ASA Section on Human Rights Newsletter, Fall 2017

IIS featured in American Sociological Association Section on Human Rights Newsletter:


Human Rights Under Siege

Table of Contents

A Message from the Editors by  Annie Isabel Fukushima & Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Notes From Your Chair: Human Rights Under Siege
Kiyoteru Tsutsui


Immigrant Rights Under Siege
Cecilia Menjivar

Charlottesville and Our Racial Faultlines
Rodney D. Coates


City-based Movements Seek to Strengthen Local Human Rights Implementation
Jackie Smith


Oral History and Civil Rights Movement: Tools to Discuss Race and Ethnicity in a Mixed Race Classroom
Melencia M. Johnson and Philip B. Mason

Women in Migration
Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects


Section Officers



On the Market




Message from the Editors 

Since we are quickly approaching one year since Trump was elected into presidency, we decided to focus the fall issue of the Human Rights Section Newsletter on human rights under siege with a particular emphasis on the current administration’s impact on human rights. The valuation of human has been clear in devaluation of certain life and access. While imperfect, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals under the Obama administration offered 800,000 young people to opportunity to work and attend school legally. Even though immigration has not been resolved in 241 years since the founding of the United States, the Trump Administration has given DACA 6 months to be phased out, and 6 months for legislatures to create a replacement.[1] Racial tensions in Charlottesville and the violent emergence of racist, white nationalists, new-nazis, the KKK, and other hate-groups in Charlottesville, was summarized as there being “blame on both sides” by Trump. The environmental catastrophes are a reflection of the state of the United States political climate today. As Hurricane Maria has left millions in need of help in Puerto Rico, the Trump Administration has consistently illustrated a lack of value for certain lives, condemning Puerto Ricans to a “slow death”[2] as described by Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. These events, of numerous events, have created national fatigue with regards to the ongoing attack on rights in the news.

As researchers, educators, and activists, we believe it is crucial for our voices to be part of ongoing dialogues regarding rights and justice throughout the U.S. and beyond. Our research can help document and explain assaults on human rights. Our classrooms can provide safe spaces for students to express concerns and theories to aid them in understanding disturbing current events. Our actions in our broader communities can help connect our research and education to practice, forging important bonds between academic institutions and the communities in which they are located.

Although there are myriad ways in which human rights are under siege, the pieces in this newsletter converge around two areas: race and immigration.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm, Ohio State University
Annie Isabel Fukushima, University of Utah

Notes From Your Chair: Human Rights Under Siege

by Kiyoteru Tsutsui, University of Michigan

ASA Human Rights Section Newsletter

Greetings, fellow human rights scholars! I’m honored to serve as your section chair this year and delighted that ASA has a viable section full of sociologists studying human rights. I suspect that many of you are concerned about recent political developments related to human rights. We seem to be entering a darker time for human rights, in which rising populism is eroding the liberal multilateralism that sustained the international human rights regime and hate speech is becoming a routine part of our political discourse. Human rights are under siege, and as concerned citizens, our instinct is to do something to counter the siege. As social scientists, what insights can we offer that would help the public make informed judgments about what is at stake and what needs to be done? Social scientific research on human rights has come a long way, and it can offer some valuable insights for the concerned public.

Even before 2016, various scholars offered pessimism about the international human rights regime, making pronouncements about the “endtimes” or the “twilight” of human rights. They argued that the international regime is not capable of addressing the most serious human rights violations; it is dominated by western interests and is a puppet of powerful nations; and it has too many bodies that only increase paperwork and do not have any impact on actual practices. For them, a radical reorganization of the regime was the only way forward.

While agreeing with some of the criticisms, many others stopped short of giving up on the regime, pointing to the empowering capacity of human rights treaties and slow but steady improvements that the regime has enabled. They document how the global diffusion of human rights ideas empowered vulnerable populations and how international instruments and transnational activists facilitated their activism, leading to better human rights practices in many parts of the world. While the improvement is often small and takes too long, these scholars valued the long-term promise of the regime.

I tend to side with the second group of scholars. After several decades of global expansion, human rights principles have spread to enough corners of the world and inspired local mobilizations for rights. While international instruments might become even less effective in the coming years, the institutional foundations are still strong, and their naming and shaming activities will continue. To the extent local efforts do not wane, there’s still hope for some improvements.

Let me introduce an example to make the case for this view. I recently had a chance to welcome a speaker from Pakistan to a conference at my university—

Zainab Malik, who is a lead lawyer at an NGO called Justice Project Pakistan (JPP). The JPP’s main work is to help vulnerable populations that are said to constitute 60% of death row inmates in Pakistan. Following a Taliban terrorist attack on an elementary school in December 2014, the new Pakistani government reinstated the death penalty in the face of public pressure to take some kind of counter-terrorism action. In 2015, the Pakistani government executed 332 individuals, less than 10% of whom were involved in terrorism-related crimes. Furthermore, many of the death row inmates were the most vulnerable populations—juvenile offenders, the mentally infirm, the indigents, and so on—and 60% of them are said to be innocent. Alarmed by this situation, the JPP embarked on a campaign to make some changes. The monitoring bodies of the key international human rights treaties were critical for their success.

Back in 2010, Pakistan ratified 27 human rights related treaties in order to demonstrate to the EU that it is committed to human rights principles and is worthy of the trade agreement with the EU. For a while, the government didn’t even submit periodical reports to the monitoring bodies, demonstrating a lip service behavior typical of governments with questionable human rights practices. The JPP first pushed the Pakistani government to submit reports by leveraging pressures from the EU. Caving to the threat of losing the trade agreement with the EU, the Pakistani government submitted a pro forma two-page report to all the key monitoring bodies on the same day. That set up a series of reviews at the monitoring bodies from 2016 to 2017. Leading up to those reviews, the JPP and other NGOs submitted shadow reports pointing to a huge spike in the death penalty and the serious flaws in the criminal justice system in Pakistan. Armed with that information, the monitoring bodies grilled Pakistani government representatives. For the first couple of reviews (Committee on the Rights of the Child and Committee Against Torture), they simply stormed out of the room when these issues were brought up. Unfortunately for them, they had many more monitoring bodies to go through. Needing to demonstrate an improvement at the next monitoring body, the government reduced the death penalty to 88 executions in 2016 and 56 so far in 2017. Though skeptical at the beginning, Zainab Malik is now convinced that this series of reviews at various international human rights bodies—not just treaty monitoring bodies but also the UPR at the Human Rights Council and the EU GSP+ mechanism—prompted the government to make those improvements.

