Dec 14–Dec 15, 2015
Paris, France

Religious engagement has returned to central stage in social life, marking personal expression and political commitment in new ways. Religious and national identities intersect, influence, and impact each other as they are inflected by the politics of race and secularization. As globalizing processes have proliferated, people have moved increasingly across borders and boundaries, prompted by environmental, social, and political events, throwing into impacted social arenas contestations around the intersections of religious affiliation and expression, ethnoracial identification, national culture, and social expectation. Religious identities are connected in new ways to these local sites and global processes, to logics of territorialization and deterritorialization, to complicated and complicating attachments to new sites of habitation and not altogether departed histories, affiliations, and commitments.

These sharp shifts at the interface of religious, social, and political lives raise old issues anew as well as new questions about cohabiting across politicoreligious commitments, their cultural expression, and social management. These questions were discussed in a two-day workshop by scholars and media experts associated with the Religion in Diasporic and Global Affairs research program of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and scholars, artists, journalists, and activists from France and across the world.


Monday, December 14

9:30-9:45am: Welcome

9:45-10:30am: Introductions

10:30-11:00am: Opening Remarks: Michel Wieviorka

11:15am-1:15pm: Session 1: Religion and the Political

How is the political reimagined through the religious, historically and especially contemporarily; and how is the religious reconceived as advancing political interests? Secularism expresses itself as divorcing the religious from public political commitment. but as many have now argued, the secular assumes, inherits, expresses anew and advances theological commitments shorn of explicit religious expression.

What are the implications for public life and political articulation  of the insistent incompatibilities of the religious and the secular, the theological and the political?

How do violent outbursts, mainly emanating from but not restricted to the Abrahamic religions, rearticulate the political and the religious, intersecting as they do with the racial, in some directions repressing and in others exacerbating recourse to religious expression, rationalization, reinvention?

How does religious identification amplify or mitigate vulnerability, particularly amongst women, children and youth, and LGBTQ  persons? How are such vulnerabilities leveraged toward political and ideological ends? How does racial identification exacerbate ascription of religious identity?

Mayanthi Fernando, Nilüfer Göle, Farad Khosrokahvar, Kathleen Moore

1:15-2:15pm: lunch: college cafeteria

2:30-4:30pm: Session 2: Religion and the Racial

How is religion articulated in and through raciality, the racial in and through the religious? How do these coarticulations shift over time and place, across religious commitments and expressions, national identification and bordering? In Europe, America/the Americas, the Middle East, Asias? How in the case of each—the religious, the racial—are they redefined in neoliberal terms, and what are the implications for their coarticulation? What are the implications and effects of these co- articulations? Can they—should they—be politically disarticulated or re- defined? If so, to what ends? How do public media contribute to these processes, and how might they be redirected to serve more critically productive ends?

Maria Ebrahimji, Nadia Fadil, Nacira Guénif, James Lee

4:45-6:45pm: Session 3: Religion and Migration

The religious dimensions of migration and current refugee flows from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe have been reemphasized in the wake of Friday the 13th. Calls to delimit if not ban Muslims from the landscape of “Christian” countries, and the insistence by some prominent American politicians to admit only “Christian Syrians” but also those from Latin America to the U.S. have sharpened the relation between religion, raciality, national background, migration, and the political. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket events there was a renewed call for French Jews in particular and European Jews more generally to migrate to Israel (where in case Jewish law considers them by virtue of their Jewishness to be (proto) citizens). How does religion mediate migratory and refugee flows?

How does it impact responses to migratory and refugee crises? And indeed, how do refugee and migratory flows impact the definition and redefinition of the religious (and of particular religions) in their wake?

Also, how do the material cultures of religion manifest in markedly dif- ferent global locales? How are interior worlds, domestic spaces, public performance, food rituals and consumption in city streets transformed as a result of negotiating unfamiliar and defamiliarized spaces? What role does proliferating public media play and what productive role could they play in these processes of definition and redefinition?

