The collective trauma of the September 11th, 2001 attacks made plausible the notion of a constant, omnipresent, almost supernatural threat. In turn, this made mythical prospects of total security particularly appealing to officials and the public alike. The distorting effect of formulating policy through a total security prism—a phenomenon Professor Kassem has described as 9/11 warping—can be observed both in the altered functioning of already-existing systems (like the imposition of cruel pretrial and post-conviction conditions of confinement in terrorism cases) and in the creation of new systems (such as the military commissions, the prisons at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram, and the infamous CIA black sites). Join us for an exploration of the links between 9/11 warping, structural racism, and U.S. foreign policy.
Hosted by the Center for the Study of Race + Ethnicity in America (CSREA).
Co-sponsored by the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, The Watson Institute, Department of Religious Studies, and Middle East Studies.
Ramzi Kassem is Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law where he directs the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic.
With his students, Professor Kassem represents prisoners of various nationalities presently or formerly held at American facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, at so-called "Black Sites," and at other detention sites worldwide. In connection with these cases, Professor Kassem and his students have appeared as party counsel and submitted merits briefs before U.S. federal district and appellate courts, before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as before the military commissions at Guantánamo.
Professor Kassem also supervises the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project, which primarily aims to address the legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.
Before joining the CUNY law faculty in 2009, Professor Kassem was a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where he taught in the Civil Liberties & National Security Clinic as well as the Worker & Immigrant Rights & Advocacy Clinic. Professor Kassem also previously served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he taught in the International Justice Clinic.
As a Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Civil Rights Fellow at Cochran Neufeld & Scheck (now Neufeld Scheck & Brustin), Professor Kassem litigated high-impact cases stemming from wrongful convictions and police misconduct. He has also served as a legal consultant for the International Center for Transitional Justice.
Professor Kassem is a graduate of Columbia College and holds law degrees from Columbia Law School, where he was a Senior Editor for the Columbia Law Review, and from the Sorbonne. His interests include the legal and policy responses to the September 11th attacks and other national security crises, the rights of minorities and non-citizens, and international humanitarian law.