The Intersectionality of Oppression for a Black B*tch in Academia

OK so check it, I have a lot of things going for me. I am young, my melanin is poppin’, I’m a smarty-pants and I am fine as f*ck. Unfortunately however, these same attributes have also been made out to be socially constructed deficits that have caused for many unwarranted bouts with oppression. In my normal daily encounters, it is not uncommon to face microaggressions, sexism, ageism and a little bit of good ol’ fashioned racism sprinkled in here and there as well. From the ignorant comments I receive from people asking if I’m mixed because my hair is so cool, employers positioning me in the front of events to greet potential donors with my womanly charms, or comments implying I’m pushing the limit on time to settle down and get married because of my age, I’m constantly ducking and dodging attacks on the demographics my body was born into.

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Pranav Jani’s Statement in Support of a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Very important piece, and Prof. Jani’s perspectives are extremely insightful.
When you join a march for Black Lives Matter or sign a petition against environmental destruction by the North Dakota oil pipeline, you are taking a stand against an injustice despite the fact that you may have differences of opinion on how you understand the problem, the position you take on future strategies of protest, the opinions you have on the solutions, etc.

MLA Members for Justice in Palestine

Pranav Jani is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, working in postcolonial studies and US ethnic studies.  Pranav’s book, Decentering Rushdie, examined cosmopolitanism janiand nationalism in Indian English fiction; he’s currently researching the changing legacies of the Revolt of 1857 in the Indian political imagination.  Jani has published scholarly work on Marxism, historiography, nationalism, postcolonial theory and Subaltern Studies, Indian and diasporic fiction and film, and Indian revolutionaries.  His lectures and articles for activist forums can be found at, Socialist Worker, and International Socialist Review.  Pranav is a long-time member of the International Socialist Organization, and is involved in efforts in Columbus around Palestine solidarity, the Black Lives Matter movement, and academic freedom.

Sign the “Open Letter” calling on the MLA membership to endorse a resolution in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Only the signatures of (former or current) MLA members will…

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#Attlee Descendents Urge Support for #Corbyn



Letter to all Labour Members 

“As Clem Attlee’s great niece and great nephew we would like to strongly endorse the continued leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Under our great uncle as Prime Minister, the Labour Government enabled the creation of the Welfare State, inaugurated the National Health Service, implemented a major council housing building programme and achieved full employment, increased living standards and economic growth. This was done at a time of economic debt which makes any recent debt pale into insignificance. We applaud the success of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell at exposing the economic fallacy behind the doctrine of Austerity and setting both the national agenda and the course of Labour Party away from this failed economic model into one that invests both in the economic future and in all the people of this country, with no-one left behind.

We urge all members and MPs to vote for and…

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Does the IPSA Statement on Academic Freedoms apply to researchers from the Global South?

The International Political Science Association (IPSA) has released a Statement on Academic Freedoms. This statement refers to the UNESCO
Recommendations on the status of higher education personnel’, adopted in 1997 (version
française). It further highlights:

IPSA understands academic freedoms to include the free exchange of ideas that is vitally
necessary for scientific endeavour and debate. Arbitrary and politically motivated arrest, and personal and professional harassment, are egregious violations of basic human rights, and such violations pose a clear and present danger to academic freedoms.

Academic freedoms can also be seriously compromised through indirect measures, involving retention, promotion and tenure policies, performance and research management systems, changes in funding for research and resources, or alterations in the teaching curriculum.

The crucial question to ask, from a global South, #decolonizing the academy perspective, is whether these guidelines apply equally to scholars from the global South (meaning, people with passports issued by states in the non-Western, non-White, formerly colonised and presently neo-colonised ‘states’ in the global South), especially when carrying out research on anything related to the global North, or when dealing with issues of international concern. For instance, would these erstwhile positions of IPSA apply in equal measure to a scholar from a First Nations background (in Turtle Island, for example, or from any other First Nations community elsewhere, for that matter) adopting a highly critical perspective on white settler governments and their policies, a black/brown scholar (of any nationality) who critically examines Western defence, military, intelligence and law enforcement structures, or to a scholar from the global South who critically engages with racial profiling and/or Draconian and essentially colonial immigration policies in some Western European states?