Michel Agier, Neda Atanasoski, Daniele Levy, Amanda Lucia

7:15 pm: dinner

Tuesday, December 14

10:00-10:30am: Day 1 Overview 

10:30-12:30pm: Morning Session 3: Religion, the Global, and the National

In the wake of Friday the 13th, it has been widely bemoaned by politicians and in the press that humanity is under attack. Paris—France—is taken to stand for the good life, the land of Enlightenment, for humanity as such. The French way of living is taken to be under attack—most perniciously from the outside now “infesting” from within, viralities proliferating, disease transformed into disease, cancer replicating now within the body politic and across bodies politic. but these are body politics shorn of the political, devoid of their histories of production, erasing all reference both to the implication in histories of colonialism and the afterlife of the colonial in the postcolonial. how has the political been constrained if not erased in these extended moments, and to what effects? How not so much to revive as to reinvent an effective, a capacious, a mobile and agile politics in the face of these mobilized immobilities? What role might public media play towards realizing and in contributing to such revivification?

Sihame Assbague, Toumi Djaidja, Rokhaya Diallo Eric Fassin, Saba Mahmood, Angilee Shah

12:45-1:45pm: lunch: college cafeteria

2:00-3:45pm: Afternoon Session: Open Discussion

4:00-6:00 pm: Public Forum: Panel Discussion

Nadia Fadil, Mariam Lam

6:00-7:30pm: Reception


Michel Agier is an ethnologist and anthropologist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has been director of the Institute of research for Development (IrD), a member of the Centre of African Studies at the EHESS (Paris) and is engaged in anthropological research in cities of Africa and Latin America, the dynamics of social change and urban cultural movements, mostly in peripheral zones, while also working on social groups in situations of precariousness and marginalization. At present, he is studying how peoples reconstruct their identities after being forced into in exodus because of wars and, in particular, when they are regrouped in refugee camps. On this subject he has published Aux bords du monde, les réfugiés (Flammarion, Paris 2002), Gérer les indésirables. Des camps de réfugiés au gouvernement humanitaire (Flammarion, 2008), Le couloir des exilés. Être étranger dans un monde commun (Croquant Edition, 2011), La Condition cosmopolite (La Découverte, 2013).

Neda Atanasoski is an Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical race and Ethnic Studies and an affiliate faculty in Film and Digital Media and Digital Arts and New Media at The University of California at Santa Cruz. She is the author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity (University of Minnesota Press 2013). Atanasoski has also published articles on gender and religion, nationalism and war, human rights, and new media, which have appeared in journals such as the European Journal of Cultural Studies, the Journal of American Culture, Catalyst and Feminist Theory, as well as in anthologies.

Natalie Avalos is Visiting Assistant Professor of religion at Connecticut College. She is an ethnographer of religion whose research and teaching focus on Native American and Indigenous religions in diaspora, healing historical trauma, decolonization and social justice. She has explored the religion and resistance movements of transnational Native American and Tibetan peoples.

rémy bethmont is Professor of british History and Civilisation at the University Paris 8-Saint Denis. He is the author of L’Anglicanisme: un modèle pour le christianisme à venir? (2010); Histoire de Londres: aux sources d’une identité contradictoire (2011).

Nathalie Caron is professor of American history and civilization in the department of English at the University of Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV. Her research covers the history of free-thought in the United States, and in particular the reception and circulation of French works in the early years of the American republic. She is the recipient of a barra Foundation International research Fellowship for a project entitled « Freeing the Mind from the “Shackles of religion: The Significance of the French Philosophes’ Philosophy for American Freethought ». Her article co-written with Naomi Wulf and published in Transatlantica in 2010 received the David Thelen Award from the Organization of American Historians and was published in the Journal of American History in 2013 under the title “American Enlightenments: Continuity and renewal.” She is the author of Thomas Paine contre l’imposture des prêtres (L’Harmattan, 1999). She has coedited, with richard Anker, a special issue of the Revue française d’études américaines on religious transfers (2014/4), and, with Guillaume Marche, La politisation du religieux en modernité (Presses universitaires de rennes, coll. Sciences des religions, 2015). She is the current president of the French Association for American Studies.

