UW News

December 13, 2022

New faculty books: Nightlife among Black queer women, hybrid warfare, and decolonizing climate justice

Three book covers on wooden background

New faculty books from the University of Washington include those from the Jackson School of International Studies, the Department of Gender, Women Sexuality Studies, and the Division of Social and Historical Studies at the UW Tacoma.

Three new faculty books from the University of Washington cover a variety of topics: nightlife among Black queer women, hybrid warfare and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and decolonizing climate justice. UW News talked with the authors to learn more about their recent publications.

Exploring nightlife as community among Black queer women in Chicago

When people learn of Kemi Adeyemi’s primary research topic – nightlife – they assume it means endless socializing and dancing. Fun in the name of study.

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Kemi Adeyemi

And it can be, says Adeyemi. But it also can be frustrating and very often exhausting. Researching nightlife, after all, is still work: Commuting and interviewing, into the wee hours, night after night.

It’s a challenge she points out early in her new book, “Feels Right: Black Queer Women and the Politics of Partying in Chicago,” published in September by Duke University Press. But it was a challenge she believes was worth undertaking to explore the concepts of community and identity, and how those can be cultivated and celebrated on the dance floor.

Adeyemi, an associate professor of gender, women and sexuality studies at the University of Washington, spent a decade visiting the clubs and party spaces of Black queer women in Chicago, where she received her doctorate at Northwestern University.

“Partying is a very integral part of how people organize their relationships to themselves as queer people, to the people around them as queer people, and to how the city folds them in or not,” Adeyemi said. “What happens in the club cannot be separated from what happens in the world beyond the club. How people move in the club, how they feel, how they talk about being out at night — they’re not just talking about a great nightlife space. They’re talking about how they situate themselves in community and in the city.”

That city, Chicago, is both a backdrop and a theme of the book. While Adeyemi structures the book in sections according to three distinct nightlife parties, she also elaborates on Chicago politics, geography and gentrification, and how those factors influence how and where Black queer women feel safe and comfortable.

But those factors aren’t confined to Chicago; they affect people everywhere. Urban development, Adeyemi explains, “shapes, surfaces and diminishes queer nightlife, and Black queer night life, in particular.”

“We’re talking about racialized, sexualized communities within urban development contexts. But it could also be a small-town gay bar in the middle of nowhere,” Adeyemi said. “The minute that we start paying attention to how that bar emerges, we recognize that it’s not out of nowhere. It’s been produced. It has a geographic, political and economic history. I hope that a reader could understand the building blocks of that argument and apply it wherever they are.”

Adeyemi draws upon scores of interviews for the book, allowing many of the voices of her subjects to comprise the book’s final chapter. There, party organizers, DJs and attendees discuss the challenges they face and some possible solutions, all with the aim of creating safe spaces and community, such as limiting alcohol and having better-trained staff who are sensitive to the needs and concerns of their clientele.

“I talked with many kinds of people who wanted many different kinds of things for their queer nightlife, and it was never, ‘Oh, let’s just go to a bar and get drunk and dance,’ which I thought was really interesting. People want to develop more lasting and sustainable ways of relating within that space, and we keep going back and trying again,” Adeyemi said. “There’s a beautiful kind of optimism to that.”

For more information, contact Adeyemi at kadeyemi@uw.edu.

NATO, hybrid warfare and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

What Ukraine Taught NATO about Hybrid Warfare” examines how hybrid warfare is being used against NATO countries, identifies vulnerabilities and offers potential solutions to help member states diminish cyberattacks and increase energy independence.

Sarah Lohmann, acting assistant professor in the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and a visiting professor at the United States Army War College, served as the editor and lead author.

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Sarah Lohmann

The handbook, published in November by U.S. Army War College Press, includes case studies written by JSIS graduate students and Army War College fellows from Lohmann’s 2021 “NATO, Energy and Cybersecurity” class. The students wrote specific case studies for different NATO countries, which provided the platform for the book.