Or, do these guidelines that IPSA so earnestly highlights only apply to white Western scholars (with passports issued by powerful and wealthy nations of the global North – that wealth often built upon looted wealth from their ex-[and present!]-colonies in the global South and on [past AND PRESENT] slave labour – when they are carrying out research in the global South or in countries classified and castigated as the West’s foremost ‘enemies’?

Given the dominant trends in political science academia, there is more ground to assume that the latter, unfortunately, is the case.

It is all good to come up with statements on academic freedoms, but it is very, very important, and absolutely crucial, to highlight that that to date, there is no governmental authority that fully and consistently ensures academic freedoms. In the UK, for instance, a worthwhile question to ask, for example is the following: ‘Would the Home Office allow a scholar from the global South, and especially someone with a nationality from [the pathetically euphemistic] ‘New Commonwealth’, to conduct research on the archival records of the Colonial Office stored in a facility which provides no access whatsoever to ANYONE. Would the UK authorities ever allow a researcher, especially someone who is black/brown, and with a passport from the ‘New Commonwealth’ (and is therefore subject to stringent and colonial immigration control), to access archives that are vital to the violent excesses of imperial history?

The point to be made here, from a #decolonizing perspective, is that IPSA, if it is to present itself a a truly ‘INTERNATIONAL’ body, needs to get a grip, and clearly highlight its commitment to the academic freedoms of political scientists from the global South, not only when researching ‘belligerent’ polities in the global South, but, also, and especially, when researching sensitive issues that concern the global North and powerful governments.

If IPSA is not prepared to do so, they should clearly indicate in statements such as that on academic freedoms that its understanding of ‘academic freedoms’ only applies to white and ‘white-passing’ academics, and to non-white academics who enjoy white privilege/s, when researching impoverished neo-colonies of the global South, which continue to be divided/controlled/looted by the ‘wealthy North’.

#decolonize #DecolonizeTheAcademy #StopDuplicities #GlobalSouth #QTPoCAcademics

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Why #Pride (including #BelfastPride) is not Mine

Pride celebrations have begun in the township I live in, Belfast, a place where a brand of ignorant homophobia pervades the largest local political party. In a deeply divided society with enduring scars of conflict, sectarian division and antagonism, there is a great deal of ‘territoriality’ about all things progressive. Those who purport to present themselves as the forerunners of LGB and Trans activism, just like activists in many other sectors, are very keen to claim ownership of LGBTQI issues, and sideline voices that are different to their own, or coming from people from who do not fall within their careerist agendas. Across the world, Pride is a highly commercialised event in which businesses seek profit. Many organisations try to benefit from Pride by flying the rainbow flag and pretending to be supportive of LGBTQI people. Pride is also an event with a past marked by racial and transphobic discrimination. Very few pride events across the world care to remember and honour the memory of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of colour, who pioneered the Stonewall riots. What we know as pride today is an event dominated by cis white gay men, who think they are entitled to draw boundaries and lines, and exercise control over everything LGBTIQ. This arrogance was clearly apparent, for instance, at the 2015 Pride reception at the White House, when Jennicet Guttiérrez, a trans woman of colour and a leading activist at Familia TQLM, interrupted Barack Obama’s all but hollow Pride speech. The largely white audience booed Guttiérrez, and she was forcibly removed from the event. This year, Guttiérrez was not invited, and the White House pride reception included people of colour, also trans women of colour, who, as opposed to the very courageous Guttiérrez, do not cross boundaries put in place by the establishment, who do their activism in a way in which white supremacist arrogance and discriminatory practices are not called out or held accountable.

Read more here.

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