Rokhaya Diallo is a journalist and filmmaker. She holds a master’s degree in law, a master’s in business and negotiation and ended her studies passing a master in marketing and distribution in TV and Cinema business. She is the director and author of “The Marches For Freedom” a documentary about the civil rights in France and in the US, France Ô (national French Public TV). Ms. Diallo regularly contributes to rTL, the main radio station in France. She is also a columnist and commenter on the TV channels Canal Plus and i-Tele. She has her own cultural show on the youth radio Le Mouv’ (Fresh Cultures). Since September 2011 she is hosting and co-directing Egaux, mais pas trop (Equal but not too much) a series of reports about equality and diversity issues in France for LCP/ANLa Chaine Parlementaire (the parliamentary channel). Since September 2012, she is beside bruce Toussaint in the new broadcast on France 2 “Vous trouvez ça normal?”. She is the founder and former president of Les Indivisibles, a French organization that uses humor and irony to fight racism and stereotypes. In March 2010, Rokhaya has been selected to take part to the International Visitor Leadership Program. Invited by the US Department of State, she visits the country on the topic of managing ethnic diversity in the US. She has been recognized by international NGOs after winning in 2012 the COJEP International Award for her involvement against racism and discriminations. Ms. Diallo is the co-author of L’Appel Pour une Republique Multiculturelle et Postraciale (Respect Magazine editions), of Un Troussage de domestique (directed by Christine Delphy Editions Syllepse – September 2011) and La France Une et Multiculturellle (directed by Edgar Morin and Patrick Singaïny- April 2012, Fayard). She is the author of Racisme: mode d’emploi (2011, Larousse) and A Nous La France (2012, Michel Lafon).

Toumi Djaida is a French activist born in the south-east of Algeria. He left his growing country in 1967 and arrived in France, settling down in Venissieux, on the southern outskirts of Lyon. In 1983, clashes of a rare violence burst out. More than 400 youngsters resisted against the police. Vénissieux became the scene of an urban guerilla. The number of youngsters who got shut each day got bigger. Toumi Djaida, tried to help one young men attacked by the police. A policeman shot him down. Then even he came back to life, he decided to start a march for equality. He led the troops and gather Marseille to Paris from October the 15th to December the 3rd, to spread this message of peace. “The march is an expression showing a thirst for justice. It is a message of peace that we are delivering to our country, a love declaration to it.”

Maria Ebrahimji is a journalist, strategist, speaker, and independent consultant passionate about storytelling and talent development. As a former executive at CNN, she led a team in guest coverage, newsgathering, and story planning for CNN’s special events, breaking news, and multi-platform programming. Maria has produced live events with luminaries and newsmakers – during breaking news and in the backdrop of major global events. She is the Co-Editor of I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim (White Cloud Press, 2011). In 2012, Maria co-founded I Speak for Myself, Inc. (ISFM), a book publishing enterprise that produces narrative collections focused on faith and culture. To date, ISFM has published six volumes in the series. Maria currently serves on the board of Directors of the Atlanta Press Club and Community Guilds and as an advisor to Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta, Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, and the National Center for Civil & Human rights. She is a member of the World Affairs Council, the Georgia Diversity Council, and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Nadia Fadil studied sociology and anthropology and works as an Assistant Professor at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities research Center at KULeuven. Her research interests are situated at the intersection of religion, subjectivity, secular and liberal governmentality and multiculturalism, with Islam in Europe as specific empirical focus. A first thread of her work investigates the question of subjectivity, in which she looks at the ethical self-cultivation of pious and secular Muslims in Belgium. A second thread of her work looks at the ways in which questions of multiculturalism and Islam impact upon the existing secular arrangements and she focuses more particularly on the debates on the funding of religious denominations.

Eric Fassin is Professor of sociology at the University Paris 8 and also associate researcher at Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux sociaux CNrS/EHESS). His research focuses on contemporary sexual and racial politics in France and the United States, and their intersections (in particular, concerning immigration issues in Europe),  in a comparative perspective. He is author of L’inversion de la question homosexuelle (2005), Droit conjugal et unions de même sexe: mariage, partenariat et concubinage dans neuf pays européens (with Kees Waaldijk, 2008) and Le sexe politique. Genre et sexualité au miroir transatlantique (2009). He is currently working on The rising Significance of race in France for the University of Chicago Press, also with Didier Fassin.

Mayanthi Fernando is the author of The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (Duke University Press, 2014),  which alternates between an analysis of Muslim French politics, ethics, and social life and the contradictions of French secularity (laïcité) that this new Muslim subjectivity reflects. It explores how Muslim French draw on both Islamic and secular-republican traditions as they create new modes of ethical and political engagement, reconfiguring those traditions to imagine a new France. It also examines how the institutions, political and legal practices, and dominant discourses that comprise French secularity govern—and profoundly disrupt—Musim life. In so doing, it traces a series of long-standing tensions within laïcité, tensions not so much generated as precipitated by the presence of Muslim French. It argues, ultimately, that “the Muslim question” is actually a question about secularism.

