This year’s Scholar and Feminist Conference will bring together a broad community of thinkers and organizers to grapple with the ever-deepening penetration of surveillance practices into everyday life, and ways to engage in self-defense against the militarized, racist police state’s demands for constant access in the name of “security” and public order. Sessions will focus on technologies of surveillance and self-defense; the normalization of the in/security state; and medical-legal surveillance. Our keynote speaker Simone Browne, author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, will open the conference by grounding us in the prescient and deeply entrenched legacies of anti-black racism and white supremacy in state, social, and capitalist systems.
Please note: The program is subject to minor adjustments.
Friday, February 16
4–5:30/6 PM: Self-Defense Labs
Workshop 1: Community Safety & Security Team Training
Facilitated by Meejin Richart and Steve Kohut
Workshop 2: The C.O.R.E.: A Sci-Fi Immigrant/ Trans Youth Narrative on Resisting a Surveillance State
Workshop and Screening with René A. Jáquez, Giselle Bleuz, Brooke Lynn, and Maddox Guerilla, Global Action Project Youth Producers
As educators, artists, activists, and users of digital media, it is critical to have stories, tools and practices to engage our speculative imaginations and envision a world where state surveillance is not equivalent to safety and security is found in community. To help create these concepts in the real world we can use the digital world to map out, design and plan alternative futures. For our workshop, The C.O.R.E. – A Sci-Fi Immigrant/ Trans Youth Narrative on Resisting a Surveillance State, Global Action Project (G.A.P.) will present a short dystopian narrative, The C.O.R.E., that imagines a future social order where immigrants and TLGBQ communities are relegated to the lowest caste. Following the screening, participants will engage with G.A.P.’s Movement History Timeline, a user-friendly, online application, to add their personal stories and utopian visions to a future that must be dreamed before it can be lived.
Workshop 3: Surveillance and Self-Defense Strategies
Facilitated by Alison Macrina, Community Team Lead at the Tor Project
This workshop will explore the landscape of surveillance technology and strategies that participants can employ to reduce harm. The workshop will cover threat modeling and risk assessment, exploring the specific ways that people are affected by state surveillance based on race, class, gender, ability, immigrant status, and other factors, with information about threat actors like ICE, the FBI, and local police and their surveillance capabilities. Participants will also discuss corporate surveillance and the relationship between third-party tracking and state surveillance–and how to block those trackers. Participants will learn basic tools and best practices for privacy using encrypted messaging, Tor Browser, and more. This workshop is interactive, but participants are not required to have or bring computers or phones to participate and learn.
6:30–8 PM: “they said in the name of self-defense”: Technologies of Surveillance and the Selling of the In/Security State
Featuring selections from the film “Pinkwashing Exposed” and a panel discussion with Rabab Abdulhadi, Dylan Rodríguez, Nandita Sharma, and Dean Spade ’97, moderated by Craig Willse
Title quote from June Jordan, “Apologies to all the People in Lebanon,” Dedicated to the 600,000 Palestinian men, women, and children who lived in Lebanon from 1948-1983. From Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2005).
Saturday, February 17
9–10 AM: Registration and Breakfast
10–11:30 AM: “The fake road, its cruel deception, is what we have to abandon”: Normalizing the In/Security State: Police and Prisons
Jordan Camp, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Christina Heatherton, and Mariame Kaba, moderated by Tina Campt
Title quote from Adrienne Rich, “USonian Journals 2000: Incline,” The School Among the Ruins: 2000-2004 (New York: Norton, 2004).
11:40 AM–1:10 PM: “in this time of siege of me and mine, mi raza“: Normalizing the In/Security State: Border Enforcement
Rachel Buff, Inderpal Grewal, Arun Kundnani, and Marlene Nava Ramos, moderated by Manu Vimalassery
Title quote from Maria Melendez Kelson, “ICE Agents Storm My Porch,” Poetry (March 2014).
