these objects modulate affect, discourse and action?

Q.4 How does the circulation of these objects claim, resemiotise and politicise bodies, private and public spaces?

Q.5 How does political merchandise contribute to our understanding of assemblages of popular geopolitics and everyday resistance?



Prof. Jason Dittmer

Dr James Kneale

Academic Background


PhD in Human Geography
University College London (2020 - ongoing)
Working title: “Mundane objects of popular geopolitics: an ethnography of activist t-shirts

MPhil in Social Anthropology
University of Cambridge, St John’s College (2019 - 2020)
Final dissertation: "Shopping in the time of COVID-19: Consumption and panic buying in Italian and English supermarkets"

MSc in Global Migration
University College London (2016 - 2017)
Final dissertation: “Branding Remembrance: The Symbolic and Material Imaginaries of the Poppy” (available here)

BSc in Political Economy
King’s College London (2012 - 2015)
Final dissertation: “The social performance of the border between ‘us’ and ‘them’: The case study of Lampedusa”



2020-2023: AHRC PhD Studentship (full award) – London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP)

Oct 2020: Elected to MPhil Scholarship for distinguished academic performance in MPhil examinations – St. John's College, University of Cambridge

Oct 2020: Awarded MPhil Prize for distinguished academic performance in MPhil examinations – St. John's College, University of Cambridge

2019-2020: Departmental Bursary Award to cover fees and/or maintenance costs – Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Feb 2016: Santander Graduate Scholarship 2016 as part of the SME Internship Programme with King's College London – Santander

Jan-May 2014: Study Abroad Scholarship to spend one semester at the National University of Singapore – King’s College London

Sept 2013: College on Wheels Project in partnership with the University of Delhi – King’s College London



Binenti, S. (under review) Grocery shopping in the time of COVID-19: National(ist) and gendered material cultures of care.

Binenti, S. (2021) Rescuing the intimate but awkward relationship between cosmopolitanism and urban anthropology. Yearbook in Cosmopolitan Studies. Vol. 5 No 1. Available at:

De Amicis, L., Binenti, S., Maciel Cardoso, F., Gracia-Lázaro, C., Sánchez, Á., & Moreno, Y. (2020). Understanding drivers when investing for impact: An experimental study. Palgrave Communications, 6(1), 86.



Binenti, S. (2018). The Poppy Brand: Fitting National Remembrance in a Shopping Cart. Online article published by Veterans for Peace UK. Available at:

Binenti, S. (2017). Branding Remembrance: The Symbolic and Material Imaginaries of the Poppy. UCL Migration Research Unit (MRU) Working Papers, N. 2018/7. Available at:


Conferences & Talks


PhD Upgrade Conference, UCL Department of Geography – Online, Jun 2021:

Presented my PhD project in front of PGRs and members of staff.

Memories of the Future International Conference, School of Advanced Study (SAS) London, Mar 2019:

Selected as one of the conference’s main speakers following a competitive call for papers.

Public Conference 2018, Veterans for Peace UK London, Nov 2018:

Invited as a main speaker to the organisation’s annual conference to present my research article on the ‘consumption’ of national remembrance.

Between Borders, 6th Annual Conference – UCL Migration Unit – London, Jun 2017:

Chaired panel on "Border Spatialities" and helped organise a photography exhibition on in-between spaces of refuge.



Interdisciplinary PhD Research Panel, UCL Connect.ed Society – Online, Feb 2021:

Shared my academic journey and PhD experience with current students (especially first-gen) interested in pursuing a PhD.

Lightning Graduate Talks, St John’s College, University of Cambridge – Cambridge (UK), Jan 2020:

Presented my PhD research proposal in front of members of the college.



    - UCL PGTA: ANTH0212 Comprehending COVID-19: A Pandemic in Social and Historical Perspective.

    - Postgraduate Mentor: UCL Connect.ed Society (Jan-June 2021).



    - From research student to undergraduate teacher. Moving into research-led training – LAHP (Jan 2021).

    - Storytelling skills for teachers and presenters – UCL (Nov 2020)

    - Arena One: Gateway Workshop – UCL (Oct 2020).