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Heteropatriarchy and Academia Series: “Our Activism, Inside and Outside the Academy” with Elena Shih (Brown U.)

May 2, 2022 - 4:00pm

Community-based research has become a buzzword in the neoliberal academy, with the capacity to drum up enormous funding for projects that remain extractive at their core. At the same time, the need for research to speak to multiple publics remains more urgent than ever. This talk thinks through some of these paradoxes and tensions: of productivity and "slowness," of creating voice while carving a space for silence, and of de-centering expertise within the Ivory tower. Located between ethnography and community organizing, it contextualizes some of these questions in work with migrant and sex worker rights organizations throughout Asia and the US. 

Elena Shih is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, where she directs a human trafficking research cluster through the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. Shih's forthcoming book project, "Manufacturing Freedom: Trafficking Rescue, Rehabilitation, and the Slave Free Good" (University of California Press), is a global ethnography of the transnational social movement to combat human trafficking in China, Thailand, and the United States. Shih serves on the editorial boards for The Anti-Trafficking Review, a peer-reviewed journal of the Global Alliance to Combat Traffic in Women, and openDemocracy's Beyond Trafficking and Slavery op-ed platform. In 2018 Shih was appointed to the Rhode Island State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Recent op-eds about her research and organizing as a core collective member of Red Canary Song appear in the New York Times and Providence Journal. 
This speaker series and interdisciplinary intellectual community is open to any Stanford graduate student. The series is generously funded by Stanford's Vice Provost for Graduate Education. All events will take place via Zoom until further notice. Contact Meagan Khoury to register and receive a Zoom link, or with any questions, at
Event Sponsor: 
Co-sponsored by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.