Alumni Highlight

Thursday, February 6, 2020
The Institute for the Study of Human Rights congratulates Human Rights graduate Shireen Jalali-Yazdi on winning the Audre Rapoport Prize for Scholarship on Gender and Human Rights for her paper “Colonized Masculinities and Feminicide in the United States: How Conditions of Coloniality Socialize Feminicidal Men”. The Audre Rapoport Prize is an interdisciplinary writing competition on international human rights and gender.
Shireen’s paper was born out of Professor Inga Winkler’s Human Rights Senior Seminar. The two main sources of inspiration for her paper are: Femicide and Colonization by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Suhad Daher-Nashif and The Murders of Indigenous Women in Canada as Feminicides by Paulina García-Del Moral. These articles captivated Shireen’s attention because they discuss how feminicidal masculinities are shaped by adverse social and political contexts, namely colonialism, and how these histories continue to exert their legacy in the form of intra-community violence. While reading these articles, she often found herself making troubling comparisons to the lived conditions of many African-Americans in the United States, a country not typically regarded as having colonies. In researching the incidence of feminicide in African-American communities, Shireen was perturbed by the overwhelming narrative that professed cultural deficiencies such as emasculating single mothers and absentee fathers as the sources of a pathological blackness that inclined African-American males to violence. As these preliminary explorations and impressions came together, she decided to investigate how conditions of coloniality in African-American communities in the United States socialize feminicidal men. 
Through Prof. Winkler’s guidance, Shireen probed deeper into feminist scholarship on femicide/feminicide, postcolonial scholarship on the coloniality of power, and masculinities scholarship on internalized oppression and the formation of the gendered subject. Colonial conditions such as mass incarceration, police militarization and brutality, and racial residential segregation, continue to create the social climates within which African-American masculinities are formed. Her paper ultimately argues that through their near-constant interactions with law enforcement and correctional institutions, and their disenfranchisement, which is both generated and exacerbated by spatial isolation, African-American masculinities are ofttimes socialized to commit intra-communal acts of violence towards those that are on a lower social standing – African-American women.