Two recent interviews about queering IR, WPS & other stuff
This month I was invited to reflect on my work in for two outlets, E-IR and Praxis: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security.
I've long followed the E-IR website including their interview series. I really love the opportunity to get to know amazing feminist IR folks like Cynthia Enloe, Toni Haastrup, Lisa Tilly. As I was working on my interview I spent a lot of time going back through and reading these amazing interviews. They also have incredible open source materials such as Sexuality and Translation in World Politics by Caroline Cottet and Manuela Lavinas Picq.
You can find my interview here. Thanks to Karoline Faerber for inviting me to do the interview. I'm especially mindful of the work that goes into E-IR while generally unrewarded by the discipline, is so very valuable to those of us feminists experiencing the day-to-day of 'knowing' and 'being' and 'doing' IR.
The second interview with Praxis is the "Queer Reflections on 20 Years of Women, Peace, and Security: A Conversation with Dr. Jamie Hagen." Here I focus my reflections more specifically on the WPS agenda.
These interviews link up with what is LGBGTQ+ history month here in the UK. This is something I'm not really used to celebrating in the American context, but it did mean that my interview was featured at E-IR, including the following question which I share here:
What is the most important advice you could give to young scholars of International Relations, particularly LGBTIQ+ folks?
Find and prioritize queer and feminist community. I’m Chair-Elect for the ISA LGBTQA Caucus. This year the caucus launched a mentoring program, largely led by the work of Member-at-Large Alex Edney-Browne. The Caucus will be hosting a panel discussion on the job market this month recognizing the difficulties of the job market with particular attention to LGBTIQ+ experiences. Previous to being active in the ISA LGBTQA caucus I was active in the ISA Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section (FTGS) and am really grateful for the mentoring and networking received in this space as well.
But when I say find queer and feminist community, I do not necessarily mean in the discipline. Something I really love doing is co-hosting Feminist & Queer Happy Hours. Hosting and attending these events was especially important for me while I was finishing up my PhD, which can be an isolating experience even in the best of circumstances. These monthly events allowed me to connect with community while learning about the various projects’ folks were up to in the community, like organizing drag shows, advocating for LGBTQ health care, fundraising for queer asylum seekers and facilitating free bicycle repair workshops. I got to know so many queer and feminist members of the Providence and Boston communities which reminded me why I’m motivated to do the work and see this work in practice. People really showed up! More than one queer couple met at our events too, by the way. We even had a visit from Ayanna Presley to one of our events which we co-organized with the fantastic annual Boston Film Festival Wicked Queer. I have also hosted these events alongside conferences because I know that big academic conferences are overwhelming and not the easiest spaces to connect. For example, during the 2019 ISA in Toronto I hosted a Feminist and Queer Happy Hour at the Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest queer bookstore worldwide. That was really fun! I look forward to co-hosting these events in Belfast post-pandemic. Oh, and two quick things: 1) As Sarah Jaffe’s book reminds us, Work Won’t Love You Back; 2) Join a union.