2021 Featured Abstracts
Chris Barcelos, University of Massachusetts Boston and Gabrielle Orum Hernández, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Queer Investments in Punishment: School Climate and Youth of Color in the United States
Although research and policy making in the U.S. generally frames “LGBTQ” and “youth of color” as mutually exclusive groups, LGBTQ youth of color are increasingly included in discourses surrounding school safety. These discourses position youth as vulnerable, “at risk” subjects who are passive victims of interpersonal homophobia. Using the theoretical frameworks of queer of color critique and queer necropolitics, and a situational analysis mapping strategy, we analyze GLSEN’s 2019 School Climate Report, breakout reports on LGBTQ youth of color, and related advocacy efforts. These frameworks help us to consider how school climate research and policy making relies on carceral logics that center and uphold whiteness. The GLSEN reports function as a form of embedded science that mobilizes individual understandings of violence and queer investments in punishment. We offer queer of color critique as a strategy for researchers and policymakers to get “unstuck” on school safety.
Jamella N. Gow, Gonzaga University
Countering Anti-Blackness with Migrant Solidarity: Linking Black Communities across Racial Struggles in South Florida
Immigration scholarship has brought to bear the importance of race in better understanding how Latinx immigration and citizenship is policed and criminalized (Armenta 2017), illegalized (De Genova 2013; Golash-Boza, Duenas, and Xion 2019), and racialized (Ngai  2014; Romero 2008; Sáenz and Douglas 2015). However, few studies (e.g. Bashi 2004; Golash-Boza and Hondagneu-Sotelo 2013) have explored how the Black migrants uniquely navigate the overlapping of racism, the immigration system, and criminal justice system. This paper explores the ways in which Black political leaders centered in Florida early on linked racism, anti-immigrant policies, and the U.S. Black experience in order to produce anti-racist and anti-capitalist solidarities across Black populations. I focus on how Black Caribbean activists and journalists produced newspaper reports and images, pamphlets, and posters that addressed the unique and shared experiences of racism affecting Caribbean and African American Blacks in South Florida during the 1960s and in Miami, Florida in the 1990s-2000s to produce cultures of solidarity.
In order to reveal these movements, it is important to understand their emergence within the context of diaspora, and specifically how the Black diaspora plays a multi-faceted role in organizing for Black rights. As an example of a flexible diasporic community, Gilroy’s (1993) concept of the “black Atlantic” has not only been influential and African diaspora studies but also on the field of diaspora studies itself. I also frame Black diasporic cultural production within global political economy and the crucial contexts of critical immigration studies and critical race scholarship.
This paper aims to answer the following questions: How might the intersection of race, immigration, and Blackness compound the inequality Black migrants experience, and how does this allow for the fostering of cultural and political alliances across Black and migrant groups? To answer these questions, I provide two case studies using content analysis of archives on Caribbean newspapers and community activism in Miami, Florida. First, I explore how Black Caribbean journalists focused on the experiences of Jamaican migrants in Florida as Black and migrant in the 1960s and how their reports encouraged solidarity with African Americans experiencing racism. Second, I provide two examples of community activists in Miami, Florida who answered that call by interlocking Black issues across immigration, racist housing policies, and policing. What brings these examples to together is the ways in which both used cultural production to draw African Americans and Black Caribbeans together politically.
My first example of Black cultural solidarity is one that emerged in the midst of the 1960s social movements both in the U.S. against racism and the anti-imperialism struggles across the world more broadly. I analyze an anti-racist, socialist publication by a diverse group, including two editors, Johnny James (Guyanese) and Ralph Bennet, both of whom were part of the British Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD), a coalition of Black Caribbean, Indian, and others, who were dedicated to anti-racism in Britain. Using content analysis, I examine how the publication critiqued the treatment of Caribbean migrant laborers abroad and revealed the interlocking nature of race, immigration status, class, and Black identity. I reveal the linkages found and advocated for Black Caribbean in diaspora to their Jamaican kin migrating for job opportunities in the midst of the Civil Rights struggle in the United States. I argue that they linked the struggles of Black activists and Black migrants seeking better working conditions in the U.S.
In a second example, I point to how organizations in Miami formed alliances based on these multiple racializations and increasing precarity. Max Rameau and Marlene Bastien are 4 leaders and activists whose work has impacted policies in Miami and surrounding cities in southern Florida. Both Haitian migrants, they came to Miami as adults and founded organizations that have supported migrants and other members of the Black diaspora in Miami. I show how through their activism and calls to action through visual media, they counter not only racist policies of police brutality and gentrification in predominantly Black neighborhoods, but also the anti-Black and anti-migrant policies targeting Haitian migrants seeking refuge in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In all, I show how Black Caribbeans fostered racialized alliances across U.S. and Caribbean Black diaspora by highlighting shared struggles across race, class, and citizenship. In doing so, they produced a more expansive, Black radical identity and political practices. This research shows the significance of bringing specifically anti-Black racism into the nexus of immigration, race, and criminalization. Further, this work insists that such intersections are also a crucial part of the Black experience in the U.S. today.
Brittany Keegan, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Government and Public Affairs
Reconceptualizing Our Views of Citizenship to Create Inclusive Communities for All
Can citizenship be demonstrated by those without official citizenship status? In the case of refugees, who often wish to be actively engaged in their communities, it seems that the answer is yes. This research draws on scholarship related to citizenship and public administration ethics, and presents a case study based on data gathered from interviews with refugees and service providers, to make a case for a broad, inclusive view of citizenship in the literature and in practice. This view broadens the definition of citizenship in some instances to include non-citizen residents such as refugees who are still active in their communities. By using this inclusive view, non-citizens are more likely to feel supported, to participate in their community, and to give back to their community through that participation.
