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January 2022 Monthly Digest

Books

Reconsidering Reparations

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Reparations for slavery have become a reinvigorated topic for public debate over the last decade. Most theorizing about reparations treats it as a social justice project - either rooted in reconciliatory justice focused on making amends in the present; or, they focus on the past, emphasizing restitution for historical wrongs. Olúfemi O. Táíwò argues that neither approach is optimal, and advances a different case for reparations - one rooted in a hopeful future that tackles the issue of climate change head on, with distributive justice at its core. This view, which he calls the "constructive" view of reparations, argues that reparations should be seen as a future-oriented project engaged in building a better social order; and that the costs of building a more equitable world should be distributed more to those who have inherited the moral liabilities of past injustices. 

This approach to reparations, as Táíwò shows, has deep and surprising roots in the thought of Black political thinkers such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nkechi Taifa, as well as mainstream political philosophers like John Rawls, Charles Mills, and Elizabeth Anderson. Táíwò's project has wide implications for our views of justice, racism, the legacy of colonialism, and climate change policy.

An ambitious history of a California city that epitomizes the history of race relations in modern America.


Unpayable Debt

Denise Ferreira da Silva

Unpayable Debt examines the relationships among coloniality, raciality, and global capital from a black feminist “poethical” perspective. Inspired by Octavia E. Butler's 1979 sci-fi novel Kindred, in which an African-American writer is transported back in time to the antebellum South to save her owner-ancestor, Unpayable Debt relates the notion of value to coloniality—both economic and ethical. Focusing on the philosophy behind value, Denise Ferreira da Silva exposes capital as the juridical architecture and ethical grammar of the world. Here, raciality—a symbol of coloniality—justifies deployments of total violence to enable expropriation and land extraction

Trading Life: Organ Trafficking, Illicit Networks, and Exploitation

SEÁN COLUMB

This groundbreaking book investigates the emergence and evolution of the organ trade across North Africa and Europe. Seán Columb illuminates the voices and perspectives of organ sellers and brokers to demonstrate how crime and immigration controls produce circumstances where the business of selling organs has become a feature of economic survival. 

Drawing on the experiences of African migrants, Trading Life brings together five years of fieldwork charting the development of the organ trade from an informal economic activity into a structured criminal network operating within and between Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, and Europe. Ground-level analysis provides new insight into the operation of organ trading networks and the impact of current legal and policy measures in response to the organ trade. Columb reveals how investing financial and administrative resources into law enforcement and border securitization at the expense of social services has led to the convergence of illicit smuggling and organ trading networks and the development of organized crime. 

Trading Life delivers a powerful and grounded analysis of how economic pressures and the demands of survival force people into exploitative arrangements, like selling a kidney, that they would otherwise avoid. This fascinating and accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in migration, organized crime, and exploitation.

The American Way

Edited by Orsola Casagrande&Ra Page

Following the US’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the scenes of chaos at Kabul Airport, we could be forgiven for thinking we’re experiencing an ‘end of empire’ moment, that the US is entering a new, less belligerent era in its foreign policy, and that its tenure as self-appointed ‘global policeman’ is coming to an end.

Before we get our hopes up though, it’s wise to remember exactly what this policeman has done, for the world, and ask whether it’s likely to change its behaviour after any one setback. After 75 years of war, occupation, and political interference – installing dictators, undermining local political movements, torturing enemies, and assisting in the arrest of opposition leaders (from Öcalan to Mandela) – the US military-industrial complex doesn’t seem to know how to stop.

This anthology explores the human cost of these many interventions onto foreign soil, with stories by writers from that soil – covering everything from torture in Abu Ghraib, to coups and counterrevolutionary wars in Latin America, to all-out invasions in the Middle and Far East. Alongside testimonies from expert historians and ground-breaking journalists, these stories present a history that too many of us in the West simply pretend never happened.


Scholarships/Fellowships

Fourth Summer Institute on Critical Security Studies in the Arab Region

Call for Letters of Interest

June 27- July 4, 2022 - Morocco

Application Deadline: February 28, 2022

The Arab Council for the Social Sciences is soliciting letters of interest from doctoral students, junior scholars, and other researchers for the fourth Summer Institute on Critical Security Studies in the Arab Region, which will be held from June 27 – July 4, 2022 in Morocco.

Objectives: The aim of the summer institute is to bring together doctoral students, early career scholars, and other junior researchers for training and mentoring with a team of established faculty members who will provide sessions on a range of methodological and theoretical approaches, as well as professional issues that will equip the participants with the theoretical tools and practical skills necessary for conducting critical research on security in the Arab region. Ideal candidates would have a promising research agenda as well as an openness to critical interdisciplinary approaches.

