Identity Politics

Name: Deborah Anthony
Section: Women's Caucus
Professional Email: deborahx50@hotmail.com
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: University of Illinois Springfield
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Analyzing Women’s Political-Legal Regression through the Lens of Surname Practices in the English Early Modern Period
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The names by which people have been known illustrate a great deal about social norms and legal practices extant during various periods in English history. Surname use was at one time quite variable, bearing little resemblance to the typical practices seen in modern-day England. That variation tells an interesting story about women over the centuries, beginning in Saxon times, through the advent of surnames at the Norman Conquest of 1066, then later through the development of coverture as a component of English common law, and into the present day. Women in England at one time held individualized surnames reflecting specific traits, occupations, statuses, or family relations (e.g. Fairwife, Silkwoman, Widow, Robertdaughter). Certainly before, and even after surnames became regularly hereditary around the Fifteenth Century, women still sometimes retained their birth names at marriage, men sometimes adopted the surnames of their wives, and children and grandchildren sometimes inherited the surnames of their mothers or grandmothers. Women’s surname flexibility was once quite expansive, which bespoke of a surprisingly developed social and legal standing. But these diverse surname practices eventually disappeared, along with women’s occupational options and property rights, as well as other indicators of their position. What accounts for this retrenchment? If the history of women is not one in which only positive developments and progress occurred over time, however plodding, but rather one that evinced a significant and prolonged period of decline, then important questions arise about the causes for such a significant regression. There are several possible explanations. In addition to the emergence (and disappearance) of feudalism and the gradual implementation of the common law and coverture in England, these manifestations may also be tied to economic and political developments in the Early Modern period. Included in that umbrella is the advent of capitalism, which emerged in England in its modern form in the 16th-18th Centuries. Also potentially important is the advancement of theoretical concepts of citizenship and rights, which became more formalized during that period and therefore more exclusive to certain privileged groups, which did not typically include women. Additional factors include expanding principles of conquest and imperialism (both formal and informal) and the building of the modern nation-state. These new political concepts necessarily brought with them discourses of dominance and superiority, self and other. In the process of identifying the “self” in determining which were the citizens entitled to rights and status, women may have been formally excluded in ways in which they had not previously been. The implications of these historical developments and their impact on women are wide-ranging and significant. A theoretical investigation and analysis of the catalysts for this constriction of women’s rights and status will be central in this paper.


Name: Jason Blessing
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: jablessing4@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Syracuse University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Networks of Meaning and Domestic Right-Wing Violence: White Supremacist Responses to Immigration Reform in the U.S.
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Co-author info: Elise Roberts Syracuse University emrob100@syr.edu
Co-presenter info: Elise Roberts Syracuse University emrob100@syr.edu
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This paper examines both the rhetoric and actions of violent White Supremacist groups across two cases: 1954-1965 and 1965-1985. Combining content analysis with network analysis, we examine of the network of elite discourse created by White Supremacist factions--the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, Racist Skinheads, and Christian Identity groups. Utilizing primary source materials, we identify the salient in-group and out-group distinctions based on race, religion, and geographical factors in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision; the second case examines changes in the established rhetorical network in response to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and ensuing demographic shifts. Finally, we discuss the correlations between elite rhetoric/messages and the types of attacks carried out by their adherents across both cases. Insight into the identity constructions of these actors--how they define themselves and their enemies over time--allows for the contextualization of violence into a larger political and social climate.


Name: Stephen Del Visco
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: stephen.del_visco@uconn.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Connecticut
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: U.S. Conservatism and Anti-Communist Discourse As A Form of Racialization
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In a recent article discussing the state of historical scholarship on U.S. conservatism, historian Kim Phillips-Fein contended that the media’s role in crafting and refining conservative thought has been seriously understudied (Phillips-Fein 2011). Despite this oversight, print media has nonetheless had a profound impact on shaping U.S. conservative ideology, political practice, and racial boundary making. Indeed, because of the finite space of print media, those at the helm of important conservative periodicals had to make choices regarding the scope of their vision, resulting in the production of specific racial ideologies and political subjects. More specifically, U.S. conservative boundary making has received little attention is in the area of race and identity formation. Moreover, while this scholarship contributes important elements of conservative economic, political, and social philosophy by highlighting the role of racialization within the black/white binary, little attention is paid to other forms of racialization within U.S. conservatism. In this article, I advance the argument that the anti-communist rhetoric in mid-twentieth century U.S. conservatism held close a particular racialized content by conflating its anti-communist stance with a vision of East Asia as a economically, socially, and politically backward locale that had failed to reach U.S. conservatism’s vision of an Anglo-Saxon West. I show this tendency using a content analysis from a unique data set comprised of the entirety of the conservative periodical National Review between the years of 1955 (National Review’s inception) and 1980, ending with the election of Ronald Reagan.