1:10-2 PM: Lunch
2–2:30 PM: Psalm for the Mismeasured & Unfit: A Performance Installation on the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC)
Curator, Writer & Producer: Cara Page
Curatorial Asst. & Researcher: Nicola Glen Douglas
Choreodirector and Creative Collaborator: Ebony Noelle Golden
Performers/ensemble are: Vesta Walker, Jaime Dzandu, Audrey Hailes, Jehan Roberson, Sara Abdullah
Videographers: NY Native Video
2:40–4:10 PM: “its known and unknown powers/ to bind and dissociate”: Policing Biology
Toby Beauchamp, Shoshana Magnet, Cara Page, Rori Rohlfs, and Harriet Washington, moderated by Anthony Ureña
Title quote from Adrienne Rich, “USonian Journals 2000: Mission Statement,” The School Among the Ruins: 2000-2004 (New York: Norton, 2004).
4:30–6 PM: Keynote: Simone Browne, author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness
ASL interpretation will be provided by All Hands in Motion and Spanish language interpretation will be provided by Caracol Interpreters Cooperative.
Details and Accessibility
This event is free and open to the public. The venue is accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Please contact BCRW for additional accessibility needs.
Light snacks will be provided on Friday between workshops and the evening panel. On Saturday, we will provide breakfast, lunch, and a light reception, with snacks and coffee/tea throughout the day.
ASL interpretation (with All Hands in Motion) and Spanish language interpretation (with Caraol Interpreters Cooperative) will be provided on Saturday 2/17 from 4:30 – 6 PM for the keynote lecture by Simone Browne, author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.
La convención tendrá los servicios de interpretación en español disponibles durante la conferencia de apertura de Simone Browne, autor de Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness el Sábado 2/17 4:30-6pm. Servicios de interpretación provistos por Caracol Interpreters Coop.
About the Speakers and Facilitators
Rabab Abdulhadi is Director and Senior Scholar in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies; Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies; and affiliated faculty in Sexuality Studies. Before joining San Francisco State University, she served as the first director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She is co-founding editorial board member of Islamophobia Studies Journal; and co-author of Mobilizing Democracy: Changing US Policy in the Middle East; and co-editor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging; American Quarterly Forum on Palestine and American Studies (2015); and a special issue of MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies. Her work appeared in 7 languages in academic journals; anthologies; social media outlets; newspapers and magazines and oral history videos and lectures. Her current project is “Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice” (https://amed.sfsu.edu/content/news-and-events). As a public intellectual, she co-founded California Scholars for Academic Freedom, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine; General Union of Palestine Students (US); Union of Palestinian Women’s Associations in North America, Palestine Solidarity Committee, and co-organized intellectual activist projects such as Israel and South Africa: The Apartheid Connection?(1985); 500 Years of Genocide, 500 Years of Resistance (1992), and Howard Beach anti-racist Arab and Palestinian mobilization, as well as several delegations to Palestine in 1990, 2005, 2014, and the first Indigenous and Women of Color Feminist Delegation (2011) and US Prisoner solidarity (2016).
Toby Beauchamp is an assistant professor in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His book Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices is forthcoming on Duke University Press in late 2018.
Simone Browne is Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Simone’s first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, was awarded the 2016 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize by the American Studies Association, the 2016 Surveillance Studies Book Prize by the Surveillance Studies Network, and the 2015 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Technology Research. Simone is also a member of Deep Lab, a feminist collaborative composed of artists, engineers, hackers, writers, and theorists.
Rachel Ida Buff teaches history and comparative ethnic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she directs the Comparative Ethnic Studies and Cultures and Communities Programs. Her most recent book is Against the Deportation Terror: Organizing for Immigrant Rights in the Twentieth Century (Temple UP 2017); additionally, she writes frequently for a wide array of progressive media. She is the academic editor of the American Association of University Professor’s Journal of Academic Freedom, and is completing a novel, Into Velvet.
