Congratulations to Jody Benjamin (History), recipient of a UCHRI Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop award for his project: The Texture of Change: Cloth, Commerce and History in Western Africa, 1700–1850.
Additional kudos for two UCR graduate students who have received Graduate Student Dissertation Support Grants from UCHRI:
Mackenzie Gregg: Plagues that Fascinate: Literary Leprosy and Queer Affect in the Victorian Fin de Siècle
Hannah Manshel: The Freedom of a Broken Law
Congratulations to CIS Senior Fellow Stephen Sohn (English), recipient of a 2018 NEH Summer Stipend for his project: The Korean War (1950-53) in Poetry by Korean Americans. NEH Summer Stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. The fellowship sponsors continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months.
Stephen Sohn, a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral fellow (2006-2007), has edited or co-edited a number of different works and special issues, including Transnational Asian American Literature: Sites and Transits (Temple University Press, 2006); Studies in the Literary Imagination (SLI, Vol. 37.1, Spring 2004) on Asian American Literature; MELUS (Winter 2008) on the topic of “Alien/Asian”; and Modern Fiction Studies on the topic of “Theorizing Asian American Fiction” (2010). Read More
Loubna Qutami (Ethnic Studies) has been awarded a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley. Congratulations! Loubna, a recent recipient of a CIS Humanities Graduate Student Research award, will complete her dissertation and graduate in June. She has completed a Masters of Arts degree in the College of Ethnic Studies: Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at San Francisco State University. Her Master’s Thesis Transnational Belonging: Palestinian Youth Searching for Home interrogates the imagined and real boundaries impacting transnational Palestinian youth movements and belonging to homeland. Her MA thesis challenges the bonds of text on nationalism, Diaspora, displacement, erasure, refugee-hood, exile and placelessness by situating the topics in a critical race and resistance lens and using activist ethnographic methods. Read More
If you’ve ever wondered what it means to be human, what our purpose is in the world, and why things happen the way they do, you’re not alone. That’s the mission of the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside — to encourage and nurture humanities-related inquiry and discussion.
“The academic disciplines referred to as ‘the humanities’ are often seen as either indulgences or extras in a university setting, which is more likely to be associated with research and innovation in science and technology,” said Georgia Warnke, director of the Center. “Yet the humanities remind us of the point of these endeavors.
“Why try to cure disease unless we think healthy human life has meaning, and where should we seriously explore what that meaning is except in such fields as philosophy, literature and studies of the creative arts?”
An unprecedented four-day symposium hosted by the University of California, Riverside will spotlight Native American artists whose work explores aspects of the contemporary Native American experience.
Held Nov. 1-4, “Neo Native: Toward New Mythologies” further brings to life the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts’ 40-work exhibition of the same name, which opened in June at the Alta Loma-based gallery.
The exhibition, curated by Navajo painter Tony Abeyta, includes pieces from 11 contemporary artists with Native American tribal affiliations, including ceramicists, painters, photographers, printmakers, and sculptors.
The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) is an annual event held at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee that supports the sharing and collaboration of national and international graduate student research across disciplines.
Urban development. Access to information technologies. Voting districts. Drone warfare. The asymmetrical identifies a lack of equivalence that is increasingly characteristic of contemporary economic, material, political, and visual relations. Asymmetry is often at the surface of history: where sustained and repeated practices of inequality manifest as image. The asymmetrical is also an aesthetic that registers imbalance and refuses a call to order. The 2018 Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) asks how asymmetry and the asymmetrical can be used to interpret sites of conflict and complicate traditional ideas of equivalence, balance, and organization.
Emerging scholars in the humanities, arts, and humanistic sciences are invited to present work that broadens our current understanding of asymmetry and how it engages with culture, theory, and society. What are critical examples of asymmetrical development? How does the asymmetrical work in literature, the visual arts, and performance? What theoretical frameworks inform our understandings of the asymmetrical? How does asymmetry draw attention to patterns of inequality? When should we strive for asymmetry?
Deadline to apply is December 1, 2017
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society-sponsored research group Migration and Conflict Across the Mediterranean kickstarted their year-long project of examining Mediterranean topics on religious conflict and toleration and migration through the arts and exile.
Organized by three UC Riverside professors — Professor of Literature & Performance and Chairman of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production Erith Jaffe-Berg; Professor of History Michele Salzman and Associate Professor of History Fariba Zarinebaf — the group met at the Center of Ideas and Society, where other professors, graduate students and undergraduate students discussed how the Mediterranean, a region known for its cultural contact and exchange, has handled issues specifically on religious conflict and negotiation.
