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Sunaina Maira: "“More Delicate Than a Flower, Yet Harder Than a Rock”: Youth Activism and Human Rights"

This talk focuses on the political mobilization of young people targeted by the War on Terror, exploring what it means to challenge the U.S. imperial state from within and to engage in solidarity with those beyond its borders who are targets of imperial violence. It draws on an ethnographic study of South Asian, Arab, and Afghan American youth in Silicon Valley and new forms of politics and coalition-building that have emerged since 9/11. These young activists often turn to the framework of human rights and national sovereignty in opposing overseas wars and occupations, such as the “Af-Pak” war. However, they also have to confront the failure of liberal rights-talk in particular instances of political organizing and solidarity movements that challenge the boundaries of permissible and humanitarian politics. 
Sunaina Maira is Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis.  She is the author of Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City and Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire After 9/11. She co-edited Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America, which won the American Book Award in 1997, and Youthscapes: The Popular, the National, and the Global. Maira was one of the founding organizers of the South Asian Committee on Human Rights (SACH), that focused on post-9/11 civil and immigrant rights issues in the Boston area.  She has also worked with various antiwar, civil rights, and immigrant rights groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014. 12:00PM


Encina Hall West, Room 208


Center for South Asia




Free and open to the public.