UW News

October 18, 2023

UW’s Chandan Reddy named one of six ‘Freedom Scholars’ for work on race, gender and sexuality

UW News

Chandan Reddy, an associate professor of gender, women and sexuality studies and of the comparative history of ideas at the University of Washington, has been named a “Freedom Scholar” by the Marguerite Casey Foundation.

The Foundation honors six scholars nationwide for their work in advancing racial and economic justice, awarding each a $250,000 unrestricted grant. The Freedom Scholar awards were created in 2020.

Reddy specializes in challenging colonial systems, with a focus on migration, and racialized genders and sexualities. Since 2022, Reddy has been a co-editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. He is the author of “Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality and the U.S. State,” published in 2011 by Duke University Press.

“So much of the economic inequality and violence we see today, especially within and by so-called liberal democratic states, derives from U.S., British and European colonialism. And like the struggle for abolition, or Palestinian and Indigenous sovereignty, anti-racist struggles for migrant justice or community efforts to build up queer and transgender of color lifeworlds are part of a larger struggle against this ongoing colonial present. And yet our structures of knowledge and universities like the UW have obscured this reality,” said Reddy, who holds affiliations with the Department of Geography, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, and at the South Asia Center in the Jackson School of International Studies. Reddy also is a board member of the UW Center for Human Rights.

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Reddy plans to use the award to continue to work with local groups in the region, like the Massage Parlor Outreach Project (MPOP) in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and to complete a co-authored book with Jodi Melamed at Marquette University, “Operationalizing Colonial Racial Capitalism: On Liberalism’s Command Powers,” which is under contract with Verso Press.

According to the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Freedom Scholar awards recognize scholarship “focused on shifting the balance of power in society to those who have long been excluded from having it and benefiting from its rewards.” Past and present recipients of the award study a range of social justice issues, including immigration, prison abolition, racial capitalism and queer liberation.

“The 2023 Freedom Scholars are at the forefront of teaching, researching and writing about shifting the balance of power in society,” said Carmen Rojas, president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. “Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Freedom Scholars award is committed to providing social and economic justice scholars room to deepen their relationship with movement leaders fighting for a multiracial democracy and just economy.”

Watch a video about Chandan Reddy by the Marguerite Casey Foundation.

The UW’s Megan Ming Francis of the Department of Political Science and Angélica Cházaro of the School of Law were named Freedom Scholars in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In addition to Reddy, this year’s recipients are faculty at Barnard College; Cal State University, Long Beach; Georgetown University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of Chicago.