To be sure, more needs to be done to reduce the death penalty in Pakistan specifically and to make the international regime more effective generally. Nonetheless, in the current political climate, it is all the more important for us to examine the capacity of the regime and offer realistic solutions to its problems. The regime is facing strong headwinds, but its institutional scaffoldings seem strong enough to withstand the challenges. Support from civil society actors across the globe is ever more critical. Fortunately, all the global promotional activities for human rights in the last few decades have empowered many local actors into human rights activism, producing inspired and effective local leaders like Zainab Malik. Therein lies a hope for the future of human rights.


Immigrant Rights Under Siege

by Cecilia Menjívar, University of Kansas 

A Guatemalan worker caught in the 2008 Postville, Iowa raid insisted that he “had no rights.” According to the interpreter in the legal case that followed (Caymard-Freixas 2009), the lawyer representing this worker along with 400 others caught in the same raid tried to convince him that he actually had rights as a worker. However, the Guatemalan immigrant kept saying, “I’m illegal, I have no rights. I’m nobody in this country. Just do whatever you want with me” (Preston 2008). As we argued in our piece on legal violence (Menjívar and Abrego 2012: 1404), “this man had internalized the violence and devaluation that come from the implementation of the law by accepting and confirming his own self-depreciation. Identifying himself entirely by his ‘illegal’ status, he conformed to the notion that he has ‘no rights.’”

Indeed, the immigration enforcement regime today, which casts a wide net by making it increasingly possible for immigrants to have encounters with enforcement authorities, creates conditions for immigrants in various legal statuses to believe that they have “no rights.” The deportability of not only undocumented immigrants but increasingly of lawful permanent residents (the so-called ‘green’ card holders); the daily fear and risk of detection, detention, and deportation; and the spillover effects all this has on families and communities create conditions for immigrants to feel unwanted, devalued, and consequently believe that they lack basic rights, even the “right to have rights” in Arendt’s (1994) formulation. Under such conditions, immigrants are less likely to demand fair treatment in the workplace, to be paid on time, to get law-mandated breaks during the workday, and to request treatment for an injury suffered on the job. They are also less likely to complain to a landlord about dilapidated conditions in rented housing, to contest arbitrary raises in rents, and to appeal evictions. They are also less likely to contact institutions to obtain a service to which they have a right, to file a complaint, or to advocate for themselves and their families, even when those family members are U.S.-born and presumably have full membership rights.

Immigrants and their families contribute vibrantly to their communities, institutions, and to the economy of the country. But the expanded enforcement regime that criminalizes an increasing range of behaviors and practices associated with immigrants and, under the new administration even undocumented immigrants’ very existence, combined with significantly narrow paths to legalization creates a context where immigrant rights are eroded and their membership subverted. A rather schizophrenic situation is created: immigrants’ contributions are valued as necessary (and are vital in many respects), but as members of society they are devalued; their rights, which should come from living and working in the country, are undermined.

What kind of society is this enforcement regime creating? What does the future of U.S. society look like when an increasing number of individuals are forced to live with such truncated forms of membership? Is the condition of immigrants’ rights today simply exposing the contractions of a liberal democracy?

In no way do I argue that legal status automatically grants rights and that all groups will exercise them automatically and equally by virtue of holding a secure legal status or even citizenship; the experiences of U.S. minorities amply exemplifies otherwise. Many U.S.-born Latinos, for instance, faced with structural constraints and racism, often do not feel like ‘real’ Americans; their sense of belonging (and accompanying rights) is undermined (Flores-González 2017). Their experiences make it clear that citizenship is more than legal status and encompasses rights and membership. And when immigration enforcement is predicated on the criminalization of certain groups of immigrants, like Latinos, there are significant spillover effects that encompass individuals who belong to the same targeted group, even to those who possess more secure legal statuses or even citizenship by birth.

At the same time, under the current enforcement regime, an uncertain legal status (undocumented but also statuses that are temporary and by definition vulnerable) puts immigrants at a particular disadvantage because of the risk of removal they face daily. This condition of “illegality” shapes immigrants’ interactions with institutions in society as their very personhood has been reshaped and transformed under the constant threat of removal and generalized legal uncertainty. While living in these spaces, they are exposed to messages about whom the government will reward (presumably with legal status), the “deserving” migrants while migrants perceived as underserving are removed, and thus they also learn the discipline to comport to such expectations (see Menjívar and Lakhani 2016). Not surprisingly, in recent work that disentangles citizenship and rights, Bloemraad, Sarabia and Fillingim (2017) find that Mexican-origin immigrants in their study understood citizenship as primarily respecting the law and staying out of trouble and in general demonstrating ‘good moral character’; these immigrants did not associate citizenship with political voice or the exercise of rights.

But today’s situation has generated renewed energy in the exercise of “citizenship acts,” that is, activities that signal the political presence of a group through certain political acts (Bloemraad, Sarabia and Fillingim 2017). For instance, lawyers have come forward to coordinate pro bono work to protect immigrant rights formally in the justice system, defending immigrants in courts and against unjustified bans and assisting in asylum cases. Immigrants themselves, too, have organized to respond to the onslaught on their rights, especially under the present administration. A well-known example is the DACA movement, but there are other lesser-known instances, including Temporary Protected Status holders across the country who are organizing campaigns, lobbying the U.S. Congress, and advocating for their right to remain in the country even if at this point only on a temporary, renewable basis. These political acts may not rival the power and resources of formal structures that work every day and in multiple directions to undermine immigrant rights, but they do provide courage and hope and, importantly, an infrastructure to continue this work in the future.


Arendt, Hannah. 1994. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Books.

Bloemraad, Irene, Heidi Sarabia, and Angela E. Fillingim. 2017. “Citizenship Acts: Legality, Power, and the Limits of Political Action.” Pp. 81-95 in Within and Beyond Citizenship: Borders, Membership, and Belonging, edited by Roberto G. Gonzalez and Nando Sigona. London & New York: Routledge.

Caymard-Freixas, Erik. 2009. Postville: La Criminaliación de los Migrantes. Guatemala City: F&G Editores.

Flores-González, Nilda. 2017. Citizens but Not Americans: Race and Belonging among Latino Millenials. New York: New York University Press.

Menjivar, Cecilia Menjívar and Leisy J. Abrego. 2012. “Legal Violence: Immigration Law and the Lives of Central American Immigrants.” American Journal of Sociology 117(5): 1380-1421.

