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Lecture | Anjali Vats, J.D., Ph.D.
Start Date: 2/23/2017Start Time: 4:20 PM
End Date: 2/23/2017End Time: 5:20 PM

Event Description
Theorizing the Hyperracial Infringer: Digital Piracy and the Rhetorical Darkening of Russian Whiteness.

Dr. Vats, Visiting Professor of Law at UC Davis, explores the stark binary between the characters of the Western postracial creator and the non-Western hyperracial infringer, with particular emphasis on intellectual property discourse’s role in creating racialized anti-citizens. Focusing on the rhetorical construction of Russian piracy and counterfeiting, it illustrates how the hyperracial infringer is constructed and deployed in public culture. Other than the Ukraine, Russia is the only nation that has been consistently included on the US’s Special 301 Priority Watch List and historically constructed as racially white. In a curious example of infringement discourse, Russians are highlighted for the mafia-style criminal copying and their participation in organized crime rings, functionally racially darkening them. Drawing upon work in whiteness studies, this talk contends that Russians are painted as “bad apples,” in Richard Dyer's words, their racial identities intimately tied to their real and imagined infringement of intellectual property rights. Demonizing Russians, a practice with considerable historical precedent in the United States, creates space for American exceptionalism as well as neoliberal capitalist expansion through the differentiation of obedient/unruly whiteness in politically and culturally advantageous ways. Dr. Vats' research is focused on rhetorics of race in law and popular culture. Professor Vats is currently working on a monograph entitled Created Differences: Intellectual Properties and Racial Formation in the Making of Americans which considers how political, popular, and legal discourse about copyrights, trademark, and patents shape our understandings of race, citizenship, and the capacity to engage in valuable intellectual labor. She has published articles in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication, Culture & Critique, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Southern Communication Journal. She has also co-authored law review articles in the Duquesne Law Review and Wayne Law Review. In 2016, Professor Vats was awarded an AAUW Postdoctoral Fellowship and an Exemplary Diversity Scholar Citation from the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Prior to teaching, she clerked for the Honorable A. William Maupin of the Supreme Court of Nevada.
Location Information:
*WU Campus - Law School  (View Map)
245 Winter Street SE
Salem 97301
Phone: 503-370-6380

*WU Campus - Law School  (View Map)
245 Winter Street SE
Salem 97301
Phone: 503-370-6380
Room: 201 -- Paulus Lecture Hall
Contact Information:
Name: Vincent Pham
Phone: 503-370-6317
Email: vpham@willamette.edu
Anjali Vats
Admission / Ticket Info:
Free and Open to the public
Event Sponsor(s):
Sponsored by the Departments of Civic Communication & Media, and American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University.
Other Details:
Anjali Vats is also Assistant Professor of Communication and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College and Assistant Professor of Law, by courtesy, at Boston College Law School.

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