ethnic studies (1)

I’m going to assemble for the moment several disparate threads, connecting and weaving them as a pattern, that are catching my attention very recently. The whole point is to share with you, and invite you more importantly, into a dialogue and future actions—which, are already arising quickly—in order to place fearism on the wave of a historical political moment we ought not ignore. It is both tragic as to what oppression is going on, especially in the global migration/displacement crisis, and exciting to make these connections from a fearist perspective in the sense of that from a view enlightened by the philosophy of fearism (Subba and Fisher). 

There are some radical movements happening in the world, many are called crises, many are just big problems, and some are called wicked problems. I have included many of these in my work and blogs over the past few years, but mostly in 2016 on the FM ning.

I have posted Photos on Anthropocene Fear, and an initial rough sketch of my vision for the Global Fearanalysis Institute, a conceptualization that emerged as a future focus in the summer of 2015. From current research I’m doing on uses of “fearism” as a term in the global migration studies scholarly literature, it is evident that in the summer of 2015, especially in Europe (with fast spread into North America), the news media and governments in the West were nearly all hyper-reactive in labeling a global “refugee crisis” (over 3000 refugees died or went missing trying to reach Europe in 2015 alone). Which was and is still is a crisis of fearism-t (fearism-toxic version) and its productions of a rancid xenophobia (fear of stranger; fear of the Other).

I have come to believe (or hypothesize) this postmodern global (Western) xenophobia was exactly the inadvertent but pivotal cause behind Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory in the USA. Now we have Trumpism ruling in a post-9/11 post-traumatic culture. Call it what you will, media, migrations, and borders of “in and out” driven by an imaginary, ideology and force of fear(ism) in its toxic version are part of the emboldened securitization and fortress mentality of Europe/America/Israel/UK and a whole lot of other countries—even some in Canada.

Then for the first time, a small but symbolic historical moment was made when the Nepali writer Desh Subba, founder of philosophy of fearism, and myself were invited to talk together at the Global Bhutanese Literary Organization “Grand International Creative Ceremony III” in Texas. It so happens that a vast majority of the artists and people attending are "refugees" to the USA from Bhutan and/or Nepal. I have written about this on a recent blog here on the FM ning as well. The term “global” keeps arising. All of the above, plus my last two working research contracts on Indigenous heart health and health policy discourses around the world, lead to an inevitable internationalist perspective in my own thinking and values, including my recent attendance at the speech of the out-going General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-moon in Carbondale, IL and his call for us becoming “global citizens.”

The newest research literature study I’ve undertaken on “fearism” uses in the academic world in Migration, Ethnic, Citizenship, and Deportation Studies (MECDS) is amazing to me. There is no other academic area/discipline/domain of studies anywhere that is consistently using “fearism” as a concept and tool of analysis for what is happening regarding what is overly-popularized (and over-simplified) as “refugee crisis.” And, I will say more, as a teaser, about what I am finding. If you want to quickly see for yourself, just go to Google Scholar, and then search “fearism” and see what you find—at least 10+ articles and/or book chapters in MECDS alone, and there are other uses outside that domain too. That’s just a beginning.

My task in taking on this latest research with intent to publish a journal article in this field for the first time [1], is to systematically study how “fearism” is being used, its history of use in MECDS and what are the discourse biases that exist—for example, how these authors are not using “fearism” the way I and/or Desh are. This whole area caught my attention a year or more ago when I found out that the group of researchers that were all using fearism were doing so based on my defining the term in Fisher (2006). Now, that’s why it caught my attention. But what I am finding is that since 2009 when it all got kick-started in academia (MECDS), no one is using a nuanced or even accurate definition as the source definition I gave in my article in 2006 [2], and have further developed since.

 Note, the basis of this new research, and what I see as a great opportunity to engage with scholars around the world in MECDS, is that my own theory of fearism-t, unique from Subba’s [3], is the ‘bridge’ that these folks are interested in. So, I say, let’s start with that and see how we can help the cause, reduce the suffering and influence political policies involving this entire global migration crises that will only increase as climate change and wars increase, as food shortages and poverty increase. The time has come to launch this global fearism-t analysis and fearanalysis in general. So, stay tuned.


End Notes

 1. The current working title for my article is “Fearism, Fortress Mentality and the Dialectic of Fearlessness in Global Migration Biopolitics of Fear.” I am going to likely submit it to Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies in the next while.

2. Fisher, R. M. (2006). Invoking 'Fear' Studies. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 22(4), 39-71.

3. In Chapter Four: Towards a Theory of Fearism (in Fisher & Subba, 2016), I wrote an updated version of Technical Paper #51 of the same title. I end that chapter four with the following which will explain the distinctions that need to be made when one is sorting out the similarities and differences in how Subba and I come to express a philosophy of fearism. I wrote, “Subba (2014) has by far developed ‘fearism’ in his own unique way, more from a Far Eastern perspective (Nepali), with its own style. His central framing is philosophical, with strong psychological aspects and some spiritual aspects. He has less depth of analysis in sociopolitical, cultural aspects that I would prefer added to his conception. Again, a philosophy of fearism is what it is, and can be a basis for a theory (or more specific theories) of fearism [e.g., my own fearism-t as I now label as my own “theory of fearism”]” (p. 123). See Fisher, R. M., & Subba, D. (2016). Philosophy of fearism: A first East-West dialogue. Australia: Xlibris.

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