Other writing

Here are a few things I’ve written, split up by the academic years in which they were written. Note that none of these are “academic” (peer-reviewed) publications, but they’re all things that I’m fairly happy with and would love to see shared beyond just my computer. The files are linked in the titles — click on the arrows for a description of each piece!

2018–19

Law and the World; Thinking with Hannah Arendt: This paper explores the figure of human rights against different ideas of worlding, exploring in particular the thought of Hannah Arendt (leading into my thesis project). Written for Postcolonial Theory with Leela Gandhi.

Race-Thinking Turned Against Itself: Three Early Texts of the African Diaspora: This paper uses three early texts of the African diaspora that exemplify a discourse of race-thinking by people who we assume to be oppressed by it. Written for Europe and the Invention of Race with Michael Steinberg.

Some Thoughts on Conversations Across Commitments: In this paper I closely read two texts by Bruno Latour and Cary Wolfe to help me think critically about the following question: What are the grounds for productive, critical, transdisciplinary conversations — especially about pivotal issues (like climate change) that we all care deeply about? Written for Geoaesthetics and the Environmental Humanities with Jeff Moser.

Love, Religion, and Hannah Arendt: This is my third paper on the thought of Hannah Arendt but only the first time I really felt like I was engaging her thought directly, in this instance by focusing on love as an persistent motif instigated by her 1929 PhD thesis Love and Saint Augustine. Written for Methods in Religious Studies with Paul Nahme.

Continuity, Representation, Redress: Khoi-San Testimony Before the Constitutional Review Committee on Land Expropriation: In this paper I tackle four broad terms (continuity, representation, redress, and testimony) by considering the Khoi-San, South Africa’s “indigenous” indigenous. My consideration pivots in particular around the debates before parliament about amending section 25 of the constitution to permit land expropriation without compensation. Written for Southern African Frontiers with Nancy Jacobs.

Don’t let legacy admission fall through the cracks: Another op-ed I wrote for the Brown Daily Herald.

2017–18

Bridging Walcott’s Imaginary and Arendt’s Problematic: In this paper I think of Derek Walcott’s Omeros and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism together. Although they are different in many ways — one is philosophy and the other is poetry — I argue that they have many common concerns and that thinking with Walcott gives us a different and important conceptual vocabulary. Written for Literary Imaginations of the Law: Human Rights and Literature taught by Anjuli Gunaratne.

The Polynesian Panthers and Negotiations of Blackness: This paper tells the story of the Polynesian Panthers, a Maori and Pasifika movement inspired by the American Black Panther Party. I use examples from this movement to explore the idea of “blackness” in contexts where we don’t usually think about it. This was inspired by and written for Global Black Radicalism, a seminar in Africana Studies taught by Brian Meeks and Geri Augusto.

Decolonizing the Museum: A Bronze Bust and its Reception: In this writing, I consider the story of an object in the RISD museum currently entitled “Vase and lid in the form of the head of a Nubian boy.” I end with clear recommendations for changing the object’s name and description. Written for Decolonizing Classical Antiquity: White Nationalism, Colonialism, and Ancient Material Heritage with Yannis Hamilakis with substantial help from Gina Borromeo, curator of ancient art at the RISD museum.

Rethinking the Boundary: Environmental History of the Xiongnu: This paper discusses the effects on the environment caused by the interaction between the (sedentary) Han and (nomadic) Xiongnu. Final paper for a class on Global Environmental History before 1492 with Brian Lander.

A Keen Ear for the Particular: Cornel West’s Non-Ethnocentric Pragmatism: This paper explores the philosophy of Cornel West, particularly as it relates to the intellectual tradition of American pragmatism (specifically John Dewey and Richard Rorty) and the discourse of nationalism (especially as critiqued by Michael Billig). To interrogate and expand West’s philosophical commitments, I draw from Edward Said to gesture towards a set of resources for navigating divergent investments. Written for Edward Said and Cornel West, team-taught by Andre Willis and Nancy Khalek.

2016–17

The Pitfalls of Postcolonialism: Hellenist Graffiti in Cyprus: This paper uses two graffiti on EOKA to discuss the nature of colonialism and postcolonialism in Cyprus, while also exploring the importance of Hellenism and party politics in recent Cypriot history. It was written as the final assignment for a class taught by Andrew Dufton called Occupy Archaeology! Interrogating Inequality, Past and Present.

Dialetheism and Logicism: This (rather technical) paper addresses the problems encountered by the logicist project when confronted with Russell’s paradox by outlining an alternative: dialetheism. This is essentially the claim that there are true contradictions, as advocated most famously by Graham Priest. The paper ends by briefly discussing the profound (and promising) repercussions of dialetheism, especially as reflected in the work of Zach Weber. This was the final paper for a class taught by Josh Schechter on the Philosophy of Mathematics.

The Akathist Hymn and Mary Theotokos: This paper addresses the Akathist Hymn, which was written in the sixth century as a hymn of praise to the Theotokos. It was written as the final paper for a class called Sacred Stories taught by Susan Harvey, professor of Religious Studies.

The Powers of Diaspora and Democratic Cosmopolitanism: This paper uses democratic cosmopolitanism (drawn from Bonnie Honig’s Democracy and the Foreigner) and diaspora theory (as discussed by Jonathan and Daniel Boyarin in Powers of Diaspora: Two Essays on the Relevance of Jewish Culture) to gesture towards an “ethics of minority.” It was the final assignment for a class taught by Paul Nahme, appropriately titled Foreigners, Refugees, and the Ethics of Minority.

‘International’ is not a race: This op-ed in the Brown Daily Herald discusses the use of “International” as a quasi-racial category in institutional statistics, especially in universities like Brown.

ICC Background Guide: I wrote this background guide for a committee at BUSUN XXI that simulated the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The background guide makes particular reference to the withdrawals from the ICC by members of the African Union, as well as the destruction of cultural heritage in, for example, Timbuktu. It draws especially on the work of Kamari Maxine Clarke, an anthropologist at Carleton University.