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Fulbright Year: 2017-2018
Country: France
Proposal Type: Research
Field of Study: Critical Theory and English
Title: The Racialization of Queerness in “Race-Neutral” Spaces in France
UGA Degree Program: English, M.A.
Hometown: Guyton, Georgia

For his 10-month Fulbright term, John Esteban Rodriguez will be conducting research in Paris, France, addressing the global issue of racism and exploring the challenges involved from a unique perspective.

Having acknowledged that France has been notably colorblind or race neutral in their formulation of policy, John Estaban, a native of Colombia, proposes “to examine the racialization of queerness in primarily online but also offline queer spaces. I will conduct interviews with queer and anti-racist organizations as well as individual members of the queer community regarding their views on race in France.”

John Esteban, who earned an undergraduate degree in English from UGA in 2015 and completed his master’s degree in English/critical theory in 2016, plans to pursue a master’s in gender, politics, and sexuality at the Ecole des Hautes en Sciences in Paris.

In addition to taking part in research seminars and classes on research methods, sexual spaces, and anthropology of genre and sexualities, John Esteban will work to improve his skills in French (he also speaks Spanish, Arabic, and Italian) in preparation for the interviewing and data collection phases of his research.

He will work with non-government organizations on issues related to gender, sexuality, and anti-racism and plans to volunteer at HIV/AIDS organizations that provide testing and counseling services to at-risk populations in Paris, “given the large undiagnosed population there and my experience as an HIV tester and counselor.”

During his time at UGA, John Esteban—who has traveled to more than two dozen countries—had an active schedule as a community servant and activist, receiving the Humanity in Action Fellowship in 2015. He also served on the board of Students for Justice in Palestine, as an ambassador for the LGBT Resource Center, and as a Public Service & Outreach Scholar.

He was a Boren Scholar in Jordan and received the Crane Leadership Scholarship and the CURO Summer Research Fellowship.

“With a Fulbright, I will have the sociological research to build on my theoretical training,” he said. “Upon returning, I will apply to Ph.D. programs in sociology and cultural and critical theory and embark on an academic career. As a public intellectual, I will use my research to make the case for tackling race and racism, not just as an individual issue but as a global phenomenon.”

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