Jordan T. Camp is a term assistant professor of American Studies at Barnard College. He is the author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016), and and co-editor (with Laura Pulido) of the late Clyde Woods’ Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans (University of Georgia Press, 2017). His work also appears in venues such as American Quarterly, Jacobin, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, Race & Class, In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, edited by Clyde Woods (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime, edited by Paula Chakravartty and Denise da Silva (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso, in 2017).
Tina Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard. Campt joined the Barnard faculty in 2010, prior to which she held faculty positions at Duke University, the University of California-Santa Cruz and the Technical University of Berlin. Originally trained in modern German history at Cornell University, Professor Campt’s published work explores gender, racial and diasporic formation in black communities in Germany, and Europe more broadly. She is the author of three books. Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (University of Michigan Press, 2004) is a historical inquiry based on oral histories and archival documents that explores the experiences of Black Germans during the Third Reich. Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (Duke University Press, 2012) theorizes the affects of family photography in early twentieth century Black German and Black British communities. Her most recent book, Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017) theorizes the everyday practices of refusal and fugitivity enacted in a frequently overlooked genre of black vernacular photographs she calls ‘quiet photography.’ Campt has edited special issues of Feminist Review, Callaloo and Small Axe, and together with Paul Gilroy, co-edited Der Black Atlantik (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2004), the first German language collection of key texts on the Black Atlantic. Professor Campt is the recipient of research grants and fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, the American Association of University Women, The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Social Science Research Council, and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She writes about racial capitalism, organized violence, organized abandonment, changing state structure, criminalization, and labor and social movements. A second edition of the prize-winning Golden Gulag will appear later this year. Recent works include “Beyond Bratton” (Policing the Planet, Camp and Heatherton, eds.), and “Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence” (Futures of Black Radicalism, Lubin and Johnson, eds.). Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. She is a co-founder of many grassroots organizations including California Prison Moratorium Project; Critical Resistance; and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. Recent honors include the Association of American Geographers’ Harold Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (2014); the SUNY-Purchase Eugene V. Grant Distinguished Scholar Prize for Social and Environmental Justice (2015-16); and the American Studies Association Richard A Yarborough Mentorship Award (2017).
Inderpal Grewal is Professor and Chair in the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is also Professor in the Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies Program, the South Asian Studies Council, and affiliate faculty in the American Studies Program. She is the author of Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire and the Cultures of Travel (Duke University Press, 1996), Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms (Duke University Press, 2005), and Saving the Security State: Exceptional Citizens in Twenty-First century America (Duke University Press, 2017). With Caren Kaplan, she has written and edited Gender in a Transnational World: Introduction to Women’s Studies (Mc-Graw Hill 2001, 2005) and Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational: Feminist Practices (University of Minnesota Press, 1994). With Victoria Bernal, she has edited Theorizing NGO’s: States, Feminism and Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2014).
Her ongoing projects include essays on gender, violence and counterinsurgency in India, and a book project on masculinity and bureaucracy in postcolonial India.
Christina Heatherton is an American Studies scholar and historian of anti-racist social movements. An Assistant Professor of American Studies at Barnard College, she is currently completing her first book, The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century (University of California Press, forthcoming). With Jordan T. Camp she recently edited Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso Books, 2016).
Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a vision to end youth incarceration. She has co-founded multiple organizations and projects over the years including We Charge Genocide, the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, Love & Protect and most recently Survived & Punished. Mariame is also a co-organizer of the Just Practice Collaborative, a training and mentoring group focused on sustaining a community of practitioners that provide community-based accountability and support structures for all parties involved with incidents and patterns of sexual, domestic, relationship, and intimate community violence. She is on the advisory boards of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Critical Resistance and the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Her writing has appeared in the Nation Magazine, the Guardian, The Washington Post, In These Times, Jacobin, The New Inquiry and more. She runs Prison Culture blog (www.usprisonculture.com/blog).
Steve Kohut is a member of the Justice Committee, born and raised in the Lower East Side and a proud Nuyorican.
