Human Rights Lab

Lab Projects

Far-Right Composite Project

Project Leader: Diren Valayden, 

The geography of far-right activity is increasingly urban in character today. This observation has a few implications. First, it is clear that far-right ideology, activity, and violence go far beyond the concept of hate: far-right organizations are not only reactive, but they seek to shape collective life at different geographical scales. In recent years, the far-right relationship to the urban (we can speak of a metrofascism) has become increasingly obvious: street fighting is becoming an explicit characteristic of far-right presence; far-right activists mobilize the urban fabric in much the same way that other movements such as Black Lives Matter do; they often define themselves against a type urban life such as metropolitan elitism or pluralism; they oppose progressive policies won at the municipal scale (such as sanctuary cities) etc. Secondly, that urban character and urbanization’s co-constitutive relationship with race and racism is often lost by analyzing far-right activity under the rubric of “social movements.” Far-right activists, because of their hostility towards heterogeneity and their commitment to an ideology of homogeneity, tend to undermine the very pluralism that is necessary to democracy (a pluralism that “social movements” accounts tend to assume rather than question, theorize or historicize). This project thus distinguishes itself from analyses of hate and from social movement theory by seeking to map out the far-right as an anti-democratic urban form that constitutes itself through race and racism.
Starting from this framework of race, democracy and urbanization, the aim of this project is threefold: 1) to generate a set of concepts and analytics that will deepen our understanding of the threats to democratic possibilities and social justice 2) to create a network of scholars, journalists, and activists to monitor far-right presence in cities across the US 3) to produce public facing scholarship on far-right dynamics in urban centers.
The Lab will create a collaborative space where participants can share research methods and theories and experiment with opportunities offered by digital technologies such as social networking sites, wikis, blogs and data visualization tools. The research output of the group will public reports as well as academic research. We view student work as critical to the success of the Lab’s mission: the report will provide a framework and structure for students to publish their writing to an audience of fellow citizens. The act of communicating to an “imagined community” is itself crucial in shaping a democratic polity and serves as a political pedagogy as such.

Forced Labor in the Supply Chain

Project Leader: Forced Labour Lab, Sheffield Hallam University

Contact: Alexandra Moore, 

This project uses publicly-available information to identify companies in China that are utilizing forced labor transfers of minoritized people in the making of products that feed into global supply chains. We identify at-risk suppliers and create evidence briefs about their potential for tainting the products we buy. Our outputs will include reports, data sets, and social media campaigns to raise awareness of forced labour in the Uyghur region, as well as to provide an evidence base for ethical action on the part of governments, advocates, and corporations.

Reports from this group are through the Forced Labour Lab at Sheffield Hallam University: 

Women Peacebuilders in Exile

Project leader: Alexandra Moore, and Suzy Lee, 

This project addresses a gap in current literature and policymaking around the applicability of the UN’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda to the needs and expertise of women in exile (forced migrants, asylees, or refugees). Given that the WPS agenda is structured through nation-states, what happens to that agenda when women peacebuilders are forced to flee their home countries? How can WPS serve the basic needs and political work of exiled and refugee women? And how can we advance the work and networks of women peacebuilders in exile? This project addresses all three questions with academic, applied, and pedagogical outputs. Through analysis of WPS and the scholarly literature around it, we will identify gaps in its application to women forced into exile (academic). Working with our local refugee and immigrant legal services organizations as well as the global Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and our international partners, we will develop materials for service providers and activists to use WPS for the protection of women refugee rights in Binghamton and beyond (applied). Because we regularly place and mentor student interns in these organizations, the collaboration with them will also strengthen our academic-community partnerships to enhance student learning (pedagogical).