Activism

Honoring Hawai’i on Statehood Day

Today marks the sixtieth anniversary of Hawai‘i’s official admission into the U.S. as a state. While many tourists visiting Hawai‘i may commemorate Statehood Day by experiencing the astounding natural beauty and rich cultural traditions of the islands firsthand, anyone can devote some time to honoring Hawai‘i on this holiday by learning more about the archipelago’s complicated path to statehood.

We’ve highlighted several of our related titles below. By delving into historical issues of native sovereignty and popular protest against annexation, these books not only challenge wholly celebratory narratives of Hawaiian statehood but also illuminate the complex legacy of settler colonialism in contemporary Hawai‘i.

In the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1921, the U.S. Congress defined “native Hawaiians” as those people “with at least one-half blood quantum of individuals inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778.” In Hawaiian Blood, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui provides an impassioned assessment of how the arbitrary correlation of ancestry and race imposed by the U.S. government on the indigenous people of Hawai‘i has had far-reaching legal and cultural effects.

Kauanui is also the author of Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty, which examines contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination in U.S. domestic policy and international law. In this book, Kauanui shows how Hawaiian elites’ approaches to reforming land, gender, and sexual regulation in the early nineteenth century that paved the way for sovereign recognition of the kingdom complicate contemporary nationalist activism, which too often includes disavowing the indigeneity of indigenous Hawaiians.

In Unsustainable Empire Dean Itsuji Saranillio offers a bold challenge to conventional understandings of Hawai‘i’s admission as a U.S. state, showing that statehood was neither the expansion of U.S. democracy nor a strong nation swallowing a weak and feeble island nation, but the result of a U.S. nation whose economy was unsustainable without enacting a more aggressive policy of imperialism.

A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Noenoe K. Silva’s Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism. Drawing on Hawaiian-language texts, primarily newspapers produced in the nineteenth century and early twentieth, Silva demonstrates that print media was central to social communication, political organizing, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and culture.

Nation Within by Tom Coffman details the complex history of the events between the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1893 and its annexation to the United States in 1898. Highlighting the native Hawaiians’ resistance during that five-year span, Coffman shows why occupying Hawaiʻi was crucial to American imperial ambitions.

A Nation Rising, edited by Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika′ala Wright, chronicles the political struggles and grassroots initiatives collectively known as the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, raising issues that resonate far beyond the Hawaiian archipelago such as Indigenous cultural revitalization, environmental justice, and demilitarization.

Are you planning a trip to Hawai‘i? If you’re interested in learning more about how to practice forms of socially conscious tourism during your visit, we recommend checking out our forthcoming book, Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai‘i, edited by Hokulani K. Aikau and Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez. In this brilliant reinvention of the travel guide, artists, activists, and scholars redirect readers from the fantasy of Hawai‘i as a tropical paradise and tourist destination toward a multilayered and holistic engagement with Hawai‘i’s culture and complex history. The essays, stories, artworks, maps, and tour itineraries in Detours create decolonial narratives in ways that will forever change how readers think about and move throughout Hawai‘i. Detours will be available in November.

Disorienting Disability

Disorienting Disability,” the latest issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly, edited by Michele Friedner and Karen Weingarten, is available now.

This special issue examines the stakes of orienting toward or away from disability as a category and as a method. Building on Sara Ahmed’s conceptualization of “orientation” as the situating of queer and raced bodies, the contributors ask how the category of disability might also change how we think of bodies orienting in space and time. Are all paths, desire lines, objects, and interpellations equally accessible? How do we conceptualize access in different spaces? What kind of theoretical and empirical turns might emerge in disorienting disability?

Drawing on feminist studies, critical race studies, and queer studies, the contributors probe the meanings of the term disability and consider disability in relation to other categories of difference such as race, gender, and class. Essays challenge the historicity of disability; push disability studies to consider questions of loss, pain, and trauma; question the notion of disability as another form of diversity; and expand arguments about the ethics of care to consider communities not conventionally defined as disabled.

The issue’s Against the Day section, “Contentious Crossings: Struggles and Alliances for Freedom of Movement across the Mediterranean Sea,” brings together researchers and activists to reflect on struggles against the European border regime. All articles in this section are freely available for six months.

Browse the issue’s contents here, or read the introduction, freely available.

You might also find these recent books in disability studies of interest:

In this revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

In Black Madness :: Mad Blackness Therí Alyce Pickens examines the speculative and science fiction of Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due to rethink the relationship between race and disability, thereby unsettling the common theorization that they are mutually constitutive.

