Dr. Haniff’s work has focused on empowerment pedagogies and marginalized populations which have been centered on HIV, gender and gay identities. She has developed several innovative educational modules on HIV/AIDS, violence, and women’s reproductive health. Her work has been located in the Caribbean, South Africa and the US.
In her own words: In my work as a teacher I ask myself how can I conscientize young men and women about social injustice (race and gender) and translate that consciousness into their transformation as activists. And, how can a teacher who is a gender and HIV activist in South Africa, the Caribbean and the United States use the nexus between the privileged students interested in these areas to engage in the process of empowering these communities to solve their problems. My over all project speaks to the imperative of integrating race, gender, and sexual orientation( both practice and theory) as knowledge development and practice using HIV as the vehicle of that mission. Students must understand that empowerment methodologies do not eschew the rigors of ideas but those ideas must include a praxis that engages them in human rights advocacy.
My work on human rights advocacy includes shaping the students’ consciousness in two other areas –that of homophobia in the Black World which is a cross cultural transnational interrogation of homophobia and its consequences, and the limits of science in developing appropriate technologies that will both protect women’s health and women’s agency. Thus, human rights advocacy becomes advocacy for new technologies that will put women’s sexual health in their own hands like Microbicides. The two path breaking courses that result are Homophobia in the Black World and Women’s Agency and Sexual Safety: Advocating for the new science (or Putting Women’s Bodies at the Center of Science). Students are engaged in transformative work and in turn transform themselves. They also come to recognize the importance of social justice and community development.