Nilüfer Göle is Professor of Sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. She works on Islamic visibility in european public spaces and the debates it engenders on religious and cultural difference. her sociological approach aims to open up a new reading of modernity from a non-western perspective and a broader critique of Eurocentrism in the definitions of secular modernity. She is the author of Musulmans au quotidian (2015), Musulmanes et modernes (2013), Islam in Europe: The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism (2010) and The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling (1997). She is member of the Executive Committee of the Istanbul Seminars. She is Director of the project Europublicislam, funded by European reearch Council (ErC), a member of reset-Dialogues and  of the Executive Committee of the Istanbul Seminars.

Nacira Guénif-Souilamas holds a Phd in Sociology from l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and a HDr from Sciences Po Paris. She is a Professor at Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis and Co-Director of Experice (U. Paris 13  – U. Paris 8). In 2009, she  was a Fulbright fellow at Wellesley College (Sociology) and Columbia University (ICLS, Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures & Department of religion) and a Visiting Professor at the Institute of French Studies of NyU. She is a member of the religion & Diversity project (U. of Ottawa), a fellow of the Oecumene Citizenship after Orientalism ErC project at Open University (2010-2014), a fellow of  the “Gender, religion and Law in Muslim Societies” and the “rethinking Vulnerability and resistance: Feminism and Social Change” projects at the Columbia Center for the Study of Social Difference – Women Creating Change Program.She serves as the vice-president of the Islamic Cultural Institute (ICI) in barbès, a longstanding Arab and black quarter of Paris. She takes part in public debates on migrations, minorities and discriminations, ethnic and racial visibility, secularization and laïcité, gender, sexism and racism through broadcast, online, and printed media. Her Phd dissertation was published as Des beurettes  aux descendantes d’immigrants nord-africains (2000), paperback edition in 2003, translated in Arabic in 2004. She has written extensively on migrations, racism, Islamophobia, and feminism. Her forthcoming publications are: 2016, “restrained Equality: A Sexualized and Gendered Color Line”, in Austere Histories in European Societies: Social Exclusion and the Contest of Colonial Memories, and « Les couleurs du féminisme, tensions et paradoxes », in What is Coalition? Reflections on Alliance Formation with Judith butler (provisional title).

Jennifer Scheper Hughes is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, riverside. She is PI of the festivals project funded by a grant from the Luce Foundation: religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs (UCHRI) and is founding co-director of UC riverside’s Institute for the Study of Immigration and Religion. As research director for the Day of the Dead humanities lab, Hughes is producing a film (with Jim Ault) on Noche de Altares in Santa Ana. Her research  focuses on religious materiality, public religion (“religion in the streets”), and lived religious experience. Her first book, biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present (Oxford 2010), is a history of popular devotion to images  of the suffering Christ in Mexico. She has published widely on Mexican religion, material religion, and religion and culture. For five years she served as the co chair of the religion in Latin America and Caribbean Group of the American Academic of religion. She current serves as co-chair of the Latino/a Critical and Comparative Studies Group and as a member on the steering committee for the North American religions Section of the American Academy of Religion.

Danièle Joly is Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick Sociology Department, associate member of the Collège d’études mondiales (MSH-Paris), of the Centre migrations et citoyenneté (IFrI, Paris) and of the CADIS-EHESS (Paris). She was also Marie Curie fellow from 2012  to 2014, and fellow of the Institut of Avanced Study in 2011-2012. She obtained a Licence es Lettres from the University of Nanterre in France and a master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of La Sorbonne. She holds a PhD from the University of Aston and a D.Litt from the University of Warwick. She has published on Muslim populations in britain, on ethnic relations and on refugees in Europe. She is author of L’Emeute (2007), Muslims in Prison (2005), Blacks and Britannity (2001), Haven or Hell: Asylum Policy and Refugees in Europe (1996).

More recently, with Khursheed Wadia, she wrote Muslim women and power: civic and political engagement in west European societies (forthcoming 2015, Palgrave Macmillan). She is an active member of various european networks of researchers on refugees and asylum.

