Tag Archives: critical theory

Web 2.0 Mapping – LGBT Indians

Trikone is out with its latest Desi LGBT mapping project. What does that mean? If you identify as a ‘desi’ (generally denoting of Indian subcontinent descent but the term is loaded with political implications), and are LGBT, then you should put yourself down on the map.

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All maps are political for they embody the basis of power relations in society, the marking of territory, resources and identity. Web. 2.0 has made it possible to map alternative and hidden geographies, geographies across arbitrary borders.The Global Detention Project is an excellent example of a map that could be counter-hegemonic. The jury is still out on whether this mapping has helped to advance any critical agenda and what needs Web 2.0 mapping has fulfilled.

What needs does this Trikone map fulfill? Certainly nothing critical or counter-hegemonic but maybe it denotes a longing for community.

I wonder if undocumented youth would ever agree to mapping themselves. There are certainly internal maps of youth organizers but nothing we have released externally.

“Hi ICE, I live in Antioch, California, come and get me.”

It is definitely a documented privileging and one that men are seemingly exercising more than women. Is it because Trikone is marketed more towards Indian men or because generally, men browse the web in bigger numbers than women? Or does it have to do with women being more reluctant to put themselves on a tracking map due to privacy issues?

Questions to ponder.

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Filed under Desi, Immigration

Critical Race Studies Symposium

Where Am I –

For several decades, racial discourse in both law and politics has arguably been dominated by the call for colorblindness, that we should aspire to “get  beyond race” and “see people as people not as skin color.”  While liberals and conservatives have differed sharply about whether particular race conscious policies are justified (e.g. affirmative action, magnet schools, minority districting), across the political spectrum, colorblindness has been advanced as the prevailing racial norm around which we should organize.  Some contend that we must take account of race on the way to a colorblind ideal; others dispute this trajectory and assert that colorblindness tomorrow can only be achieved by implementing colorblindness now.  Still others who eschew normative arguments in favor of empirically based claims argue that eliminating race from public policy decisions actually produces better social decisions.  In some instances colorblindness has even become formal state policy through legislative initiatives such as Proposition 209 in California and Proposal 2 in Michigan.

This debate has largely overlooked the particular phenomenon that is at the center of the 2009 CRS Symposium: the persistence of race and racial dynamics in spaces that have been rendered formally colorblind.   Notwithstanding the general recognition that context shapes how race is experienced, there has been little attempt to assess how the specific context of formal colorblindness affects the experience of race.  Our plan is to do so by convening legal and social science scholars to undertake interdisciplinary examinations of how race functions in environments that are formally colorblind.

The world wide web is making the globe quite borderless so anyone can watch this symposium online.

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Filed under Academic Conferences, Racism

The Politics of Waiting – Asylum

There’s a really good discussion on asylum circulating one of my academic listserves. Not many know that I study critical geography and subaltern studies, and there is some space in those fields to speak about immigration. The perspectives and philosophy is unlike what one would hear in the mainstream media or even blogosphere. I have decided to invest some time to researching a critical geography take on ‘illegal immigration’ and add it on for my Boston AAG paper.

The case of Sarjina Emy’s family awaiting asylum decision for 13 years has me completely flabbergasted. What is the point of asylum relief when it takes more than a decade?! Obviously, by that time things would probably have changed, and it would be harder to win the asylum case. Is it really just ineffective government policy and red tape that has created this backlog of cases, or is something else going on?

The critical geographers liken the “politics of waiting” with a “politics of control” over migrant bodies. Since we think and speak in terms of spatiality (while the historians are better with temporality), we have only recently come to address timelessness and temporal status when it comes to migrants.

Think about DREAM Act beneficiaries. We are constricted to both SPACE and TIME; in effect, a temporal status. This is the institution of massive control over our bodies, both in space and through time. Do these “waiting rooms of history” (Dipesh Chakraborty), contribute to the creation of a “community?” Guess what, I can point over to the DREAMers and say we have come together, from completely diverse backgrounds, and only created community because of our PLACEMENT in these waiting rooms. Now is this community counter-hegemonic? Does it purport an alternative nationalism? Yes and No. We are counter-hegemonic in the sense that we do challenge status quo immigration laws and hegemonic discourses on migrants. Our existence challenges the definition of “American” – After all, we are in effect, UNDOCUMENTED AMERICAN STUDENTS. At the same time, while we are in these waiting rooms, all we want to do is be “out” and be able to assimilate with the sheep-like masses (for the most part). And yet, we are an alternative voice in the history of nationalism, a subaltern voice.

Am I the only one here who finds this whole discussion quite interesting? I plan to finish a good academic paper by April 1 and try to get it published in several academic journals. Takes the DREAMers to a whole new level of discussion that no one has yet “placed” us on.

Anyway some resources going back and forth on the listserve that I plan to look up soon –
References

Ahiska, Meltem. 2003. Occidentalism: The Historical Fantasy of the Modern, The South Atlantic Quarterly 102/2-3, Spring/Summer. Duke University Press. 351-379.

Bayart, Jean-Francois, 2007. Global Subjects: A political critique of globalization. [especially final chapter on “Global Godot”]

Becket, Samuel 2002 [1953]. Waiting for Godot. London: Faber and Faber

Bissell, K. Animating Suspension: Waiting for Mobilities. Mobilities 2, 2, 277-298.

