Abolitionist Visions: A World Without Prisons, Walls, Detention, Imperialism and War 

Through the broad theme of “Abolitionist Visions,” we will take up the critical and urgent debates about immigration and national security, focusing both on the wall-building and immigration bans proposed by the current administration and on the potentials and pitfalls of the sanctuary movement. Our goal is to draw upon the expertise of an array of interdisciplinary feminist scholars and practitioners to address the urgencies of our contemporary political and historical moment. In his article for Captive Genders, Dean Spade encourages us to imagine the impossible as a way of building toward a vision of justice that may seem impossible in the immediate context. Arguing that “impossibility may be our only possibility,” Spade and co-authors Bassichis and Lee suggest that it is only through embracing an ethic of impossibility that we can we free ourselves to collectively imagine a world that prioritizes a feminist definition of security – foregrounding access to basic human needs -- rather than the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic logic of walls, borders, and other violent enclosures. In the face of what may seem like “impossible” realities, our 2017-2018 Colloquia Series prioritizes social transformation as a praxis through which to weather the current political realities.

“Close the Prisons! Open the Borders!”: How Abolition is Shaping Queer and Trans Politics Presented by Dean Spade

January 29th, 2018
Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre 

Dean SpadeDean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, and Law and Social Movements. Prior to joining the faculty of Seattle University, Dean was a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School, teaching classes related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and law and social movements. In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. SRLP also engages in litigation, policy reform and public education on issues affecting these communities and operates on a collective governance model, prioritizing the governance and leadership of trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people of color. His book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law addresses the failure of a traditional civil and human rights approach to trans liberation. Advocating for prison abolition, Spade’s work is dedicated to imagining a truly liberating future of social justice.

Faculty Bios

Anh Hua, Women's Studies

Anh Hua received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and her MA and PhD in Women’s Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, California. Her areas of research include Asian and Black diaspora studies, cultural studies, critical race and postcolonial feminisms, and literature and film by women of color. Recently, she is interested in examining philosophical concepts such as compassion, empathy, ethics, and spirituality. She has published in the journals Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Formations, Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Asian Women, African and Black Diaspora, the Journal of International Women’s Studies, and Canadian Women's Studies and in the anthologies Diaspora, Memory, and Identity: A Search for Home and Emotion, Place and Culture.  At the moment, she is working on three book projects: Diasporic Postcolonial Feminisms; Ginkgo Memories: A Chinese Diasporic Feminist Memoir; Cherries and Pear Nectar, My Love: A Collection of Poetry.

Amira Jarmakani, Women’s Studies

Amira Jarmakani received her doctorate from Emory University in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts (Cultural Studies) with a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies and her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in English with secondary teacher certification. Her most recent book, An Imperialist Love Story: Desert Romances and the War on Terror(NYU Press 2015), explores the crucial role of desire in understanding how the war on terror works and how it perseveres. She also authored Imagining Arab Womanhood: The Cultural Mythology of Veils, Harems, and Belly Dancers in the U.S. (Palgrave Macmillan 2008), which won the National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa book prize.  She has published articles in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, American Quarterly, and Critical Arts: A South-North Journal for Cultural and Media Studies as well as chapters in Arabs in the Americas, Arab and Arab American Feminisms, and Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora.  She is on the board of the Arab American Studies Association and she is a past Assistant Editor for the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. She works in the fields of women’s and gender studies, Arab American studies, and cultural studies. 

Event Details:

Abolitionist Visions: A World Without Prisons, Walls, Detention, Imperialism and War 

“Close the Prisons! Open the Borders!”: How Abolition is Shaping Queer and Trans Politics

Date: January 29th, 2018 

Faculty Sponsors: 
Amira Jarmakani, Associate Professor 
Anh Hua, Associate Professor 

Partnerships & Affiliations:
Women’s Resource Center
LGBTQ Pride Center

Affiliated Courses:

WS 101; WS 102; WS 310; WS 325; WS 336; WS 341A/B; WS 360; WS 520; WS 530; WS 535; WS 536; WS 565; WS 572; WS 581; WS 590; WS 604; WS 610; WS 611; WS 612


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