Menjívar, Cecilia and Sarah M. Lakhani. 2016. “Transformative Effects of Immigration Law: Migrants’ Personal and Social Metamorphoses through Regularization.” American Journal of Sociology 121(6): 1818-1855

Preston, Julia. 2008. “An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants.” New York Times, July 11.

Charlottesville and Our Racial Fault Lines

by Rodney D. Coates, Miami University

Recent events in Charlottesville once again remind us of our torturous racial history. Therefore, it is rather strange that many were shocked with the level of hostility associated with the removal of this symbol. Perhaps if we utilized a sociological imagination we might better evaluate this current moment. Utilizing this imagination, I would argue that removal of these symbols, while important, is not sufficient to significantly alter the racial narrative and racial outcomes. If we look at recent events, symbolic victories do little to change the racial realities so many face in our country. So let us first look at some of these symbolic victories.

When Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, many believed that the United States was now a post-racial society. On the contrary, however, not long after Obama’s election and inauguration, campuses saw an uptick in visible racism. The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and election exposed an extremely fragmented and polarized American electorate, characterized by deep racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, educational, and residential divides. The recent levels of increased racial violence, harassment, and discrimination coupled with rising levels of stress and anxiety provide further evidence of these significant divisions. In 2015, the last year data were reported, there were 5,818 hatecrimes, an increase of 6.5% from the previous year. In the first month after the most recent presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) documented a record 1,094 hate and bias incidents. And the number of hate groups has increased for the last two years (Bates, 2017). According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose 86% in the first three months of 2017. From 2004 to 2015, roughly 250,000 American citizens experienced hate crime victimization annually. Although these data are troubling, racism in America has deeper roots than these events or either presidential tenure. It is longstanding, systemic, and institutionalized, with far-reaching effects on all members of the nation.

One would have to be blind not to acknowledge that racism is a reality that effects individuals regardless of their racial background. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie warns of what happens when all we hear is a single story, about a single people, country, or group. When this is the case, we make critical mistakes as we stereotype, marginalize, and delegitimize others. Much of the single story that has occupied public discourse regarding race has focused on people of color; absent from this narrative has been Whites, particularly the White poor. Frequently these groups have been targeted by not only political but also alt-right movements. Such organizing, currently can be traced to White responses to the civil rights movements, has been the focus of much sociological attention and analysis.

The 1960s, with so much promise, were soon dwarfed as the racial state reemerged with a vengeance. The retreat from civility associated with extreme right wing politics pushed the nation sharply to the right. Ultra-conservative candidates such as Barry Goldwater articulated the need to return to the racial state and helped articulate a modern version of the White identity politics. Driving both processes is what sociologist Michael Kimmel termed Angry White Male Syndrome (AWMS).

Politically, AWMS has given rise to a number of quite effective campaigns where candidates have been able to manipulate and capitalize upon the pent up frustrations. For example, George Wallace, during the early ‘60s articulated their views when he declared, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan identified this group as a “silent majority” which was neither silent nor a majority. This “silent majority” represented the disenfranchised core of Americans who rejected civil rights and women’s rights, and were staunchly pro-American defenders of militarism, capitalism, and imperialism. In 1992, Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan tried to ride this wave of White male paranoia into the White House. Newt Gingrich and then George Bush would also tap into this fear, or what Jude Davies calls a “crisis of representation” where at the core one finds discontent by perceptions of being displaced by “others.” The current manifestation of AWMS is being played out in the GOP campaigns with the most obvious example being Donald Trump.

Donald Trump effectively marshaled various White identity groups and capitalized on White angst, anger, and fears with his slogan “Make America Great Again.” As noted by Kimmel, these angry White males in the U.S. often coalesce into political, far-right extremist movements. Kimmel also pointed to a 2008 report by Homeland Security that demonstrated the significant and unexpected rise of right-wing extremist movements. Fueling these movements are notions of humiliation, which can also lead to violence. And we saw this violence erupt as anti-racist and alt-right forces collided in Charlottesville.

The real question before us, as sociologists, is where we go from here? The marches and counter marches shine the spotlight on our racial fault lines, but they are ill-equipped to do more. Critical sociologists can provide the analytical tools to not only reveal, but also point to ways by which these racial fault lines may be deconstructed. Simply put, the problems at the core of White anger and the victimization of people of color are structural. Removing the symbols of this anger and victimization may provide some measure of psychic relief for people of color, but only serves to aggravate the angst of poor Whites. Sociologists can continue to fight these symbolic battles and relish the symbolic victories or we can choose to dismantle the racial structures that manipulate White anxieties—often at the expense of people of color and other marginalized groups. We might discover that “hurting people hurt others” and that many of our policies and many of our actions have only aggravated the fault lines. Academics could also suggest that universities and public sites become more open and inclusive by providing scholarships, training, and access to marginalized people. Perhaps a start would be to recognize that not only people of color and gendered/sexual minorities are marginalized, but also poor, Whites. Through such a process, maybe, just maybe we can provide some healing of our various racial wounds.

Rodney D. Coates is Professor in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio.


City-Based Movements Seek to Strengthen Local Human Rights Implementation

by Jackie Smith, University of Pittsburgh

The following is a brief I prepared as part of my work on the National Steering Committee of the US Human Rights Network’s National Human Rights Cities Alliance. We were invited to send a delegate to the 7th World Forum of Human Rights Cities in Gwangju, Korea, and we were asked in particular to discuss lessons and challenges related to local implementation of international human rights standards. The analysis and links below should be helpful to human rights scholars and practitioners working on this critical challenge of our day.

U.S. Context

The situation in the U.S. for national-level human rights promotion is currently dire. Amid its more public actions and statements that are openly hostile to human rights, the Trump administration recently removed the website, and State department staff working on human rights are leaving the agency.

At the same time, since the Trump election we’re seeing more local mobilization and popular recognition of the importance of local government/ local mobilization for change.[3]

Importance of Local Organization and Mobilization for Human Rights Implementation

The second national gathering of human rights cities in Washington, D.C. in May of 2016 included a panel where U.S. government officials shared perspectives on their work on local and state human rights implementation. (See summary report, Panel 4: Federal Government Perspectives). These officials working under the Obama administration indicated that there is little systematic effort in the U.S. federal government to push states and local governments to implement or to even help them learn about international human rights obligations. Few resources are provided, and staffing has been limited, even within a more favorable administration. Our conversations made it clear that organized local constituencies can be a great asset to help advance the work of translating international human rights obligations into local contexts.[4] However, to date few local communities are organized to effectively perform this role. This is something our National Human Rights City Alliance hopes to address.

