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Islamophobia: An Electoral Wedge Issue!

Islamophobia: An Electoral Wedge Issue!, by Dr. Hatem Bazian Dr. Hatem Bazian, Director of CRG Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project, contributed a post to the UC Berkeley blog about a recent study that considers how Islamophobia is employed as a political “divide and conquer” tool in US elections. Here is an excerpt: In 2011, the Center for American Progress published a groundbreaking report, “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” which managed to expose for the first time the funding sources behind the bigotry producing Islamophobic industry, the individuals responsible and the effective strategies that made possible to impact the mainstream.  CAP’s report managed to shift the focus and correctly highlighted the infrastructure behind the growing Islamophobia phenomena and provided empirical evidence that until then was only theorized. The “Fear Inc.” authors identified seven foundations that provided a total of $42.6 million between 2001 and 2009 to fund organizations and individual spreading anti-Muslim bigotry in the country. What the report clearly documented is that rather than there being a large grouping and widespread anti-Muslim popular movement, the researchers discovered a small network of organizations, scholars and activists that are well-funded and committed to misinformation, machination and bigoted rhetoric. The 2011 report concluded that “the efforts of a small cadre of funders and misinformation experts were amplified by an echo chamber of the religious right, conservative media, grassroots...

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Concerns Raised about CFP from Department of Homeland Security

On March 2nd, a group of UC Berkeley faculty and staff signed a collective letter to the Vice Chancellor of Research expressing concern about his invitation to campus programs to apply for funding to establish UC Berkeley as the lead institution for the Center for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research (CBTIR). The call for proposals is from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the proposed research center would focus on immigration enforcement (deportations and detentions), among other issues. The letter of concern is below. Professor Fleming, As faculty and staff members who work closely with undocumented students at Cal, we are writing to express our concern about the call for applications to establish a DHS Center for Borders, Trade and Immigration Research (CBTIR) that you circulated to faculty on April 29th. If we understand the call correctly, if a CBTIR were to be established at Cal it would involve a continued and significant DHS presence on campus. As you can imagine, having DHS involved in campus activities, given the Obama administration’s historic levels of deportation, can only be detrimental to our undocumented students’ feelings of safety on campus. A DHS presence would also have negative consequences for Cal students that come from mixed status families. Because of this potential harm to an important part of the Cal community, we urge you not to support any CBTIR application from...

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The Indigenous Palestinians

In a Harvard International Review article, “The Indigenous Palestinians,” Dr. Hatem Bazian argues that a political understanding of Palestinians should be developed through an indigeneity frame.  He asks, “How should we understand the Palestinians from the indigenous lens, knowing that the concept of indigeneity itself is evolving, and that an international legal structure is increasingly developing that might reshape the discourse related to Palestine and its people? …While the history of the Palestinians, as an indigenous group, is unique, it should not be separated from the broader global struggle of native and indigenous populations. Since the ushering of the new world by the “discovery” of the Americas in 1492, we have witnessed the systematic and industrialized process of dispossession and complete elimination of indigenous populations and cultures across the globe, with limited remnants of these affected communities visible today. Ravaged by greed, disease, and systematic military destruction, the indig- enous populations in the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia faced the trilogy that caused the death of countless millions over the past five hundred years. From a broader perspective, one can begin to downplay the suffering of the Palestinians as an indigenous population, considering the circumstances of other native groups around the world and the history of genocide and total destruction visited upon them over the years.” Read the article at the Harvard International Review.  Dr. Hatem Bazian is a co-editor...

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Our Chusma, Ourselves: On the Ghosts of Queerness Past

In the blog post entitled, “Our Chusma, Ourselves: On the Ghosts of Queerness Past,” Prof. Juana María Rodríguez reflects on the recent loss of performance studies giant, Jose Muñoz. Reflecting on how Muñoz electrified space and time, Rodríguez writes, The future queerness of José’s intellectual imagination has always been peopled with the still beating hearts of the ghosts of his chusma past, those far away from the limelight of the academic stages he graced so ungracefully. Carrying the memory of dreams deferred, and the promise of raucous outrage, he demanded a new formulation of time that could encompass both....

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How to Create Your Own Reproductive Justice Working Group

The phrase “reproductive justice” was coined in 1994 by a group of Black women attending a pro-choice conference.  They wanted a concept that merged reproductive rights activism in broader social justice struggles.  Since September 2012, the UC Berkeley Center on Reproductive Rights & Justice has hosted the CRG Reproductive Justice Working Group.  The group’s primary goal is to co-create an environment in which participants can deepen their understanding of reproductive justice and develop practical ideas for integrating reproductive justice into their research and practice. Last fall, the group published a guide for how to create your own reproductive justice working group!  In...

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