Imagining Justice brings together scholars, activists, and artists on projects that envision new ways of fighting inequality and promoting gender, racial, economic, and environmental justice in global and domestic contexts.
Active Working Groups
This working group will explore the long-standing global crisis of recognition at the heart of anti-immigrant ideas and policies. It will focus on the discourses, practices, and institutions that actively deny immigrants recognition, as well as those discourses, practices, and institutions that recognize, support, and affirm migrants and their rights. They will engage with these issues in the areas of civics and education, immigration law and policy, and the characterization and treatment of migrants and refugees.
In response to the increasing power of the evangelical right in Latin America and the Caribbean, this project traces renewed interest in traditional and indigenous belief systems that have fueled struggles for environmental justice. These struggles rely on expressive and aesthetic forms such as ritual, song, and performance. These forms, in turn, give shape to new modes of imagining environmental justice. This comparative project is undertaken by a working group of scholars, artists and activists from Columbia University in collaboration with colleagues from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The question of “which differences make a difference” is being radically redefined by algorithmic logics and machine learning technologies. This project plans to take a leading role in reshaping thought around social difference in the digital age, informing the powerful work of computer scientists, engineers, and statisticians by engaging participation of historians, sociologists, philosophers, critical theorists, and others trained in exploring questions of social difference and justice, while developing critical tools for intervention in research, public policy, and activism.
Since its first usage by antiapartheid activists in South Africa to its elaboration by political theorist, Cedric J. Robinson, racial capitalism is a concept that delineates the interlinked relationships of race and class constitute of global capitalism. The racial capitalism working group is a site of sustained collaborative research and study. Our collective work is rooted in a commitment to Black radicalism, historical materialism, feminism, and anti-imperialism.
Queer Theory: Here, There, and Everywhere is a CSSD working group to discuss, debate and investigate the politics of sexuality and gender in a global frame. This group builds upon a vast network of queer scholars worldwide to consider how best to resituate queer studies to respond to shifts in the meanings of family, sexual health, gendered embodiment, religion, sexual practices, gender variance, activism and sexual communities.
Past Working Groups
Pedagogies of Dignity is an interdisciplinary initiative that brings together formerly incarcerated people, activists, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Applying lenses of race, class, gender, sexuality, and inequality to the current analyses of climate change in the Pacific Region, this project seeks to reframe the conversation about climate change and Pacific Islanders.
This interdisciplinary research project examines the workings of the progressive political, social, and cultural movement among nations of the Global South that refused to ally with either major power bloc during the cold war.
Unpayable Debt is a comparative research and public engagement project about the emergence and impact of massive debt on vulnerable polities and populations.
Precision Medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This project examines the ethical, legal, and political implications of precision medicine research.
The Digital Black Atlantic Project (DBAP) was a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary working group that came together to invent a scholarly resource and digital platform for multimedia explorations and documentations of literary texts, visual documents, sites, moments, rituals and ceremonies, monuments and memorials, performances, and material objects emerging out of and concerning the Black Atlantic world.
Through the study of disability, this project engaged ethical and political questions about the beginning and end of life, prenatal testing, abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, technologies for the medical correction and “cure” of the non-normative body, disease, wartime injuries, post-traumatic stress, and healthcare, as well as the dynamics of social inclusion and/or exclusion.
This working group considered a series of linked questions about the social, cultural, and scientific nature of the sexed and raced body. The project used the specific focus on sex-testing of elite athletes as a lab for considering larger questions related to social difference and the intersections of scientific and sociocultural perspectives on the sexed and raced body. Sex-testing provides an excellent focal point for exploring how an entangled and intersectional view of sex, gender, and other social formations might be relevant to contemporary matters of science and social policy.
The Borders & Boundaries project re-examined current ways of thinking about global migration and sought to develop new ways of conceptualizing the sociological, historical, economic, political, aesthetic and gender-specific dimensions of human mobility and social difference. The project raised comparative questions concerning the ways in which international migrations - and border crossings of other kinds - relate to the formation and transformation of intra-societal boundaries such as race, class, gender and sexuality.
Combining humanistic methods to understand the meanings people attribute to their lives, including the concepts and categories that animate them, and ethnographic and analytical methods developed in the social sciences to track the relationships between individuals and institutions of governance, economic forces, and global dynamics, "Liberalism and its Others" (2008-2011) brought together dynamic groups of historians, anthropologists, scholars of literature, law, politics, and health to explore alternative models of life and to develop new ways of thinking about the politics of the present.