Structure: The summer institute will consist of five main parts and will be conducted in Arabic and English with simultaneous translation. The first part will involve participants presenting their research and receiving written feedback from the faculty session leaders as well as from other participants. Participating researchers will be divided into several working groups and each group will be mentored by one or two faculty leader(s). The second part of the institute will involve substantive and targeted thematic sessions given by faculty members and guest speakers. The central aim of these sessions is to introduce participants to themes in critical security studies and the ways in which critical research on security issues in the Arab region can be conducted. With that aim in mind, faculty leaders will provide a range of readings for participants that will structure the theoretical and methodological sessions. The third part of the institute will include site visits, walking tours and/or public events. These activities serve as case studies for the issues to be explored during the Institute and will be conducted in collaboration with local researchers, practitioners, and activists. The fourth part will consist of writing sessions whereby participating researchers will work on further conceptualizing their research topics based on the taught thematic sessions. The fifth and final part of the Institute will consist of professionalization sessions where participants and faculty leaders come together to discuss issues around publishing, fieldwork, teaching, and other professional concerns.

Expected Outputs: Participants in the Institute are encouraged to become active members of Beirut School’s network and will be expected to share their findings in appropriate fora provided by the Working Group. Those with original research projects will be asked to prepare essays to be published on the Beirut School, ACSS, or partner websites. These contributions may either appear as part of a larger workshop symposium or as individual essays.

Journal Articles


Personal photographic encounters of/with the pandemic’s pathological politics

Laura Mill

Published online: 03 Jan 2022, Critical Studies on Security

The article is a photographic journey through the pandemic, using images juxtaposed with government, public health, and University slogans/advice.

Necropolitical constructions of happiness, COVID-19 and higher education

By Harshad Keval and Toni Wright

Published online: 21 Dec 2021, Critical Studies on Security

This piece provokes discussions about the pathological performativities of COVID-19, the British state and UK higher education. We argue that despite the apparent disconnectedness of these components, the connecting fabric is one of a necropolitical (Mbembé and Meintjes 2003) nature. This socio-political hegemony is constitutive of and through the ‘performativity of happiness’ as a mechanism of oppression. Universities as sites and locations where multiple oppressions are produced and enacted, can also be sites of potential mobilised empowerment. The pathological politics of COVID-19 rests on these mechanics, while the potential for liberatory solidarities is already at work in resistance.

The return of key workers to university campuses reflects the experience of general UK key workers during the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Health, social care and food supply workers, many people of colour, and at the low economy end, women and more so women of colour, were required to leave their homes and families during lockdown to risk their health and the health of their families to provide for others. By designating a percentage of in-person teaching on campus as essential for the academic year 2020/21 the university assigned teaching, cleaning and catering staff as key workers. They were conscripted into the frontline to bear the greatest burden. As noted on the UCU website, this ‘essential’ status is coupled with low pay and increasingly precarious employment contracts as well as direct and indirect coercion around in-person presence.

There has been a general acceptance of middling unexceptional leadership in the UK explained by the structure of whiteness. Kehinde Andrews understands this manifestation of whiteness as a form of irrationality. A mix of folly coupled with nationalist and neoliberal discourse and politics that coalesces as incompetency that puts lives at risk and leads to unnecessary deaths. This same structure of whiteness is not only at state level but is being operationalised within the university. The hallmarks are an obsession with maintaining status quo hierarchies and of valuing economics and individualism as policy and decision-making drivers.

An insistence on in-person teaching solidifies economics-dominated thinking. Policy relating to workers returning to campus involves staff being accountable and responsible for their own risk mitigation and negative consequences to their health. This operationalises individualism and discounts the need to protect those most at risk from COVID-19 because of their age, health status and/or racialised positionality.

Uncovering concealment of the impact of these policies can do more than highlight irresponsibility and folly. It reveals structures that allow the impacts to continue, and how those structures buttress each other. In turn it can arm us with critical knowledge for informing counteractive strategies. For ‘bodies out of place’ (Puwar 2004), the university is a site of exclusionary boundaries, producing parameters of legitimacy across a series of intersectional dynamics. People of colour, women, disabled people, older people, those who defy white, male and heteronormative middle-class presentations are those designated illegitimate and unproductive, and therefore consistently marginalised. The university is not only a prime site for the production and maintenance of multi-level intersectional, racial logics but has a long and sinister history of such harm production (Shilliam 2018).

