Race, Gender, Nation explores how strategies affected in the name of ‘national security’ can affect a range of violence against human beings residing within those nation-states, including: genocide; restrictions placed human beings’ autonomy and rights over their own bodies; displacement, deportation, and permanent ‘removals’; racial profiling and mass incarceration; and systemic forms of socio-economic oppression. As those forms of violence undermine the human security of the people they impact, they in fact constitute human rights violations that in certain contexts corroborate acts of terrorism according to international law even if they cannot be officially labeled as acts of terrorism.
In this course we will examine how the political entity of the ‘nation’ has been appropriated by various state and non-state actors to affect a range of human rights violations meant to affirm the security only of the privileged in those nations. We will also examine how those security measures resonate with various definitions of terrorism. To that end, students will learn about how the recent era of Western colonialism directly impacts how privilege, criminality, and terrorism are understood in Global North and South today. We will complicate this discussion be examing cases wherein laws meant to secure human rights have, instead, problematized the realization of human rights in their applications and appropriations in other contexts. Students will also learn about the development of and ambiguous applications of human rights discourses and international debates concerning what constitutes terrorism.
We will examine these dynamics in different global contexts and in the US in four primary contexts: 1) how nation-building, nationalism, and national security has been affirmed through genocide and displacement; how the security of the privileged in a nation is affected by ongoing and mass detention and incarceration of those socio-economically marginalized within the same nation, including religious minorities, all females, and members of the LGBT+ communities within those nations; and how Western influence internationally, mainly in the United Nations, is blurring the line between what is defined as legal acts relating to national security or illegal acts relating to terrorism. Given ideologies debated in relation to the upcoming Presidential elections, this information will prove invaluable to students.