Jane Gallop explores how disability and aging are commonly understood to undermine one’s sense of self in Sexuality, Disability, and Aging. She challenges narratives that register the decline of bodily potential and ability as nothing but an experience of loss.

Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, in Bodyminds Reimagined, Sami Schalk traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability, showing how the genre’s exploration of bodyminds that exist outside of the present open up new social and ethical possibilities.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

trafficking-logoToday is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a day to bring awareness to and encourage action against human trafficking. In honor of this international day, we’re featuring some of our recent journal articles (all available free for six months) and books that explore this global issue.

In the Trail of the Ship: Narrating the Archives of Illegal Slavery,” featured in the March 2019 issue of Social Text, delves into the strange, contradictory archives of the illegal transatlantic slave trade that flourished between Angola and Brazil in the mid-nineteenth century. The article’s author, Yuko Miki, follows the documentary trail of notorious slave ship Mary E. Smith, focusing on the list of the ship’s Africans who were “liberated” from captivity, most of whom were already deceased.

m_ddpos_25_4.coverAuthor Elena Shih explores why and how Thailand functions as a pivotal destination for US human-trafficking rescue projects in “Freedom Markets: Consumption and Commerce across Human-Trafficking Rescue in Thailand,” featured in the November 2017 issue of positions: asia critique. Basing her research on the global anti-trafficking movement in Thailand, China, and the United States between 2008 and 2014, Shih juxtaposes two distinct tourist encounters: a human-trafficking reality tour hosted by a US nonprofit organization, and a separate study-abroad gathering of US university students hosted at the office of a Thai sex worker rights organization.

m_ddglq_22_3_coverIn the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government engaged in a militarized campaign to clean up favelas, blighted areas, and red-light districts so that it could “develop” them. In his article “Evangelical Ecstasy Meets Feminist Fury: Sex Trafficking, Moral Panics, and Homonationalism during Global Sporting Events,” featured in the June 2016 issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Gregory Mitchell argues that by destroying safe and legal venues for sex work, host cities of such events create the very exploitation they purport to prevent.

You may also be interested in these books about human trafficking:

Street Corner Secrets

Street Corner Secrets is an ethnography of women in the city of Mumbai who look for  work at nakas, street corners where day laborers congregate and wait to be hired for construction jobs. Often chosen last, after male workers, or not at all, some women turn to sex work in order to make money, at the nakas, on the street, or in brothels. Svati P. Shah argues that sex work should be seen in relation to other structural inequities affecting these women’s lives, such as threats from the police and lack of access to clean water.

Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform.

The Politics of Boycotts

The Politics of Boycotts,” the newest issue of Radical History Review, edited by E. Natalie Rothman and Andrew Zimmerman, is now available.

“Boycotts exercise the one power that no state, no corporation, no military can prevent,” write the editors in their introduction, available free. “That is the power not to: not to buy from, not to work with or for. … It is a power of nonrecognition.”

Contributors to this special issue explore the global, entangled history of boycotts, from the original Captain Boycott of the Irish Land War and the Canadian opposition of apartheid in South Africa to the consumer activism movement against Coors beer in the late 20th century and queer engagement in the World Social Forum: Free Palestine.

Popular Protests in Venezuela

This spring, we’re excited to spotlight the Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), a field-defining journal of Latin American history. This week, HAHR offers a thematic reading list curated by Scott Doebler. All articles are freely available online through the end of August.

Venezuela’s ongoing political drama, popular protests, sustained humanitarian crisis, and growing diaspora have captured the world’s attention. The starkness of the current crisis contrasts markedly with what was until recently a wealthy economy buoyed by colossal oil reserves.

The current political convulsions are far from singular in Venezuela’s history; HAHR has published numerous articles about popular protests throughout Latin America, including many in Venezuela’s history. Presented here are four such articles that explore different outpourings of popular protest in Latin America against the powers that be—some violent, some peaceful, and some a complicated mixture.

The authors investigate the individual conditions that provoked the contestations, often placing them within larger national and global contexts. The articles not only showcase varied local situations spaced over centuries, thus transcending the “colonial” and “modern” divide, but they also represent changing interpretations of popular protests themselves and their role in society.

Civil Disorders and Popular Protests in Late Colonial New Granada” by Anthony McFarlane (1984)
Written as the social history turn was in full swing, McFarlane investigates who participated in “civil disorders” and why by focusing on lesser-known (at the time) challenges to aspects of colonial rule.

Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780–1800” by Rebecca Earle (1993)
This study of two rebellions at the turn of the nineteenth century looks at the weakness of state control over distant populations and their continued expectation of autonomy.

