a glimpse into the life of an activist academic

“No, I just got back from URPE sessions at ASSA.”
“What? What is that?”
“An academic conference for political economists.”
“Oh, I thought it was another DREAM(immigration)-related conference.”

Welcome to my life. 24, gay, single, desi, new media blogger, civil rights activist, student organizer, aspiring lawyer, researcher, programmer, fiction writer, editor, graphic designer, fitness freak … and so much more.

The trouble begins when these many hobbies become jobs.  The above list in bold are actually jobs, in some cases–professional level jobs that should pay me.

I find myself spread so thin nowadays — my true passion is academia, be it writing or researching new material. And yet, given my wide array of skills, I somehow find myself ‘signed-up’ for  every sort of activity, even the ones that I am mediocre at i.e. programming.

I want to make a list of promises for my readers, the ones that have been emailing me with their concerns.

I am working so hard for immigration reform and LGBT rights in this country that I find myself swamped, and at times, divided between the two movements that are unfortunately separate for most people. They are not separate movements for me as a young gay immigrants, and not separate for someone like Mohammad, who is undocumented and gay. Forget the vile hatred from the anti-immigrant groups and the misguided opinions of Raza Educators who openly advocate against legalization opportunities for undocumented kids, the disconnect between my two communities is all too real and painful. And it happens quite often — when a gay brother is talking ill about ‘illegal aliens’ or when an undocumented student is making anti-gay comments.

Not realizing the intersectional, multidimensional oppression faced by many students like Mohammad is not only preposterous, it is part of the problem. And it must stop starting from you. If you support the DREAM Act, why not Uniting American Families Act? We are all human — why so hatred for someone based on an arbitrary thing like place of birth? By now this must be ‘ad nauseaum,’ to borrow from Dave Bennion at Change.org.

As an activist, we all need to deal with ‘special’ people at times. People who think they are organizers or have great ideas or only make a bee-line to you in order to ‘use’ you. I am of the welcoming nature, the coalition-building-everyone-under-one-big-tenth kind, so I am especially susceptible to that.

News from astrology-ville — My mom consulted a priest about my ‘issues’ and he told her that I had to be careful about my current group of friends. Regardless of the nature of advice, that is something I have always known — Why else would I keep everyone at a distance? But it certainly does not do anything to alleviate my trust concerns.

To add to the workload, I ave academic papers to write for journals and at the same time, finish up her ‘romantic-drama’ piece. Next, I will be told to screenwrite for a movie. Oh wait. Bummer.

URPE – Allied Social Sciences Association Meeting in San Francisco Jan 3-Jan 5

I’ll be attending as a member of URPE, the AEA conference in San Francisco from Jan 2 to Jan 5. The following panels are the ones that I am particularly interested in attending:

Jan. 3, 8:00 am
International Migration and Remittances: Innovations in Survey and Experimental Work (O1)

Presiding: DEAN YANG, University of Michigan
DEAN KARLAN, Yale University, and SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN, Harvard University–Remittance Set
Asides: A Field Experiment in Mexico
DEAN YANG, University of Michigan, DIEGO AYCINENA, Francisco Marroquin University, NAVA
ASHRAF, Harvard University, and CLAUDIA MARTINEZ, University of Chile–Remittances and the
Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador
MICHAEL CLEMENS, Center for Global Development, and LANT PRITCHETT, Harvard University–
Income per natural: Measuring development as if people mattered more than places
DAVID MCKENZIE, World Bank, and JOHN GIBSON, University of Waikato–Evaluating the Impact of a
New Seasonal Migration Policy in the Pacific
Discussants: JOOST DE LAAT, University of Montreal
LORI BEAMAN, University of California-Berkeley
UNA OSILI, Indiana University
Gero Carletto, World Bank

Jan. 3, 8:00 am
Gender and Migration (F2)

Presiding: FARIDA KHAN, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
MARY C. KING, LEOPOLDO RODRIGUEZ, and CARRIE COBB, Portland State University–Semi-
Formal: Understanding the Institutional Nature of the Labor Market for Mexican Immigrant Workers in the US
LAURA J. TEMPLETON, University of Alberta–The Economic Welfare of University-Educated Immigrant
Women in Canada: Impact of the Domestic Household
ELKE HOLST, DIW Berlin/SOEP and University of Flensburg, ANDREA SCHAEFER, DIW Berlin and
Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences, and MECHTHILD SCHROOTEN, University of
Applied Science Bremen and DIW Berlin–Gender, Migration, Remittances: Evidence from Germany
ALEX JULCA, United Nations – International Labour Migration and Reproduction of Inequalities: the Latin American Case
Discussants: FARIDA KHAN, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
ARPITA BANERJEE CHAKRABORTY, University of New Hampshire

Jan. 3, 10:15 am
Sraffa’s Unpublished Papers and Marxian Political Economy (B2)

Presiding: AJIT ZACHARIAS, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
RICCARDO BELLOFIORE, University of Bergamo–Sraffa, the New Interpretation and Marx: A First
Exploration into a Continent Which is Not Yet Explored
SCOTT CARTER, University of Tulsa–Sraffa-New Interpretation Nexus and the Theory of Exploitation
GARY MONGIOVI, St. John’s University–Sraffa and Wittgenstein on Language and Method
HEINZ KURZ, University of Graz–Ricardo, Marx, and Sraffa
Discussants: PIERANGELO GAREGNANI, Centro Sraffa
JOHN EATWELL, New School for Social Research
CRISTINA MARCUZZO, University of Rome-La Sapienza

Read More …