Category: Uncategorized

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.

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.).

Continue reading

#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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 11.08.53 AM.png

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.

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

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.

Continue reading