Name: Sarah Farsad
Section:
Professional Email: sfarsad@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: The New School
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Race Problem (again)
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The language of race subtlety and insidiously promotes and reproduces racist thought patterns which in turn shape the ways in which we consider policies and solutions to racism in the United States. What do racial equality, racial diversity, and racial justice mean when we apparently live in a post racial society, where there is no biological race and yet presidential candidates must rely on the “black vote” to get elected? This paper will consider the language of race in relation to the ways in which the media has covered the 2016 Presidential Campaign. A recent New York Times article described Donald Trump’s campaign of capitalizing on “the racial animus” that exists in Alabama to further his political agenda. How can we analyze racial animus if there is no such thing as biological race? The language of race leads to sloppy thinking and therefore to sloppy analysis. In 1890, Frederick Douglass gave a speech titled, The Race Problem. I will consider the ways in which race is discussed by three presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders in relation to Douglass’s essay which very clearly and eloquently outlines the trouble with equity in America. The policy implications of race are far reaching and language is a tool available to us to describe, analyze and interpret how we have reached a place and time where it is acceptable to publicly consider an "other" from a racial and racist perspective in a presidential campaign.


Name: Miaad Hassan
Section:
Professional Email: miaad08@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Florida
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Minority Rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain: A Comparative Analysis
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Ethnic minority governance inevitably raises questions of legitimacy. Is it possible to have a minority-based government that represents all citizens? Even in secular democracies, where courts protect citizen rights, the issue is problematic, but in countries that divide along ethnicity, religion, and / or tribal loyalty, the history of all-inclusive governance is not encouraging. Almost by definition, minority rule in nondemocratic countries tends to autocracy. The strategies of dominant minority regimes to control majoritarian populations may not differ from those used by majoritarian governments, yet the results are often quite different. This paper asks why ethnic violence is prevalent and prolonged in countries where ethnic minorities rule, and how does it affect state identity? By comparing minority rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain, it analyzes how minority rule continues to frustrate majoritarian rule. Even though Sunni-Shia conflicts have existed in the Middle East since the death of Mohammed, they have been exploited by modern regimes to remain in power. This paper argues that ethnic conflict does not end with majoritarian rule. In fact, if a majoritarian party assumes power after a dominant minority government, it is likely to consolidate its own interests rather than pursue authentic representative government. Indeed, national identity is less likely to be salient when the governing group is drawn from the majority, and ethnic identity is more likely to be salient when a majority overcomes minority rule. By analyzing and comparing the rule in Iraq, Syria and Bahrain, the paper offers a regional analysis of ethnic politics and examines how the trans-nationalist movement known as pan-Arabism gave rise to minority rule in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain.


Name: Julie Hollar
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: juliehollar@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: CUNY Graduate Center
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Paper Title: Forging Discursive Alliances in Marriage Equality Battles
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How do social movements help transform public discourse around political issues? Studies on framing have increasingly addressed how and why movements select frames, and which frames help them achieve various goals, but few have attended to variation in framing across time or actors, which can show us the mechanisms by which meanings and power relations change. I explore this angle through the lens of the marriage equality movements in Argentina and the United States, two countries where the same policy debate took different discursive paths. Movement actors can make new claims, but because they historically have been marginalized in the media, those claims will not dominate the public debate unless either gays and lesbians gain standing or other actors repeat them. I find in this paper that while in both countries gay and lesbian actors gain slightly in the space mass media allot them over time, they never succeed in dominating the debate. This means the discursive alliances they forge are critical. However, movement actors cannot control their claims once they put them forth; other actors selectively take them up, elevating certain claims above others, and as they do so, those claims can also take on new and different meanings. I apply network analytic techniques to an original dataset of actors and the claims they made in prominent newspapers in Argentina and the United States in order to trace the ways new claims about gays and lesbians and the state come to dominate the debate through shifting discursive alliances, and the ways those claims change in the process. I show that, in part because of their different political and institutional landscapes, advocates pursued discursive alliances in ways that differed in two main respects. In Argentina, advocates pursued a unifying alliance strategy through claim adoption. In the United States, advocates pursued a distributed alliance strategy through claim innovation. In both countries advocates achieved policy change, but these divergent strategies created more durable packages of meanings in Argentina and more fragmented packages in the United States.


