On “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Dolce and Gabbana’s Abayawear 

Last week, I posted about the release of the Dolce & Gabbana Abaya Collection. On Sunday morning, (01/10/16) CNN program, “Fareed Zakaria GPS” saw the value in following my post with a report on the D&G Abaya Collection. I am glad to see my blog posts gaining national and international attention.   

#FashionPolitics: A Week of Grassroots Activism On the National and International Stage

This week, people who care about the working conditions of the women and men who make our clothes commemorate the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster with grassroots creativity. How? By asking everyone to consider this question: “Who Made My Clothes?”

Over the course of one year, global ethical fashion activists with .orgs have sprung into action by launching digital hashtag campaigns on the topic of poor labor standards in the garment manufacturing industry.

For example, fashionrevolution.org launched a stunning Twitter campaign (#FashRev) with the Who Made My Clothes? theme. Organizers ask that everyone wear their clothes inside out to call attention to poor working conditions. The end goal is greater transparency and improved conditions throughout the garment manufacturing process, from supply chain through distribution.

I would like to see greater attention paid to this cause.  For my part, I will do my best to learn as much as I can about new initiatives created by the Obama administration regarding Pacific trade.



Cultural Studies Association Releases Statement on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The following press release was sent to members of the Cultural Studies Association:

September 1, 2014

The Executive Committee of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), the largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States and North America, hereby expresses grave concern over the decision of University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise to revoke the offer of a tenured associate professorship position in American Indian Studies to Professor Steven Salaita. The process followed by Chancellor Wise marks a serious intrusion into the basic norms of shared faculty governance.

The Executive Committee is further concerned by the rationale for these actions set out in the August 22 2014 statement by Chancellor Wise. The statement clearly indicates that the primary cause for rescinding the employment offer was Dr. Salaita’s public expressions on his twitter feed. The stated rationale substantially erodes the already shrinking space for academic freedom. Further, it uses speech from the public sphere of social media as a substitute for actual teaching records in making assessments about professional competence while seeking to justify the violation of shared faculty governance and due process.

We therefore urge Chancellor Wise and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the strongest terms possible to reverse their course of action by immediately reinstating Professor Steven Salaita as a tenured associate professor of American Indian Studies at UIUC. We also urge them to adhere to and uphold the protocols of shared faculty governance and the principles of academic freedom in this case and in the future.

Long Beach Indie Digital Edutainment Conference


LONG BEACH — Where better to connect independent filmmakers, artists and academics than the Long Beach Indie, International Film Festival, Conference and Artist Summit, Aug. 27-31st, 2014. This is the first year for the event. Participants included academics (myself, included) who convened the Digital Edutainment Conference, Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. Whilst the professors pondered big questions, filmmakers and their supporters screened shorts and features across the street from the Convention Center at The Pike. The festive and scholarly gathering attracted a national and international audience.

The Edutainment session opened with a Big Question Roundtable where panelists discussed the question, “What are the limitations of Internet Freedom?” The Roundtable was followed by a dozen additional presentations and panels covering diverse topics such as Hip Hop and philosophy, sexuality, reproductive justice, mental health, pop culture and stardom, slut-shaming, fashion, and race and gender in reality TV. I was pleased to be a part of both The Roundtable and the “Fashion Politics” discussion and panel. The latter event also featured Dr. Chetachi Egwu, of Nova Southeaster University and Christina Ying of Northwestern University.

This was the inaugural event and Dr. Ebony Utley, a California State University Long Beach professor, and her team of interns, rolled out the red carpet for Edutainment Conference presenters and participants in the beautiful Long Beach Convention Center.

Ferguson, the Middle East, the Chanteuse Lauryn Hill, and Dialogue

Gaza. Syria. Iraq.

Ferguson. Staten Island.

And other places where lives have been lost due to senseless violence.

As much of the world reels from news about chaotic events in the Middle East, the United States adds Staten Island and Ferguson, MO. to the tales of terror.

How can violence be stopped? Humanities discourse has long struggled with the question of violence. There is no time like the present for scholars of the humanities to boldly refuse the safety of neutrality regarding the question of how to achieve a purposeful life when under threat.

Artists are jumping into the discourse. Lauryn Hill adds her lyrical talents to the tale of Ferguson. Her recent release, “Black Rage,” speaks to a history violence.

As a nation, do we realize that a youth whose ethnic identity places him/her/zher at a mortal disadvantage leaves all of us vulnerable?

The work of Michel Foucault proves useful for shedding light on the problem of violence.

As I have written before in my paper, “Space, Voice, Gender, and Intersectionality: Bridging the Theoretical Gap,” (2010), once parties engaged in hierarchical relations realize that reciprocity is one possible method of resolving conflict, then possibilities for dialogue may occur. While Foucault shies away from a prescriptive format for establishing friendly relations, he does go so far as to advocate for what he calls, “reciprocal elucidation,” meaning acknowledgment of a person’s rights within the context of a discussion.

It is important to note, that under Foucault’s framework, emphasis is placed on dialogue, not monologue. I suggest that listening to the work of Lauryn Hill, and other artists creating responses to the recent atrocities, may be a step toward creating dialogue.


Foucault, Michel. “The Eye of Power” published in the book Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.