Emerging Guides to Local Human Rights Implementation

In carrying out this work, we’re pleased to see that a number of groups have been producing some helpful resources to help guide local implementation work, including:

Other Practices in the U.S. Human Rights Movement to Implement Human Rights

Connecting the U.S. Public with International Human Rights Machinery: The U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN) is a leading national human rights advocacy network that connects local activist groups with international human rights machinery. It work to compile shadow reports for international reviews of U.S. compliance with international treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and in the Universal Periodic Review is critical to bringing U.S. civil society into the UN human rights processes. Also, USHRN helps coordinate U.S. civil society participation in visits by UN Expert Working Groups and Special Rapporteurs, including the recent Working Group on People of African Descent.

Organizers in Chicago have successfully worked to advance the claims of the Movement for Black Lives by appealing to U.S. obligations under the International Convention Against Torture to help settle the case against Chicago police commander John Burge, who was engaged in the systematic torture of detainees over several decades. Black People Against Torture and the National Conference of Black Lawyers submitted their claim to the Committee Against Torture fifth periodic review in Geneva in 2014.

A Need for Education and Consciousness-Raising:

From this work we note that the U.S. population in general lacks human rights education and consciousness. Few U.S. residents have read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as part of their formal schooling, for instance. And the mainstream media devotes little to no attention to international human rights procedures that relate to U.S. human rights obligations. Thus, there is little resonance of human rights language in popular debates.

Efforts by human rights advocates to engage people in the work of monitoring local government compliance with international treaty obligations have proved an effective tool for raising awareness of human rights and building a stronger human rights movement while also strengthening local compliance.

Related to this work connecting local movements with international human rights processes is the National U.S. Human Rights City Alliance’s working group on local implementation of human rights law. Among other planned activities, this working group has been developing plans to host monthly webcasts/tele-town halls on the Universal Periodic Review process and other international instruments that pertain to U.S. policy and local human rights implementation. The goal of the working group is to help decentralize thinking about human rights law and to mobilize local partners in the work to realize human rights in local communities.

Bottom-up Treaty Ratification: US Cities for CEDAW:

Given the U.S. long-term failure to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, human rights advocates around the country are building a national campaign to ratify the treaty from the ground up. They are working to craft and pass local ordinances to implement all or parts of CEDAW, and so far seven cities have formally adopted such legislation. CEDAW cities activists are experimenting with models for local implementation and mainstreaming of a gendered analysis into policy planning and assessment. Human rights activists have been critical to the work of passing legislation and working with local entities to design effective strategies for implementation.

Cultural Work:

The National Human Rights City Alliance is a new formation (that emerged in May 2016), and we have established a working group to advance national Human Rights Days of Action on key dates such as International Human Rights Day (December 10), Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 12), and the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (March 25), among other days that offer opportunities for human rights consciousness raising. In addition, they are helping raise public consciousness of the UN International Decade on People of African Descent. The Working Group plans to develop resources to support local action on these days and to encourage more media attention and communication about the ideas they raise.  

Right to HousingNational Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty—Helped incorporate international legal standards into regulations that impact municipalities’ applications for federal housing assistance.

Human rights scholars can help play a role in helping advance thinking and knowledge in this area of human rights implementation. The National Human Rights Cities Alliance is working to develop models to share across local contexts to help local human rights defenders learn from each other as they strengthen human rights in our country and world. If you’re interested in learning more about this effort, you can sign up for the national human rights cities email list at:


Oral History and Civil Rights Movement: Tools to Discuss Race and Ethnicity in a Mixed Race Classroom

by Melencia M. Johnson and Philip B. Mason, University of South Carolina Aiken

Assignment Rationale

Even though the students we teach grew-up in a society in which they experienced the United States electing a multi-racial president, many understand that racial inequalities still exist. This understanding often leads to an awkward silence in the mixed race introductory sociology classroom when race is discussed. More specifically, white students tend to have the most trouble discussing race for fear of offending minority classmates and/or professors. The purpose of this assignment is to generate a discussion about race in the classroom based on the oral history of a conversation partner. In so doing, any “heat” is taken off the student and projected to their conversation partner. The written assignment includes a reflection and concept connection aspect where the student interprets these experiences and relates them to class topics and their lives. Below, we reflect on our past experience implementing this assignment.


The University of South Carolina Aiken, a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) is an institution that serves a visible number of racial minority and first generation college students. University enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year included 3,243 students. That year, nearly 30 (25. 4) percent of students self-identified as African American, while 61 percent self-identified as white, (University of South Carolina Office of Institutional Effectiveness 2016). In addition, two-thirds (64%) were women, and nearly all (about 95%) were from South Carolina or Georgia—a distance of only 16 miles from campus. Our sample was drawn from three introductory sociology courses in the 2016 spring semester (n=87 enrolled students). A majority of the students were female (59.8%). White students comprised 56.3 percent of the sample, and Black students comprised 33.3 percent.

Assignment Context

Many students at our university have had few personal interactions with racial and ethnic minority groups outside of limited associations in high school; as a result, students are uncomfortable discussing race and ethnicity in mixed race environments. Stereotypes of Southern life and the turbulent racialized history impede honest discussion because of a fear of judgment. Media reports of racially motivated crimes, discussion of removal of confederate monuments, prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ and immigrants add opportunity for candid conversations about the influence of race on varied interpretations of current events. In the Southern sociological classroom, we continually remind students that issues of racism and ethnic inequality are not just an element of the past, but also a truth of our present. While we recognize that these conversations are not exclusive to the Southern classroom, we cannot ignore the salience of race as a fundamental point of separation that may discourage students from discussing race.

Race Conversation Assignment

The assignment instructed students to have a conversation about race, ethnicity, affirmative action, integration, or a similar topic with someone who was alive and remembers the Civil Rights Movement and write a three- to five-page (double-spaced) paper using their sociological imaginations to reflect on the conversation. The directions indicated that the purpose of the assignment was to provide an opportunity for students to discuss race from another person’s experience. In class explanations of the assignment, we emphasized the point of their essays do not necessarily reflect their own personal thoughts, values, or attitudes towards race. The Civil Rights Movement was the chosen era of oral history because it ensured a generational difference in norms and values of a racialized America. See Johnson and Mason (2017) for assignment details.