Public Land Settlement, Privatization, and Peasant Protest in Duaca, Venezuela, 1870–1936” by Doug Yarrington (1994)
Focusing on understudied Duaca, Venezuela, Yarrington follows changing land ownership patterns and its consequences.

‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978–1983” by Alejandro Velasco (2010)
This article examines how popular sectors held democracy accountable for representing their interests by hijacking public property.

For additional background reading on Venezuela, check out some of our books on its history and politics. We Created Chávez by George Ciccariello-Maher tells the history of Venezuelan politics from below, explaining how militants, students, women, Afro-indigeneous peoples, and the working-class brought about Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and, ultimately, brought Hugo Chávez to power. In Channeling the State, Naomi Schiller explores how community television in Venezuela created openings for the urban poor to embrace the state as a collective process with the potential for creating positive social change. Looking beyond Hugo Chávez and the national government, contributors to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, edited by David Smilde and Daniel Hellinger, examine forms of democracy involving ordinary Venezuelans: in communal councils, cultural activities, blogs, community media, and other forums. The Enduring Legacy by Miguel Tinker Salas is a history of the oil industry’s rise in Venezuela focused especially on the experiences and perceptions of industry employees, both American and Venezuelan.

We also have some titles on Venezuela’s culture. Marcia Ochoa’s Queen for a Day considers how femininities are produced, performed, and consumed on the runways of the Miss Venezuela contest and on the well-traveled Caracas avenue where transgender women (transformistas) project themselves into the urban imaginary. Sujatha Fernandes’s Who Can Stop the Drums is a vivid ethnography of social movements in the barrios, or poor shantytowns, of Caracas, Venezuela. And The Fernando Coronil Reader is a posthumous collection of the Venezuelan anthropologist’s most important work that highlights his deep concern with the global South, Latin American state formation, theories of nature, empire and postcolonialism, and anthrohistory as an intellectual and ethical approach.

Top image: A protester wearing an Anonymous mask and lifting a Venezuelan flag, March 16, 2014. Photo by Jamez42. Licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. (Find the original here.)

Resilience in the Age of Austerity

ped_19_2_coverThe newest issue of Pedagogy, “Resilience in the Age of Austerity,” edited by Chris W. Gallagher, Deborah Minter, and Shari J. Stenberg, is available now.

Contributors to this special issue consider what resilience means to academia in an age of economic austerity. Exploring resilience as a social, rhetorical practice rather than an individual attribute, the authors offer examples of how particular austerity measures enacted on their campuses―from community colleges to private universities―impact teachers’ and students’ work.

Through their diverse articles, the authors argue that teachers and scholars of literature, language, writing, and culture can and should make major contributions to interdisciplinary understandings of resilience.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, freely available.

New Books in April

We’ve got great new reads in April in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, feminism and women’s studies, and much more.

978-1-4780-0390-8_prIn Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border.

In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia in the second half of the twentieth century, showing democracy to be a historically unstable and contentious practice.

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Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers in Mumbai—who are assumed to not exist—to live during a period of deindustrialization, showing in The Archive of Loss how mills and workers’ bodies constitute an archive of Mumbai’s history that challenge common thinking about the city’s past, present, and future.

Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century polar explorers, showing in The News at the Ends of the Earth how ship newspapers and other writing shows how explores wrestled with questions of time, space, and community while providing them with habits to survive the extreme polar climate.

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In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical conditions for the persistence of art’s autonomy from the realm of the commodity by showing how an artist’s commitment to form and by demanding interpretive attention elude the logic of capital.

In a revised and expanded edition of Medicine Stories, Aurora Levins Morales weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

Exploring a wide range of sonic practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors to Remapping Sound Studies, edited by Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, reorient the field of sound studies toward the global South in order to rethink and decolonize modes of understanding and listening to sound.

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In Dance for Me When I Die—first published in Argentina in 2004 and appearing here in English for the first time—Cristian Alarcón tells the story and legacy of seventeen year old Víctor Manuel Vital, aka Frente, who was killed by police in the slums of Buenos Aires.

The contributors to Spirit on the Move, edited by Judith Casselberry and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, examine Pentecostalism’s appeal to black women worldwide and the ways it provides them with a source of community, access to power, and way to challenge social inequalities.

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Trans Day of Visibility

Today we’re honoring Trans Day of Visibility, an international holiday dedicated both to celebrating trans and gender-nonconforming people and to raising awareness of the discrimination they face.

