Human Rights Pasts and Futures

Human Rights Pasts and Futures

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2020-2021
About Human Rights Pasts and Futures

 

 In her essay “The Pandemic is a Portal,” novelist Arundhati Roy writes, the pandemic “unfolding before our eyes ... isn’t new. It is the wreckage of a train that has been careening down the track for years.” She continues, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

This first and inaugural Society of Fellows program highlighted multi-disciplinary approaches to and perspectives on the international human rights movement, the relationship between human rights law and culture, and creative forms of human rights representation and resistance. Fellows’ projects mobilized arts and humanities perspectives to address complex global challenges such as migration, mass incarceration, structural violence and environmental degradation, and they contemplated broader questions about both the potential and limitations of human rights to move through the wreckage of anti-Blackness, settler colonialism, ableism and heteropatriarchy to create more livable and equitable futures.


GAHDT YouTube Channel

To view videos of previous Digital Dialogues, visit the GAHDT Youtube channel

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Faculty Fellows

  • Thomas Davis
  • Paloma Martinex-Cruz
  • Tristram McPherson
  • Ila Nagar
  • Elaine Richardson
  • Inés Valdez
  • Sarah Van Beurden
  • Joel Wainwright

FACILITATORS
Wendy S. Hesford
Amy Shuman


Graduate Team Fellows

  • Jacklyn Brickman
  • Mercedes Chavez
  • Sophia Enriquez
  • Ehsan Estiri
  • Rhys Gruebel
  • Trevor Marcho
  • Aviva Helena Neff
  • Lyndsey Vader

MENTORS
Dorothy Noyes
Susan Van Pelt Petry


Graduate Research Grant Recipients

  • Emily Craver
  • Joy Ellison
  • Davianna Green
  • Yildiz Güventürk
  • Rina Hajra
  • Miranda Holmes
  • Mikel Bermello Isusi
  • Andrea Luque Karam
  • Clayton Kindred
  • Jacob Kopcienski
  • Fungisai Musoni
  • Rexhina Ndoci
  • Steven Rhue
  • Rolando Rubalcava
  • Kylee C. Smith
  • Lydia Smith
  • Leyla Tiglay
  • Mitch Vicieux
  • Jordan P. Woodward

Undergraduate Apprentices

  • Elizabeth Bateman
  • Mia Cai Cariello
  • Thaliyah Cools-Lartique
  • Laura Fink
  • Gabrielle Frick
  • Owen Morrish
  • Alejandra Schwarz
  • Patrick Seroogy
  • Jaret Waters

MENTORS
Puja Batra-Wells
Amy Shuman

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Programming

The 2020-21 Society of Fellows programming brings together artists, scholars and activists working in a range of disciplines aligning with our current theme of Human Rights: Pasts and Futures. Areas of expertise include studies in art, performance and activism; critical human rights; disability; incarceration; Indigeneity; environmental justice; intersectional rhetorics; migrant and refugee rights; race and citizenship; and sexuality, among others.

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Human Rights Pasts and Futures: Pandemics, Racism and Colonialism
September 23, 4:30-6 p.m. (Zoom)

In her essay “The Pandemic is a Portal,” novelist Arundhati Roy writes, the pandemic “unfolding before our eyes ... isn’t new. It is the wreckage of a train that has been careening down the track for years.” She continues, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”  In this first and framing dialogue, the Global Arts + Humanities Society of Fellows will bring scholars together to consider the potential and limitations of human rights to move through the wreckage of anti-Blackness, settler colonialism, ableism and heteropatriarchy to create more livable and equitable futures.
Featuring: Iyko Day (Associate Professor, English and Critical Social Thought, Mount Holyoke College); Tiffany Lethabo King (Assistant Professor, African-American Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University); Shui-yin Sharon Yam (Associate Professor, Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies, University of Kentucky)
Moderator: Treva Lindsey (Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State)


Disability, Sexuality and Human Rights
October 21, 4:30-6 p.m. (Zoom)