An advisor to the UK government has described Arun Kundnani as an “imbecile” who writes “intellectually lazy, retarded, tribal anti-establishment nonsense.” The Times columnist David Aaronovitch has called him an “idiot.” The Guardian has described him as “one of Britain’s best political writers.” Kundnani is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror (Verso 2014) and The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain (Pluto 2007). Born in London, he moved to New York in 2010 and now lives in Harlem. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.
Alison Macrina is a librarian, internet activist, the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, and a core contributor to The Tor Project. Alison is passionate about connecting surveillance issues to larger global struggles for justice, demystifying privacy and security technologies for ordinary users, and resisting an internet controlled by a handful of intelligence agencies and giant multinational corporations.
Shoshana Magnet is an associate professor in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies and the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Her books include the monograph When Biometrics Fail: Race, Gender and the Technology of Identity (Duke UP, 2011), and the edited collections The New Media of Surveillance (co-edited with Kelly Gates, Routledge 2010) and Feminist Surveillance Studies (co-edited with Rachel Dubrofsky, Duke University Press 2015).
For the past 20+ years, Cara Page has fought for LGBTQGNC and People of Color liberation, through her organizing and cultural work in the reproductive, racial & transformative justice movements with organizers of the Audre Lorde Project, SONG, Project South, the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, INCITE! and the Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative. As a Black queer feminist cultural worker, organizer and healer she continues to build community led collective safety and wellness strategies to interrupt and intervene on generational trauma; the cooptation and stealing of our practices and traditions; policing and surveillance; to transform interpersonal, communal and state control. As an Activist in Residence at BCRW, she is deepening her study to curate public discourse and installations that seek to rabble rouse, confront, and dismantle the historical and contemporary uses of eugenic practices and experimentation by the US government on our bodies through the Medical Industrial Complex.
Marlene Nava Ramos is a PhD student in Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is also an organizer and member with the New York City Chapter of Critical Resistance, and has been active in campaigns such as ICE-Free NYC. Her research studies the political economy of immigration enforcement practices in the states of Florida and New Jersey from the 1980 to the present. Ramos has taught with the Bard Prison Initiative at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, and at CUNY’s Lehman College, in the Bronx. She is also an alumna of Columbia University, and Cornell University.
Meejin Richart is a volunteer with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, and provides ongoing support for families whose loved ones have been killed by NYPD.
Dylan Rodríguez is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside, and was elected Chair of the Academic Senate by his faculty peers in 2016. After spending the first sixteen years of his career in the Department of Ethnic Studies and serving as its Chair from 2009-2016, he joined the faculty of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies in 2017. Since the late-1990s, he has helped build the foundations for three emergent scholarly fields: critical carceral studies, critical ethnic studies, and critical Filipino studies. Prof. Rodríguez is the author of two books: Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) and Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition (University of Minnesota Press, 2009). He has spoken and written in a wide cross-section of scholarly and popular venues, including Social Text, Huffington Post Live, American Quarterly, The Real News Network, and Radical History Review.
His current thinking, writing, and teaching focus on how regimes of social liquidation, cultural extermination, physiological evisceration, and racist terror become normalized features of everyday life in the “post-civil rights” and “post-racial” moments. How do the historical logics of racial and racial-colonial genocide permeate our most familiar systems of state violence, cultural production, institutionalized knowledge, liberation struggle, and social identity? How do people inhabit these structures and logics—make sense of it, narrate it, suffer it, and revolt against it? What forms of collective genius and creativity emerge from such conditions, and how do these insurgencies envision—and practice—transformations of power and community?
With her background in statistical genetics and molecular evolution, Rori Rohlfs is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University. Rori is broadly interested in the relationships between statistics, eugenics, and genetics, and more narrowly focused on examining statistical methods used in forensic genetic identification. As a graduate student and postdoc, she estimated error rates of familial forensic identification, and investigated how well statistical frameworks used in forensic genetics describe human genetic variation. She has continued this work to understand error rates in emerging forensic genetic technologies, and what information is contained in forensic genetic profiles. Among other courses, Rori develops and teaches Forensic genetics: Math matters, connecting technical methods to social impacts.