Farhad Khosrokhavar is a French-Iranian sociologist and research Director at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), in Paris, France. After studying philosophy and sociology in France, he taught sociology at the bu-Ali University in Hamadan, Iran during the 1980’s. He was a visiting professor at yale University for spring 2008. His main fields of study are Islam in Europe, in particular the radical forms of religion and Iranian society after the Islamic revolution. He has published extensively, 17 books, some of which translated into ten different languages and more than 70 articles, mainly in French, a dozen in English. He has been a rockefeller fellow (1990), has given conferences in different European and American universities (Saint Antony’s college in Oxford britain,

Princeton, NyU, Columbia, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Harvard, University of Texas at Austin…) and many think tanks. He has frequently written for major French magazines. His latest books are: La Radicalisation (2014); The new Arab Revolutions that shook the World (2012); Avoir vingt ans au pays des ayatollahs. Vivre dans la ville sainte de Qom (2009).

Andrew Lam is an editor with New America Media and the author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora and East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres. His latest book, Birds of Paradise Lost, was published March, 2013.

Mariam Lam is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Southeast Asian Studies research Program at UC Riverside. She specializes in Southeast Asian and diasporic literary and visual cultures, and Viet Nam. She has secondary interests in Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines. She researches in global cultural studies, postcolonial criticism, gender and sexuality, cinema, translation, tourism, community politics, media and educational development, and academic disciplinarity. She is founding co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies (UC Press). Publications include Vietnamese Americans: Lessons in American History (2001; 2004), Southeast Asian/American Studies (positions Winter 2012, Duke UP), and the forthcoming monograph Not Coming to Terms: Viet Nam, Post-Trauma and Cultural Politics (Duke UP).

Jean-Michel Landry is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, berkeley. His doctoral research inquires into the life of shia sharia law in contemporary Lebanon. He is currently an associated scholar (doctorant associé) at beirut’s Institut Français du Proche-Orient as well as a research fellow at the Orient Institute—beirut. Prior to study Islamic Law in Lebanon, he conducted research in Michel Foucault’s archives in Caen (France) as well as in the russian State Archives in Moscow. These archival inquiries resulted in a series of articles on post-structuralist theory and literary practices in russia, published in academic journals both in French and in English. Jean-Michel holds a b.A and a M.A. in Anthropology from Université Laval (Québec City, Canada). He intervenes regularly in Canadian newspapers (La Presse, Le Devoir) as well as on Première Chaîne, the radio network of the Canadian broadcasting Corporation.

James Lee, Ph.D., UC Irvine, is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and English, and chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at UCI. He is the author of Urban Triage: race and the Fictions of Multiculturalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2004), and most recently guest editor of a special issue of Amerasia Journal on the state of illness and disability in Asian America. he is also an ordained episcopal priest. Dr. Lee provides critical analysis of the intersections of race and religion to the project, with particular attention to the Asian American experience. he brings his expertise in Asian American culture and immigration to our interpretation to these festivals and is in charge of communication with journalist and community activist consultants on the ground, particularly during the Manzanar portion of the project.

Amanda J. Lucia, Associate Professor, UCR, is a Co-Director of ISIR and the RIDAGA Global Festivals Humanities Studio. Her research engages American religions and hinduism by focusing on religious encounters between North Americans and South Asians since the early-19th century. Her first book, Reflections of Amma: Devotees  in a Global Embrace (UC Press, 2014) investigates a contemporary guru movement through the ethnographic accounts of devotees. Lucia’s current book project, American Yogis: Play, Representation, and Authenticity is a study of American metaphysical spirituality through yoga festivals in the United States. After earning a bA in religion and India Studies at Indiana University, she completed her MA and PhD in the History of religions at the The University of Chicago. Her current interests include guru authority and sexuality, the logics of bricolage spirituality, and the politics of cultural representation.

Seloua Luste Boulbina holds Ph.D.’s in Political Science and Philosophy. A specialist in Tocqueville, Mill, and Caribbean philosophy, she is Program Director at the College International de Philosophie in Paris. Her publications include Singe De Kafka (2008) and special issues of “rue Descartes” on topics related to postcolonial studies and migration.