Name: Mikaila Leyva
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: mleyva@nd.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: The University of Notre Dame
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Latino Businesses and Political Participation
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Co-author info: Andrea Peña-Vasquez, the University of Notre Dame, apenavas@nd.educaciónJuan Valdez, the University of Notre Dame, jvaldez2@nd.edu
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Many factors contribute to political participation, with a general consensus of political scientists agreeing that education and economic standing are among the most relevant. These ‘resources’ include a variety of elements, most prominent being non-political institutions, such as churches and community networks. These non-political institutions have been comprehensively studied but oftentimes, local businesses are overlooked as institutions that may affect participation. A question that has not been addressed by the literature on political participation is: can ethnically owned businesses act as non-political institutions that generate political participation amongst their respective ethnic groups?We contend that local businesses, more specifically Latino-owned businesses, aid in creating communal ties among groups and prompting political participation, much like other non-political institutions. We focus on Latinos primarily because they are the most prominent and fastest growing ethnic minority within the United States; with their electorate likely to double by 2030, this group is more politically relevant than ever before (Taylor 2012). By targeting this population, we can determine the relationship between political participation and ethnically owned businesses, in turn generating important insight for future research.We examine the relationship between the proportion of Latino-owned businesses and political participation among Latinos at the county level. The question we ask is this: Do metropolitan areas with higher proportions of Latino-owned businesses affect Latino political participation? To answer this question, we analyze both formal (registering and voting) and informal (participating in civil society and contacting government officials) political activities of Latinos in the United States. This analysis allows for a closer examination into the role that ethnically owned businesses may play in generating political participation.


Name: Phillip Logan
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: phillip.logan1@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Temple University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Taking African American Politics Seriously; Thinking Beyond Racial Justice
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Critics of the Black Lives Matter Movement in particular, and identity politics in general argue that the politics of identity often entails the buttressing of racial identity at the expense of democratic forms of solidarity. Adolph Reed highlights in his critique of Black racial politics that the centrality of race within post-civil rights Black politics lends itself to Black political voice captured by Black neoliberal elites. Black neoliberal interests run contrary to the politics of poor and working class solidarity, and consolidating Black politics around the political agendas of the Black and affluent. Through politicized notions of ‘Blackness’, racial identity politics, for Reed, arrests the potential for solidarity across difference between poor and working class Blacks and non-Blacks. In this I paper I want to argue that even though Reed astutely points out problematic aspects of Black identity politics in relation to larger mobilizations and its own goals, he negates to consider that the centrality of race in Black politics may exist as Sheldon Wolin describes as ‘tacit political knowledge’. Tacit political knowledge is rooted in the notion of personal knowledge, which, according to Michael Polyani, is the notion that ‘one believes more than what they can prove, and that one knows more than what can be said’. If one were to argue that ‘racial justice’, as a political virtue, is the tacit political knowledge of Black experience as political action, then a fact-based critique of it as such is not adequate. This essay concludes that if the tacit political knowledge of Black experience as ‘personal knowledge’ is non-falsifiable, then its critique can only come from within Black experience by questioning the virtue of racial justice, philosophically, in the face of other assumedly less salient forms of justice distributive, gender, sexual etc.


Name: Ahmad Qabazard
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: ahmadqabazard@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: New York University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Problemization of Nationality: Revoking Citizenship to Crackdown on Dissent in the Gulf Cooperation Council
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This article examines a series governmental decrees which led to the denaturalization of over seventy Kuwaiti citizens in 2014. The victims of denaturalization have become members of a stateless population known in Kuwait as Bidun. I attempt to understand the existence of the Bidun through a genealogical critique of the problematization of citizenship and national identity. I work with the notion of Biopolitics, developed by Michel Foucault in his critique of the problematization of sexuality, to understand why revoking citizenship has become a convenient punitive measure for rulers of GCC states. I find that, through the existence of the Bidun, the State of Kuwait was able to retain the sovereign’s “right to kill” through its transition to a semi-parliamentary regime and the use of popular illegalisms.


Name: Elise Roberts
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: elisemrob@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Syracuse University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
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Paper Title: Networks of Meaning and Domestic Right-Wing Violence: White Supremacist Responses to Immigration Reform in the U.S.
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Co-author info: Jason Blessing; Syracuse University; jablessi@syr.edu
Co-presenter info: Jason Blessing; Syracuse University; jablessi@syr.edu
Abstract:
This paper examines both the rhetoric and actions of violent White Supremacist groups across two cases: 1954-1965 and 1965-1985. Combining content analysis with network analysis, we examine of the network of elite discourse created by White Supremacist factions--the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, Racist Skinheads, and Christian Identity groups. Utilizing primary source materials, we identify the salient in-group and out-group distinctions based on race, religion, and geographical factors in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision; the second case examines changes in the established rhetorical network in response to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and ensuing demographic shifts. Finally, we discuss the correlations between elite rhetoric/messages and the types of attacks carried out by their adherents across both cases. Insight into the identity constructions of these actors--how they define themselves and their enemies over time--allows for the contextualization of violence into a larger political and social climate.


