University of New Mexico
Amy Brandzel is an Associate Professor of American and Women’s Studies at the University of New Mexico. According to her university biography, Brandzel’s research interests queer theory, feminist theory, critical indigenous studies, legal studies, and citizenship.
Amy Brandzel is the author of a book titled, “Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative.” The book describes citizenship as a “violent dehumanizing mechanism.”
As The Federalist reports, in March of 2020, Brandzel spoke at an event called, “White Citizenship as Terrorism” as part of Berea College’s “Gender Talk” series. According to the event page’s description, Brandzel details that her lecture will address the “mourning” of America for a time when the actions of white people, no matter how violent, would go “unquestioned.”
The event page for “White Citizenship as Terrorism” goes on to state that the phrase, “Make America Great Again,” hearkens back to this “nostalgic” past of white impunity for which white America has been pining. Brandzel builds upon this theory, referring to it as “Trumpism” and a form of domestic terrorism.
After being introduced by Women and Gender Studies professor, Dr. Malaklou, Brandzel opens her lecture acknowledging that as a “white settler,” she is giving a lecture on colonized land taken from the Navajo, Pueblo, and Comanche Nations.
Throughout her lecture, Brandzel implies that America is an inherently racist country that codifies “whiteness” into its laws. Brandzel describes whiteness as a set of rights and privileges that only benefit white, European/American men, and ostracize non-white minorities. Brandzel then alleges that whiteness is synonymous with being an American citizen.
To justify her reasoning, Brandzel cites past Supreme Court cases such as Dred Scott v Sandford, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not provide citizenship for black slaves, as well as contemporary immigration restrictions from President Donald Trump, to allege that our nation restricts rights to white citizens and inflicts terrorism on minority populations.
Brandzel goes on to state that many laws today, such as Voter ID laws, continue to be weaponized against African-Americans. She alleges that these and other laws serve to make people of color feel like they do not belong as citizens in the country.
Brandzel states that it is the job of white women like herself and white people in the audience to “unpack” their privilege inherent in citizenship before it’s possible to address the systemic racism in America.
Below is a video of Professor Brandzel’s speech at Gender Talk, highlighting her lecture at Berea.
The Professor Watchlist team reached out to Brandzel for comment, but have not received an answer by the time of publication.
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Updated Spring, 2021