We’re pleased to share the important work of trans studies scholars by highlighting these recent special issues of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. The introductions to each issue are freely available.

tsq_5_4_coverTrans*historicities

Leah DeVun and Zeb Tortorici, issue editors

This issue offers a theoretical and methodological imagining of what constitutes trans* before the advent of the terms that scholars generally look to for the formation of modern conceptions of gender, sex, and sexuality. What might we find if we look for trans* before trans*? While some historians have rejected the category of transgender to speak of experiences before the mid-twentieth century, others have laid claim to those living gender-non-conforming lives before our contemporary era. By using the concept of trans*historicity, this volume draws together trans* studies, historical inquiry, and queer temporality while also emphasizing the historical specificity and variability of gendered systems of embodiment in different time periods.

TSQ_5_3_coverTrans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans

Howard H. Chiang, Todd A. Henry, and Helen Hok-Sze Leung, issue editors

Since the late twentieth century, scholars and activists have begun to take stock of the deep histories and politically engaged nature of trans* cultures across the diverse societies of “Asia.” Much of this groundbreaking work has cautioned against immediate assumptions about the universality of transgender experiences, while heeding the significant influence of colonial histories, cultural imperialism, Cold War dynamics, economic integration, and migration practices in shaping local categories of queerness, discourses of rights, as well as the political, social, and medical management of gender variance and non-normative sexualities. This growing body of work on Asia joins trans* scholarship and activism across the world that has similarly sought to de-universalize and decolonize the category of “trans.”

TSQ_5_2_coverThe Surgery Issue

Eric Plemons and Chris Straayer, issue editors

Trans* surgery has been an object of fantasy, derision, refusal, and triumph. Contributors to this issue explore the vital and contested place of surgical intervention in the making of trans* bodies, theories, and practices. For decades, clinicians considered a desire for reconstructive genital surgery to be the linchpin of the transsexual diagnosis. In the 1990s, new histories of trans* clinical practice challenged the institutional claim that transsexuals all wanted genital surgery, and trans* authors began to argue for their surgically altered bodies as sites of power rather than capitulation. Subsequent contestations of the medico-surgical framework helped mark the emergence of “transgender” as an alternative, more inclusive term for gender-nonconforming subjects who were sometimes less concerned with surgical intervention.

Contributors move beyond medical issue to engage “the surgical” in its many forms, exploring how trans* surgery has been construed and presented across different discursive forms and how these representations of trans* surgeries have helped and/or limited understanding of trans* identities and bodies and shaped the evolution of trans* politics.

Subscribe to TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly or sign up for email alerts so you can stay up to date on the latest issues.

The Political Beliefs and Civic Engagement of Physicians in an Era of Polarization

The newest special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, “The Political Beliefs and Civic Engagement of Physicians in an Era of Polarization,” edited by Eitan D. Hersh, is now available.

jhp44_1_coverMedicine is, increasingly, a politicized profession. As the US navigates through a period of change and uncertainty in healthcare, physicians approach politics both as clinicians with expertise in healthcare delivery and as an interest group looking to protect their economic self-interest in a highly regulated field. This issue sheds light on how physicians affect politics and how politics affects them as they organize, advocate, and counsel patients in their offices on politically impinged personal health issues.

Read the introduction, freely available, and browse the table of contents.

Decline of the Republic

saq_118_1_coverThe most recent issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly, “Decline of the Republic: Vicissitudes of the Emerging Regime in Turkey,” edited by Ceren Özselçuk and Bülent Küçük, is available now.

“It is as if the rhythm of life in Turkey has sped up, like in time-lapse photography,” the editors write in their opening essay, made freely available. “The extraordinary series of events that have taken place within the last five years include bomb attacks, massacres, mass work accidents, wars and occupations, the Gezi Uprising and other large protests, corruption scandals, mass and targeted imprisonments, the coup attempt, purges, confiscation of institutional, corporate and individual properties, and finally the change from a parliamentary to a presidential regime.”

“What does the cumulative effect of these daily experiences of dislocation tell us about the nature of the social transformation that is taking place at the moment?” they write. “What the Turkish republic is ultimately grounded on is a persistent denial to encounter its constitutive ‘fault lines’ that shape its modern history.”

Contributors study the failed peace process between the Turkish State and the Kurdish movement, develop alternate frameworks for understanding Turkish authoritarianism, explore the restructuring of academia in Turkey and alternative spaces of education, and expose the limits of Erdoğan’s vision of “corporate sovereignty,” among other topics.

The issue also includes an “Against the Day” section entirely authored by students and academic staff involved in the #MustFall South African student movement calling for the decolonization of higher education. Contributors consider the matter of political time, from the use of the historically volatile term decolonization and the retrieval of political traditions from the 1960s to the stretching of time in occupations and campus shutdowns.

Browse the table of contents for “Decline of the Republic” and read the opening essay, freely available.