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K-State Today

November 17, 2015



American ethnic studies presents at National Women's Studies Association

By Melisa Posey

Shireen Roshanravan, associate professor of American ethnic studies, presented the paper "Integrity and Emptied Selves: Existential Navigations of Colonial Mimicry, Passing-as-if, and Ethnic Fraud," at the 2015 National Women's Studies Association annual conference gathering Saturday, Nov. 13, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Roshanravan's presentation was part of the panel session "Decolonial Sensing Against the Tortures of Precarity: Inspirited Haunting and Communal Reconstitutions of the Disappeared" that focused on the esoteric foretellings of queer-of-color networks, the disappearance of racialized classed bodies from trans and intersex case-study archives, the pained awareness of ghostly subjectivity in Asian American struggles against the model-minority racial project, and the simultaneous terror of disintegration and communal reconstitution in the process of coalitional becomings.

Revisiting her work on Asian American model-minority orientations to "pass-as-if" generic formulations of "women of color" identity, Roshanravan's paper addressed the recent high-profile public accusations of "ethnic fraud" against former leader of the Spokane NAACP chapter Rachel Dolezal and prominent academic and activist Andrea Smith to consider how historical anxieties, generated by the loss of communality in racialization toward white/Anglo identification, shape cross-racial desires for community and coalitional movement.

The NWSA annual conference regularly draws more than 1,600 attendees and is in the process of following other academic associations in passing a resolution that endorses the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, of economic, military and cultural entities and projects sponsored by the state of Israel. Read more about this resolution.