In Memoriam: Saba Mahmood (1962–2018)

Published on March 12, 2018

Saba Mahmood, Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, passed away this weekend. Professor Mahmood’s work engaged the relationship between religion and secularism in postcolonial societies, paying special attention to issues of sovereignty, subject formation, law, and gender/sexuality. She authored numerous books, including Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, a landmark text in anthropology and social theory, which interrogated liberal assumptions about the proper boundary between ethics and politics, freedom and unfreedom, the religious and the secular, and agency and submission.

Mahmood was a key participant in a number of UCHRI programs. In 2007, together with Charles Hirschkind, she convened at UCHRI the important two-week summer Seminar in Critical Theory on “Cartographies of the Theological-Political.” With Mayanthi Fernando, Mahmood led a studio, “Regulating Sex/Religion: Secular Citizenship and the Politics of Diasporic Difference,” for UCHRI’s Religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs initiative. In March 2017, UCHRI organized an event in her honor at Berkeley that brought together scholars indebted to and influenced by her work.

“Saba has been a thought partner for UCHRI programming across a broad range of areas and activities,” states UCHRI director David Theo Goldberg. “Our much valued friend, always deeply insightful and incisive, she has opened up for us compelling objects of analysis, ways of thinking and doing. Leaving all of us with enormous impact and influence, I will miss Saba terribly”

Categories: Blog |

UCHRI Fall Awards

Published on February 21, 2018

UCHRI is pleased to announce our fall awards, which will fund humanities projects in the 2018–19 academic year. This funding will support UC faculty and graduate students conducting interdisciplinary work in the humanities, including conferences, digital humanities projects, and short-term residencies. UCHRI also awarded dissertation grants to graduate students.

The awards were determined in conjunction with UCHRI’s 10-member Advisory Committee, which met in January and will hold a second selection meeting in April to award UCHRI’s spring grant offerings. A separate advisory committee will also meet in April to select the eight faculty recipients of the UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship, a grant that supports compelling humanities research for individual UC faculty members.

The full list of awardees is available below. For open calls, please see our grants page.

Digital Humanities Grant

Digital Archive of Colonial Latin America
Juan Cobo Betancourt, History, UC Santa Barbara

Conference Grants

Exploring Catalan Identity
Antonio Cortijo, Spanish and Portuguese, UC Santa Barbara

Contemporary Asian American Activism and Intergenerational Perspectives
Diane Fujino, Asian American Studies, UC Santa Barbara
*Includes Supplemental Grad Student Funding

Translating America/America Translated: A UC Faculty-Graduate Symposium
Susan Gillman, Literature, UC Santa Cruz
*Includes Supplemental Graduate Student Funding

Elements and Ecologies of Everyday Militarism
Caren Kaplan, American Studies, UC Davis

Graduate Student Dissertation Support Grants

New Orleans’ Girl Problems: The House of the Good Shepherd and the Origins of Juvenile Justice
Jessica Calvanico, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Persian Literary Journals
Aria Fani, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

Nothing Censored, Nothing Gained: The Queer Circulation and Policing of Exploitation Films in California, 1960 to 1979
Finley Freibert, Visual Studies, UC Irvine

Exchange in Performance: A study of intercultural collaborations between Mexico City and Quebec
Martha Herrera-Lasso Gonzalez, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley

Making Accommodations and Staking Globalization: Black Women’s Home Enterprise in South Africa
Annie Hikido, Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

At the Edge of Abolition: Violence and Imagination in the History of California Lynch Law
Linette Park, Culture and Theory PhD Program, UC Irvine

Combined and Uneven Modernism: Futurist Poetry in Colonial Korea and the Global Avant-Garde
Kevin Smith, Comparative Literature, UC Davis

En Búsqueda de Posada: Militarism and the Laotian Refugee Resettlement Program in Misiones, Argentina, 1980-Present
Jael Vizcarra, Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

Models of Growth: Imagining Complexity in Sustaining the Urban
May Ee Wong, Cultural Studies Graduate Group, UC Davis

Short-term Residential Research Groups

Words of Wild Survival: Wombs, Wounds, Wastelands, and Water
Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Department of African American Studies, UC Irvine

Categories: Blog |

David Theo Goldberg Appointed to AAC&U Board of Directors

Published on February 14, 2018

At their recent meeting in Washington, DC, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) elected David Theo Goldberg, UCHRI director, to serve on their board of directors. Goldberg joins seven additional education leaders from a wide array of positions and institutions:

  • Brooke Barnett, Associate Provost for Academic and Inclusive Excellence, Elon University
  • Katherine Bergeron, President, Connecticut College
  • Amy E. Ferrer, Executive Director, American Philosophical Association
  • Mary Dana Hinton, President, College of Saint Benedict
  • Paul G. Lannon, Partner, Holland & Knight
  • Ralph Wilcox, Provost and Executive Vice President, University of South Florida
  • Kathleen Woodward, Lockwood Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English, University of Washington

“AAC&U is honored to have such a talented group of higher education leaders on our board of directors,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Their diversity of perspectives and commitment to excellence is more critical than ever in advancing our mission of promoting liberal learning and equity in undergraduate education in service to democracy.”

For Goldberg, the appointment is an opportunity to advance the important work of AAC&U. “I am thrilled to serve on such a prestigious board,” he states, “We are in a pivotal moment for higher education, and I look forward to addressing critical interventions with my colleagues at AAC&U.”