The three professors organizing this research group have extensive works related to the Mediterranean region. Jaffe-Berg has examined the development of commedia dell’arte, an early Italian form of professional theatrical performance, and has researched how underrepresented cultural and religious groups of this same time period made theatre in Europe. Salzman researches how communities negotiate for social status and power though performance, and is currently writing a book on the third to seventh century crisis faced in the city of Rome titled, “The ‘Falls’ of Rome: The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity.” Lastly, Zarinebaf studies how the Mediterranean world is connected to the history of Istanbul and how the legal system of societies and empires developed to accommodate the diverse community in the pre-modern period.
The ability to speak two languages is considered a coveted social and professional advantage in an increasingly globalized society. Less frequently discussed, however, are the cognitive benefits that bilingualism offers to speakers.
According to the University of California, Riverside’s Judith Kroll, distinguished professor of psychology and director of UCR’s Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab, bilingualism’s consequences are evident over the entire life span. People who can speak more than one language develop “mental flexibility” that increases openness to new learning, while code-switching, the practice of alternating between multiple languages in a single conversation, becomes an act of cognitive athleticism.
“Some of the most dramatic consequences are seen in older adults,” Kroll said. “Studies show that while bilingualism doesn’t protect people against dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it does seem to protect them against the onset of the symptoms. On average, the age at which bilingual people present symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is roughly four to five years later than monolinguals.”
Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies speaker and former UC Riverside Professor, Jonathan Walton, was one of the thirty-one professors arrested on Thursday at the DACA protest in Harvard Square.
Before the arrests, several professors, one undocumented student, Massachusetts State Representative Marjorie C. Decker, and Memorial Church Minister Jonathan L. Walton spoke of the need to take action against the policy outside Massachusetts Hall to a crowd of roughly 300 students, faculty, and affiliates from five different universities. Khurana was also at the protest. Walton, who was later arrested, denounced the Trump administration in his remarks.
“We are here to say to the U.S. President, to his Attorney General, and to all the insecure leaders of this nation, that no human being is illegal,” Walton said.
Center for Ideas & Society affiliate, Daisy Vargas, is one of the six Ph.D. candidates in the Department of History who have won prestigious fellowships and grants totaling more than $200,000 this year. Daisy has worked on several projects at the Center including Religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs (RIDAGA) and Articul@s Autonm@s.
Daisy Vargas has been awarded $25,000 as one of 21 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows for 2017 at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The Newcombe Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values.
The grant will support completion of her dissertation, “Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.” The dissertation traces the history of Mexican religion, race and the law from the 19th century into contemporary times, positioning current legal debates about Mexican religion within a larger history of anti-Mexican and anti-Catholic attitudes in the United States.
Her research has taken her from immigrant religious festivals in California and Utah to archives in Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas. She also is conducting ongoing research on botanicas in Southern California and curanderismo (traditional Mexican healing and practices) in the 20th century. The latter has taken her to archives in Chicago and oral histories in South Texas.
Vargas recently was chosen to participate in the Young Scholars’ Symposium at the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, where she was chosen from a nationally competitive pool of late-stage doctoral students and junior faculty to present a chapter of her dissertation.
“Ms. Vargas is one of the top young scholars in the academic study of Latino religions in the United States, an important emerging field within the discipline of religious studies,” said Jennifer Scheper Hughes, associate professor of history and Vargas’ dissertation advisor. “Her dissertation examines the ways in which the law has engaged, framed, contested, and constrained Latino religions since the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo through the present. Her work is profoundly interdisciplinary, both archival and ethnographic.”
In a few short weeks, the University of California, Riverside will graduate its first cohort of students awarded the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF). UC Riverside was awarded a $500,000 grant in 2014 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the MMUF program on campus. The purpose of MMUF is to help diversify college and university faculty by mentoring and preparing undergraduate students for graduate school and academic positions.
“UCR’s participation in the MMUF program is a testament to the strength of our student body as a whole,” said Georgia Warnke, program coordinator for MMUF at UCR, and the director of Center for Ideas and Society. “We are especially proud of our graduating fellows, however. As individuals, they are extraordinarily accomplished; as our first cohort they have collectively established a legacy of great success for the fellows who follow them.”
