S3E3 - International Activism

Want to go out and change the world? Great! WE NEED IT. But how to avoid doing more harm than good, especially when working for people from other contexts and cultures? We dig into this tricky question with Dr. Ryan Richard Thoreson: human rights lawyer, LGBTIQ activist, and one of our personal faves. Along the way we encounter white savior Barbie, grapple with the notion of cultural relativism, and each reveal some of our most facepalm-worthy moments abroad. Ryan also catches us up on the state of international LGBTIQ rights and activism, and we share some real talk about the colonialist legacy of the Rhodes Scholarships that Ryan, Noorain, and Maria all held. Theory helped shape how we approach making positive change, so join us for this ep and then get out there and make a difference where you can!

Links to Stuff We Talk About


Jack Donnelly, “Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly 6.4 (Nov. 1984): 400-419. http://fs2.american.edu/dfagel/www/Class%20Readings/Donnelly/Cultual%20Relativism.pdf

Ryan Richard Thoreson, Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide (University Of Minnesota Press, 2014) https://www.amazon.com/Transnational-LGBT-Activism-Working-Worldwide/dp/0816692742/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


Teju Cole, “The White-Savior Industrial Complex,” The Atlantic. March 22, 2012. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/

Nadia Khomami. "Oxford scholars reject hypocrisy claims amid row over Cecil Rhodes statue." The Guardian. January 13, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jan/12/cecil-rhodes-scholars-reject-hypocrisy-claims-amid-row-over-oriel-college-statue

Courtney Martin, "The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems," Medium. January 11, 2016. https://medium.com/the-development-set/the-reductive-seduction-of-other-people-s-problems-3c07b307732d#.944npi1zl

Sarah Schulman, “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing,’” The New York Times. November 22, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/opinion/pinkwashing-and-israels-use-of-gays-as-a-messaging-tool.html


Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Taylor, Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos (University of California Press, 1997) https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Cultural-Filmmaking-Handbook-Documentary-Ethnographic/dp/0520087607 

Zeba Blay, "'White Savior Barbie’ Hilariously Parodies Volunteer Selfies In Africa," The Huffington Post. April 18, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-savior-barbie-hilariously-parodies-volunteer-selfies-in-africa_us_570fd4b5e4b03d8b7b9fc464 and Barbie Savior Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/barbiesavior/ 

"Government and Philanthropic Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Communities," 2013/2014 Global Resources Report. June 2016. http://www.lgbtfunders.org/files/2013-2014_Global_Resources_Report.pdf


Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden”: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5478/

Maria's documentary Momentum: Math and Science Teachers in Zambia (2006) on YouTube:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWd1YQCdhEU
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMV8Pxux_5c

Statement from the Rhodes Trust on Cecil Rhodes’ legacy http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/rhodesandlegacy

Guest Speaker BIO! Ryan Richard Thoreson is the author of the book Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide, and has worked with a number of sexual rights groups including OutRight Action International and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association. He completed his doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and holds a JD from Yale Law School. He is currently completing a two-year fellowship researching and writing about LGBT children’s rights at Human Rights Watch.  

Music this time by the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, and MJ

Posted on November 24, 2016 .