Academic Papers

Prerna LalHere, you will find some of the papers I have written over the years.

Law Review Articles

  • Reforming a Visa to Snitch
  • Reproductive Rights, Eugenics and Immigration Law: Policies designed to exclude the children of unwanted immigrants from citizenship have insidious roots in the eugenics movement. Today’s anti-immigrant agenda is no different than the one that animated the eugenicists into enacting the restrictive 1924 legislation. Nor is there a difference in the latent racism inherent in such views. While immigration restrictionists may not subscribe to eugenics theory, they fear immigrants and their descendants on the same basis as eugenicists in the past, namely that the children of immigrants deemed undesirable are inherently less American, unassimilable and could lead to the demise of the white majority. The goals of the eugenics movement of yesteryears are carried out by behaviors that are much more retrograde than sterilization. These behaviors include maintaining restrictive immigration laws, keeping national origin quotas, targeting undocumented immigrants through law enforcement efforts, and viewing immigrants as a public health problem that needs to be purged. The aim of all three of these innovations is to deny any governmental subsidy for reproduction or maintenance of the foreign-born workforce and their dependents, even if their reproduction and maintenance now is occurring in the United States. The point is to discourage these processes, and re-separate productive and reproductive activities, such that America remains majority white.
  • Race and Urban Redevelopment – “You Can Pass Through, But You Can’t Live Here”: After the failure of comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2007, hundreds of municipalities considered and enacted ordinances to allegedly combat “illegal immigration.” In reviewing restrictive housing ordinances in three different residential areas — Hazleton, PA, Valley Park, MO, and Farmers Branch, TX — a number of key findings and recommendations emerged:• The proliferation of restrictive housing ordinances in predominantly white residential areas was motivated by racial animus towards Latinos, with immigration status serving as a proxy for race;• Efforts to restrict and control the movement of Latino immigrants into predominantly white neighborhoods are in accordance with long and established patterns of enacting racial boundaries such as racial zoning laws and sundown towns;• While these restrictive housing ordinances have largely fallen out of favor, immigrant rights advocates contend that states and municipalities continue to reinforce residential segregation in less sinister forms;• Challenges posed by an influx of Latinos will continue to fuel uneven patterns of residential segregation as some jurisdictions welcome immigrant integration while others impose restrictions;

    • In order to combat uneven residential segregation patterns, Congress cannot sit idly as state and municipal bodies try to enact new barriers for immigrants.

  • Legal and Extra-Legal Challenges to Immigrant Detention
  • Case Note: Kawashima v. Holder