The three students graduating this year are Jazmine Exford, Maria Liliana Ramirez, and Cynthia Romero. A fourth student, Ariana Elizalde, may finish her undergraduate work over the summer and will then take a gap year before applying to graduate school.
This post is the third installment of our thread on the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop (MMTW), a project that explores migration and mobility by developing artwork, exhibitions, performances and public interventions. In the first installment, anthropologist and writer Helen Faller talked to Susan Ossman, Artistic Director of MMTW and in part two, performance artist Priya Srinivasan reflected on movement.
The Hairpin (AB): Do you think that only legs can take you this far? And only four of them for that matter? Look at me, I have none, but I’ve been carried around by two-legged people and I crossed so many borders, and sometimes borders crossed me. If you stay long enough in one place, the borders will surely change. Nobody remembers this and acts as if they are eternal. Sometimes humans build enormous walls to mark the borders too, and make them real. Tell me, how did you get to this museum, to Amsterdam?The Golden Horse (OS): ‘Why’ is not a question to ask. Sometimes life seems like a chain of events you have no control over. There are decisions made elsewhere and you can be stuck in one place or rushed to another, and when asked afterwards if you had a plan, not to look a fool you just make up an answer.
My four legs may come handy when one needs to gallop. But that was never my story. I was born in the mind of a goldsmith and wrought in the flames of his workshop in Alexandria. I was made to accompany my master to his grave. But these origins did not define my destiny. Like you, I crossed several borders, but the first one to traverse was between life and death. From what I see you must know a thing or two about death. What’s that tarnish that spoils your shine? Gold does not rust…
The Hairpin (AB): Blood does. And I have seen more than my share. I have been used as deadly weapon more than once. A disenchanted princess slipped me from her silky hair, straight across the throat of her unsuspecting brother. She then had free reign to expand the territory of the kingdom and rename cities in her family’s honor. Humans love drawing lines with blood. I could tell you so many more stories about how I was caught up in battles about border lines before I was judged so precious that I had to give up an active life and become a part of this collection.
It was the moment that the sociologist from University of Amsterdam Olga Sezneva announced “I will be a talking artifact” while striking a pose in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam that I knew our collaboration would work and that I was in the right place. The whole group burst into laughter and we continued our work of live performance in the museum engaging with the objects in the museum and also inserting our own objects into the exhibits. I had recently joined the Moving Matters group and was excited to bring my movement practices to the group at Susan Ossman’s invitation. Although Susan had invited me to join the group in 2013 after reading my book Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor, I could not do so because I was actually “serially migrating” from California to Shanghai and then to Rotterdam. But in 2014 I joined the Motley Crue group of visual artists, scholars, writers, and performers from different parts of the world in Amsterdam at the Allard Peirson Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities.
The series, “Film for Thought,” is part of the Center for Ideas and Society’s Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies project. This two-year project will investigate issues surrounding economic inequality, access to higher education, religious identity and intolerance, and omitted or erased histories.
As the debut film in the series, “Daughters of the Dust” is co-sponsored by the UCR Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science program. The screening will be hosted at the Culver Center of the Arts, 3824 Main St., on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the May 12 screening and will include: Jayna Brown, UCR associate professor of ethnic studies; Paulette Brown-Hinds, editor-in-chief of IE Voice; and moderator Derek Burrill, associate professor of media and cultural studies.
Three Scholars, all associated with the Center for Ideas & Society, win Fulbright Grants.
Heidi Brevik-Zender will hold the 2017-18 visiting professorship at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she will do research for a book project exposing the role of women in 19th century French architecture.
Anthropologist Derick Fay will return to South Africa, where he has conducted extensive field studies since 1998, to investigate the relationships between conservation, law, and resource rights represented in the 2012 trial of three fishermen arrested in Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve.
Political scientist Ajay Verghese will spend a year in India to determine if increasing socioeconomic development is causing a decline in religious belief but an increase in religious practice, a form of secularization that is distinct from the Western world.
AN INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN OSSMAN #MMTW
Excerpt from an interview with Susan Ossman, Artistic Director of the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop, by Allegra Laboratory:
Helen: What is the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop?
Susan: The MMTW is a collective of artists and scholars who develop art together based on their shared experience of living in several countries. The project started in 2013 at a seminar where anthropologists and artists developed “creative responses” to my book Moving Matters, Paths of Serial Migration. Since then we have met in changing locations to address topics related to migration and mobility from our perspectives as “serial migrants” in art, exhibitions and performances. The MMTW grows through a process of progressive “inhabitations.” Just like a serial migrant, it settles into one country after another. We have traveled to California, France, the Netherlands and Romania. Berlin is coming up in June.
