Category: Uncategorized

Op-Ed on #NoJusticeNoPride published by Rewire

My aim in writing this article was to contest the myths and fallacies behind claims that modern Pride events must be corporate-sponsored, apolitical, and pro-military / pro-police. I am proud to see that it has been well received (shared on Facebook over 1.6k times and one of the most-read across Rewire in the past month).

You can read the full article here.

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NB: Regular readers may note that, despite regarding the format wearily in the past, I’m now seemingly embracing the “listicle” format in my essays/ journalistic writing. I’m still undecided about it, but it does seem to render complex ideas accessible…

Call for Contributors: “Profit, Protest, and the Asylum Industry”

Edited volume. Proposal deadline: 31 July, 2017

[Click here for PDF]

Co-editors: Dr. Siobhán McGuirk, Georgetown University (sm3276@georgetown.edu) and Dr. Adrienne Pine, American University (pine@american.edu)

Overview: While the power to grant or deny asylum to people remains overwhelmingly within the purview of States,[1] we approach the actors and institutions forming around asylum systems internationally as “the asylum industry.” Our position engages analyses of commodification and industrialization in multiple, related spheres under neoliberal capitalism.

Call for Contributors: The proposed collection will unite international academics, activists, journalists, artists, and people directly impacted by the asylum industry to explore how current practices of asylum align with the neoliberal moment more broadly, and to present visions for alternative systems and processes. We are looking for contributions in a variety of forms, for example:

  • research papers (3,000-4,000 words)
  • journalistic articles (800-1,000 words)
  • photo-essays, data visualizations, political artwork, and other creative formats (e.g. diary entries; graphic novella; cartoons; poems, etc.).

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#AnthReadIn at Georgetown

read-in-imageFollowing the call published by the anthropology magazine Savage Minds, my colleagues and I in the Women and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University will host an #AnthReadIn event on Friday 17 February, 12.30-2pm.

We’ll be reading Chapter Nine from Hannah Arendt’s On Totalitarianism (which you can find here), alongside Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (which is available here).

Join the conversation on social media under #AnthReadIn.

Responsibility to respond to racism on campus

I teach at two schools in Washington, DC. One has taken recent action to stop celebrating the legacies of former slave traders, held a series of events and dialogues intended to open spaces to debate ongoing racial prejudice on campus, and elevated of African American Studies from Program to Department status. These moves are welcome, but ongoing efforts to inspire lasting cultural change are still required . The other institution has recently been the site of racist abuse on campus. Students are rightly outraged, and leading calls for meaningful action. The administration is responding, treading a similar path as other U.S. universities, by announcing plans for improved trainings for faculty, staff, admissions teams and students; improved support for relevant student services; and required courses on African American history for incoming undergraduates.

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Twitter coverage of a recent anti-racism rally at American University

As teachers, we must support these efforts and continue to make space in our classrooms for honest, open dialogues on pressing social issues, including but not limited to racism. We must respond visibly and vocally when members of our student body face discrimination, and fell let down by their institutions.

At a recent on campus rally calling on the administration to act definitively, a student held aloft a placard that read, “Silence is Violence.” This Open Letter to Students of Color At American University is intended to let our students know that we, the faculty, will not be silent. I, along with the other signatories, intend to carry this message into our classrooms and faculty meetings, taking tangible steps to making our campus welcoming to all.

Post-Ph.D., back to work

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 11.36.01 AMOn June 7, 2016, just under five years since I moved to Washington DC to start my Ph.D study, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation. It is entitled (in an admittedly straightforward but accurate and easily searchable manner): “LGBT Asylum Seekers and NGO Advocacy in the United States”.

Although the defense itself was predictably a little nerve-wreaking, I was grateful for the opportunity to present and discuss my work and found the conversation to be productive—a unique forum in which to think through and rearticulate my choices, analyses and conclusions. Asked by my committee only to add a few paragraphs to my conclusion, I was able to complete revisions swiftly and with pleasure. In fact, the entire experience of preparing for, carrying out and then writing up my research was on the whole enjoyable—at turns challenging and draining, but always stimulating. My interlocutors, mentors and colleagues helped ensure that was the case, and I’m extremely glad that I had them alongside me during various stages of the process.

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Responding to #PostRefRacism

I’m generally not one for “listicals” – those “ten things…” articles that, in our post-Buzzfeed age, are shared widely and more often than not stride confidently over the thick line distinguishing informative content from clickbait. Post-EU Referendum, however, I wrote one, prompted by a notable rise in violently xenophobic and racist actions across the UK. Or, to be more precise, prompted by the shock and despair expressed by friends in response to those actions.

Commentators’ suggested ways to oppose and combat xenophobia eschewed structural analyses and instead focused on individual and reactive gestures: one popular (and justifiably derided) campaign encouraged people to wear an empty safety pin on their lapels, ostensibly to signal that were pro-immigrant and anti-racist. Others blamed “little Englanders” and reckless politicians for fueling hate, willingly overlooking Britain’s history of and ongoing battle against institutional racism.

So, despite my dislike for the format, I put together a link-filled list of practical and proactive things people in the UK can do to combat racism and xenophobia (along with a few other intersecting and co-constituting oppressions). The full article is posted at Red Pepper, replete with further information and contact information for relevant organizations. Here’s the abridged version, and the closing paragraph:

1. Support anti-fascist organisations
2. Support pro-immigration organizations
3. Recognize and resist structural racism
4. Support and celebrate local communities and marginalised voices
5. Intervene and report attacks — when it is safe to do so
6. Proactively contest hate speech and prejudice
7. Know who – and what – you are voting for
8. Advocate for workers’ rights
9. Recognise your complicity – and refuse to perpetuate oppression
10. Be ready to critique the EU

“Overall, we must not forget that if the Referendum result had been different, racism and xenophobia would still exist in the UK—and throughout Europe. Far Right parties have been gaining traction for over a decade, and popular European governments have enacted startlingly racist and xenophobic laws. The Referendum has only opened eyes to prejudices that were previously closed to a long-standing reality. To fight back against them we have to be in the fight for the long haul.”

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Photo of Refugees Welcome protest in London. Credit: The Weekly Bull