Nandita Sharma is an Associate Professor of Racism, Migration and Transnationalism in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her research interests address themes of human migration, migrant labour, national state power, ideologies of racism and nationalism, processes of identification and self-understanding, and social movements for justice. Sharma is an activist scholar whose research is shaped by the social movements she is active in, including No Borders movements and those struggling for the commons. She is the author of a forthcoming book, Home Rule: The Partition Between Natives and Migrants in the Postcolonial New World Order (Duke University Press). She is also a co-editor (with Bridget Anderson and Cynthia Wright) of a special issue of the journal, Refuge on “No Borders: A Practical Response to State Controls on People’s Migration.”
Dean Spade is an associate professor at the Seattle University School of Law. In 2002, he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit collective that provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color who are trans, intersex, and/or gender non-conforming, and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. He is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (Duke University Press 2015).
Anthony Ureña is a Ph.D candidate in Sociology at Columbia University. A Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow, Anthony’s research interests lie at the intersections of Health Inequality, Race & Ethnicity, Gender & Sexuality, and Risk. His work examines the social factors that contribute to the persistence of health inequalities within marginalized communities. His dissertation explores how racial identity, sexuality, and socioeconomic class impact the ways Black and Latino men who have sex with men perceive HIV/AIDS risk in their day-to-day lives. Anthony holds a B.A. in both Sociology and Human Biology from Brown University. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, he volunteered at several HIV/AIDS NGOs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to produce an ethnography detailing the persistence of the epidemic in the city’s metropolitan and favela neighborhoods. Anthony currently serves as co-facilitator for the Columbia GSAS Office of Academic Diversity’s Research Collective.
Manu Vimalassery is an Assistant Professor of American Studies, and affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, where he has taught since 2014. His work centers a critique of political economy and a critique of imperialism, with a particular focus on race and indignity. He teaches courses on the Black radical tradition, U.S. imperialism and radical internationalism, Indigenous studies, and liberation. He is the author of Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Peoples, Racial Aliens, and the Transcontinental Railroad (forthcoming, University of California Press). With Juliana Hu Pegues and Alyosha Goldstein he co-edited a special issue of Theory & Event, “On Colonial Unknowing,” and with Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, and Sujani Reddy, he co-edited The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). He has held fellowships at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and Williams College, and has taught at Williams College and Texas Tech University.
Harriet A. Washington wrote Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness while the 2015-2016 Miriam Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada’s Black Mountain Institute. She is a science writer, editor and ethicist who has been a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, Visiting Fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a visiting scholar at DePaul University College of Law and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She has also held fellowships at Stanford University, holds a degree in English from the University of Rochester an MA in journalism from Columbia University and in 2016 was elected a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Ms. Washington has written widely for popular and science publications and has also been published in refereed books and journals such as Nature, JAMA, The American Journal of Public Health, The New England Journal of Medicine, the Harvard Public Health Review and The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. She has been Editor of the Harvard Journal of Minority Public Health and a guest Editor of the the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. She is now writing a book about environmental poisoning in communities of color and her other books include Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future and Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation from Colonial Times to the Present, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award.
A film buff and lover of baroque music, Ms. Washington has also worked as a poison center manager, a classical-music announcer for public radio and she curates a medical film series.
Craig Willse is the author of The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). He is co-editor, with Patricia Clough, of Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death (Duke University Press, 2011). Willse also works in queer/LGBT studies in an on-going collaboration with legal scholar Dean Spade. Their joint writing has appeared in QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Widener Law Review, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage (ed. Ryan Conrad, 2010) and Left Turn. Their multi-media project Free State Epitaph has been produced and screened in New York, Berkeley, Seattle, and Kansas City, MO. Willse’s scholarship is informed by his political work outside the academy, which has included community organizing around housing access, social movements for trans justice and prison abolition, and queer anarchist anti-war activism. As Associate Professor at George Mason University, he is a faculty adviser to GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid.