April 30 - Research in Progress
"The Double Bind of Dharun Ravi: Homophobia, Xenophobia, and the Work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak"
Rahul K. Gairola, Ph.D.
4:00p - 5:00p
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988) famously engaged a critique of a number of white, Western male theorists including Marx, Foucault, and Deleuze. The essay critically placed the woman of color in the role of sati where her sexuality was positioned as “white men saving brown women from brown men.” The essay examined the figure of sati as a fatal alibi for upper class, patriarchy to silence and obliterate articulations of subaltern subjects while problematically acknowledging that that very subject transcends subalternty at the moment of utterance. Jumping forward almost a quarter of a century, Spivak’s newest work titled An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012) illuminates the dismal plight of the humanities as teachers and students alike negotiate the vicissitudes of the double bind, or the static positioning of being caught in an identificatory binary from moment to moment. How does this divergent work, separated by 24 years of history and scholarship production, come together in the context of race and the South Asian diaspora in the US? This paper argues that Spivak’s work condenses on the figure of Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University freshman who was recently tried for the invasion of privacy when he used his web cam to view Clementi and a male partner in an intimate moment.
The knowledge of this intrusion drove Tyler Clementi, his roommate, to commit suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York City, and was one of many tragedies that inaugurated a national movement against teen bullying. While Clementi would not live to experience the popular aphorism “it just gets better” that has been made famous the past few years by Dan Savage of the “It Gets Better Project,” the court case of Dharun Ravi produced a media spectacle of sorts. It ranged from a complete condemnation of bullying against gay, suicidal teens to an online movement to “Deport Dharun Ravi.” This paper reads Ravi as the quintessential media spectacle of Spivak’s double bind in the context of twenty-first century racism as the global economy constricts: both immigrant and emigrant at the same time under neoliberal homonormativity – itself caught in a double bind that pulls on two ends of a knot that tighten yet brings closer together homophobia and xenophobia. Finally, the paper unearths the “white men saving white men from brown men” media discourse that attended the racist xenophobia against Ravi and his family to demonstrate that two lives would be ruined from the fatal mistake made by one. These range from media caricatures of Ravi as cold, to his father as a “slight man” and his mother’s over-zealous concern of her son’s lack of appetite.
Rahul K. Gairola teaches at Seattle University and the University of Washington (UW), where he completed a joint PhD in English Literature and Critical Theory in December 2009. He has held research fellowships at Pembroke College, Cambridge, the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, the Humboldt University of Berlin, the UW Department of English, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities. He has published and delivered papers widely at home and abroad, and is revising a book manuscript titled Homelandings: Diasporic Genealogies of (Be)longing and Nation along with a few other pieces. He sits on the Executive Committee of the South Asian Literary Association (SALA), and served as Co-Chair of its annual conference in Seattle in January 2012.
May 13 - Research in Progress
Title: “Cognitive Radio: Its Promises and Challenges”
Tad Ghirmai, Ph.D.
4:00p - 5:00p
Abstract: Cognitive Radio is a technology that aims to address the spectrum scarcity problem facing many countries. Traditional spectrum assignment has been based on fixed spectrum access policy in which licensed users are allocated a dedicated bandwidth. The explosion of new wireless services in the last two decades has resulted in spectrum scarcity because most of the available spectrum has been allocated. However, recent studies showed that a large portion of the licensed spectrum is underutilized, and the spectrum scarcity problem is mainly a result of inefficient spectrum allocation policy. To address the problem, therefore, a dynamic spectrum access policy (DSA) is proposed. DSA allows access to a spectrum by unlicensed (secondary) users in a manner that would not compromise the operations of the licensed (primary) user. Cognitive radio promises to realize dynamic spectrum access policy by designing radios that intelligently detect unused spectrum and change their transmission parameters to adapt to the new environment. However, designing a truly cognitive radio is challenging. This presentation provides an overview of the challenges in the design of cognitive radio from signal processing perspective.
May 21 - Research in Progress
!! NEW TITLE !! “Desperate Women and Lonely Hearts: Moving From the Study of Interventions for, to the Study of Discourses about Women with Incarcerated Partners”
Cheryl Cooke, Ph.D.
4:00p - 5:00p
Abstract: Some of the historical discourses about nurses were that we were witches and whores, discrediting us as healers. While social understanding about who nurses are and what we do has changed over time, there are other populations of women about whom we can learn based on the social discourses about them. Understanding these discourses can offer important information about a group's assigned place in society, and the people who assign them. In my research, I study the population of women who are in relationships with incarcerated men. The majority of these women and men are low income, poorly educated, and many are of Color. My prior work was focused on studying this population of women in order to design appropriate interventions. However, I have come to realize
that looking for specific interventions cannot occur outside the set of social discourses about these women that shape their experiences, behaviors, and abilities to act in their own best interest. Working from a critical, feminist perspective, my research is now moving away from developing specialized interventions and towards a more nuanced
understanding the broader social discourses that impact these women's abilities to act. I believe that prior to developing any comprehensive intervention, as researchers our understanding needs to take into account the broader social contexts that are at play. In this talk, I will describe both the micro level, individual experiences among this population, as well as the macro, group level at which these women's experiences and identities are presented in society.