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Whitewashing the Shah: racial liberalism and U.S. foreign policy during the 1953 Coup of Iran

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When the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified documents relating to the 1953 Coup in Iran, it was discovered that American involvement was much deeper than previously known. In fact, the CIA had orchestrated the coup against democratically-elected Mohammed

When the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified documents relating to the 1953 Coup in Iran, it was discovered that American involvement was much deeper than previously known. In fact, the CIA had orchestrated the coup against democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadegh. This action was sold to the United States public as being essential to democracy, which seems contradictory to its actual purpose. U.S. political leaders justified the coup by linking it to what Charles Mills calls “racial liberalism,” a longstanding ideological tradition in America that elevates the white citizen to a place of power and protection while making the racial noncitizens “others” in the political system. Political leaders in the United States relied on bribing the American media to portray the Shah as the white citizen and Mossadegh as a racial other, the white citizen was restored to power and the racial other was overthrown.

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2016

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Dancing with madness: rewriting identity through disruption

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Madness is disruptive. It doesn't play by the rules. Madness is influenced, created, and caused by many different factors; it can be at different times disorienting, debilitating, or a space of radical potential. In this thesis, I argue for the

Madness is disruptive. It doesn't play by the rules. Madness is influenced, created, and caused by many different factors; it can be at different times disorienting, debilitating, or a space of radical potential. In this thesis, I argue for the empowering potential of narrative and rewriting identity in the face of painful disruptions. I argue that the way that we conceptualize madness and how we internalize trauma affects how we reconfigure identity as an ongoing process and therefore whether and how we are able to embrace creative, diverse and dynamically empowered futures. I argue against positivist traditions of categorization and concept formation when it comes to madness – whether medical or historic//cultural/social. I first use similar tools to “categorize the categorizers” and later break away from positivist tradition through feminist inquiry, pushing against static, linear, and inactive kind and family conceptual hierarchies with my own experience. I use active feminist frameworks and phenomenological ontologies to argue for a corrective epistemic justice exposing reductive gaps in the literature and highlighting the links between violence/oppression/trauma/agency and mental illness that positivist models minimize. I employ personal experiences of gender-based violence and my own changing and intersectional understanding and experience of depression and mental health as a lens through which different pathways can emerge. I use memoir as method to disturb the binary limitations of madness models, instead offering a conceptualization of madness as fluid, intersectional, changing, and deeply personal: an experience that cannot be reduced and compartmentalized. Finally, I explore the pain of trauma and madness as well as the possibility therein towards action as a way of reclaiming self-agency.

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2018

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Orange is my Favorite Color: An Autoethnographic Account of a Volunteer Educator in the American Prison System

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The United States of America incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, with the rate of growth for the imprisonment for women being currently twice that of men. Despite these alarming numbers women are often deemed the

The United States of America incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, with the rate of growth for the imprisonment for women being currently twice that of men. Despite these alarming numbers women are often deemed the forgotten population within the carceral system. Using feminist inquiry within an interpretivist framework, I employ an autoethnographic account to examine my experience as a volunteer educator within the American Prison system. The 'data' within the autoethnography include my thoughts, eventualities, and reflections that are analyzed through an iterative cycle. Due to the creative nature of this thesis, 'data' are represented through a series of concepts, including art, photographs, and shifting narratives that mediate the language between theory and the lived experiences of incarcerated women. The data within this thesis however are not mine alone, they are cogenerated with the women of the Perryville Correctional Facility. Using feminist-based practices the representations of incarcerated women come from the women themselves , thus serving as a method of survival, as a form of activism, and as a tool of healing and justice that is not linked to reform. This thesis serves to simultaneously challenge and contribute to the traditional scholarship surrounding female incarceration by centering the voices of incarcerated women, and in turn serving as a form of liberatory action.

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2020