Friday, November 18, 2022
Campus Center, Multipurpose Room 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm EST/GMT-5
Stop by to see a presentation about Uyghur Scholar Rahile Dawut who has been imprisoned by the Chinese Government and learn how you can help free her.
Create signs for an advocacy march in December.
Write letters to authorities!
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Sucharita Kanjilal, Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of California-Los Angeles
Olin 102 5:00 pm EST/GMT-5
This talk examines the relationships between labor, social life and capitalism through an ethnographic account of the emerging “creator economy” in India. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in Mumbai, Pune, Indore and Singapore, I follow an unlikely group of digital creators — middle-aged housewives who produce recipes and home cooking content on YouTube and Instagram — as they become enchanted with technological futurity and navigate Hindu nationalist food politics in contemporary India. How might our understandings of culture, technology and global capitalism change if we take the Indian housewife creator as a key figure of contemporary labor?
Heralded as a paradigmatic shift in the “future of work”, the creator economy is a $100-billion global industry of over 50 million content creators as well as the digital infrastructures through which creators earn a living by monetizing digital content. In popular and scholarly accounts, the creator economy is treated as primarily a technological shift towards ‘digital labor’, rooted in the promise that individuals, especially women of color in the Global South, can now earn livelihoods and even amass fortunes with just a smartphone and an internet connection. This provocative and homogenizing claim distills both the affective appeal and the analytical limits of the creator economy as a singular, digital-first, global enterprise composed of hyper-productive individuals.
In this talk, I critically evaluate this promise about the future of work, using ethnography to investigate, not the content of creators’ pages, but the material conditions, social relationships and embodied practices out of which their digital labors emerge. I situate the creators’ work in the cultural and political milieu of rapidly digitizing contemporary India and its diasporas, where the resurgence of Hindu nationalist politics plays a daily and deadly role, and food is pivotal to the performance and reproduction of caste, religious, ethnic and national identifications. Consequently, I argue that the global creator economy accumulates profits because it relies on not a futuristic transformation of individualized labor, but the resurgence of an older set of production relations – the household industry. Specifically, I enumerate how households, themselves reproduced by existing inequalities of gender, class, caste, nation and postcolonial racial geographies, are digitally re-mediated as a start-up entities. Through such an analysis, I provide a timely exploration of the situated labors, desires and subjectivities through which a vast and lucrative global capitalist project is being produced, animated and emplaced.
Bio: Sucharita Kanjilal is a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a former journalist from Mumbai, India. Her doctoral research combines anthropological perspectives on digital media, labor and capitalism, anti-caste and postcolonial feminisms, theories of affect, and critical food studies. Her work has appeared in Gastronomica, the Routledge volume Caste in/and Film (forthcoming) Quartz.com, Scroll.in, Hindustan Times and the Heritage Radio Network.
Monday, November 14, 2022
Cars and Jails: Freedom Dreams, Debt, and Carcerality
Olin Humanities, Room 102 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EST/GMT-5
Bard’s new Carceral Studies speaker series launches with a visit from the NYU Prison Education Project. Their recently published book Cars and Jails: Freedom Dreams, Debt, and Carcerality explores how the car, despite its association with American freedom and mobility, functions at the crossroads of two great systems of entrapment and immobility– the American debt economy and the carceral state. We will be joined by four of the Lab members, a group representing formerly incarcerated scholars and non-formerly incarcerated NYU faculty.
Thursday, November 3, 2022
Yidong Gong, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International & Area Studies, New College of Florida (Honors College of Florida)
Olin 102 4:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
For decades, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been a significant component of China’s medical interventions in Africa. China is also asserting itself through TCM in post-conflict South Sudan. In this talk, I focus on the transmission of TCM to South Sudan and track the unexpected transnational connections of medicine between China and Africa. I pay special attention to pain, which lies at the heart of clinical practice and social life in post-conflict South Sudan. In South Sudanese conceptions, pain is a composite of body and mind, clinical and existential, speakable and unspeakable, social and religious, while also defying linguistic categorization. Despite the multiple non-somatic modalities that define pain and illness for South Sudanese, they are nevertheless drawn to TCM (acupuncture in particular) as a quick fix – a fast-track method for coping with pain. In this process, different agents participate in the production of desires, values, and symbols related to TCM. The employment of TCM as miracle cures, painkillers, and new sources for innovation in South Sudan opens a window into the often uneven social life of medicine. The discourse and practice of TCM create a multi-layered site for negotiation, transfiguration, and knowledge production. It is portrayed and practiced as an assemblage of meanings, socialities, and actions; as both miraculous and rapid, biomedical and alternative, traditional and innovative. I will explore these contradictions and reflect on the nature of ties between China and Africa today.
