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Collaborate To Create Change: Towards Racial and Socioeconomic Equity in our Scholarship, Research & Teaching

 

The George Washington University held its first racial and socioeconomic equity research showcase. GW's Equity Institute Initiative (EII) is a university-wide collaboration to create an institute dedicated to community-engaged research on the worldwide problem of racial and ethnic inequality.

 


 

Research Presenter Spotlights

 

Ashwini Tambe

 

 

 

Ashwini Tambe

Professor and Director of WGSSColumbian College of Arts and Sciences
Research Title:  MeToo in Retrospect: A Transnational Reflection

Research Description

My work offers a retrospective transnational reflection on #MeToo, situating it less as a US-driven movement and more as an intensification of an ongoing strain of digitally-driven activism against sexual violence in several countries. The framing of #MeToo as a singular global movement and a digitally-driven conflagration linked to the 2017 hashtag risks denying important antecedents in feminist organizing against sexual harassment and violence both within the United States and in multiple parts of the world. I argue for a robust reframing of the relationship between #MeToo in the United States and in other locations. I review five examples of digital mobilization around sexual violence and harassment that have taken place over the past decade in multiple parts of the globe. Based on these examples, I argue that MeToo hashtag did not inaugurate activism so much as provide an inflection point in ongoing activism. I review the range of racial, class, and caste identities of those who have used digitally-driven activism against sexual violence and harassment. Based on this range, I stress the need for elasticity in our critiques of #MeToo to account for its heterogeneous expression around the globe.

Leniqueca Welcome

 

 

Leniqueca Welcome

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
Research Title: 
Come Out of This World: Beyond Criminalization to Where Life is Precious

Research Description

Since 2000, there has been an exponential increase in the gun-related murder rate in low-income urban communities in Trinidad. Alongside this rise in intra-community murders, there has also been a rise in extrajudicial police violence. This is the result of a war on crime where the police are permitted to exercise total punishing force in marginalized urban landscapes marked as breeding grounds for criminality in the name of securing the nation-state. Drawing on 24 cumulative months of ethnographic, visual, and archival research in East Port of Spain, Trinidad my research project, seeks to do the following: 1) make visible the socio-political processes by which ideologies of “the violent criminal” are constructed; 2) interrogate the ways these racialized and gender ideologies about violent criminality legitimize state violence as a practice of management and discipline; and 3) explore alternative methods of addressing harm and conceiving of justice that do not reproduce violence. Overall, my work shows how coloniality, criminalization, and anti-Black criminalization endure even in nation-states founded on projects of Black sovereignty, like Trinidad.

Ivy Ken

 

 

Ivy Ken

Associate Professor, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Research Title:  Race, Immigration, and Confinement in Rural Meatpacking: Decentering Whiteness and Mapping Injustices

Research Description

This project pairs social science researchers from GWU with community and civic partners in the two states with the highest concentration of rural meatpacking workers: Minnesota and North Carolina. In these states, most workers in packing plants are Latina/o/x or African-American, and rates of unionization are kept artificially low through legal and corporate initiatives.

Inspired by the work of the immigrant labor advocacy group Contratados, Ken and León are establishing relationships with workers in these states who will provide reviews of their meatpacking employers. On a 5-star system, the workers will rate employers on aspects of their working conditions such as safety, sexual harassment, retaliation, payment of wages, and housing. These reviews help identify the institutional--rather than individual--sources of harm to employees in this sector and allow even non-unionized workers to hold their employers accountable. The project is meant to promote transparency and fairness based on the perspectives of workers who have first-hand knowledge of the conditions of work in this industry.


 

The George Washington University Equity Institute Initiative (EII) is a university-wide collaboration to create an institute dedicated to community-engaged research on the worldwide problem of racial and ethnic inequality.

Launched in 2021, the EII provides seed funding to support projects that enhance community-engaged research, train students in social justice leadership, and translate knowledge into action that informs laws, policies, and tangible advances in social justice.

The Equity Institute Initiative initially begun by a core group of visionaries from the GWU Schools of Law, Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, Engineering, International Affairs, and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. EII is a transformational entity that creates an intellectual home and community for collaborations across the University. Our commitment is to grow the impact of GW’s instructional and research resources aimed at the redress of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic inequality in the United States of America and around the world.

In short, the Equity Institute Initiative seeks to serve the cause of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic equality by dedicating our University’s most precious resources – our people and our knowledge – to help solve one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

 

Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew

 

 

 

Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, PHD

Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law
George Washington University Law School