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2017
Tuesday, April 11th
10:45 AM

When Refugees Are Terrorists: Racialized Statelessness and the Constitution of the Racial State

Dennis Young, Whitman College

Olin 138

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

With 11 million Syrians forcibly evicted from their homes, the image of brown bodies begging for entrance into other countries is ubiquitous. At the same time, the racial bodies of Syrian refugees are assigned specific meanings: terrorist, national security threat, barbarian, antithetical to the West. This discursive construction is visible at the level of state formation; the conversations around the United States Security Against Foreign Enemies Act worked to further amplify security measures brought to bear against these “potential terrorists.” The racialized stateless person represents a site at which the United States, as a racial state, operates in a specific way. My presentation explores how understanding the racial logic of statelessness informs our conceptualization of the racial state. The question of racialized statelessness provides a unique lens for addressing how racial states constitute themselves in relation to those outside a system of states.

11:00 AM

Are Refugees Guests?

Cameron Conner, Whitman College

Olin 138

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

On March 9, 2016, the Macedonian government closed its borders to all but a small number of asylum seekers entering from the Greek border. As a result, more than 55,000 individuals were unable to complete the journey along the Balkan Peninsula and into central Europe. Many such groups put up camp where they could, only to be forcefully evacuated from these refugee sites to government-authorized facilities. One month before evacuations began, the Greek Ministry of Interior released a statement to one such camp informing its residents of the approaching evacuation. In analyzing this statement, I argue that the Greek Ministry’s use of signification to constitute asylum seekers as “guests” expropriates the agency and power of those individuals to whom the statement is addressed. This expropriation occurs through the Ministry’s constitution of asylum seekers into the mold of “guests” within Greece, a role subject to certain expectations and obligations.

11:15 AM

Executive Order 9066: Mass Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII

Dana Matsunami, Whitman College

Olin 138

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the evacuation and incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast of the United States. Japanese American families were torn from their homes, forbidden to speak Japanese and relocated to shoddy barracks behind barbed wire, watched at all times by armed guards in towers. The government categorized all Japanese Americans as enemy aliens and denied them the basic rights of citizenship for the duration of WWII. Despite all this, no Japanese American or Japanese national residing in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage. Based on research and training conducted during an internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, my presentation documents the history of Japanese American incarceration, the subsequent national narrative constructed around “internment” and the process of developing a complex exhibit in a tumultuous climate.

11:30 AM

Turning Points: From Addiction and Incarceration to Diversion and Healing

Meghan Ash, Whitman College

Olin 138

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

My presentation examines the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program as response to mass incarceration resulting from the U.S. "War on Drugs." LEAD, a pre-booking, harm-reduction diversion program that operates through the Seattle Police Department, redirects chronic drug users and drug-related criminal activity and addresses three major areas of life to encourage behavioral change among clients: personal relationships and support, housing and changes in individual-police relations. Using in-depth interview and participant observation data, I mine LEAD client narratives to identify and describe turning points in users’ lived experiences of addiction, homelessness and recovery, and consider their perspectives on harm-reduction services broadly.