HRIT Podcast Episode Four: Translating the Transnational

Episode Four: Translating the Transnational

Sujatha Subramanian, a PhD student in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, is in conversation with Jennifer Nunes and Tatsiana Shchurko about the complexities of translation in a transnational space. In their conversations, the speakers discuss the complexity of translating concepts, theories and epistemologies, and complicate the idea of translation beyond concerns of accuracy or faithfulness to focus on the political, social and cultural contexts in which translation takes place. Jennifer, a Masters student in East Asian Studies, discusses her project on translating the works of contemporary Chinese poet Yu Xiuhua and the process of using translation to interrogate the invisibility of the translator in standard English translation. Tatsiana, a PhD student in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, underlines the power context undergirding translation by highlighting how unlike knowledge produced in the Anglo-American world, knowledge produced in the non-English speaking world are not seen as theory. In their conversation, the speakers point to the possibility of using translation as a decolonial tool that can disrupt the hegemony of English language as marking literary excellence and as producing universally applicable theory.

Podcast Episode Three: What is Sanctuary?

In episode three, we discuss the issue of sanctuary, which is now widely discussed in local governments and university campuses across the nation.  With the recent rise in political rhetoric and policies that aim to detain and deport undocumented migrants/immigrants in the United States, many are asking for sanctuary policies. But, what does this mean? What is a sanctuary city? In this episode, Dr. Mathew Coleman of OSU’s Department of Geography shares a wealth of knowledge about the history and practice of sanctuary.  Importantly, he clarifies that sanctuary is not a form of amnesty, but rooted in community policing practices that are tied to previous waves of Central Americans seeking refuge in the United States. Sanctuary policies have sought, through community policing practices, to have a positive impact on vulnerable populations and community safety.  Listen in for an in-depth discussion of sanctuary past and present.

Podcast Episode Two

Problematizing Humanitarian Interventions in Latin America

Malia Lee Womack, a PhD/MA Ohio State student in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Latin American Studies (respectively), interviews Dr. Katherine Borland, an Associate Professor of Folklore Studies and Comparative Studies at Ohio State University.  In their conversation they explore the complexities of US students and others volunteering in and providing aid to Latin America, and examine human rights strategies and grassroots organizing occurring in the region.  Womack and Borland consider in what ways disadvantaged communities are generally more able to identify the problems they face and the most ideal solutions to these problems.  Given the value of grassroots organizing and critiques of imperial intervention in Latin America, what obligations do wealthier nations and their citizens have to contribute to the empowerment of people in Latin American countries?  How should this intervention be modeled?

Human Rights in Transit Summer Study Program

Study Human Rights in New York City

UN Memorial to Honor Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade

Undergraduate students are invited to apply for a special trip to learn, watch, and reflect on  human rights.  Students will attend parts of the annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival, explore Columbia University’s Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research archives, and tour several key human rights landmarks, such as the UN Memorial to Honor Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade, the African Burial Ground National Monument, and Stonewall National Moment.

Trip Dates: June 12-16, 2017

Lodging and travel accommodations will be provided.  The trip is organized by Professors Wendy Hesford, Amy Shuman, and Jennifer Suchland.

Application Deadline: March 3, 2017

Application Materials include: 1) a detailed cover letter (no longer than 1 page single spaced) indicating your interest in the program, and background study and/or experience in human rights; and 2) short statement about a research or creative project that you hope to develop based on the trip.  All materials should be sent to

Informational Session: February 14, 2017, Hagerty Hall 455B, 3:30-4:30


HRIT Summer Flyer


HRIT Podcast, Episode One

(Re)Settlement: Considering Solidarity and Incommensurability in Refugee Experiences


What do the experiences of Indigenous Americans and refugees coming to the United States have in common?  In a dialogue between Dr. Amy Shuman and Dr. Daniel Rivers, they discuss the intersections of those experiences.  Listen in here: Episode One

Why think across the experiences of displacement ?

The displacement and forced (re)settlement of Indigenous peoples made way for the founding of the United States.  The removal of Native Americans from their land, the decimation of Indigenous peoples and ways of living, their (re)settlement to Reservations, and the ongoing battle over Indigenous sovereignty can speak to many of the experiences of displacement and dispossession around the world.  At the same time, when refugees are accepted into the United States, how is their incorporation part of the ongoing practice of settlement, of settler colonialism and the management national borders?  How is acceptance and incorporation into the United States an opportunity to preserve and reenact the founding and ongoing violence of U.S. sovereignty?

In addition to considering the important connections between experiences of displacement, and thus opportunities for solidarity and kinship, it is crucial to consider their differences and even incommensurability.  For example, in writing about welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada, Zoe Dodd reflects on what it means to welcome newcomers “into” a community.  Dodd acknowledges the fact that humanitarianism can exists alongside violent state practices of oppression and dispossession.  She also explains how practices of “tending to” can both build solidarity while recognizing the ongoing battle for Indigenous sovereignty.

Practices of “tending to” are and will continue to be salient as more and more people are displaced due to environmental disasters and climate change or due to economic survival.  To find the intersections of precarity, and in that to find moments of solidarity, will be a vital strategy for survival.  In October 2016, the Calais Jungle (Europe’s largest unregulated refugee camp) was forcefully destroyed by French authorities.  The autonomous camp symbolized the possibilities and power of collective solidarity.  Its destruction is also a reminder of the  dark side of humanitarianism and the power of the state to manage where people live, who gets to live where, and ultimately, who gets to survive.