CSGS Visiting Scholar: Melissa Autumn White

CSGS Visiting Scholar: fall 2011

Melissa Autumn WhiteMelissa Autumn White

Melissa Autumn White is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Syracuse University (2010-12). She also holds an honorary appointment as Adjunct Research Professor of Human Rights and Sexuality Studies at Carleton University (Ottawa), and is 2011-12 Lillian Robinson Scholar at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University (Montréal; in residence March 2012). She received her PhD at York University (Toronto) in the Graduate Program in Women’s Studies in 2010, and her work on queer migration, citizenship and (homo)nationalisms is forthcoming in several volumes, including Transnationalism, Activism, Art (University of Toronto Press, Kit Dobson and Aine McGlynn, eds.), a special issue (“Postcolonial Intimacies”) of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and Feminist (Im)Mobilities in Fortress North America: Rights, Citizenships and Identities in Transnational Context (Ashgate Publishing; Anne Sisson Runyan, Amy Lind, Marianne Marchand and Pat McDermott, eds). She is an invited member of the Queer Migration Research Network, founded by Karma Chávez and Eithne Luibhéid in 2010.

Current research:

While in residence at CSGS, I will be working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Archives of Desire: Affective Governance and the Recognition of Queer ‘Family Class’ Migration. Selected as a finalist in the NWSA/University of Illinois First Book/Best Dissertation Prize (results TBA in late fall 2011) and based on an expansion of my doctoral dissertation, my book explores how the state recognition of certain forms of queer intimacies in a growing number of Western liberal democracies contributes to the intensification of an effective global apartheid system, which is characterized not so much by controls over mobility per se, but over state-mediated residency rights and status more precisely. Drawing on my multi-method and multi-scalar inquiry into the recognition and regulation of transnational queer “family class” immigration sponsorships in the Canadian context, my work gives close consideration to how minor discourses of queer loves and intimacies are implicated in the justification and naturalization of immigration and border controls, with consequences for migrant rights and indigenous solidarity politics. Ultimately, the book is concerned with the ways in which “queer rights” movements foreclose upon the potentials for more transformative “no borders” futures—futures that might emerge from under the shadow of state-based politics and imaginaries.

In addition to finalizing this manuscript, I’ll continue to work on a project that takes my work on “affective governance” in new directions to explore the “psychopolitics” (Orr 2006) of global health governance and pandemic planning. This study focuses on “queer migrations” of another kind: cross-species viral transmissions. This research, which has been underway since 2009, is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and has become the seed of a much larger project, tentatively entitled Beyond Containment: Global Health Governance, Human Rights, and Sex/Gender/Species Difference. This manuscript-in-progress is on schedule to be completed by the Spring of 2013, with a preliminary essay forthcoming in WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly (special issue: “Viral”).

Recent article:

Sexual Nationalisms: Notes on Queer Migration and Asylum Politics in Canada on Queer Migration Research Network.