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U can be found at

Categories: Blog |

2017–18 Grantees Share Their Experiences

Published on February 6, 2018

We asked several 2017–18 grantees to share their experience with UCHRI grant programs—what stood out to them, what they might do differently, and what advice they had for those interested in the grant. Here are their responses. Interested in applying? See our grants page for more information. 

Gina Bloom, UC Davis | Digital Humanities Grant, Play the Knave

What appealed to you about the digital humanities grant and why did you apply?

I appreciated the flexibility of the grant—that it could be used to help us both develop our digital project and also to distribute and study it via installations. It was also a pleasure to have a chance to collaborate with faculty at other UCs to bring the game to students at their institutions. 

Can you discuss the process of planning and implementing the grant?

I approached two faculty members I knew from professional circles and asked whether they might like to collaborate on bringing Play the Knave to their campuses. Both were enthusiastic and swiftly secured funds from their own institutions to offset the costs. This was very useful because we wanted to use most of the grant to pay graduate students to complete the programming tasks necessary for the project to get finished and, thus, for the installations to work. The “buy-in” from other institutions was valuable on other ways, too. Because collaborators could make the event their own, the installations were better able to serve each institution’s needs/student populations. Implementing this part of the grant involved lots of emails about logistics as well as some higher level “visioning” about who we wanted to reach, what would be most useful to the project, and how best to do that. My collaborators were fantastic partners at every stage!

From the initial planning phase through the end of the grant period, what stands out to you as the most beneficial element?

Play the Knave event at UC Irvine

Two highlights: One, we made tremendous progress on the development of the platform and launched a campaign to have the game “green-lighted” on Steam, a well-established software-distribution site that distributes projects only after they received votes of confidence from the site’s community. We achieved green-lighting in June, at the end of the grant period and right before Steam pulled this program—so we are especially pleased by the grant’s timing.   Two, my research on the game was advanced significantly. Perhaps most useful was a pedagogy workshop that I participated in along with one of my collaborators, Katherine Brokaw (UC Merced) at University of the Pacific. The workshop was so informative that it is at the center of a paper I will be sharing with a research group at a theater conference this fall and delivering as a keynote lecture in Australia in February. The installation at Merced itself was very useful, as Brokaw’s students provided useful feedback. At Irvine, Julia Lupton organized a roundtable presentation in which I presented my game alongside other Irvine faculty working on educational or arts games—this was very productive for my thinking about the project and helped to draw a huge crowd to the installation itself. 

Julia Lupton and Amanda Swain, UC Irvine | Humanities Center Grant, Speaking of the Humanities: Communications Development for UC Humanities Center

Dr. Barbara Osborn, communications consultant

Can you discuss the process of planning and implementing the grant?

We wanted to increase the capacity of humanities centers to communicate the work that humanities centers, faculty, and graduate students do.  How can we make humanities research more visible? What tools can we use to develop a communications plan?  Who are our audiences? How do we select the best medium to reach each audience?

First, we had to find a communications trainer who could really meet us where we are as academic organizations and who had a familiarity with the humanities terrain.  We wanted someone to help us evaluate our current communications tools and habits and help us become more effective. Fortunately, UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities had worked with Barbara Osborn and highly recommended her.  Barbara has extensive experience doing capacity-building work with nonprofits and educational institutions. She also has a PhD in Communications and teaches at USC, so she understands how to engage faculty and our own institutions in communications practices.

From the initial planning phase through the end of the grant period, what stands out to you as the most beneficial element? 

Each center worked with Barbara individually by phone to discuss the ecology of their organization and identify a meaningful communications project. When we came together as a group, we were already on our way to accomplishing something substantive for the year while also building new skills through the two-day workshop.

How did you incorporate grad students into your project and what did they contribute to the grant?

As the lead humanities center for the project, we hired a graduate student to help organize the workshops and develop our communications project.  Ryan Gurney, a Visual Studies PhD candidate who has real aptitude and interest for this kind of work, contributed greatly. Each of the participating UC humanities centers also received funding to include a graduate student in their communications project.  The graduate students attended the two-day communications workshop as part of the campus team and worked with humanities center faculty and staff to develop and implement a communications project to meet the specific needs of their center.

What advice would you have for people who wanted to implement a similar program?

Communications are for everyone! Whether you run a humanities center or are a faculty member or graduate student involved in research that you want to share with others, having a clear picture of the communications tools and strategies available to you and making smart decisions about which ones to use will save you time and enhance your work. In the end, it’s about intentionality and mindfulness (why are you doing what you’re doing?), coupled with some basic planning skills.

Jessica Perea, UC Davis | Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop, Sound Relations: Frontiers of Indigenous Modernity and American Music in Alaska

What appealed to you about the junior faculty manuscript grant and why did you apply? 

For me, the junior faculty manuscript grant presented a unique opportunity and vital resources to invite senior scholars to engage with my work-in-progress manuscript. I also found the emphasis on inviting faculty from other UC campuses appealing, as it could help me expand my network of colleagues in the system.

Can you discuss the process of planning and implementing the grant?

