Launch of Humanitarianisms.org
| Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Simpson Center for the Humanities
The yearlong Mellon Sawyer Seminar Humanitarianisms at the University of Washington now has a web domain that offers rich insights into our research, news and announcements about upcoming events, profiles of our team, and a webinar archive of past conversations on humanitarianism in the Global South. As the creator of humanitarianisms.org, I am also working with our team on new content for instructors and scholars of humanitarianism that will be presented for academic and non-academic audiences across the world.
Mellon Sawyer Winter 2021 Webinar Series
Keynote: "Shifting the Gaze: Southern-led Humanitarian Responses to Displacement" by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh
| Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Simpson Center for the Humanities
The Mellon Sawyer Seminar Humanitarianisms is announcing its new winter 2021 events series. The first conversation will feature Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh who is Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit at University College London, where she directs the Refuge in a Moving World interdisciplinary research network.
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh's talk will problematize that displacement is primarily a "Southern" and "South-South" phenomenon, to which Southern actors have historically responded in ways that resist, reject, and provide alternatives to the hegemonic aid regime. In this webinar, Fiddian-Qasmiyeh focuses on responses to Syrian displacement since 2011 and develops a multiscalar analysis of the roles played by Southern states, local host communities, faith-based networks, and refugees themselves. She argues that a focus on “refugee-refugee humanitarianism” can challenge dominant and exclusionary Northern humanitarianism paradigms of refugee studies.
Mellon Sawyer Fall 2020 Webinar Series
Inaugural Lecture Humanitarianisms: Migrations and Care through the Global South
| University of Washington, October 8, 2020
The 2020-21 Mellon Sawyer Seminar at the University of Washington’s Simpson Center for the Humanities focuses on the history of forced migrations within and across the Global South (especially East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Mediterranean). Through this project, we seek to decolonize the rhetoric and understanding of humanitarianism by examining the histories of forced migration and practices of humanitarian care for forced migrants, including both “conventional” and “humanitarian” refugees, that developed outside of Europe and North America. In order to do so, we propose a comparative examination of these issues through three thematic clusters--Decentering Migration and Decolonizing Humanitarianism, Comparative Humanitarianisms, and Rethinking the Human--each of which builds on the previous cluster and thus creates threads of inquiry that will frame a public speaker series and the work of a faculty and graduate student research group.
In this virtual conversation, my colleagues, Arzoo Osanloo and Cabeiri Robinson, and I speak with the political scientist Anne McNevin from the New School for Social Research in New York about Aboriginal gestures of hospitality towards refugees in Australia. This inaugural event in our yearlong Humanitarianisms webinar series explores forms of compassion and care for human suffering through an Indigenous lens.
Speaker | Anne McNevin (New School for Social Research)
Moderators | Cristian Capotescu, Arzoo Osanloo, and Cabeiri Robinson
(University of Washington)
Sponsors | University of Washington Population Health Initiative
Period of Performance | 09/2020 - 03/2021
Community Partner | Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty
Our Research in the News:
I The Daily: "Fourteen UW Projects Awarded COVID-19 Equity Research Grants"
Challenges, Efficacy, and Opportunities of Distance Learning for Low‐Income Students of Color during COVID-19
| COVID‐19 Population Health Equity Research Grant, University of Washington
Between September 2020 and January 2021, I will be serving as the PI of this rapid-response population health equity grant funded by the University of Washington. This collaborative effort between the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty (MAAC) and UW scholars investigates the engagement of low-income youth of color with distance learning during the pandemic. We seek to better understand what factors support or inhibit distance learning for such students. We ask: Can distance learning bridge the challenges for disadvantaged high-school students in the current crisis and offer equitable learning formats? Will the sudden move to distance learning raise new education equity concerns that require immediate redress?
This research project will focus on MAAC Community Charter School (MCCS), a high school in San Diego, in which 78% of its population are students of color who reside in low-income households. MCCS will conduct all of its fall semester classes online, thereby making it an ideal case study to investigate the effects of distance education on disadvantaged students.
This study has three goals: 1) to describe the societal challenges that low-income youth of color face during the pandemic, 2) analyze the efficacy of distance learning and scrutinize its limitations for educational attainment, and 3) explore how the pandemic has magnified existing educational inequities centered around class, gender, and race.
This project will serve as a pilot study for a broader research initiative generating best-practices recommendations, tailored curriculums, and intervention strategies that can support local schools, non-profits, and stakeholders in the policymaking sphere in redressing the growing educational challenges of marginalized student populations.
Assessing the Relationship between the National and the Global in East-Central Europe
| 134th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, January 5, 2020
From the early twentieth century the peoples of Eastern Europe experienced historical change as a sequence of global contractions and expansions that laid bare the region’s conflicted, and continuously changing, relationship with itself, its European neighbors, and the world. This panel explores new avenues to study how the emergent forces of globalization served to ferment visions of economic opportunity, cultural exchange, and humanity located outside the confines of the (European) nation-state. By the same token, however, globalization stoked fears of eroding local markets, loss of national independence, and fading cultural distinctiveness. Retracing these pendulum swings between global and national histories, the invited panelists analyze the biographies of Polish migrants for whom global mobility promised unique economic opportunities in the United States; they scrutinize the emergence of anti-globalization populism in the former Habsburg Empire in the interwar period; and they recapture how after 1945 a new middle-class affluence allowed more and more people in the region to respond to globalized humanitarian crises far from home. Rather than framing globalization as imposed on the region from the outside, this panel draws on local histories to show how global forces found entry into the lifeworlds of historical actors who embraced, resisted, and ultimately shaped their advancement.
Austerity and Anti-Austerity Beyond Capitalism
| University of Michigan, September 13-14, 2019
During the global economic crisis of 2008 many observers predicted that austerity economics would be discredited and abandoned, but over the ensuing decade it demonstrated surprising resilience. In fact, austerity (both the theory and the policy) has long been debunked by scholars and resisted by a variety of social actors, yet it has persisted in the face of these challenges.
This conference at the University of Michigan explores the history of opposition to austerity, both uncovering heretofore overlooked forms of resistance and using those conflicts to better understand the nature of austerity itself. Though typically associated with neoliberalism, austerity has appeared as a central theme within a variety of economic frameworks. Our working assumption is that austerity should not be seen exclusively as a feature of neoliberalism or late capitalism. Instead, we seek to rethink this ideology as a more pervasive economic doctrine enacted and challenged at different historical junctures across different economic and political systems.
Our collaborative effort brings together an interdisciplinary field of scholars who will expand on this burgeoning reappraisal of economic systems. It will emphasize how austerity and anti-austerity clashed both within and beyond liberal capitalism, seeking to better integrate the temporal and ideological binaries of political economy: pre-industrial and industrial, capitalist and socialist, communist and post-communist, developed and underdeveloped. We envision to investigate the potential of anti-austerity movements to topple governments, collapse political orders, and to affect other forms of change in society, both in direct and visible ways as well as through protracted and less obvious struggles. This also includes the failed attempts and arrested possibilities to displace austerity as a dominant socioeconomic formation.