Yidong Gong is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International & Area Studies, and a core faculty member of the interdisciplinary program Health, Culture and Societies, at New College of Florida (NCF), the State University System of Florida’s designated honors college. He is also an inaugural fellow of the Nielsen Center for the Liberal Arts at Eckerd College.
His teaching and research interests include medical anthropology, global health, mental health, critical humanitarianism, South Sudan, East Africa, and China. He received his PhD from Duke University in Fall 2019 and was a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in AY 2019-2020. He had previously worked as a bilingual feature writer covering science, technology and medicine, as well as a Pyongyang-based foreign correspondent. His research focuses on the intertwined relationship between medical expertise and biopolitics in transnational healthcare, particularly their convergence and friction in Africa. His current book project examines China’s long-standing medical programs in South Sudan, which offer an alternative to the widely accepted logic and values of medical humanitarianism in places marked by “crisis” or “conflict”. His scholarly and journalistic publications have appeared in The China Quarterly, Somatosphere, Science, SciDev.Net, among others.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Emily Lim Rogers, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of American Studies, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities at Brown University
Olin Humanities, Room 102 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
This talk explores the double binds that are created when debilitating chronic symptoms remain unverifiable in Western biomedicine. Chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS) is a disabling condition that has no treatments. Its unrelentingness means suicide is the leading cause of death. Drawing on four years of online and in-person fieldwork with American ME/CFS activists, I show how vital social groupings bind patients together despite the significant isolation ME/CFS causes. Yet at the same time, the bureaucratic and biomedical systems they aim to navigate are inherently exhausting and repeatedly exclude them, creating double-binds for patients with already-limited energy: the systems they rely on are also the systems that wear them out. Debility blocks the very means through which debility might end.
ME/CFS patient activists “believe in science.” They take pains to note the treatments they want are biomedical in nature, and they emphasize that a definitive biological marker is needed for their disease to be taken seriously. While medical anthropologists have long critiqued such narrow ways of seeing the world, this talk departs from the model of the “dupe.” Instead, it argues for the central importance of the psychic, phenomenological, and material aspects of investments in biomedicine, in what I term “attachments to science.” I look at how—in a context with a deficit of hope—science’s futurity animates a way of inhabiting a present without prognosis, as they must live on despite the often-devastating loss that comes from living in immense and unending pain. This project insists these losses are both psychic and material: they create a need for hope, and they also make it difficult to eke out a livelihood when biomedicine is the arbiter of legitimacy for disability insurance, paid sick leave, and Social Security in the context of a gutted American social safety net and cultural imaginaries of the disability fraud. Patient activists who appeal to such institutions did not choose to do so. Like a family, biomedicine is something their lives are dependent upon yet ones they cannot pick. In the last portion of the talk, however, I suggest queer studies has something to add about interdependencies and forms of care that might untie the knot of biomedicine’s binds—and the material limits of such alternative imaginaries as people with ME/CFS have little choice but to persist in an exhausting present.
Emily Lim Rogers is the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Disability Studies at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and the Department of American Studies at Brown University. Her work has been published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly and appears in the forthcoming anthology Crip Authorship (NYU Press, 2023), among others. Her current book project is Biomedicine’s Binds: ME/CFS, Patient Activism, and the Work of Debility. The project examines how American ME/CFS patients create vital social groupings through their debility, yet debility blocks the means through which debility might end, as they navigate societal disbelief and exhausting institutions that limit the the success of activist movements.
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Online Event 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EST/GMT-5
Over the last two decades, the Israeli regime of colonization and control in Palestine has multiplied significantly. In its expansion, public, hybrid, and civilian actors and institutions come to form an overall settler colonial assemblage. This talk aims to shed light on how such a diffuse regime of colonization operates today in rural areas of the West Bank by attending to Palestinians’ everyday encounters with the Israeli army, settler vigilante groups and organizations, and privatized security bodies and agents. In particular, the talk will highlight the modes of violence produced by the colonial assemblage, the ways in which they affect Palestinians’ everyday life, as well as Palestinians’ manoeuvring efforts to evade them as means to remain steadfast in their homeland.
Wassim Ghantous is the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod fellow at the Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University, New York. His academic research cuts across the fields of political geography and international relations, and the sub-fields of critical security studies, surveillance studies, settler colonial studies, and Palestine studies. Previous to his academic career, he worked in several Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, most notably at the BADIL Resource Center and
This lecture will be delivered virtually via Zoom. Please join via the link below.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 813 5408 3579