“This is a great opportunity for UW faculty to let our students shine,” Lohmann said. “It’s so important to have our students have their names in the lights. It’s important to have them be a part of the process and see that their work can have an impact on policy.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the research became even more relevant to policymakers reckoning with the impact of hybrid warfare, which can affect gas prices, disrupt supply chains and test military mobility.

Lohmann said the research group was seeing signs that Russia appeared to be preparing for invasion through low-level hybrid warfare, like the increased planting of disinformation to divide NATO member states and intelligence-gathering on countries supporting Ukraine. Many countries were also completely energy dependent on Russia, which was a concern even before the invasion.

“We plotted out areas across Europe that we thought Russia would target and, unfortunately, those maps were quite accurate,” Lohmann said. “That was really sad. At the same time, it showed the relevancy of our work. There were three different targeted attacks against wind farms in Germany, for example, as well as ports and nuclear plants. The students mapped out the targets they assumed Russia would hit. Unfortunately, that was exactly the kind of infrastructure Russia has been targeting.”

Energy dependence on Russia is one of the major vulnerabilities highlighted in the book. In one of her chapters, Lohmann wrote about how to make microgrids more efficient and sustainable. In the case of a blackout caused by Russia, having a microgrid allows a town or military base to separate from the main grid and use its own energy source.

The studies also suggest an early response force that would allow NATO countries to work together and quickly share disinformation coming from Russia. Further, a new generation of early warning systems for cyberattacks would help protect critical energy infrastructure.

“You have everything connected to cyber and you have these major utilities that are not protected,” Lohmann said. “Our proposal for a prototype would use artificial intelligence and machine learning to get ahead of the curve. It’s not just looking back at patterns. It’s looking ahead and learning from itself.”

For more information, contact Lohmann at slohmann@uw.edu.

Decolonizing climate justice

In “Re-Indigenizing Ecological Consciousness and the Interconnectedness to Indigenous Identities,” editor Michelle Montgomery brings together contributors from various tribal affiliations and backgrounds to share the complexities of Indigenous worldviews and examine the relationship between humans and the environment.

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Michelle Montgomery

Montgomery, associate professor of American Indian studies and ethnic, gender and labor studies at the University of Washington Tacoma, said the purpose of the book is to help decolonize the narratives in academia and other institutions.

Montgomery’s research focuses on Indigenizing the climate justice narrative, environmental ethics as connected to Indigenous peoples’ identities, and eco-critical race theory. In 2015, she launched the Indigenous Speaker Series, which works to amplify the voices of Indigenous people. Several of those speakers wrote chapters for the book.

“There’s this very rigid boundary of whose voices are part of the narrative and publications,” said Montgomery, enrolled member of the Haliwa Saponi Tribe and Eastern Band Cherokee descendant. “I’m very passionate about the voices of the people in this project. You should always pay it forward. That’s the whole purpose, to bring the voices of my relatives with me and allow every person to tell their story. There is not a one-size-fits-all narrative. It’s interdisciplinary through place-based knowledges and identities.”

The collection covers a range of subjects centered around identity, lived experience and placed-based topics. In her chapter, Montgomery writes on eco-critical race theory. Other chapter titles include “Building Sustainability by Creating Belonging” and “Indigenous Feminisms and Environmentalism in Care of Place.”

“It’s something I call heart work,” Montgomery said. “You should always bring your people with you. That’s the whole purpose, to bring people with me and let every person tell their story.”

Montgomery didn’t provide the co-authors with any boundaries or specific themes. Each person has their own truths and experiences, she said. She wanted to provide a platform for people to write what was “close to their hearts.”

“Everyone has a different narrative,” Montgomery said. “Everyone has a personal lived experience. This project is decolonizing and Indigenizing the narrative. This is justice in action. This entire book is about what justice demands. Justice is a big word to unpack, but justice demands that Indigenous peoples have a voice. We should always be in a position where we can tell our own stories.”

For more information, contact Montgomery at montgm2@uw.edu.