At the time of the grant, my book manuscript was at a developmental stage. My primary goal for the workshop was to gain insight from my expert readers on which chapters were most compelling as a book project and which chapters could be set aside as journal articles. Once I confirmed travel itineraries for each of the expert readers, I began researching manuscript workshop agendas to find a work flow that I felt would best suit the material I hoped to get through. In retrospect, I am especially thankful that I budgeted time and funds to host a welcome dinner the evening prior to the workshop, because it turned out that none of the scholars had met each other in person! So rather than starting cold, the welcome dinner helped to break a little ice between participants.

From the initial planning phase through the end of the grant period, what stands out to you as the most beneficial element?

I felt that the most beneficial element of the grant was definitely the workshop itself. I chose to bring together an interdisciplinary group of five senior scholars whose work deeply influenced my own. Once I realized that these scholars were meeting for the first time at this workshop, I gained a greater appreciation for the individual perspectives they each brought to the table which, in the process, allowed me to mentally transition from the standpoint of participating in a seminar to conducting a workshop with senior colleagues.

What do you wish you had known before starting the grant, and is there anything you would have done differently?

One thing I would have done differently would have been to ask a graduate student to attend the workshop to take notes. I found out after the fact that this is a common practice at other manuscript workshops, and although I did audio record the sessions and took my own notes, I can imagine that additional notes from a grad student who works with me would have been that much more helpful.

What advice do you have for applicants and recipients of the junior faculty manuscript grant?

Take your time narrowing down your list of 4-6 expert readers. Ask around to find out which scholars have a reputation for critical and constructive feedback. It is very important that an event like this does not revert to a dissertation defense—the manuscript workshop requires a different kind of buy-in from all involved. Also, ask around for different workshop agenda ideas and choose a flow that works best for the time you have and personalities convened!

Juan Camilo Gomez-Rivas, UC Santa Cruz | Faculty Working Group, The Maghrib Workshop: Law and Movement: Historical Roots and Contexts, Contemporary Questions

What appealed to you about the faculty working group grant and why did you apply? 

It appealed to me as a relatively simple grant application for a reasonable amount of funds to pursue the project I had in mind, which was to create a network of scholars working on North Africa in California and the West Coast. It was a way for me to get to know them and interact with them in a meaningful way. As I realized how rich the network was and had a few preliminary conversations about trying to bring us together, we all got excited about the potential. 

Can you discuss the process of planning and implementing the grant?

I arrived in California in 2014. I attended two conferences funded by UCHRI at UC campuses during my first year. There were a couple of scholars of North Africa in attendance, and I started an informal conversation with them about the need, desirability, and possibility of bringing scholars of North Africa together in a meaningful way. I assembled a list, created an email list, and wrote group and individual messages inviting an interdisciplinary group. I formulated the proposal with a theme that speaks clearly to my own project but was flexible enough to bring others under the same umbrella. Then I met with our IHR office and meticulously planned the events. They were instrumental in the smooth running of the event.

From the initial planning phase through the end of the grant period, what stands out to you as the most beneficial element?

This project was developed around holding two meetings in which we workshopped four pre-circulated papers per meeting. Meetings were most certainly the highlight. It’s very rare to have six to eight hours of concentrated conversation and highest-quality feedback on the subject of your research. Outside of the meeting time, it was mostly preparation. 

What do you wish you had known before starting the grant, and is there anything you would have done differently?

Not really. I was a bit slow in wrapping up post-meeting reports, but the year was extraordinarily busy. I’m not sure how I could have stream-lined the process better. 

What advice do you have for applicants and recipients of the faculty working group grant?

To communicate clear expectations of what kind of participation and collaboration you expect from the members of the group. And to make these expectations realistic given members’ work demands. 

Categories: Blog |

UCHRI Welcomes Alison Annunziata and Shana Melnysyn

Published on January 31, 2018

UCHRI is excited to welcome two new staff members—Alison Annunziata, research programs manager, and Shana Melnysyn, competitive grants officer. 

Alison Annunziata
Since receiving my PhD in 2013, I have dedicated my career to pursuing connections across disciplinary lines. With a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at USC, I built courses around literature and activism, focusing on the avant-garde as an expression of civil disobedience; at ArtCenter College of Design, I co-created a class with a mathematician which explored visual cultures, modernism, and math.  Via these various cross-sections, I seek collaborations that challenge conventions, inspire new interpretations, and create new intellectual fantasies.  With an eye always on humanities’s reach beyond the academy, I have also organized programming around these very themes of interdisciplinary scholarship and collaborative thinking, and was at one time a fervent docent for Los Angeles Public Library. 
In light of my interests, joining UCHRI was an intellectual homecoming. I believe strongly in the Institute’s mission to forge new alliances between disciplines and to tread new avenues of thought; to generate dialogue around the global implications of the humanities and to isolate where the humanities can make the most direct impact. I am delighted to join the Institute as research programs manager and look forward to helping give life to these core values and ideas.
When I am not at work, you can find me in the mountains, on the rocks, upside-down in a hand stand. I am positively addicted to editing any and all reading surfaces. And I very rarely refuse a conversation—good or bad—in English, French, or Russian. 
You can find links to my work on my website
Shana Melnysyn

I received my doctorate in Anthropology and History from the University of Michigan in August 2017. During the last year of my PhD program, I began to branch out into public humanities and higher education administration. I worked as an intern and later as a contractor with the Michigan Humanities Council, where I helped to bolster the digital presence of cultural projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kellogg Foundation around the state. I also worked in the Dean’s Office at Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan, where I assisted with a Mellon-funded project on the 21st century humanities PhD. In addition to leading focus groups with graduate students on professionalization and assisting with campus events, I managed a website that provides resources and opportunities for humanities graduate students interested in pursuing careers beyond the tenure track.

