Sarah Brennan receives Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship | Anthropology and Education | International & Transcultural Studies

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In the Department of International & Transcultural Studies

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Sarah Brennan receives the Society for the Anthropology of Europe and the Council for European Studies Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship for 2016

Sarah French Brennan's dissertation research examines how the processes of claiming asylum as a sexual minority produces rather than simply represents a specific type of subject, with a specific focus on Muslim asylum seekers. In the context of the largest influx of refugees in Europe since the Second World War, as well as resurgent xenophobic nationalism in the Netherlands and across Europe, Islamophobia has become a real political force, and the supposed exceptional homophobia of Muslim communities in particular has ignited a moral panic over "tolerating intolerance." Muslims who apply for asylum as sexual minorities thus inhabit a unique space. A successful asylum claim involves the telling of a narrative credible to the asylum system, using the ideological idioms of sexuality, experience, and culture that are intelligible and recognizable to Dutch officials. What is the role played by formalized social networks and small non-governmental organizations in producing and constituting communities of Muslim “LBGT asylum seekers” and refugees? What are the contexts in which strategies, stories, and social lives are shared between asylum seekers?

The Council for European Studies has supported this research with the 2015 Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship, helping to fund initial stages of fieldwork, offering the opportunity to publish in the journal, Perspectives on Europe, and providing professional development activities, including participation in the annual CES Conference.