Lectures & Webinars

Who’s Afraid of the Military Industrial Complex? — The Shifting Politics of Pentagon Spending

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

The discussion will take place on Wednesday, February 16 from 11 am-noon EST.

2021 was a good year to be a weapons contractor. Congress authorized $778 billion in military spending, one of the highest levels since World War II, and $25 billion more than the Pentagon even asked for. More than half of those funds will go to weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.

At time when the greatest challenges to our security are pandemics, climate change, and domestic discord, why do we continue to shower these enormous sums on the Pentagon and the arms industry? Part of the answer has to do with an overly ambitious, cover-the-globe military strategy. But another substantial part of the problem is the political influence wielded by the military-industrial complex. To explore these issues, the Quincy Institute is pleased to host a discussion featuring Michael Brenes, interim director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and lecturer in history at Yale; Shana Marshall, associate director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University; and William Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute. Kelley Vlahos, senior advisor at QI, will moderate.

This panel will explore the power of the military-industrial complex from its origins in World War II to the present, looking at its political strengths and weaknesses and how it might be overcome in service of a national security strategy that protects America’s vital interests and is much more cost-effective.


Job Openings


Carleton College

Visiting Assistant Professor of History: Latin America and the Caribbean

Carleton College seeks to fill a position in the history of modern Latin America, including the Caribbean, for the 2022-2023 academic year with the possibility of renewal. The successful candidate will teach five courses during the academic year (three ten-week terms). Teaching obligations will include a survey of modern Latin America (1800-present) as well as more specialized courses in the successful candidate’s areas of interest. As well as excellence in research, the successful candidate will have demonstrated interest in undergraduate teaching and a commitment to teaching a diverse student body.

Applicants should submit a letter of application; a curriculum vitae; a statement about teaching in an undergraduate liberal arts environment and how the candidate would contribute to a college community that embraces a diversity of people and perspectives as one of its core values; 2 syllabi (one should be for a Modern Latin America survey); a writing sample (ca. 25 pages); and contact information for referees who will be invited to submit directly. All materials should be submitted via Carleton College’s career portal (careers.carleton.edu) andreceived by February 19, 2022 for fullest consideration. The Department hopes to conduct our initial round of interviews via Zoom in early March. Candidates should have the Ph.D. in hand by September 1, 2022.




Assistant Professor (Political Science), University of Hawaii at Manoa 

The Department of Political Science in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa seeks applications from interested and qualified candidates for a tenure-track position at the Assistant rank who specializes in American Politics, with a focus on racial justice and intersecting inequalities. We seek scholars of American politics from a variety of approaches, particularly those with an emphasis on critical and engaged scholarship. We welcome scholars with interdisciplinary training and research experience. 

 Duties: Candidates will be expected to teach courses in American politics and institutions and related areas; advise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students, develop and conduct high-quality research, publish peer-reviewed research and seek extramural funding, sustain strong community relations for teaching and research purposes, supervise political/community internships, and participate in Departmental, University, and professional activities, with a particular focus on developing partnerships to advance our American politics concentration, as well as other duties as assigned. 

To Apply: Electronic applications only to https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/hawaii.edu and search for Position Number 0084130, JOB# 2021-01203 to submit an application.

Submit a curriculum vitae; one writing sample in which you are sole author or primary author; a one-page research statement detailing your five year research agenda; a one-page diversity statement of how you enrich the Department's commitment to diversity in education; a statement of teaching that includes areas of strength in teaching; a sample course syllabus; a cover letter indicating how you satisfy the minimum and desirable qualifications, as well as how you would enhance the Department’s specialization in American politics; the names and contact information of three references.  Finalists must be prepared to submit official transcripts. Copies of transcripts are acceptable, but the official transcripts will be required upon hire.


Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Kentucky State University

The College of Humanities, Business and Society at Kentucky State University invites applications for a 9-month tenure-track Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice.

Essential Job Functions:

The successful candidate will be knowledgeable in Criminal Justice. The selected candidate will be required to teach a four/four course load of undergraduate courses and/or an equivalent combination of undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of Criminal Justice. Other duties include teaching online classes, university services, research, and scholarly activities.
OTHER DUTIES: Perform related duties as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS:
The candidate must have an earned doctorate in Criminal Justice, Criminology, or have obtained ABD status with an imminent completion date from an accredited institution.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Candidates should appreciate a diverse student population, participate in recruitment/retention activities, and advise/mentor students. An established record of scholarly activity and service are expected.
Application Procedure: Submit a letter of online application, cover letter, current vitae, official transcripts, and e-mail addresses of three references to: Attn: Ms. April Higgins, Academic Affairs at Kentucky State University, 400 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.

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