Civil War

Shana Melnysyn
Anthropology and History


Salih Aciksoz
UC Los Angeles

David H Anthony III
UC Santa Cruz

Javier Arbona
American Studies
UC Davis

Cecelia Méndez Gastelumendi
UC Santa Barbara

Diana Pardo Pedraza
Cultural Studies
UC Davis

Daphne Taylor-Garcia
Ethnic Studies
UC San Diego

The Fall 2019 UCHRI Residential Research Group on Civil War coalesces around diverse and unconventional readings of civil war. How can humanistic scholarship benefit from inquiry into civil war, broadly defined? The term itself carries an inherent contradiction. What is “civil” about civil war? How is civility, supposedly the hallmark of “civic” participation and “civilization,” also used as a weapon or a form of silencing? Rhetoric, representation, and aesthetics can be nominally “civil,” but they can also reinforce senses of belonging and exclusion, stir up rage, and cement boundaries while simultaneously gesturing towards decency. Civil wars spark contests over meaning: Who can claim the power to name a civil war? Where does the boundary lie between civil war and just plain war? Why and how do states make war on their own citizens? What are the intellectual and political stakes of mapping new battlegrounds of civil wars?