Power in the Global Arena

Power and Inequality in the Global Arena

Specialty Areas: power, politics, international relations, global studies, race, culture, Native American studies, postcolonialism, empire.

How is inequality created and maintained between nations? Why do we recognize the United States, China, and Russia as "states," but we don't recognize Native American tribes or those like Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine? It is important to understand "political recognition," in which state leaders identify fellow "states" and bring them into the global society of states. Who is included or excluded from statehood defines the global arena and is used to draw the boundaries of today's maps. Recognition also shapes everything from international conflicts and treaties to our national identities and civil and political rights. My work explores how recognition operates as an institution. I am interested in how recognition is shaped by the complex intersections of culture, power, politics, and race. I am especially interested in the contradictions behind how state leaders politically create the boundaries of the international arena to classify and forge relations with entities as “states” and "tribes." Throughout my work, I argue that political recognition conceals and creates inequalities which can be traced to the colonial-imperial foundations of Western societies. This work thereby recovers legacies of Empire and contributes to the decolonization of knowledge.

Peer-reviewed research publications in this area:

• Stokes, DaShanne. 2019. "Political Opportunities and the Quest for Political Recognition in Tibet, Taiwan, and Palestine". International Review of Sociology 29(1): 1-23.

• Stokes, DaShanne. 2012. "Native American Mobilization and the Power of Recognition: Theorizing the Effects of Political Acknowledgement." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 36(4): 57-76.



Power and Inequalities

Power and Inequalities

Specialty Areas: politics, race, sexualities/LGBT studies, power, social movements.

In my future work, I will examine the intersections of power and inequalities. I am especially interested in assessing the women’s rights movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the LGBT rights movement to identify why people claim “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBT people but do not make similar claims to discriminate against women or people of color and how this has evolved over time. I argue that religious freedom is not under attack, but that claims to the contrary represent strategic attempts to steer public discourse and re-frame oppressors as under siege in order to insulate power and privilege. In related work, I compare and contrast the modern LGBT use of the Q-word with the use of the N-word by many people of color. This work seeks to identify why numerous LGBT people have come to embrace the Q-word epithet as a term of self-reference while many people of color do not use the N-word as broadly or in the same ways. I further argue that, even when used in an affirmative sense or as part of acts of resistance to bigotry, self-deprecating referential epithets can have unintended effects of normalizing bigotry and empowering those who discriminate.

Related peer-reviewed work in this area:

• Stokes, DaShanne. 2020. "The Contraction of LGBT Rights in the Face of COVID-19." in Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19: Volume 1 – U.S. Perspectives, edited by G. Muschert, K. Budd, M. Christian, D. Lane, and J. Smith: Policy Press.



Culture and Power

Culture and the (Re-)Definition of Power

Specialty Areas: Native American studies, culture, power, race, postcolonialism, empire, politics.

They say that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. But how do we define "power"? How do we recognize power? And how have definitions of power shaped relationships between Native American peoples and Western society? Max Weber gave us what is arguably the most famous definition of power, describing it, essentially, as the ability to get one's way despite the resistance of others. In my work, I argue that such canonical definitions of "power" universalize Western ideology and reproduce an imperial legacy. I am particularly interested in how marginalized Native American conceptualizations of power challenge the Western canon and can be used to reconceptualize power.




I am always interested in collaboration opportunities with fellow scholars. To reach me about collaboration, please contact me.




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