“(In)Credible Subjects: NGOs, Attorneys, and Permissible LGBT Asylum Seeker Identities” published in PoLAR

Very proud to have my research published in the Political and Legal Anthropology Review. The journal is doing an impressive job responding to current trends and events without long delay, and is making a great deal of material Open Access.

Full citation: McGuirk, S. (2018), (In)credible Subjects: NGOs, Attorneys, and Permissible LGBT Asylum Seeker Identities. PoLAR, 41: 4-18. doi:10.1111/plar.12250

Please get in touch if you would like to read a copy of the article, or would like to share your thoughts on it.

New co-authored chapter: “Queer Migration Activisms ‘After Marriage'”


Proud to see our co-authored, academic-activist collaboration “Centering Intersectional Politics: Queer migration activisms ‘after marriage'” included in this brilliant book – one in a three-volume series exploring queer politics, experience, and activism in post-‘marriage equality’ USA. Co-authored with my continuously brilliant colleagues/co-conspirators Jara Carrington, Claudia Cojocaru, Jamila Hammami, & Marzena Zukowska.

To my mind, this is what publicly engaged academic work looks like: collaboration, and co-authorship, and articulating how theory underpins our social justice work. Given the rapidly evolving cultural and political context in the USA, such approaches seem more pressing than ever.

Art, Activism, Anthropology?

Slide from presentationOn June 3, 2018, I presented recent research at “Art, Materiality and Representation” a conference co-hosted by the RAI, SOAS, and the British Museum. I was invited to join the panel “Conflict and Activism“, and to discuss my research on how art-making practices have shaped social justice community spaces in Washington DC, alongside a group of fascinating academics and artist-practitioners. These self-reflective and theoretically innovative papers prompted me to think more deeply about concepts of “failure”, the long-term impact of arts programming “interventions”, sketching as research method, and community-created spaces as politically transformative.  Continue reading

Announcing new post: Postdoctoral ECR in Anthropology, Goldsmiths University

On May 1st 2018, I started my new role as Postdoctoral Early Career Researcher in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am joining an exciting, four-year project with team members spread around the world, all addressing “gender and cultures of equality” through collaborative work between researchers and NGO/activist partners. The project is called GlobalGRACE, and it launches officially on June 29 – join us for the reception if you’re in London.

My role over the course of the project will include both ethnographic research as well as a great deal of hands-on curation, which marks somewhat of a departure for me as a scholar, while feeling like a natural progression given my work on creative, interactive, visual, and exhibiting projects over the years. I’m excited to see where it will lead.

I am also quite overjoyed to be living back in the UK after seven productive yet challenging years in the United States. I’m particularly grateful to the faculty, staff, and students at Georgetown University for their excellent company and support over two excellent years. I am sure I will miss teaching – but for now, on with the research!

New AnthroBites episode: Feminist Anthropology


After a short hiatus, we’re back with a new bite-sized overview of a key concept in anthropology: feminism. I spoke to Dr Christa Craven about the foremothers and groundbreakers in feminist anthropology, and about the politics of citations.

Click here for resources, links, additional background, and Teaching Tools connected to the podcast.

Episodes on Sovereignty and on Scientific Racism are also available at the Society for Cultural Anthropology.

Latest project published on Refugee Hosts

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 8.17.01 PMOver the past year, I’ve been working on a collaborative experimental film project with interlocutors who identify as LGBTQ+ and are asylum seekers or asylees. Our aim has been to take journeys through local “gaybourhoods” or “villages”–areas renown for being LGBT-friendly. We discuss what thoughts and memories these spaces evoke while moving through them, allowing our conversations to meander in step with, and in response to the built environment.

I shared initial findings at the recent EASA “Media and Mobilities” workshop, and am honored that our work has been featured as part of the “Representations of Displacement” series on the excellent AHCR-ESRC-sponsored Refugee Hosts project website. We’re in great company: entries in the series each address the politics and (un)intended consequences of particular tropes and mediums for representing experiences of displacement, and most offer compelling and creative alternatives in an effort to “disrupt humanitarian narratives”. The collection is vital reading for those of us engaged in creating and/or perpetuating images and imaginaries in this realm.

“Protest Matters!” installation continues online

PM Flyer_Front : Simple PosterDuring the recent American Anthropological Association annual meetings in Washington, DC, I ran a “pop up people’s museum” entitled Protest Matters!  The temporary installation of protest objects (or, “matter”) was open Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, at local community cafe, The Potter’s House.

The Installation offered a timely opportunity for AAA attendees to come together with local activists and community members to explore the dynamic relationships between art and activism, materiality and affect, and creativity and community in the context of social justice activism. In the spirit of a “people’s museum” the contents were dictated by visitors, who chose objects to lend or donate to the archive, and wrote labels that included personal reflections as well as typical date/ origin/ material descriptions of items.

I’m happy to report that the project will live on in the form of a Virtual Museum, and even a 360 video that is VR headset compatible, allowing people to “revisit” the space in the future. You can find out more about the project, and how to contribute your own “protest matter” on the Protest Matters! website.