4-year University Undergraduate level

Graduate Work

  • Deconstructing Security Discourse: Review and Critique of Past National Security Strategy: The concept of national security is merely an elite tool, which causes human insecurity at home and abroad. Our perception of what and from whom we need to be secured is not based on the actual threats that exist, but on the threats that we are told to perceive by the state. Thus, terrorists, drugs, illegal immigrants, “Third World” dictators, rogue states, blacks, non-Christians, and the Other, are considered as threats to the national security apparatus, and consequently, as threats to the individual American. This state construction of threats pervades our minds, causing a trickle-down effect that encourages a culture of fear, where the only limit to the coming danger is our imagination. Thus, national security and human security are contrary to one another, and we need a paradigm shift in our notions of security, which squarely places the individual and civil society at the center of the security framework.
  • Deconstructing the Myth of the ‘Population Problem’ (San Francisco International Relations Journal): Mainstream academic literature published on the burgeoning human population suffers from binary discourse and dichotomies that prevent any real understanding, and therefore, solution, to what has been dubbed as the “population problem.” The debate is often reduced to North versus South, Malthusians versus Marxists, feminists versus the religious right, and other dualistic oppositions that do not adequately capture the complexities of the problem at hand. In this paper, I will examine the complex and ever-changing coalitions that have formed around different theoretical approaches to global population policy, namely neo-Malthusians, neo-liberal developmentalist and redistributionist. The role and impact of liberal feminists and the religious right at various population conferences will also be evaluated. And finally, I will explore whether the problems associated with population growth, including consumption, can be resolved within the present economic superstructure.
  • The Construction of Indian / Hindu Nationalism and Implications of India’s Future as a Postcolonial State: In this paper, we will question the nation-state of India, the construction of nationalism and its implications for women, peasants and the subalterns of India. In order to do this, we must look beyond International Relations to find discourses to accommodate a history without the nation-state, a history of the people and peasants of India, a history that does not evaluate nation-states as homogenous units in homogenous capital time, a history that does not situate countries on the same trajectory of development, and a history that IR has mostly forgotten. To wrestle with these issues, we need to move beyond the limited discourses in IR and find discourses that address issues of human culture and identity, nations without states and the borderless, subjectivity and the subaltern. Academically, the point of this study is to allow for honest and responsible scholarship in IR and that can only happen when we begin to take colonial legacies and realities seriously. And yet, practically, we are doing a critical rewriting of International Relations, drawing out its colonial nature and how it affects present postcolonial nations in the hopes of changing mindsets and policies in the global. It is imperative that we start to write, speak and approach global politics with an understanding and space for the ‘Other’ that does not otherize but involve underprivileged and marginalized voices. At the same time, we must take note of Gayatri Spivak’s Can the Subaltern Speak? and make sure that we do not make any assumptions about the heterogeneity of marginalized voices, and come across as western intellectuals speaking for the subaltern and/or the ‘Other’.
  • Constructing a Primary Right to Secession in International Law – Beyond Positivist Blinders: While international law is slowly evolving to recognize a remedial right to secession under the concept of national self-determination, there is no standard procedure for determining the validity of secessionist claims and settling territorial disputes that arise as a result of such claims. Consequently, hundreds of secessionist movements have little recourse under international law, and often resort to violence in their unilateral claims to secession. In this paper, I argue that not only does the principle of self-determination guarantee a right to secession under international law, but that separatists need not be from a culturally distinct minority group, and/or under a politically illegitimate state in order to claim a right to secession. Advancing choice theory, I argue that the liberal egalitarian principle of associational freedom guarantees a right to external self-determination and therefore, a primary right to secession based on majoritarian consent
  • Hegel, Marx, Foucault – Critique of the Social Contract: Despite Westphalian notions of the social contract as an instrument that secures rights and freedoms, the social contract is not a guarantor of rights and freedoms as demonstrated by intellectuals such as Hegel, Marx and Foucault.
  • MA thesis: Decolonizing International Relations: A Re-Memory of Indentured Servitude in Fiji and How it Impacts Our Present and Future: In response to the fourth coup in the Fiji Islands in as many as seventeen years, the international community demanded the restoration of democracy and order in the country. Historical memories of a British colonialism that brought Indians to Fiji as indentured laborers and proceeded to construct a ‘museum’ for the Euro-American imagination that resulted in such tumultuous conditions in Fiji are conveniently cast aside in a colonial globality masquerading as “liberal international order.” These memories, histories beyond the Western construct of the nation-state, histories of colonialism, are also missing from dominant discourses of realism, liberalism, constructivism and historical materialism. The case of Fiji serves as an example of a ‘postcolonial’ nation-state that current academic IR theory cannot offer much support to since it has a colonial epistemology, shackled and bounded within the confines of the Western-constructed nation-state system.Hence, this paper will shed the secure and comfortable land of the Euro-American, travel down the kala pani (Pacific) waters, and shipwreck on Vanua Levu, one of the many islands in the archipelago of Fiji, as the first Indian indentured laborers did when they were taken from one part of the British empire to another. In a place that is romanticized as paradise in the Euro-American imagination, we will pull back the curtains of the imagined museum and reveal a ‘post-colonial’ nation struggling with export-oriented dependent development while burning in the flames of ethnic-tensions created by the then British Empire and sustained today by a colonial globality. This colonial globality is emulated by the modern nation-state, in which differences are created and otherized, sustained within national spaces and across the inter-national. It is the crucial intervention of historical memory pertaining to the construction of the nation-state and the inter-national that makes possible this Discovery. We propose decolonizing IR through critique where the voices and histories subaltern to IR, but so crucial to the production of the local, the national and therefore, global, are put back on the agenda, which should ultimately provide for more honest and responsible scholarship.
  • History Beyond Nations Seminar paper
  • The Oxymoron of “Sustainable Development”
  • Environmental Degradation and Economic Inequality: Byproducts of the Capital Accumulation Process

Post-Graduate

 

 

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