Name: Mette Marie Stæhr Harder
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: mmharder@ruc.dk
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Roskilde, Denmark
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Paper Title: Representation of Interests, not Groups: Reclaiming Pitkin’s Second Way
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For years, representation has been perceived as being about groups. However, in an era when the concept of groups is being challenged, we need new ways of thinking about representation that do not depend on groups. Reopening Pitkin’s conceptualization of representation, this article shows that although this is seldom acknowledged, her classical concept of substantive representation opens the way for understanding representation in terms which do not involve groups. Accordingly, the article sets out to test this “second way” by applying it to the academic field concerned with “women substantive representation” and it shows that by moving from studying “substantive representation of women” (the group perspective) toward studying “substantive representation of gender equality” (the non-group perspective) the field can rid itself of problems it has struggled with for years. The universal character of these problems suggests that the "second way” is a viable option for research on representation in general.


Name: Brendan Stern
Section: Identity Politics
Professional Email: Udkovich@gmail.com
Professional Status: Full Professor
Institution: Gallaudet University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Too Deaf and Not Deaf Enough During the 2006 Gallaudet Protest: The Diffusion of Identity Politics in the Deaf Community and Its Strategic Dilemmas
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What could explain the diffusion of identity politics? What are its strategic dilemmas? To explore those strategic questions, the dissertation analyzes and evaluates the Unity for Gallaudet (UFG) protest at Gallaudet in 2006 during which the students, faculty and alumni closed down the only liberal arts university in the world for Deaf people to protest the Board of Trustees' selection of the University President. It was widely disparaged as “identity politics gone wild” by scholars, commentators, and political leaders who accused the protestors of mob rule and cultural extremism who thought Fernandes was “not Deaf enough” because she had learned sign language at a later age and had a more inclusive vision of what it meant to be deaf in a rapidly changing world. In turn, the protestors incited an unlawful mob to make non-negotiable demands that threatened public order and the future of the university. That they still won in achieving their demands is held up today as one more example as to why identity politics is becoming increasingly popular in this day and age – it is a strategic advantage for politicians and social movement leaders. However, this paper argues that the diffusion of culture wars since 1988 has sacralized the nature of political conflicts - and that the Deaf community is falling in line at its own risk. With methodological triangulation of content and frame analysis of public and private claims by supporters, antagonists, and elites, and ethnographic analysis based on participant observation and archival research, this paper re-describes the identity politics of the UFG protest through the broader lens of the raging culture wars between liberals and conservatives in the United States. It explores how consequentialist deliberations about what it means to be deaf in a hearing world as exemplified by the DPN protest are now often sacred arguments about what it means to be American in a diverse world. And then, from the vantage point of strategic interactionism, it argues that the UFG protest could highlight the strategic trade-offs of identity politics, which can be dismissed but at the individual, community, and country’s own peril.


Name: Alejandro Torres
Section: American Political Thought
Professional Email: alexfcbtorr@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Florida International University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Beyond the Individual: Revisiting the Idea of Neutrality in Multicultural Societies
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John Rawls’ landmark 1971 book A Theory of Justice has been criticized on the grounds that its principles of justice are not sensitive to group differences in multicultural societies. Communitarians such as Charles Taylor have disputed Rawls’ assumption that the principal task of a just society is to distribute fairly the liberties and economic resources needed by citizens to practice their own plans of life. Rawls’ response to communitarian critiques of this sort in Political Liberalism falls short in its attempt to reconcile conflicts of recognition that exist beyond the individual. In this paper I propose a liberal principle of neutrality that accounts for group differences in diverse settings. I argue that differences in comprehensive doctrines do influence general perceptions on a variety of social constructs like race, ethnicity, and culture, all of which produce systematic differences in treatment that are rooted in the association of citizens to these constructs. To begin, we cannot assume that all individuals are inherently equal without accounting for differences between groups. In this case the collective identity of individuals must be included in the liberal conception of neutrality. And second, the principle of neutrality should aim to secure individual liberties only when group differences are balanced against each other with respect to the opportunities of members to achieve their goals in life. I conclude that principles of neutrality must promote the rights of disadvantaged groups in order to achieve a fairly neutral system of justice in multicultural societies.