The essay assignment includes not only the language of their conversation partner from their oral history, but also an amalgamation of the importance of their own and their partner’s experiences as related to sociological concepts. This use of the sociological imagination and oral history from a familiar elder is beneficial in creating an interactive learning experience. It also increases the value of information, as opposed to information coming from the text or a stranger (Poll 1995).

Class Discussion

The class discussion after the assignment highlighted discrimination, racism, prejudice, and stereotypes. Students often realized their family members harbored prejudicial mantras and values by which they live their lives. White students realized that their whiteness is considered normal and that everything else has been compared to it. White students discussed how their ancestors’ behaviors may have harmed people of color, but often failed to discuss how they themselves were privileged. Minority students tended to discuss their families’ participation in the Civil Rights Movement and the atrocities faced living as a minority in the South. This exercise created an open dialogue about race that allowed the professors to discuss privilege and apply the sociological imagination to make historical connections in ways that students find personal and applicable (i.e., Mills 1959). These discussions were particularly effective because they distanced students from their personal stereotypes and attitudes, thus enabling freer discussion. The hope is that the students reflexively thought about this conversation beyond the classroom and challenged their own assumptions pertaining to race and ethnicity.

We regularly observed three major themes in these classroom discussions. First, this assignment generally makes race based-discussions easier, although some students reported discomfort and fear of negative evaluation of their comments from classmates, in turn not making it easier to discuss race. Second, most students expressed increased connection with their conversation partner because of the experiences shared during the oral history. For many, this was the first time that honest discussions regarding the Civil Rights Movement had been shared, and students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds were astonished by the experiences of their conversation partner (often their family members). Third, and most importantly, students were able to apply class concepts, use the sociological imagination, and develop a clearer understanding of current racial tensions.

Applicability to Other Classes

This project would be helpful in classroom situations where students feel uncomfortable voicing their opinions on race and other topics that are difficult to discuss. This assignment could be used to discuss the confederate war monuments, treatment of Native Americans, and immigration reform attitudes. The key learning and teaching element is the use of oral history to intimately connect the student to class concepts. Consequently, variations of this assignment will likely aid in creating a classroom environment that promotes open dialogue and leads to a greater understanding of the importance of the sociological imagination as long as students are able to find someone who is willing to provide an oral history on the subject of interest.

Our data indicated that students not only learned about incidents and attitudes during the Civil Rights Movement, but also enjoyed participating in an oral history and deepening an emotional connection with their partner, who was often a relative. This aspect of deeper connections to an elder was one of the great contributions of this assignment. Many students expressed delight upon learning about their family’s participation as freedom fighters and gained a profound respect for their conversation partner. On the other hand, some students were amazed to discover that their familial history included discriminatory attitudes and practices against people of color, and that their history had been suppressed to reflect changing American attitudes and values. While some white students shared this guilt in their assignment reflections, we did not create this assignment assuage white guilt.  Care was taken to address how familial whitewashing was a common occurrence and is connected to so many of our own family histories. We also encouraged students to recognize these “unflattering” oral histories are also important and help explain why race and ethnicity issues continue today.

In short, this assignment helped students to discover the complex relationship between space and time and realize that many of the issues of racial inequality in the past still plague our society today. The classroom discussion following the assignment provoked students to question their own attitudes regarding race and ethnicity in the current racial climate. Many students ultimately realized that like their conversation partners, their own race-based attitudes are not simply a dichotomous categorization of racism and acceptance but are situated complexly within one’s experiences, constrained by the social history and attitudes of time and place.

For a more thorough description of the theoretical framework and assignment details, please see the related peer-reviewed teaching note in Teaching Sociology.

Melencia Johnson and Philip B Mason. 2017. “Just Talking about Life:’ Using Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement to Encourage Classroom Dialog on Race.” Teaching Sociology 45(3):279-289.

Office of Institutional Effectiveness. 2016. University of South Carolina Aiken, Email Communication. Retrieved June 10, 2016.

Poll, Carol. 1995. “More that Reading Books: Using Oral Histories in Courses in Race and Ethnic Relations.” Teaching Sociology 23(2): 145–49.

Women in Migration

by Institute of (Im)Possible Subject

To view video by ACME:


Thursday, April 27 | Salt Lake City Public Library

In the spring 2017, a pedagogical and community event was organized. Participants were welcomed with the message promoted by the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, “Utah is a welcoming city to immigrants, currently hosting 60,000 refugees fleeing persecution, violence, and war. Eight percent of our state’s population is foreign born, with a large representation of migrants from Canada, Mexico, and China.” The video offered here is a recap of the event that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, where artists, activists, and researchers bridged pedagogies, research, and the arts with community engagement by collaborating with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) – “Women in Migration.”

The pedagogical event explored the political, social, and economic issues of immigration with Session leaders from The Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects—a transnational feminist collective of artists, writers, and researchers:

Damali Abrams the Glitter Priestess | Artist, New York City
Dalida María Benfield | Artist and researcher, Vermont College of Fine Arts
Annie Isabel Fukushima | Assistant Professor, College of Social Work and School for Cultural and Social Transformation, Ethnic Studies program, University of Utah

Through film screenings, performance, and a video/media-making workshop, IIS sought to create dialogue and imagery reflecting the experience of women in these migratory times. After a performance by Damali Abrams, “Banishing, Binding, Incantation,” followed by film screenings of Dalida Maria Benfield’s Hotel Panama and Jane Jin Kaisen’s Loving Belinda. Fukushima facilitated a discussion that prioritized sharing stories of migration, modalities, and making connections between the seemingly disparate works on migration. Then, audience was invited to create their own videos on migration. IIS facilitated the workshop, and what became clear was the deep desire and longing participants felt to discuss migration. While contradictions also embodied the gathering, we sought to create a platform of “world travelling,” furthered by Maria Lugones. This world travelling can include violence and the constraints of colonial contexts. It also embodies opportunities for one to perceive, receive and connect with each other without arrogance. We welcomed all ages, genders, and national origins to this timely discussion as an invitation to grapple with our twenty-first-century reality—people, family, and even objects on the move.

ACME (Art. Community. Museum. Education.) is an outreach initiative dedicated to rethinking the public role of the museum. ACME is twofold: the ACME Lab, a physical space for art experimentation, and the ACME Sessions, a series of roundtable public exchanges where participants can dream and articulate new models of education and community engagement through art.

These bimonthly ACME Sessions bring together Salt Lake City’s most creative, inventive, and cross-disciplinary minds—artists, educators, museum professionals, university faculty and students, engineers, scientists, technologists, activists, researchers, and others.