Heidi Brevik-Zender (Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature) has been selected for a 2017-18 Fulbright US Scholar Award. She will hold the Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professorship at University of Aberdeen, where she will be working on a book-length research project on women, architecture, and the built environment in France in the 19th century.
Learn more about Professor Brevik-Zender and her work at complitforlang.ucr.edu.
The Critical Studies Collective, a UC faculty and graduate student research initiative, received a substantial UCOP award to collaborate across five UCs to develop curricula, symposia, and a website, all devoted to Critical Refugee Studies. UCR’s Lan Duong (Media and Cultural Studies), founding member and co-organizer of the collective, hosted theTowards a Critical Refugee Studies Symposium with support from the Center for Ideas and Society in 2016. Members of the collective are also currently organizing an anthology of key papers.
Ajay Verghese, an Assistant Professor of Political Science and current Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at UC Riverside, has received a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award to fund nine months of research in India. Dr. Verghese will be studying how globalization and modernization are impacting religious communities and identity in contemporary India.
Learn more about Professor Verghese and his work at politicalscience.ucr.edu.
Plan to attend the second annual Digital Humanities Infrastructure Symposium, February 23-24! The digital humanities represent the cutting edge of humanities research and instruction, but they also represent a fundamental shift in the paradigm of humanities, from the model of the lone scholar to that of the interconnected team; and from the model of the durable paper publication to that of the digital, ephemeral product. Since the infrastructure (including staff, resources, and services) necessary to support these new models are very different from those required by the old models, academic partners are being challenged to evolve rapidly to support those scholars, in ways that are efficient and sustainable.
UCR Today article by Mojgan Sherkat on this year’s Emory Elliott Book Award winner, Professor Anthea Kraut
“It is truly an honor to be recognized in this way by my own colleagues at UCR,” Kraut said. “I’m also very fortunate in that I got to benefit from Emory’s mentorship while he was still with us, and I’m so moved to play a role in carrying on his formidable legacy.”
About the book
“Choreographing Copyright” is a new historical and cultural analysis of U.S. dance-makers’ investment in intellectual property rights. The book reconstructs efforts to win copyright protection for choreography and shows how dancers have embraced intellectual property rights as a means to both consolidate and contest racial and gender power.
Drawing on legal studies, critical race studies, gender studies, American dance history, and cultural studies of copyright, and through a series of case studies, Kraut offers fresh insight into the power dynamics of authorship and ownership in dance in the United States from the late 19th century to the early 21st century.
“Dr. Rudolph is an art historian whose research focuses on the art of Medieval Europe, with special attention to the role of visual expression in the articulation of intellectual and theological concepts, and their dissemination into the broader culture. As a medievalist, Rudolph’s work is lauded not only for its historical rigor, but also for its conceptual daring and theoretical sophistication. Rudolph is known to be a scholar who fearlessly asks the big questions. He also possesses the rare gift of being able to make complex and historically distant imagery clear and compelling to a twenty-first century audiences.”
UCR’s Rickerby Hinds has been nominated for a NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director on his play “Dreamscape.”
Dreamscape”, a riveting race-related, hip-hop production depicting the death of a 19-year-old young lady killed by a local police department and examined by a dispassionate County Coroner leads in Local nominations with six – Best Choreographer, Best Director, Best Female Lead, Best Male Lead, Best Playwright and Best Producer. Keena Ferguson’s exceptional one person show “Unbranded” follows with five nominations – Best Director, Best Lighting, Best Playwright, Best Sound, and Best One Person Show. Also with five nominations is Patricia Cuffie Jones’ “Love So Deep” for Best Lead Male and Best Lead Female plus a first-time ever in the history of the NAACP Theatre in which there is a 3-way tie for Best Supporting Female in the same production. Rounding out the local category with four nominations is the lively production of “Recorded in Hollywood”, performed at the Lillian Theatre – Best Musical Director, Best Ensemble and Best Director for Denise Dowse, a previous NAACP Theatre Award winner.
Jared Katz (UCR Anthropology PhD candidate) developed the Maya Music Project to help engage and educate summer school students in archaeology and ancient Mayan culture. The project was funded by the Center for Ideas and Society and the UC Public Scholars Program, a collaborate grant designed to support & develop community internships.