Saba Mahmood focuses on the relationship between religious and secular politics in postcolonial societies with special attention to issues  of sovereignty, subject formation, law, and gender/sexuality. Her work is best known for its interrogation of liberal assumptions about the proper boundary between ethics and politics, freedom and unfreedom, the religious and the secular, and agency and submission. Currently  she is working on questions of political violence and survival, with a focus on Sunni-Shia relations in South Asia and the Middle East. For  her collaborative research project funded by the Luce Foundation, see

Shahab Malik is an Anthropology doctoral candidate at the University of California, riverside. His dissertation research concerns the complex ways shari’a is renegotiated among American Imams trained at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Over the last four years Shahab has travelled between Cairo and California researching the educational training of Imams in the context of culture, politics, economics and its effects on Islamic practice. Shahab has received the Chancellors Distinguished Fellowship, the UCr Distinguished Service Award, and is the Graduate research Fellow with Shari’a revoiced.

Ziba Mir-Hosseini is a legal anthropologist, specializing in Islamic law, gender and development. She has a bA in Sociology from Tehran University (1974) and a PhD in Social Anthropology from University of Cambridge (1980). She is Professorial research Associate at the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, University of London. She has held numerous research fellowships and visiting professorships, including a Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu berlin (2004-5), and Hauser Global Law Visiting Professor at New York University (2002-8). Dr.

Mir-Hosseini is a founding member of Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family.

Kathleen M. Moore is professor and chair of the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa barbara. Moore teaches courses on religious liberty, Islam in America, and Muslim diasporas and the law. Her publications appear in The Oxford Handbook of American Islam, The Cambridge Companion to American Islam and The routledge Handbook of Islam in the West. Her books include The Unfamiliar Abode: Islamic Law in the United States and britain (Oxford University Press, 2010), Muslim Women in America: Challenges facing Islamic Identity Today (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Al-Mughtaribun: American Law and the Transformation of Muslim Life in America (SUNy Press, 1995).

Karima Ramdani holds a PH.D. in Political Science, Université Vincennes- Saint-Denis, Paris 8, CrESPPA/GTM, Political Theory. She works on the processes of political subjectivity among Muslims during the colonial and post-colonial periods. She is particularly interested in the relation between Culture and Politics and the processes of identification and resistance among the descendants of migrants. She wants to deconstruct the representations about Muslims, especially Muslim women, by intersecting gender, class, and sexuality.

Angilee Shah is the social media manager at Public radio International. She has spent most of her career writing long pieces (for magazines) and short posts (on Twitter) about politics and culture. She has reported from across Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and on diverse cultures across the US, from Southern California to Minneapolis. She is the co-editor of Chinese Characters (UC Press, 2012) and a consulting editor to the Journal of Asian Studies.

Daisy Vargas holds a Master’s degree from the University of Denver in religious Studies and is completing her doctoral studies at UC Riverside. Her expertise is in transnational immigrant communities, and the negotiation of national and cultural identity through religious practice. Ms. Vargas has researched the use of indigenous culture in Chicana spiritual practices. her current research examines United States histories of immigration, race, and gender through the lens of religious performance in Latin@ communities. Her work considers the ways in which Latin@ religious practices shape concepts of assimilation and citizenship, as well as how they are informed by American spiritualism. Her dissertation traces the history of Latino religions, political surveillance, legality and the law in the 20th century. Ms. Vargas serves as ethnographic field researcher for the ISIr festivals project, and is co-director (with Hughes) of the Day of the Dead humanities lab.

Françoise Vergès moved to the United States in 1983, after working as a journalist and editor in France in the context of the French feminist mouvement – notably for the journal Des Femmes en movement and for the publishing house Des femmes. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and Women’s studies with summa cum laude from the University of California, in San Diego, and a PhD in Political sciences from berkeley University in 1995. Her thesis entitled Monsters and Revolutionaries, Colonial Family Romance is published by Duke University Press (1999). She then taught at Sussex University and at Goldsmiths College in the UK and presently holds the Chair « Global South(s) » at the Collège d’études mondiales/FMSHFrançoise Vergès has collaborated on a number of projects outside of her academic duties: from 2003 to 2010 she elaborated the cultural and scientific program of the Maison des civilisations et de l’unité réunionnaise (House of Civilizations and of La réunion’s Unity), a museum project created in La réunion, and from 2009 to 2012 she headed the French Committee for the remembrance and History of Slavery. She has published extensively on postcolonial theory, creolization, psychoanalysis, slavery and the economy of predation. She has also wrote two movies on the great Caribbean authors Aimé Césaire and Maryse Condé (both directed by Jérôme-Cécile Auffret) and organized as an independent curator the exhibition L’esclave au Louvre: une humanité invisible at the Louvre in Paris in 2013. Her most recent publications include: Exposer l’esclavage: méthodologies et pratiques (Paris: Africultures, 2013); L’Homme prédateur. Ce que nous enseigne l’esclavage sur notre temps (Paris: Albin Michel, 2011); Ruptures postcoloniales (with N. bancel, F. bernault, P. blanchard, A. boubakeur and A. Mbembe (Paris: La Découverte, 2010).