Dialogue two brings scholars and activists together to consider the potential of human rights frames, cultural representations and institutions to address violence against people with disabilities and LGBTQIA populations. Panelists will consider the political utility of identity-based rights for addressing different forms of oppression and provide alternative visions of justice that are not bound to liberal philosophies of recognition and/or the state. Panelists will also address how governments weaponize language and culture to incite violence against non-dominant populations and the important role that the arts and humanities play in documenting rights violations and advancing social justice.
Featuring: Amrita Dhar (Assistant Professor, Department of English, Ohio State-Newark); Sona Hill Kazemi (Research Justice at the Intersections Fellow, Mills College); Eunjung Kim (Associate Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University); Rachel Lewis (Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies Program, George Mason University); Ila Nagar (Associate Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Ohio State)
Moderator: Amy Shuman (Professor, Department of English/Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State)


Migrant Rights Within Empire, Art Activism and Democracy
November 18, 4:30-6 p.m. (Zoom)

In a recent USA Today opinion piece entitled “Trump’s Coronavirus Order Scapegoats Immigrants and Doesn’t Make Us Safer,” the authors decry the President’s order as nativist political theater rather than a good faith measure to reduce contagion. As south-to-north migrants disproportionately work in the industries that feed the country, this panel considers how the pandemic has engendered new conversations about “essential” workers and rights violations. More broadly, panelists will consider how scholars, activists and artists employ or challenge human rights frameworks in countering cultures of empire, authoritarianism and neoliberal structures of oppression in the advancement of democracy and social justice.
Featuring: Víctor M. Espinosa (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Ohio State-Newark); Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State); Cristian Pineda (Multidisciplinary Visual Artist, Mérida, Yucatán; Inés Valdez (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Ohio State)
Moderator: Guisela Latorre (Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State)


Post/Human Rights, Indigeneity and Environmental Justice
February 1, 3:30-5 p.m. (Zoom)

Dialogue four considers the challenges that the Anthropocene epoch poses to human and non-human life and the potential of cultural practices and newly imagined ethical concepts for addressing these challenges. Panelists discuss how aesthetic and cultural practices generate attachments to the places we inhabit, and how posthuman renderings, such as augmented reality applications, encourage embodied experiences that connect humans empathetically with the biodiversity of seen and unseen worlds. Additionally, the panel will address questions of cultural inheritance, environmental justice, and the dangers of living under carceral rule. 
Featuring: Tommy Davis (Associate Professor, Department of English, Ohio State); Tristram McPherson (Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Ohio State); Elissa Washuta (Assistant Professor, Department of English, Ohio State); Amy Youngs (Associate Professor, Department of Art, Ohio State)
Moderator: Michael Mercil (Professor, Department of Art, Ohio State)


Cultural Heritage, Colonialism and Human Rights
March 8, 3:30-5 p.m. (Zoom)

Dialogue five considers the cultural and environmental impacts of colonialism as these affect human rights and communal flourishing. Panelists will examine different styles of colonial violence and the cultural change and contestation that result as indigenous and local communities defend their autonomy. They will especially consider the tension between framing culture and nature as “heritage” and maintaining viable lifeworlds for communities. How has the decolonizing turn across disciplines helped us to interpret these situations?
Featuring: Mary Hufford (GAHDT Visiting Senior Scholar, Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State); Sarah Van Beurden (Associate Professor, Departments of History/African and African American Studies, Ohio State); Michelle Wibbelsman (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State)
Moderator: Dorothy Noyes (Professor, Departments of English and Comparative Studies, Ohio State)


Human Rights Beyond Carceral Systems
April 5, 3:30-5 p.m. (Zoom)

