Abstract: Michal Heiman’s project, Return: asylum (the Dress, 1855-2018), consists of photographs of women and men clothed in a dress similar to one worn by women inmates at the former Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in the 1850s. Traversing time, space, gender, race and institutional practices of asylum, the artist takes the viewers on a ride in a time machine that is not a technological devise but a discourse on memory and on owning the future: s/he who wears the dress has the potential to return as witness, reader, artist, prosecutor, gate-keeper or rebel, thereby transforming her exceptional story into ours. Return: Asylum is an act of resistance: it engages human imagination in re-presenting the regenerative power of human solidarity as an alternative to current political practices that sacrifice the right of asylum—the only right that since the dawn of political life, as noted by Arendt, “has ever figured as a symbol of the Rights of Man”—at the altar of a security theology.
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Our new issue features a conversation between Jasbir K. Puar and Oishik Sircar, available open-access on the Humanity journal website. The issue also includes essays on the politics humanitarian architecture and the Parisian “Yellow Bubble,” family planning projects in postcolonial Morocco, how Amnesty International's formative years shaped professional human rights activism, and the linguistic and affective labor of field interpreters for UN missions. It contains review essays on theories of political violence and on global histories of slavery and indentured labor.View entire issue >
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