I am thrilled to join the team at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and look forward to getting to know the entire UC Humanities Network. I share the Institute’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional humanities scholarship through collaboration, innovation, experimentation, and public dialogue. You can find more information about me and my work on my website

Categories: Blog |

UC Receives $10 million Mellon Foundation Grant to Support Advanced Humanities Research

Published on January 24, 2018

Gift provides initial endowment funding to sustain core activities on all UC campuses.

The University of California has received a $10 million matching grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to advance collaborative, interdisciplinary humanities research and education throughout the UC system. This is the largest UC grant from the Mellon Foundation, which provides initial funding for a $30 million permanent endowment to sustain the core activities of UCHRI and the UC Humanities Network. A collaborative campaign across all 10 UC campuses will be launched to raise $20 million in matching funds over four years.

The UC Humanities Network is a multi-campus research program centered in the nationally-renowned UCHRI, an institute for advanced study housed at UC Irvine. UCHRI hosts residential fellows and projects and sponsors a system-wide consortium of interconnected campus humanities centers and multi-campus research groups that fosters interdisciplinary and collaborative research. There is also a multi-tiered program of competitively-awarded research fellowships for faculty and graduate students. The Network engages all ten UC campuses in a wide variety of ambitious and innovative programs and projects that range from competitively-awarded research projects undertaken by individual scholars to collaborative research groups that bring together scholars from every campus.

“As the world’s premier public university system, the University of California is a leader in shaping humanities research worldwide,” said UC president Janet Napolitano. “UCHRI has made this possible by linking the system’s campuses around shared humanistic research goals. The Mellon Foundation has been a critical long-term partner of UCHRI in this important work.”

Widely recognized as the world’s leading foundation supporting the humanities, the Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse democratic societies. “Together the UC Humanities Research Institute and the UC Humanities Network constitute one of the most collaborative and generative ecosystems for humanities research among public universities in the world,” said Mellon Foundation Executive Vice President Mariët Westermann. “In a time of relentless challenges for higher education, UC’s steely financial commitment to the humanities is admirable, and makes the system a crucial partner for the Foundation.”

“Leadership at all UC campuses worked together to advance the proposal to the Mellon Foundation and to establish a $30 million goal for the endowment,” said Enrique Lavernia, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor. “The endowment will help fund research, fellowship opportunities, graduate student stipends, conferences, and working groups that will advance scholarship in the humanities and related fields.”

Recognized nationally and internationally as a premier location for humanities research, UCHRI bridges the gap between disciplines and seeks to overcome the intellectual and institutional barriers across humanities as well as with the social and natural sciences, technology, art, and medicine through public and digital projects as well as traditional scholarship.

“The value of Mellon’s investment in the Humanities at UC and the concomitant endowment campaign cannot be overestimated,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of UCI School of Humanities and principal investigator for the UC Humanities Network. “Together, they fulfill former UC President David Gardner’s vision of supporting and coordinating innovative humanities research on every UC campus and in system-wide collaborations over 30 years ago. The Mellon endowment will ensure the vibrancy and sustainability of this network in the future.”

In addition to humanistic research and programming, multi-campus collaborative projects bring together faculty and graduate students, and also promote vital public partnerships with cultural institutions and public humanities programs that contribute to both the university and society.

“This is an enormous honor for the institute,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of UCHRI and a UCI professor of comparative literature and anthropology. “We are thrilled to receive this support for our ambitious programming.  We look forward to fulfilling the potential and the promise of this generative gift both at UCHRI and on every UC campus.”

Categories: Blog |

UCHRI Awards Over $800,000 in Grants for 2017–18

Published on October 10, 2017

The University of California Humanities Research Institute recently announced its grant awards for the 2017–18 academic year. This funding totals over $800,000 and allows UC faculty and graduate students to conduct interdisciplinary humanities projects, including conferences, humanities center collaborations, working groups, research residencies, junior faculty manuscript workshops, and digital and public humanities.

The awards were determined in conjunction with UCHRI’s 10-member Advisory Committee. A separate advisory committee selected the eight faculty recipients of the UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship, a grant that supports compelling humanities research for individual UC faculty members.

“UCHRI is excited to fund a wide range of projects that offer innovative, multidisciplinary approaches in the humanities,” states director David Theo Goldberg. “These projects will provide insight into a variety of contemporary and historical topics that range from the Pacific Ocean to the future of the university.”

UCHRI continues to offer funding to support graduate students as they conduct their own research and participate substantively in faculty grant projects.  

Categories: Blog |

UCHRI Welcomes Gabriela Cázares

Published on October 4, 2017

UCHRI would like to welcome Gabriela Cázares! Gabriela holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego and comes to us to work as a postdoctoral scholar for our Horizons of the Humanities Project.