In our final dialogue, panelists consider the political utility of human rights frameworks for addressing questions related to carceral systems, including the policing of space, citizenship, identities and difference. Panelists will address the explosion of the prison population in the United States and its link to the technologies of enslavement and also reflect upon the limits of carceral feminism and its turn to policing to resolve gender-based violence. Finally, panelists will consider the role of the arts and humanities in abolitionism and in imagining alternatives to carceral systems.
Featuring: Dionne Custer Edwards (Director of Learning and Public Practice, Wexner Center for the Arts); Annie Isabel Fukushima (Assistant Professor, Division of Ethnic Studies, University of Utah); Tiyi Morris (Associate Professor, Department of African and African American Studies, Ohio State-Newark); Elaine Richardson (Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, Ohio State); Mary Thomas (Associate Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State)
Moderator: Jennifer Suchland (Associate Professor, Departments of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Ohio State)

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COVID-19: Viral Racism
September 22, 10:30 a.m. to noon (Zoom)

This workshop will explore the ways COVID-19 has fueled anti-Asian sentiment and reignited fears of disease-carrying foreigners. Drawing on her research on Asian racialization and settler colonial capitalism, Iyko Day will review the historical depictions of Asians as untrustworthy, sneaky and diseased, which are linked to longstanding associations of Asians with a destructive economism. Like the virus, the insidious character of this racialized economism turns on its invisibility and abstract character.
Workshop leader: Iyko Day (Associate Professor, Department of English and Critical Social Thought—Mount Holyoke College)
Moderator: Jian Chen (Associate professor, Departments of English and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies)


Transnationalizing Pandemic Rhetorics
September 24, 10-11:30 a.m. (Zoom)

The pandemic has amplified existing global inequities. Grassroots protests have sprung up transnationally to challenge inequities and oppressive state regimes suppression of dissent and weaponization of pandemic control policies to persecute protesters. This workshop introduces the rhetorical framework of "deliberative empathy," and invites participants to examine the pandemic and the coinciding wave of global uprising as a coalitional moment. We will explore how we can mobilize transnational rhetoric to foster grassroots solidarity across nation-states. 
Workshop leader: Shui-yin Sharon Yam (Associate Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies—University of Kentucky)
Moderator: Wendy S. Hesford (Professor, Department of English—Ohio State, and faculty director of the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme—Ohio State)


Decolinization and Abolition in the Now
October 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Zoom)

This workshop will explore methods, questions, theoretical frames and sites of analysis that facilitate bringing Black studies and Native studies into conversation. Participants should be prepared to share their own approaches to and experiences with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods and practice, and participants will also be asked to have an object or text from your own research in mind to discuss. Workshop leader: Tiffany Lethabo King (Assistant professor, Departments of African-American Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies—Georgia State University)
Moderator: Shannon Winnubst (Professor and chair, Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies—Ohio State)


Disability and State Violence
October 20, 10-11:30 a.m. (Zoom)

People with disabilities face multiple human rights violations, and yet their precarity is often more recognized metaphorically — as general vulnerability — than in terms of the material conditions that produce inaccessibility and persecution and render them invisible. The two presenters for this session work on global dimensions of disability and human rights. Rachel Lewis’ work focuses on the precarity of people with disabilities in the political asylum process and in refugee narratives more generally. Sona Hill Kazemi will works with narratives told by survivors of the Iran Iraq war. The workshop will consider the multiple global intersections of disability and state violence.
Workshop leaders: Sona Hill Kazemi (Research Justice at the Intersections Fellow—Mills College) and Rachel Lewis (Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies Program—George Mason University)
Moderator: Margaret Price (Associate Professor, Department of English—Ohio State)


Migrant Crossings: Research as Praxis
April 6, 3:30-5 p.m. (Zoom)

Our final workshop incorporates research as praxis, where central to answering how one crosses into visibility — in particular, migrants cross into visibility as "victims" / "criminals" and trafficking subjects — requires the bridging of theory and practice. This workshop is informed by Fukushima’s own commitment to praxis, having worked at all levels of organizations — from volunteer to leadership roles, case worker, programs coordinator and as an expert witness for civil, criminal and immigration cases. This workshop will offer insights into local, national and transnational collaborations.
Workshop leader: Annie Isabel Fukushima (Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies Division—The University of Utah)
Moderator: Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese—Ohio State)