Vrinda Marwah, ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Humanities, University of Utah
For Love of Money: Rewards of Care for India’s Women Community Health Workers
What are the rewards of paid care work for frontline health workers? I focus on India’s women community health volunteers, the largest such workforce in the world. Appointed since 2007 and numbering one million, these women are paid per-case incentives to connect the poor and marginalized to government-run health services. Using 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi and Punjab, including 80 interviews, I find that women community health volunteers (called Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs) experience extrinsic rewards in paid care work. ASHAs earn not only from their official wages, but also from two unofficial streams: a) the boosting of income from non-ASHA work, and b) the earning of commissions from private hospitals. I also find that the intrinsic rewards ASHAs report—emotional gratification, relative autonomy, and skill-building—are co-constituted with extrinsic rewards, that is, they are tied to their earnings. This calls into question the “Love versus Money” binary, used to frame much of the discussion on care work. I argue instead for a “Love of Money” framing, that is, money as a reward and money as begetting other rewards. My findings highlight the significance of globalizing the empirical research on paid care work.
Jayne Malenfant, Concordia University and Charlotte Smith, Carleton University
The Commodification of Lived Experience in Homelessness Research & Advocacy
In this paper, Malenfant and Smith discuss their experiences advocating for and leading a lived experience scholars network as well as the various ways their experiential knowledge of their research topic, youth homelessness, has been strategically mobilized by them and others as part of scholarship and research applications, advocacy efforts, and reports on scholarly output. Within the context of work that examines the strategic positioning of the homelessness as “deviant” in order to commodify them for professional and economic gains (Wilson, 2017), we argue that the inclusion (and commodification) of those with lived or living experience within the knowledge economy takes different forms. We focus on the social organization of commodification of lived experience knowledge across a range of local settings: universities, political campaigns, social innovation initiatives, local municipal governments and so forth. The authors highlight the performative and limited nature that inclusion of or “consultation” with lived experience scholars holds as well as the ways those with lived expertise are uniquely positioned to shift power dynamics large-scale research-to-action projects, highlighting the points of power negotiation where lived expertise becomes strategically powerful--as well as those relations through which it ceases to be valued.
Wilson, Tamar Diana. (2017). A Note on Capitalist Commodification of the Homeless. Review of Radical Political Economics Vol. 51(2) 298–309. Barnett, R. & Bengtsen, S.S.E. (2020). Knowledge and the University: Re-claiming Life. New York, NY: Routledge.
Katherine L. Mott, Syracuse University
'Hurry Up and Wait’: Stigma, Poverty, and Contractual Citizenship
The emergence of contractual citizenship in the United States in the 1970s marked a shift from viewing welfare as an entitlement to viewing welfare as a right to be earned through work. Coupled with the continual degradation of labor markets since the 1970s and the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the devolved welfare system – most often managed by a myriad of social service nonprofits – has exacerbated the difficulties of the poor. Beyond the administrative burdens with which poor people seeking aid are tasked, informal intraclass dynamics are chock full of stigmatization, distancing, and denigration. Through ethnographically attending to lived experience in a soup kitchen, I argue that these informal dynamics are a result of the internalization and reconstruction of contractual citizenship, where prospective recipients of aid and the poor more broadly adapt their behavior to appear as deserving, worthy citizens and, simultaneously, externally defame their peers for their lesser behaviors. Those who take maximum advantage of free resources – such as attending multiple emergency food programs and taking more than one plate of food – are often deemed by other poor recipients of aid as greedy and selfish. These findings not only shed light on the challenges of building solidarity amongst the poor but show how political and economic shifts influence how poor people interact with each other.
Amaryst Parks-King, University of Notre Dame
Demanding the Impossible: Abolition, Black Futurities, and the Disruptive Power of Black Imagination
Antiblackness, as the legacy of U.S. chattel slavery, is grounded in the specificity of Black experiences and interactions with white supremacy and anti-Black racism (Coles 2020, 2; Day 2015). The overwhelming majority of Black people in the United States encounter the social institution of compulsory schooling, in which antiblackness operates. And although antiblackness is a structuring force in schools, the sociology of education literature has not seriously engaged with antiblackness as an essential analytic. This oversight obscures certain student experiences and undermines the rigorous study of schools. The crux of this project centers on the experiences of young Black people as a way of knowing antiblackness and of “re/seeing, re/inhabiting, and re/imagining the world” (Sharpe 2016, 22). By focusing on school experiences and imagined educational dreams of five young Black people enrolled in Chicago public schools, I try to move beyond antiblackness as the primary understanding of Blackness.
Imagination is being able to consider something differently from how it is currently. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence in the movement for Black lives, 2020 has created a space to look very closely at our institutions to see how well they serve us. Through leveraging in-depth interviews and productive methods (asking participants to produce something, be it drawings, poetry, etc.), I ask young five Black people in Chicago high schools to imagine educational contexts that prioritize their well being, safety, and success. My participant’s current experiences in school illuminated dystopian critiques of unsafety in school (sexual assault, hypersurveillance, and carceral logics in school) and anti-Black imaginations that student navigate daily. Their understandings of antiblackness necessitate intersectional approaches to anti-Black violence in school. And many of their educational dreams do not operate on the continuum of the “possible” precisely because the institution of schooling is predicated on Black suffering.