Throughout my career and PhD studies, I have been passionate about building bridges between academia and diverse communities and constituencies. My research uses the humanities to study US Latinx communities often left on the margins. This work sheds light on daily and long-term challenges faced by working-class communities of color—particularly access to higher education—that reflect national concerns/problems.

As part of my work at UCHRI, I have the privilege of working closely with UC faculty and administrators on issues linked to Horizons of the Humanities. In particular, this includes developing and coordinating a year-long UC-wide working group on diversity, a Voices of Diversity podcast, and large-scale public humanities projects focused on issues of race and class. My career and drive are fueled in part by my own experiences as a first-generation Latina from a working-class background. When I am not working in higher education, I enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and going on muggle adventures.


Categories: Blog |

UCHRI Announces President’s Faculty Research Fellowships for 2017-18

Published on June 13, 2017

UCHRI is excited to announce the eight President’s Faculty Research Fellows for the 2017-18 academic year. This prestigious fellowship program provides UC faculty with fellowship support to carry out an extended research project in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Listed below, next year’s fellows pursue a wide array of humanistic work and represent five UC campuses.

‘This Vale of Tears’: Marx’s Critique of Religion
Wendy Brown, Political Science, Rhetoric and Jurisprudence and Social Policy, UC Berkeley

Against the received view that Marx abandoned his early interest in religion when he turned to political economy, this study argues Marx’s appreciation of religious consciousness in class societies remains crucial to his later work, even constituting elements of the epistemological foundations of Capital. Marx’s theory of religion’s source and development—developed through critical appropriations of Feuerbach—undergirds his materialism and structures his understanding of the state in bourgeois orders. His account of persistent religious consciousness in secular orders explains why capitalism requires science to penetrate its secrets and also suggests restricted prospects for spontaneous popular critical consciousness.

This thesis is developed through careful readings of Marx’s work, and is then turned toward three contemporary political-intellectual problems: the contemporary resurgence of religion that is coterminous with the global expansion and intensification of capitalism; political and scholarly debates about the nature of secularism that have destabilized easy oppositions between the religious and the secular; and the rise of political theology, including the theology of finance capital. Marx’s own appreciation of the co-existence of de-sacralization, secularization and religiosity, and of the compatibility of religion and capitalism, offers new angles on each of these problems.

Creative Ecology: Environmental Imagination and Invention in an Age of Crisis
Allison Carruth, English, Institute for Society and Genetics, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UC Los Angeles

Creative Ecology pursues a new cultural history of ecological knowledge and rhetoric in the United States since the 1960s, a project that examines inventive forms of environmental narrative, art and citizen science that break from the prevailing frameworks of eco-apocalypse. In particular, it examines cultural works and scientific initiatives that confront pressing environmental challenges—from urban biodiversity and water sustainability to climate change and seed patenting—by adapting the tactics of the historical avant-garde, performance art, and other forms of twentieth-century cultural experimentation. At the same time, these models of “creative ecology” that the book investigates variously deploy, hack, and subvert the digital technologies that increasingly structure mainstream environmental knowledge production in the twenty-first-century.

Mobile Modernisms: The Last Projects of the Soviet Avant-garde, 1928-1937.
Aglaya Glebova, Art History; Film and Media Studies, UC Irvine

“Mobile Modernisms: The Last Projects of the Soviet Avant-garde, 1928-1937” examines five iconic, yet little studied, projects completed by Soviet avant-garde artists in the decade following Stalin’s rise to power. Ranging from experimental studio exercises to photomontage, installation, sculpture, architecture, painting, and design, they represent complex and stunningly diverse attempts to think visually and materially through the ideology of early Stalinism. In endeavoring to make sense of the new political realities, the protagonists of this project—El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin, Vera Mukhina, and Boris Ender—created objects that challenge received views of this decade as one of “totalitarian art.” Far from the sudden foreclosing usually associated with the end of Soviet modernism, this period, I argue, witnessed a radical (albeit short-lived) expansion of pictorial means inspired by and manifesting the ideals of movement and mobility, including across national borders.

Pan-Africanism and World Revolution: George Padmore, 1903-1959
Peter Hudson, African American Studies and History, UC Los Angeles

George Padmore was a Trinidadian historian, journalist, and activist who played a critical though understudied role in both the global labor agitations of the interwar period and the post-World War II anti-colonial struggles of African and Caribbean countries. Pan-Africanism and World Revolution: George Padmore, 1903-1959 will be a book-length study that reconstructs Padmore’s biographical narrative and intellectual biography. The project has three broad, overlapping intellectual goals. First, to provide a critical reappraisal of Padmore’s voluminous written output to demonstrate the originality and importance of his contribution postcolonial theory and the historiography of decolonization. Second, to offer a reassessment of Padmore’s historical contribution to the development of anti-imperial struggles in Europe and anti-colonial struggles in Africa and the Caribbean. Third, to demonstrate Padmore’s importance – and, following this, the importance of the African Diaspora – to the formation of the post-World War II international political-economic order.

