Last Updated October 2006


Statement of Research Interest
My research has a primary focus on migration and violence. I am interested in taking an in depth look at migration and violence as it relates to urban decay, over against the ideas and reality of transnational migration. In addition, I am interested at looking at the effects of migration and the violence that emerges as a result of migration.

I understand migration is an act and also a signifier; therefore, I am working on defining migration. Migration is connected to a variety of realities, and I’m hopful that I can unmask these realities in the work that I am pursuing. Some examples concerning the realities of migration that I identify are violence, gender, locus/loci, and sexuality.

Prior to writing my master’s thesis, my thesis supervisor posed a question: “Robyn, You have to make a decision between Theology and Philosophy. Are you a philosopher or theologian?” As I processed this question, I recognized that I am attracted to more of an interdisciplinary [or transdisciplinary] approach to critical analysis within the Social Sciences. That is, cultural analysis, feminist theory, [the Public], religion, ethics, and ideas. Though having just left a position in the Chicago Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault communities and now working for the Illinois Attorney General’s office, I am seeking to link the admistrative and advocacy work with the scholarly work on which I’m currently working.

It is important to situate myself in the Academy. I have been trained as a theologian and have spent my early professional career in student ministry and as a trauma chaplain. Towards the end of my master’s degree in Theological Ethics, I began to develop my strong interdisciplinary leanings and thus began to weave feminist theories, gender studies, critical race theory and cultural criticism, nomadic theories, anthropology, post-colonial theories, and sociology into my reading lists. I found the interdisciplinary approach to research critical to conversations regarding social change and social justice. I realized that approaching the questions of life, whether they are theological questions, political questions, or anthropological questions, an interdisciplinary standpoint and method is necessary.

Having been trained as a theologian, I am now considering my own contribution to the Academy and the Public by situating myself in the discipline of Sociology. Doing this enables me to do the interdisciplinary work that is both critical, engaging, and necessary for social change.

How I spend my time & the texts that are forming me:


  • Gloria E. Anzaldúa
  • Judith Butler
  • Ana Castillo
  • Lili Chouliaraki
  • Norm Fairclough
  • Ernesto Laclau
  • Rosemary Ruether
  • Yi-Fu Tuan
  • Riki Wilchins

Essays that are forthcoming:

  1. Bang your pots and pans! What ever happened to Feminist Activism?
  2. Migration and Urban Decay: Efforts to Understand Urban Migration and its Violence.
  3. Borders as signposts?: Exploring the possibility of gender neutrality and/or being gendered.
  4. La Frontera/Borderlands: A Function, A Dynamism, and A Reality. [An essay exploring the nature of borders, seen and unseen. What are borders? How do they function? Where is violence located in the creation or sustaining of borders?]
  5. The move to transgender: The migration or reconceptualizing of modern day bodies? [An essay opposing the pursuit of the transgendered body as our culture understands it.] NOTE: I have decided that I should write both an essay in opposition and in support using both traditional Christological Arguments of “fully human/fully divine” along with reformed natural law theory. Because the meaning of the body is constructed within culture/society, it could be that our culture has mis-constructed the body forcing individuals to cosmetically adapt their bodies. Please note that this is an attempt at criticizing culture and is not an attempt to marginalize sexual minorities!
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