What is the Nature, and Meaning, of Our Current Moment? July 24, 2020

14 July 2020 – Suren Moodliar

A Movements of Movements Conversation

Speaker Bios for our July 24, 2020, Event

Oussenia Alidou, Professor, Linguistics and African Studies, in the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literature at Rutgers University in the US, is based both in New Jersey and Niamey.  A leader in the African Studies Association and the Association of Concerned African Scholars, Dr Alidou is the recipient of numerous academic awards for her writing and research on Muslim women and post-colonial societies.  A long-standing activist as well as academic, Alidou has organised both for women’s rights and for an end to IMF/World Bank/neoliberal structural adjustment throughout the world.  Dr Alidou’s current work focuses on post-conflict reconstruction and the development issues needed for lasting peace; she is a Steering Committee member of the Pan-African Nonviolence and Peace-building Network.  She authored the acclaimed Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger (2011), Alidou’s most recent books are Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, and Social Change (2013) and Writing through the Visual and Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean, co-edited with Renée Larrier (2015).

Rose Brewer,  Rose M. Brewer, Ph.D. is a scholar activist and radical intellectual. She is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of African American & African Studies,  University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She has written extensively on radical Black feminism, social movements, race, class and gender, and social change,  publishing over 80 refereed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly essays in these areas. She’s authored or co-authored several books and edited volumes including The U.S. Social Forum:  Perspectives of a Movement and the recent co-edited volume, Rod Bush:  Lessons from a Black Radical Scholar on Liberation, Love and Justice (2019).  She is a University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Medalist, a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a 2013 winner of the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award, A Sorokin Lecturer, and a Josie Johnson Social Justice Award recipient.  For over fifteen years Brewer was a member of the board of Project South:  Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide; a past board member of United for a Fair Economy, and a founding member of the Black Radical Congress. As a core organizer of the 2007, 2010 and 2015 US Social Forums she organizes locally, nationally, and internationally. She is currently a coordinating committee member of the People’s Strike movement in the US, serving as a leader of its Black Caucus and as co-convener of its International Committee. Her scholarship and activism are fueled by a long-term commitment to fundamental social change.

Laurence Cox is a writer, activist, and teacher working with social movements in Ireland and globally. He has been involved in a wide range of struggles in various countries since the 1980s, including ecological activism, international solidarity, human rights and organising against repression, antiwar movements, community activism, radical media, self-organised spaces, alternative education and the alter-globalisation “movement of movements”.

Laurence co-founded and co-edits the activist/academic social movements journal Interface and Pluto Press’ Social Movements / Activist Research book series. He is part of the Ulex social movement training project and Associate Professor in Sociology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, where he researches struggles for a better world. His latest book is The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire. Most of his writing is available free at https://laurencecox.wordpress.com/.

Guillermo Delgado-P is a Lecturer of Latin American Ethnology and Field Studies Director in the Anthropology Department at the University of California Santa Cruz, in the US. For ten years (2001-2011) he served as Editor of the Bolivian Research Review and is co-chair of The Indigenous Research Center of the Americas (IRCA) at the University of California, Davis, USA. He served as LASA Section Chair (2012-2013). He is co-editor, with John Brown Childs, of Indigeneity: Collected Essays (Santa Cruz, CA, 2012); a contributor to: Selva Vida. De la Destrucción de la Amazonía al Paradigma de la Regeneración [‘The Living Forest: From the Destruction of the Amazon to a Paradigm of Regeneration’, in Spanish] (IWGIA, Casa de las Américas, 2013); Giros Culturales en la Marea Rosa de América Latina [‘Cultural shifts in the Pink Tide of Latin America’, in Spanish] (2012), and Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab (AK Press, 2014).

Johanna Fernández teaches 20th Century US history and the history of social movements in the Department of History at Baruch College (CUNY). Her book, The Young Lords, A Radical History, was published in February (UNC Press, 2020). In 2015, she directed and co-curated, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York an exhibition in three NYC museums cited by the New York Times as one of the year’s Top 10, Best In Art. In 2014, Dr. Fernández sued the NYPD for its failure to honor her research-driven, Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.  Her suit led to the recovery of the “lost” Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance documents in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X. Professor Fernández is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights, 2015). With Mumia Abu-Jamal she co-edited a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor (Routledge, 2014).  She is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (BigNoise Films, 2010).  Professor Fernández’s mainstream writings have been published internationally, from Al Jazeera to the Huffington Post. She has appeared in a diverse range of print, radio, online and televised media including NPRThe New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Democracy Now!

Matt Meyer is a New York-based educator-activist, Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association, author most recently of White Lives Matter Most (And Other “Little” White Lies), Foreword by Sonia Sanchez, and co-editor with déqui kioni-sadiki of Look for Me in the Whirlwind: From the Panther 21 to 21st Century Revolutions, Foreword by Jamil Al-Amin (formerly H Rap Brown), Afterword by Mumia Abu-Jamal; and co-author of the acclaimed Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle, and Liberation. He also serves as co-convener of the War Resisters International Africa Working Group, chair of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation Financial Advisory Committee, and UN NGO representative of the International Peace Research Association.

Michal Osterweil teaches Global Studies at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, in the USA. Her courses and research focus on social movements and paradigms of social change. She has participated and written about the ‘Global Justice Movement’ and related transnational networks, in particular those affiliated with Zapatismo and the World and regional Social Forums. She is a student of the new ways of ‘doing change’, ranging from movements like the Zapatistas and the alter-globalisation movement to place-based, environmental and transformative movements in the US - what she understands as a ‘new political imaginary’ being simultaneously discovered and created in a variety of spaces and movements. Michal is currently working on a book on the Politics of Relationality with Arturo Escobar, and a community education project and websites on ‘Social Change in Times of Crisis’. In addition to her academic work she participates in various additional projects and activist endeavours, including being co-founder of the Carrboro Greenspace and the journal Turbulence: Ideas for Movement.

Virginia (‘Gina’) Vargas, is a sociologist and feminist activist in Peru and Latin America. She is also a member and founding member of the Flora Tristán Center in Lima and of the political current Marcosur Feminist Articulation in Latin America. She has published several books and many articles. She has been a visiting professor at different universities in Europe, the United States and Latin America, including at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA and at the University of Gutenberg, in Sweden.

She has participated in numerous networks and various feminist initiatives in Latin America and globally: Among Women: a North-South dialogue, Social Watch, DAWN, Dialogue Peoples, Campaign for an Inter-American Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Campaign against Fundamentalisms, Campaign for the Legalization of Abortion in Latin America, among several others. For the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in 1995, she was appointed coordinator of the Forum of NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Gina has received several international awards for her struggles for human and feminist rights. And, at a global level, she currently participates actively in the World Social Forum, from its inception, on behalf of the Marcosur Feminist Articulation.