About the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects Migratory Times Project:

Hotel Panama [Excerpt] By Dalida Maria Benfield
Hotel/Panama. 4 to 24-channel video installation, 2010 – ongoing. In Hotel/Panama, multiple digital videos relay a spectrum of moments from the technologies and archives of the Panama Canal, creating a transmodern assemblage of historical, perspectival, temporal and epistemological fractures and trajectories. A series of visual technologies birthed the canal. Three-point perspective, the panoramic painting, the lens, the stereoscopic photograph, and cinema emerge in tandem with the geopolitical and epistemological constructions that effect “America.” These technologies materialize it from the vanishing point of the constructed horizon. The horizon births the time-space of the “New World.” Without the horizon, there is no “unknown” and there is no “New World”. Hotel Panama has been screened in 2010 at Frames GASP Projects Space, Boston, MA at Group exhibition curated by Neil Leonard and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, in conjunction with artist residency at Berklee College of Music. That same year it was screened at Estéticas Descoloniales (Decolonial Aesthetics) Espacio Parqueadero, Museo del Banco de la Republica, Bogotá, Colombia as Group exhibition curated by Walter Mignolo and Pedro Pablo Gomez Moreno, with three sites and symposium, including the Museo de Arte Moderno-MAMBO and SALASAB. Exhibited as four channel video projection. In 2011, it was screened at Decolonial Aesthetics. Group exhibition curated by Walter Mignolo, Hong-An Trang, and  Miguel Rojas-Sotelo. Fredric Jameson Gallery, Duke University as a two channel installation. And most recently it was screened at the Rethinking the Asia-Pivot: Challenging Everyday Militarisms and Bridging Communities of Women symposium at Rutgers University, curated by Annie Fukushima and Suzy Kim in conjunction with symposium as single channel work, also exhibited as 24 channel installation. December 2014.

LOVING BELINDA 2006-15 [Excerpt, 3:47 minutes] by Jane Jin Kaisen
The Loving Belinda project began in 2006 with the video Adopting Belinda in which Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, a supposedly Asian-American couple in Minnesota, are being interviewed by a Danish TV host for a series on Danish heritage because they have just adopted Belinda, a white girl from Denmark. Everything appears ordinary with the exception that the racial and cultural dynamics are reversed. The Loving Belinda Project employs the mockumentary genre, appropriating documentary features to destabilize reality with subversive effect. By staging and reversing the racial “order” within transnational adoption, the works expose some of the uneven economic, racial, and cultural relations of power that are embedded within the practice but that tend to remain unspoken. The videos Revisiting the Andersons and Loving Belinda as well as the photograph The Andersons from 2015, portray how the family is coping now whenBelinda is nine years old in the midst of changing discourses around transnational adoption. In the Loving Belinda publication, the fictional universe is contextualized by conversations between the individuals involved in the project (Jane Jin Kaisen, Tobias Hübinette, Elke Olaf Goll, Morten Goll, Lene Myong) whom in reality are all engaged in critical discourse around transnational adoption, anti-racism and whiteness in Scandinavia.


 Section Officers 

Chair: Kiyoteru Tsutsui, University of Michigan, 2017 – 2018 

Kiyoteru Tsutsui is the current chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of the Donia Human Rights Center, and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research on globalization of human rights and its impact on local politics has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other social science journals, some of which received the best article award recognitions from ASA Global and Transnational Sociology Section (2010 and 2013) and ASA Human Rights Section (2017). He has also published a co-edited volume (with Alwyn Lim) Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World (Cambridge University Press 2015) and has a forthcoming book Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan (Oxford University Press). He has been a recipient of the SSRC/CGP Abe Fellowship, Stanford Japan Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and National Science Foundation grants. His research interests lie in political/comparative sociology, social movements, globalization, human rights, and Japanese society. More specifically, he has conducted (1) cross-national quantitative analyses on how human rights ideas and instruments have expanded globally and impacted local politics and (2) qualitative case studies of the impact of global human rights on Japanese politics. His current projects examine (a) changing conceptions of nationhood and minority rights in national constitutions, (b) global expansion of corporate social responsibility, (c) experimental surveys on public understanding about human rights, and (d) campus policies and practices around human rights.. 

Chair-Elect: Brian Gran, Case Western Reserve University, 2018-2019

Brian Gran is the chair-elect for the ASA’s Section on Human Rights. He is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Law at Case Western Reserve University, and his research focuses on actors and institutions that foster and obstruct human rights advancement. Prior to joining the faculty at Case Western Reserve in 2002, Brian Gran was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at Yale University. His interests include comparative social policy, political sociology, sociology of law, and methodology. Gran’s most recent work appears in the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal, International Journal of the Sociology of Law, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Aging Studies, and International Journal of Health Services. His current research focuses on comparative social policy as it is formed in the intersection of the public and private sectors. Gran’s research has focused on the origins of different kinds of authoritarianism in Central America as well as the causes of democracy in the region. His research focuses on human rights abuses committed by state actors, especially the military. He is centrally concerned with both the development of formal democracy, which requires an end to the most egregious state-led abuses, and the expansion of substantive democracy, which requires improvement on human rights in all spheres of society. Gran teaches about human rights from the standpoint of national regimes and democratization.  In a course on development, he treats progress on human rights as one constitutive measure of “development.” He is quite interested in the consequences of populism around the world for human rights and sees populism as one of the major threats to rights in many parts of the world.

 Past Chair: Joachim J. Savelsberg, University of Minnesota, 2016-2017

Joachim J. Savelsberg, past-Chair of the Human Rights section, is a Professor of Sociology and, by courtesy, Law, at the University of Minnesota. He is also the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, dedicated to work on issues of human rights and mass violence. His ongoing research focuses on institutional conditions of collective representations and memories of mass atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Born in Germany in 1951 and growing up when the Holocaust was largely silenced until the late 1960s contributed to his motivation to engage in this line of work. Recent research is reflected in Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur, published in 2015 by the University of California Press (open access-online at Related work with former advisees Ryan D. King and Hollie Nyseth Brehm, both now on the sociology faculty at Ohio State, appeared in outlets such as the AJS and the ARLSS. During fellowships at the Stellenbosch and Paris institutes for advanced study in 2018-19, he plans to write his next book on struggles over denial versus acknowledgment of genocide, with a focus on the Armenian case of 1915. Collaboration with current advisee Michael Soto recently brought him to Belfast, where he learned about the long-term effects of periods of armed conflict, even after a relatively successful peace agreement. He is also learning from work with other advisees: Miray Philips on ways in which religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa process the experience of persecution; Nicholas Wahutu on how African media report African mass violence; and Suzy McElrath on the diffusion of genocide laws at the level of nation states. Savelsberg regularly offers an upper division undergraduate course entitled “Crime and Human Rights,” in which he presents a series of historic events of mass atrocity and engages with institutional responses to these events from a sociology of law and knowledge perspective. Sadly, his research and teaching focus is only gaining relevance in light of recent and current events in places such as Syria, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Darfur, refugee crises in many parts of the world, and populist responses to such crises by political leaders. For more information see: or