American Nationalist: Ruth Reynolds and the Struggle Against U.S. Colonialism in Puerto Rico
Lisa Materson, History, UC Davis

‘American Nationalist’ combines a feminist biography of Ruth Reynolds (1916-1989) with a microhistory of her activist communities to examine the gendered and transnational history of the Puerto Rican independence movement. While scholars have extensively documented diverse liberation movements in the United States, the battle for Puerto Rico’s independence has not received the same attention. Reynolds was a North American civil rights and free India activist who challenged traditional gender roles; a confidant of Puerto Rico’s most controversial independence figure, Nationalist Party leader Pedro Albizu Campos; and a living repository of Nationalist Party history following Albizu Campos’ death. Her story is largely unknown, a symptom of both the marginalization of Puerto Rico—its politics and status debates—in U.S. political history, and the centering of men’s experiences in liberation politics history. I employ her story, which spanned activist communities and generations in North America and the Caribbean, to illuminate the wide-ranging voices that shaped this movement and endeavored to construct its memory. The project highlights historical contests over U.S. citizenship, gendered strategies of political mobilization, and the interplay among archive creation, political memory, and historical production.

Infrastructure, Potentiality, and the Afterlife of Art in Japan
Miryam Sas, Comparative Literature/ Film & Media, UC Berkeley

Infrastructure, Potentiality, and the Afterlife of Art in Japan is a manuscript on Japanese intermedia art to be constructed in three sections. The first section traces the history of concepts of intermedia (from the 50s) and then analyzes the burgeoning of “intermedia art” in the 1960s, a key moment of environmental and technological transformation in Japan. The next section analyzes the promises of the shifting structures of media and concomitant structures of feeling as theorized by New Left artists and activists in 1970s Japan. The last section of the book extends the inquiry about infrastructure, intermedia art and culture industries into its legacy in contemporary art, and in particular into the responses to disaster—the 3-11 Fukushima-Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown, and the ways those historical events reactivate and shift frameworks for imaging disaster from the 1923 Tokyo earthquake and World War II. The book is a sustained contribution to an emergent scholarly movement that aims to make heard the radical theoretical framings of problems of film, art, and media coming from Japanese critics and artists, and to articulate their transcultural relevance for the broader fields of film and media studies.

Suing Chevron: Law, Science, and Contamination in Ecuador and Beyond
Suzana Sawyer, Anthropology, UC Davis

This project traces events that led an Ecuadorian court to render a $9 billion ruling against Chevron for contamination in 2011, and, compelled the US federal courts to delegitimize that ruling in 2016. Chevron’s impressive legal strategies have succeeded in making “corruption” the optic for viewing the contamination case in the US. This framing—with which the US federal court now concurs—obscures the lawsuit’s far-reaching significance for transnational jurisprudence and environmental accountability; regardless of US law, the ruling is enforceable internationally. My book argues that the Ecuadorian litigation (despite its flaws) serves as an instructive socio-legal forum for reckoning near-intractable contamination disputes, and, that Chevron’s counter-lawsuit serves as a sobering spectacle for reckoning the legal enactment of the corporation. Ecuador’s judicial system enabled unique evidentiary procedures for garnering the complex scientific and experiential truths needed to distribute legal responsibility. The US judicial system allowed skilled lawyering and staggering financing to ground the truths of a good-enough narrative that stymied out-litigated Ecuadorians. In a world of multiplying socio-ecological harms, this project brings careful attention to how we reconcile challenging contamination controversies and make sense of formidable corporate challenges.

Foundations of Quantum Field Theory
Charles Sebens, Philosophy, UC San Diego

Our best understanding of the laws that govern fundamental particles is captured in the framework of quantum field theory. Although quantum field theory has achieved incredible predictive accuracy, there is no agreed upon physical picture of what’s happening in nature according to the theory or precise statement of the theory’s laws. This lack of clarity is inherited from one of quantum field theory’s precursors, non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Although there is no agreed upon way of understanding non-relativistic quantum mechanics, physicists and philosophers have developed a number of alternative interpretations of the theory. The most promising strategy for clarifying the foundations of quantum field theory is to extend our best existing interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. This project will focus on extending two interpretations which include particles following definite trajectories in addition to, or in lieu of, the quantum wave function: Bohmian mechanics and Newtonian quantum mechanics (a.k.a. many interacting worlds). This work will utilize the methods of both philosophy (especially metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science) and theoretical physics.

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Queer of Color Formations and Translocal Spaces in Europe Interdisciplinary Bibliography

Published on June 5, 2017

Residential Research Groups (RRGs) are the longest-standing grant program at UCHRI, and these groups remain the cornerstone of our grantmaking activities. RRGs are in essence teams of researchers—often unknown to one another before residency—who convene at UCHRI for one quarter to accomplish a commonly-defined research agenda. In Winter 2017, UCHRI hosted a residential research group that focused on the scholarship addressing Queer of Color formations and translocal spaces in Europe.

Traditionally, collaboration in RRGs may take many forms. Cooperation across disciplines elicits challenges of language, terminology, and methodology for all RRGs. The organizing premise of the residential research program is that when those challenges are surmounted, breakthroughs in knowledge are possible. Listen to a podcast with the RRG conveners to hear how this collaboration worked in practice: 

To further represent this interdisciplinary knowledge sharing, we have asked the RRG to craft an interdisciplinary bibliography that represents each individual member’s research and perspective on critical refugee studies. Taken separately, these materials represent key materials selected by scholars of an emerging field of study; when combined, the sources highlight the rich landscape of critical refugee studies and its potential to transform scholarship. 