Michel Wieviorka is a French sociologist whose main works are on violence, terrorism, racism, social movements and the theory of social change. Together with Alain Touraine and François Dubet, he developed the method called “intervention sociologique”, which aims at understanding the subjective rationale of actors in the context of largersocial conflicts. Wieviorka was the director of the Centre d’Analyses et d’Interventions Sociologique (CADIS) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Wieviorka is the founder and editor of the sociological journal Le Monde des Debatsand, with Georges balandier, edits the Cahiers internationaux de sociologie. He is the President of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris and the founder of the Collège d’études mondiales. Among his latest books: Le Front national, entre extrémisme, populisme et démocratie (2013); L’impératif numérique ou La nouvelle ère des sciences humaines et sociales? (2013), L’Antisémitisme expliqué aux jeunes (2014); Retour au sens: pour en finir avec le déclinisme (2015).

Toby Volkman is Director of Policy Initiatives and Secretary at the Henry Luce Foundation in New york, where she is primarily responsible for the Henry r. Luce Initiative on religion and International Affairs. This initiative was launched in 2005 to deepen American understanding of the role of religion in the international arena, and to connect scholarly, media and policy communities working on these issues. Prior to joining the Luce Foundation, Toby worked with the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program, where she edited Origins, Journeys and Returns: Social Justice in International Higher Education (SSrC 2009). As a program officer at the Ford Foundation in the 1990s she developed “Crossing borders,” an initiative to revitalize the field of area studies. She has also served as director of the South and Southeast Asia Programs at the Social Science research Council, and as deputy provost at the New School (both in New york City). A cultural anthropologist with a Ph.D. from Cornell University, she has written about Indonesia, ethnographic film, and the globalization of kinship through transnational adoption.

David Theo Goldberg, Ph.D., is the Director of the University of California Humanities research Institute, and the Executive Director of the Digital Media & Learning research Hub. He holds faculty appointments as Professor of Comparative Literature, Anthropology, and Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine. He has authored numerous books, including Are We All Postracial Yet? (2015); The Threat of Race (2008); The Racial State (2002); Racial Subjects: Writing on Race in America (1997); Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning (1993); and Ethical Theory and Social Issues: Historical Texts and Contemporary Readings (1989/1995). He has also edited or co-edited many volumes, including A Companion to Gender Studies (2005); A Companion to Racial and Ethnic Studies (2002); Between Law and Culture: Relocating Legal Studies (2002); Relocating Postcolonialism (2002); Race Critical Theories: Text and Context (2001); Multiculturalism: A Critical Reader (1994); Jewish Identity (1993); and Anatomy of Racism (1990).

Kelly Anne Brown with a PhD in Literature from UC Santa Cruz (2011), Kelly’s scholarly training is in modernist and  avant-garde  literature and art from between the two world wars. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Kelly worked in public policy and program administration for children and family programs at the city, county, and state levels of California government. A “hybrid” academic working at UCHRI since 2012, Kelly lives and breathes systemwide humanities program development while also pursuing her scholarly interests in public humanities and collaborative research.

Anna Finn is a PhD candidate in the department of English at UCI.   She specializes in 19th and 20th century anglophone poetics, Irish studies, temporality studies, and theories and histories of prosody. Her dissertation questions the use of time standardization as a blanket explanation for modernist formal experimentation both by considering neglected histories of temporal prosody and by emphasizing the complex and global process of time regulation and distribution. She is UCHRI’s research and administrative liaison to the residential research Groups, and provides research support for David Theo Goldberg and UCHRI’s programming initiatives, especially Humanists@Work.