Section Secretary/Treasurer: Annie Isabel Fukushima, University of Utah, 2016 – 2019

Annie Isabel Fukushima is the Secretary/Treasurer for the ASA’s Section on Human Rights. She also serves as the Co-editor for the ASA Section on Human Rights Newsletter with Hollie Nyseth Brehm. Dr. Annie Isabel Fukushima is Assistant Professor in the Division of Ethnic Studies with the School for Cultural & Social Transformation and Social Work at the University of Utah. Dr. Fukushima is committed to rights and transnational feminist theory and practice, as the founding editor and co-coordinator for the Institute of Impossible Subjects. Dr. Fukushima also serves as a senator on the University of Utah’s Academic Senate. Prior to joining the faculty of University of Utah, Dr. Fukushima was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University (2013 – 2015) with the Institute for Research on Women and the Department of Women and Gender Studies. She received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies (2012). Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed scholarly journals: Feminist Formations, Frontiers: Journal of Women Studies, and Praxis (formerly Phoebe): Gender & Cultural Critiques. Her scholarly interventions appear in anthologies: a coauthored article “Calling the Consumer Activist,” in Documenting Gendered Violence, edited by Lisa Cuklanz and Heather McIntosh (2015); a sole-authored chapter entitled “Beyond Supply and Demand” in the edited anthology Human Trafficking Reconsidered: Rethinking the Problem, Envisioning New Solutions (2014). She has written multiple encyclopedia entries on human trafficking, intimacy and race, immigration, war and comfort women, for ABC-Clio, Greenwood Press, and Macmillan. And her general interest publications have appeared in The Essential Abolitionist, Foreign Policy in Focus, The Nation, and Asia-Times Online. Currently Dr. Fukushima is working on her monograph, Migrant Crossings, where she examines the sociopolitical process of witnessing Asian and Latina/o migrants trafficked in the U.S.

 Student Representative: Brooke Chambers, University of Minnesota,  2017 – 2019

Bio not provided.



Student Representative: Vivian Shaw, University of Texas at Austin, 2016 -2018

Vivian Shaw is doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a visiting scholar at Sophia University in Tokyo. She serves as the ASA Section on Human Rights student representative. Her current research uses ethnographic methods and other forms of qualitative analysis to investigate how disasters intensify social discrimination and simultaneously open up new modalities of citizenship and political participation. She focuses on this in the context of the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 triple disaster of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor meltdowns. She also traces the pathways by which the disaster triggered a rise in anti-Korean and anti-foreigner hate speech, along with the nationwide movement against racism that emerged in its opposition. She was drawn to the sociology of human rights because of a sense of personal, political, and intellectual urgency that made her want to understand (and ameliorate) some of the most pressing issues of our day. For Vivian, one of the biggest surprises from conducting fieldwork on hate speech in Japan for the past several years has been to witness the growing resemblance of similar debates on racism, political authoritarianism, and civil rights in the current political climate in the United States. When she first started researching social movements in Japan in 2014, she was fascinated by the fact that activists there frequently drew on the politics of antifascism to critique the government. This was a community of citizens who, while not particularly “far left” or even seasoned in activism, were deeply concerned about what they felt was an authoritarian encroachment on an array of fundamental social and political rights. In this context, they felt that the intensification of extremist racism (in the form of xenophobic hate speech) was part and parcel of a larger crisis—wherein they could no longer rely on the state to represent and respond to their political interests democratically. As she immersed herself within this field, she was struck by Japanese activists’ focus on the idea of fascism and how much this seemed to differ from the mainstream parlance of critiquing governmental entities in the United States, even among progressive activism.  Fast-forward a couple of years to 2016. Since Donald Trump began his campaign and eventually became elected as the 45th US President, “fascism” has all but become a common dinner table conversation for many. Fascism is not just only a concern among activists, but also academics, with many of us rushing to make scientific sense of these rapid and dramatic shifts to our political norms. Similarly, many of these same debates—about extremist rhetoric, what constitutes free speech, and the extent to which racist hate speech exceeds the span of rhetoric and crosses over into racial violence—are all debates that are very much reawakened in the US. One the lessons she takes away from these observations is that a transnational approach to the sociology of human rights, race, and social movements is of critical importance. It is difficult to say if this impetus is more true now than it has been before, but certainly these intensified trends in reactionary xenophobia and social exclusion—visible not only in Japan and the US, but also in Europe and other parts of East Asia—raise questions about how we can understand “rights under siege” (the theme of this newsletter) as descriptive of our national moment and part of much larger cultural and political shifts. The scope of what is “transnational” is further complicated and enriched by the evolving terrain of social media and other communications technology that shape how and where politics are constructed. Vivian believes that in pursuing these questions we should strive to be flexible and open-minded in how we notice and locate these overlapping connections. By allowing ourselves to be surprised in certain contexts, we may develop a stronger analytical apparatus for seeing what might come. 

Section Council

Check out our Spring 2018 newsletter for our council’s biographies!

Elizabeth Heger Boyle, University of Minnesota, 2019

David G. Embrick, University of Connecticut, 2018

Claudia Maria Lopez, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2020

James Mahoney, Northwestern University, 2020

Lindsey P. Peterson, Mississippi State University, 2018

Robin Stryker, University of Arizona, 2019


On the Market

My name is Heidi Rademacher.  I am an ABD candidate in the Sociology department at Stony Brook University, specializing in women’s organizing, and its intersection with political sociology, international development, and human rights.  I expect to defend my dissertation in May 2018.  I am the Program Director for the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities as well as the 2016-2017 pre-doctoral Madeline Fusco fellow at Stony Brook University.  In 2010, I received my Master’s degree in Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies from Brandeis University.  In my doctoral dissertation, I use a combination of event history analysis and negative binomial regression models, to examine the relationship between international women’s organizing and gender policy. My findings show the positive and significant effects of the transnational women’s movement on ratifying CEDAW, with Women’s International Non-Governmental Organizations (WINGOs) and transnational feminist networks (TFNs) in high- and low-income nations and women’s political representation in middle-income nations playing the largest roles. With new insights from my research, there is a place for further exploration of economic development in analyses of human rights organizing, activism, policy, and participation in global civil society.  As a teacher, I have a solid background working with a diversity of students.  My human rights, gender, and sexualities courses are some of the highest rated sociology courses at Stony Brook and Hofstra University.  I can be contacted at