Paola Bacchetta, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

Fatima El-Tayeb, Literature and Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego

Fatima El-Tayeb is professor of Literature and Ethnic Studies and director of Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of three books, Undeutsch. Die Konstruktion des Anderen in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft (Ungerman. The Construction of Otherness in the Postmigrant Society), Transcript 2016, European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (University of Minnesota Press 2011; German translation: Anders europäisch, Unrast 2015) and Schwarze Deutsche. Rasse und nationale Identität, 1890-1933 (Black Germans. Race and National Identity, 1890-1933, Campus 2001), as well as of numerous articles on the interactions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation. Her research interests include African and Comparative Diaspora Studies, Queer Theory, Transnational Feminism, European Migrant and Minority Cultures, Muslim communities in the West, Queer of Color Critique, and Visual Cultural Studies. Before coming to the US, she lived in Germany and the Netherlands, where she was active in black feminist, migrant, and queer of color organizations. In 2003, she was a co-founder of the Black European Studies Project. She also is co-author of the movie Alles wird gut/Everything will be fine (Germany 1997).

Source names/links:

Stuart Hall, “Europe’s Other Self,” Marxism Today, 1991

Jillian Hernandez, “Carnal teachings: raunch aesthetics as queer feminist pedagogies in Yo! Majesty’s hip hop practice,” Women & Performance: A Journal Of Feminist Theory, 2014

How the sources reflects your research:

I keep on returning to Hall’s prophetic piece about Europe’s destructive need to produce internal and external Others in order to maintain the narrative of its own superiority. Even though the essay is only a few pages long, there are few others offering a better analysis of European racism.

Hernandez’s piece is a great example of the work of a new generation of scholars who build on the tradition of women of color feminism and queer of color critique, while pushing the limits in new, exciting directions. Hernandez does so by developing the analytical category of “raunch aesthetics” as a way to capture the complexities of queer women of color’s sexual expressions.

João Gabriell, Aix-Marseille Universite, ESPE Ecole Superieure du Professorat et de l’Education

Joao Gabriell is an Afro-caribbean writer and activist based in South of France. He is involved in local anticolonial struggles in Marseille (United Front of Immigration and Working Class Neighborhood [“FUIQP” in french]) and writes mainly on race, colonialism and their intersection with working class queer and trans people of color. His former research where on Black queer nightlife in Paris and now he is focusing on the issue of prison privatization in France.

Source name/link:

Snorton, C. Riley , and Haritaworn, Jin. 2013. “Trans Necropolitics: A Transnational Reflection on Violence, Death, and the Trans of Color Afterlife.” In Transgender Studies Reader 2, ed. Stryker, Susan and Aizura, Aren Z., 66–76. New York: Routledge.

How the source reflects your research:

This article invites us to think about how the actual death of trans people of color and especially trans woman of color, and even more precisely black trans women, is used by racist and neoliberal agenda. The authors use in a very intelligent way the Achille Mbembe concept of “necropolitics”.  In this process, the figure of the homophobic muslim is important and mobilized all the time. So the articles  invites us to think on how not only racism, but especially islamophobia in Europe plays a role in domesticating the racialized poor, push them away from their neighborhoods etc. I’m saying this because in those POC neighborhoods, there are not only muslims that are affected by gentrification, but in Europe, and especially France where I am based, islamophobia is the most obvious way to justify eviction of population, and their stigmatisation. And it affects people of color as a whole, even though obviously in various ways.

Jin Haritaworn, Faculty of Environmental Studies. York University, Ontario, Canada

Jin Haritaworn is a trans of colour activist scholar who has lived, worked, played and organized in Berlin, London and Toronto. They are Associate Professor of Gender, Race and Environment at York University. Jin has produced numerous articles (in journals such as GLQ, Society&Space and Sexualities) and two monographs (including the recent monograph Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places, on queer of colour kitchen tables in gentrifying Berlin). They have edited and co-edited five collections, including Queer Necropolitics and the forthcoming Queering Urban Justice (the latter with an amazing queer of colour collective in Toronto). Jin has made contributions to several fields on both sides of the Atlantic, including gender, queer and transgender studies, critical ethnic studies, and urban studies, and helped shape debates about homonationalism, gay imperialism, intersectionality, hate crime, queer space, activist scholarship and the neoliberal city.

Source name/link:

Razack, Sherene (2002). “When place becomes race,” Race, space, and the law: Unmapping a white settler society. Toronto: Between the Lines.

How the source reflects your research:

Razack’s concept of ‘degenerate space,’ which becomes valuable only as white settlers ‘work,’ ‘cultivate’ and ‘own’ it, is highly influential for my thinking about race, sexuality and space. In my book Queer Lovers and Hateful Others, I call this process, and the murderous inclusions and ascendancies that it enables, ‘queer regeneration.’ Understanding how place becomes race helps us make sense of the colonial architecture which continually displaces, dispossesses and segregates first Indigenous, then other racialized peoples on the least valuable lands, and redistributes resources extracted this way to white and whitening populations interpellated as citizens.

Jillian Hernandez, Ethnic Studies Department and Critical Gender Studies Program, UC San Diego.