Blanchot, Maurice 1996 [1959]. Waiting Trans. Michael Holland  in The Blanchot Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

Bourdieu, P. Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge: Polity [especially chapter 6]

Chakrabarty, D. 2004. Provincializing Europe [Chapter 8] Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Corbridge, S. 2004 Waiting in line, or the moral and material geographies of queue-jumping in Lee R and Smith DM eds Geographies and Moralities. Oxford: Blackwell/RGS-IBG. [Chapter 12]

Deleuze and Guattari, 1986. Nomadology: The War Machine. London: Routledge.

DeVerteuil, Lee and Wolch (2002) New spaces for the local welfare state? The case of General Relief in Los Angeles County. Journal of Social and Cultural Geography 3(3): 229-246

D’Emilio, John 1983. John Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Falah G-W 2007, The politics of doing geography: 23 days in the hell of Israeli detention” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25, 4, 587–593.

Hill, Andrew 2008, Seeing, Waiting, Travelling: Reimagining the War on Terror Oxford: Palgrave.

Jamoul, Lina 2004. Palestine—In Search of Dignity. Antipode 36, 4, 581–595.

Kafka, Franz 2007. The Trial. New York: Schocken Books.

Kracauer (1955) The Mass Ornament. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kwan, Mei-Po, 1999.  Gender, the Home-Work Link, and Space-Time Patterns of Nonemployment Activities Economic Geography 75, 4, 370-394

Lacan, J. 1988 [1945]. Logical time and the assertion of anticipated certainty: A new sophism. Newsletter of the Freudian Field 2: 4–22, trans. Fink, B

Long, Joanna C 2006. Border Anxiety in Palestine-Israel Antipode 38, 1, 107–127.

Marris, P. 1984. The Politics of Uncertainty: Attachment in Private and Public Life. London: Routledge.

Purcell, Mark 2007. Skilled, cheap and desperate: non-tenure track faculty and the delusion of meritocracy. Antipode 39, 1, 121-143

Sartre, Jean Paul. 2004. Critique of Dialectical Reason. Oxford: Verso.

Verdery, Kate. 1996. Socialism and What Comes Next [especially chapter 2]

Web sources:

Armaly, Fareed and Rashid Masharawi on waiting:
http://www.haussite.net/set.php?page=http://www.haussite.net/haus.0/PROGRAM/02/r
edirect/E/Rashid_E.html

Veronique Besnard’s work with asylum seekers and refugees in Brighton:
http://www.foto8.com/home/content/view/275/161/

Montopoli, Brian: The Queue Crew: Waiting in line for a living.
http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/January-February-2004/scene_montopoli_janfeb04.msp

Morrow, Lance: “Waiting as a Way of Life”
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952454-2,00.html

Paddy O’Gorman’s radio show Queuing For Living:
http://www.mikehanrahan.com/

George Tooker painting “Government Bureau”:
http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/artists_view/tooker_popup.html

Songs:

Dave Dobbyn Waiting

Lou Reed, Waiting for the Man

Fugazi, Waiting Room

Matt Johnson, I’ve been waitin’ for tomorrow (all of my life)Credit for the sources goes to the academics on the Critical Geography listserve.

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Filed under Immigration, Political Theory, Politics

And so, national security is diametrically opposed to human security

Lets see. Critical Security Studies has been a prime interest since I was 16 years old and running the Terror Talk/Threat Construction Kritik at policy debate tournaments. I won rounds solely on the basis of this — I remember my debate coach once remarked that I never ever used “the threat of Islamic terrorists” or any such discourse to win any rounds no matter what. It may have cost me on several occasions but that is all in the past. I graduated and let the Threat Con file sit and gather dust for 3 years until I finally used it as a final paper for my Undergrad. This is possible Doctorate level work that I am not keen on pursuing at this point for obvious reasons. It reminds me that I am too smart and intellectual for law school. I also tend to think it is a DUH. Can you believe someone won the Nobel prize for writing that poverty and terrorism were related? Goodness, that’s just common sense and I have been writing that since I was 15! Where is my Nobel prize yo?! Actually you keep the Nobel Prize, just hand me a Green card, will you?! 🙂

Anyway, excerpts are in order. Whole paper is here

The discursive speech acts embodied in various National Security Strategy documents establish that the act of securing the American people has given way to the politicization of national security. Politicization refers to the employment of national security discourse for political ends and not specifically for meeting the actual security needs of civil society. Starting with President Truman’s NSC-68 document in 1950 and continuing up to Bush II in the present day, the discourse of national security strategy has been systematically cemented on the national policy agenda, employed for purposes other than the security of the American people. Upon a thorough examination of these documents, a central theme that emerges and dictates United States foreign policy is the pervasive construction of an enemy, an external “Other” as a threat to national security. I argue that this security discourse functions as a tool for identity construction and reification of the American state apparatus with far-reaching consequences: an increasing politicization of security, legitimization of a permanent war economy, the oppression and marginalization of minority groups, omission of key security issues from the security agenda, and paradoxically, a more insecure, unstable America and global order. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to deconstruct the totalizing and unitary narrative of the National Security Strategy documents under Truman, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and unearth counter-narratives that challenge dominant security discourses based on ideological threat construction. I conclude that the main objectives set out in NSC-68 continue to govern US foreign policy even in the post-Cold War era, that American foreign policy today mirrors American foreign policy post-World War II: a search for identity and power, which ironically leads to more insecurity for Americans and for the entire world.”

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Filed under Discourse Studies, Nationalism, Politics