April 23, 2019: presenting at the Hamburg Universität Political Theory Colloquium.

I'll be presenting my work on migration, labor, and violence in Hamburg:

Beyond VAWA and DACA: History, Labor, and a Critique of Racialized Violence

This paper makes sense of the circulation of violence in the realm of immigration and labor. Via Walter Benjamin’s writings on violence and history, I conceptualize the relationship between racial violence and law and how of humanitarian discourse and policies regulates it. While violence can serve to legitimate the authority of law, excessive violence—which characterizes contemporary US immigration enforcement—may make law vulnerable to decay. I argue that this tension between authority and excess is eased by humanitarianism which rather than being opposed to violence legitimates it. In contrast to humanitarianism alternative forms of activism can expose violence and its injustice. I theorize these scripts of activism through Benjamin’s notions of the real state of exception and the general strike, developed in conversation with the activism of farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Through this dialogue, I theorize three dimensions of emancipatory scripts: (a) practices of refusal (to engage on the terms of the immigration debate), (b) the establishment of historical constellations (of racial regulation of labor as constitutive of law), and
(c) instances of divine violence (entailed in the exposure of lawful violence in the food production chain).