Siguru Wahutu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department of the University of Minnesota and a 2017-2018 Fellow in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Wahutu’s dissertation investigates how media fields construct knowledge about instances of massive human rights violations. Specifically, it examines how media fields in Africa construct knowledge the atrocities in Darfur. Wahutu’s research has appeared, and is forthcoming, in Media, Culture and Society, African Affairs and Global Media and Communication. He has also written about global media patterns on the coverage of genocide in Africa (with Dr. Joachim Savelsberg) and on ethnicity and land politics in Kenya (with Dr. Tade Okediji). Wahutu’s current research projects include a comparative analysis of how media organizations in Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda framed violence during the genocide in Rwanda (with Brooke Chambers UMN Sociology), how Egyptian media frame violence against Copts in Egypt following terror events (with Miray Philips UMN Sociology) and how local Minnesota newspapers framed the US-Dakota war in Minnesota (with Alejandro Baer, Joe Eggers, Brieanna Watters UMN Sociology). j. Siguru Wahutu – @wahutu. Dissertation title: Social, Field, and Regional Conditions of Knowledge: News on Darfur in Africa and the Global North. Dissertation supervisors: Joachim Savelsberg and David Pellow; Committee members: Cawo Abdi, Alejandro Baer, and Tade Okediji.


Congratulations to the following:

Joachim Savelsberg is the recipient of the 2017 Albert J. Reiss, Jr. Distinguished Scholar Award, ASA Section for Crime, Law and Deviance and of the 2017 William J. Chambliss Lifetime Achievement Award, SSSP Law & Society Division. In summer 2017, he was a visiting fellow at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, Belfast. He was awarded fellowships at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (fall 2018) and at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study (spring 2019).

Annie Fukushima was awarded by the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women to conduct a study in San Francisco, California. “Violence Against Women Community Needs Assessment.” Principal Investigator: Annie Isabel Fukushima. Co-Investigator: Linday Gezinski. City and County of San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. Institution: University of Utah. DOSW FY 17 2017 RFP for the 2017 Violence Against Women Needs Assessment. June 28, 2017, San Francisco on the Status of Women – Voted to approve funding. $88,684.86.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation ($396,055) for her study, “Reentry and Reintegration of Convicted Genocide Perpetrators.” Nyseth Brehm also received the International Association of Genocide Scholar’s Emerging Scholar Prize, which is given to one early-career scholar globally, as well as the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Rada Distinguished Alumni Award.


Check out members’ recent publications.

Bryant, Emily, Emily Schimke, Hollie Nyseth Brehm, and Christopher Uggen. Forthcoming. “Techniques of Neutralization and Identity Work Among Accused Genocide Perpetrators.” Social Problems. DOI: 10.1093/socpro/spx026  

Fukushima A.I. (2017). “Human Trafficking.” Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, Gender: War. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference, USA.

Jerome Krase, and Zdenek Uherek (eds). 2017. Diversity and Local Contexts: Urban Space, Borders and Migration. Palgrave Macmillan.

Jerome Krase. 2017, “Seeing the Local in Global Cities.” In Public Space: Between Re-Imagination and Occupation, edited by Svetlana Hristova and Mariusz Czepczińsky. Routledge.

Jerome Krase and Timothy Shortell. 2017. “The Visual Impact of Islam: A Special Focus on Turkish Migration to the United States and Europe.” Urbanitie, 17(1): 22- 41.

Ya-Wen Lei. 2017. The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China. Princeton University Press.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm. 2017. “Subnational Determinants of Killing in Rwanda.” Criminology 55(1): 5-31.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm and Nicole Fox. 2017. “Narrating Genocide: Time, Memory, and Blame.” Sociological Forum 32(1): 116-137.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm. 2017. “Re-examining Risk Factors of Genocide.” Journal of Genocide Research 19(1): 61-87.

Michael L. Rosino. 2017. “‘A Problem of Humanity’: The Human Rights Framework and the Struggle for Racial Justice.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity DOI: 10.1177/2332649217708429.

Joachim J. Savelsberg and Wahutu Siguru. 2017. “Media Reports and African Genocide.” Volume on Crime in Media within Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology(online). Joachim J. Savelsberg. 2017. “Formal and Substantive Rationality in Max Weber’s Sociology of Law: Tensions in International Criminal Law.” In Law as Culture: Max Weber’s Comparative Sociology of Law, edited by Werner Gephart. Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann, pp. 493-510. Joachim J. Savelsberg. 2017. “International Criminal Law as One Response to World Suffering: General Observations and the Case of Darfur.” In Alleviating World Suffering, edited by Ronald E. Anderson. Springer, pp. 361-74.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui. 2017. “Human Rights and Minority Activism in Japan: Transformation of Movement Actorhood and Local-Global Feedback Loop.” American Journal of Sociology 122:1050-1103.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui and Jackie Smith. Forthcoming “Human Rights and Social Movements: From the Boomerang Pattern to a Sandwich Effect.” In David Snow and Sarah Soule (eds.). Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui. 2017. “How Do Global Human Rights Expand? A Case of Japan’s Burakumin Going Global.” In Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl (eds.). Expanding Human Rights: 21st Century Norms and Governance. Cambridge, UK: Edward Edgar, pp.35-54.

Newsletter Submission Information 

Please send the following types of submissions to Annie Isabel Fukushima and Hollie Nyseth Brehm at and To be included in the next issue, please send your submissions by February 1, 2018


Feature Articles: Articles that highlight research, teaching, or engagement relevant to human rights.

Research Notes: Brief reflections on research studies related to human rights. Notes could focus on the methodology, the findings, the dissemination of findings, etc.

Teaching Notes: Brief reflections on teaching about human rights in undergraduate or graduate classrooms. Tips and classroom activities are especially welcome.

Grassroots Notes: Reflections, stories, and advice pertaining to engagement with local organizations, policymakers, and/or grassroots activists.

Publications and Announcements: Recently published a book, article, or paper that the human rights section members should read? Have news or an opportunity that you would like to share with the human rights community? Please send it our way!



About anniefukushima

Scholar Activist
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