Short biography (3-4 sentences):  

Jillian Hernandez is a transdisciplinary scholar interested in the stakes of embodiment, aesthetics, and performance for Black and Latinx women and girls, gender-nonconformers, trans people and queers. She is currently completing her first book, tentatively titled, Aesthetics of Excess: The Art and Politics of Black and Latina Embodiment, and is working on expanding her theorizing on raunch aesthetics into a second book-length project, with a focus on queer Latinx artists. Her scholarship is based on and inspired by over a decade of community arts work with Black and Latinx girls in Miami, Florida through the Women on the Rise! program she established at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. She is continuing this work in San Diego, California in collaboration with Yessica Garcia and Hilda Gracie Uriarte through the creation of the Rebel Quinceañera Collective.

Source name/link:

Willoughby-Herard, Tiffany. “Revolt at the Source: The Black Radical Tradition in the Social Documentary Photography of Omar Badsha and Nadine Hutton.” African Identities 11:2 (2013): 200-226.

How the source reflects your research:

Willoughby-Herard’s text analyzes the political significance of the post-Apartheid community arts practices of Black South African photographers Omar Badsha and Nadine Hutton. This work speaks to my interests in the power of collective arts work to deploy alternative political narratives and express complex subjectivities.

SA Smythe, History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz and Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara

SA Smythe is a Fellow in the Department of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara and a finishing doctoral candidate in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz with designated emphases in Literature and Feminist Studies. Their dissertation, L’Italia Meticcia: Being and Belonging in the Black Mediterranean, is a ​transdisciplinary project engaging with transfeminist poetics, Black British ​and Caribbean ​cultural studies, postcolonial literary studies, and critical human geography in order to read the anticolonial and postcolonial writings and performances of Black Italian/Italian East African writers. It examines the legal, literary, and historiographical aporia and erasures in the narration of italianità in the Black Mediterranean from the Risorgimento to the present by meditating on canonicity and citizenship in the wake of Europe’s self-initiated “crises” of migration and the attendant levels of dispossession. SA is currently president of the Queer Studies Caucus of the American Association of Italian Studies (AAIS), publishing editor of THEM – Trans Literary Journal. SA is also a poet and an activist who performs and organises in queer trans Black and abolitionist poetry collectives in London, Bologna, and Berlin. In 2017-18, SA will be a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender & Sexuality Studies at UC Irvine.

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, African American Studies, UC Irvine.

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, African American Studies, University of California, Irvine) researches black political thought—especially black internationalism, the black radical tradition, and black feminism and Third World feminisms. Her book, Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability (University of California Press 2015) emphasizes transnational linkages that made “poor whites” the central currency for US and South African intellectuals and race relations policy makers. She examines the role of international philanthropy in South Africa as an expression of the making of global whiteness and the consolidation of the Afrikaner Nationalist variant of white nationalism. Her work is published in: Cultural Dynamics, African Identities, Social Justice, Politics, Groups, and Identities, South African Review of Sociology, New Political Science, Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, and Race and Class and is the editor of, Theories of Blackness: On Life and Death (University Readers and Cognella Publishers). In 2008 she published ““The Rape of an Obstinate Woman: Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth” in the anthology Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence edited by Barbara Ige and Maria Ochoa (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press). She is the Managing Editor of the National Political Science Review.

Source name/link:

Bacchetta, Paola. “Dyketactics! Notes Towards an Un-silencing.” Smash the Church, Smash the State! The Early Years of Gay Liberation (2009): 218-31.

How the source reflects your research:

I love the vengeance and fire that animates this history of creating alternative spaces. Sometimes we imagine that solidarity practices emerge from abstract visions instead of grounded attempts just to survive everyday violence in the world. In this essay about 1970s and 1980s activism in Philadelphia Bacchetta explains the ways that solidarity practices are grounded in real world struggles and opportunities that compel people into new social identities and reveal their capacities for political and revolutionary responses to subjection. Bacchetta explains several dyketactics including: 1) sharing and building a heterogeneous community where lesbians of color lived together–communal living, 3) naming practices that hail members as belonging to a new kind of community, 4) demanding hiring women for city employ as meter readers as part of the response to the city using public utilities like heat and water to punish and control residents, 5) demanding hiring women for city employ as meter readers–and having heat turned off as the city response, 6) opening the communal house up to neighbors which required –>knowing about the people in the neighborhood and making each other’s problems your own eg. Latina lesbian elders in a homo-monogamous relationship that did not reconstruct queer gender norms; eg. a mom whose children kept getting sick because landlords were using utilities to punish renters; eg. campaigns against slumlord who refused to take care of the properties; eg. body-shaming and learning about how to address that together; eg. sitting together nude to work through body shaming and painting on room wall with menstrual blood; eg. writing music and poems together as lesbians of color; eg. graffiti zaps; eg. defending a lesbian highschooler who was being targeted; eg. banner and billboard protests; eg. solidarity with striking transit workers; eg. solidarity with MOVE members/American Indian Movement/Puerto Rican Independence Movement/ Bill 1275 (prohibit discrimination against gay people in employment, public accommodation, and housing) and having to fight–physcially- police brutality against lesbians and charges of “hyper-public lesbianism” (225); eg. political manifestos; eg. Dykes for an American Revolution (227). Such quotidian and embodied practices of rude disavowal of state power and middle class and gender and race normativity reflect not just a utopian vision but sensibilities and temperaments of incredible discernment, political clarity, ethics, and love. In my own research it is such practices and traces across generation and across space among queer women and black women and political women that animate my research questions time and again.