Department of Africana Studies University of South Florida
The twenty-first century has witnessed a startling increase in human rights violations, including militaristic and fundamentalist violence against women, blatant disregard for the rights of workers, and ongoing oppression of the poor and people in marginalized communities around the world. In northwest Nigeria, for example, the destruction of entire rural communities includes brutality against young women who seek education. Their schools are destroyed; they become victims of kidnapping, sexual assault and human trafficking. In China and India, women and men workers labor in bleak, unsafe, inhumane conditions in the production of garments and electronic products for multinational corporations. However, it is often women who bear the burdens of their simultaneous roles as mother and workers and who suffer the indignities of sexual assault in the workplace. In the United States police brutality is an ongoing issue as young black men in Black communities are publicly profiled, targeted and murdered even as cameras record their actions. Black women suffer the losses of sons, husbands and brothers as more and more Black men are killed, criminalized and incarcerated. Around the world, violence against women occurs in domestic and public contexts but is often ignored until women are brutalized or murdered by famous sports figures. These are all human rights issues and therefore, feminist issues.
The papers in this panel argue that knowledge and advocacy surrounding these human rights abuses and others that occur daily in the context of internationalization, globalization, entertainment, and tourism, should be critical to today’s feminist anthropology. Understanding the ways in which political, social, economic and cultural forces intersect with patriarchy, power and injustice remains important in both theoretical and praxis-oriented work even where oppression appears to be intractable. This panel includes voices that continue to re-imagine and redefine feminist thought and action as we push the boundaries of anthropology in discussions of a broad range of women’s rights/human rights issues.