I'll be presenting a new version of my piece on humanitarianism and violence:
Beyond VAWA and DACA: Humanitarianism, Labor, and a Critique of Racialized Violence
This paper theorizes the question of racialized violence and its relation to law in the realms of labor and migration. Via Walter Benjamin’s writings on violence and history, I argue that violence both preserves and makes law and I delve into the tension that exists between violence’s authoritative character and its potential to appear excessive and thus vulnerable to decay. I then show how and why humanitarian narratives and policies in the immigration regime soothe this tension by concealing and thus sustaining racialized violence. As a counter to humanitarianism, I focus on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ alternative forms of activism. Through Benjamin’s notions of the real state of exception and the general strike, I show that the Coalition decenters the immigration question and instead denounces historical constellations of violent racial regulation as constitutive of the law and argue for their dismantling.