PROJECTS 2018-10-03T09:50:43+00:00

The Center fosters faculty-led projects that connect scholars and humanists across traditional academic departmental boundaries and disciplinary methods.

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The term “art public” is a historically contested area of the humanities. The ideal viewer, connoisseurial dilettante, and refined listener are evoked as cultural codes of social distinction. According to Pierre Bourdieu’s writing on “habitus,” taste cultures ingrain social systems sustained by institutional pillars of fine art, such as: museums, archives, sound repositories, and music conservatories. In the Inland Empire, a region defined by its transnational labor histories, economic hardship, agricultural production, and post-industrial landscape, the exhibition infrastructure is lagging placing more significance on alternative art spaces. How will the establishment of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano art, history and industry (or “The Cheech”) stand to redefine the city as an art capital?

To understand this rearticulation of Riverside as a Chicano art steward, this faculty project will stage public dialogues and engage in archive recovery initiatives to document the historical recesses of an “arte público” in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. What were the longstanding creative networks, social collaborations, and art scenes in the Inland Empire and how will they conjoin, reshape, or collapse as a result of this tourist attraction? By using a socially engaged method, this interdisciplinary research group brings forth new perspectives into art publics from the vestige of visual arts, performance, music, education and policy and will rethink LA’s status as a cosmopolitan art center. Findings will be presented in different forums over the academic year organized in conjunction with Riverside Art Museum and San Bernardino Garcia Center for the Arts.

Organizer: Robb Hernández (English)

Participants: Xochitl Chávez (Ethnomusicology), Francisco Pedraza (Public Policy/Political Science), Louie Rodriguez (Education), and Eric Romero (Graduate Student, Education).

For questions about this project and for more information, contact Robb Hernández at

The “Blackness Unbound” project aims to generate a vibrant and sustainable intellectual space at UCR for those engaged in the scholarly study and analysis of the complexities and multiplicities of Black Diasporas. This multi-disciplinary workgroup will host a year of interdisciplinary programming that will act as a center of gravity for Black Studies at UCR, focused on building a climate that encourages those engaged in a broadly defined Black Studies to come together around undergraduate and graduate training, research opportunities, and faculty collaboration at UCR. We believe that by tapping into the vast intellectual, creative, and professional resources on campus and the surrounding areas, UCR can become recognized as a nexus of Black Diaspora Studies both nationally and internationally.

The title, “Blackness Unbound – Critical Black Diaspora Studies,” is meant to be a thematic container, one which provokes the unbound and multiple possibilities for engagement and discourse that exist across the UCR campus. The theme also invokes the various and diverse communities of scholars whose work addresses contemporary Black experiences via an array of analytical, artistic, and critically engaged angles. We recognize the potential for collaboration across several departments on campus, including, but not limited to, Theater, Performance Studies, Critical Dance Studies, History, Anthropology, Media and Cultural Studies, Education, Art, Gender and Sexuality, and Sociology.

Our overarching questions include but are not limited to:

  1. How might Black insurgent and revolutionary queer perspectives enable critiques of institutionalized discourses of diversity, and construct viable spaces for relevant interventions and creative exchanges?
  2. How can we cultivate Black Studies programming that critically engages social phenomena that profoundly impact experiences of Black people in the diaspora (e.g. racist and anti-Black criminalization, death by preventable disease, police brutality, AIDS/HIV infection, exposure to environmental toxins, punitive schooling, and intergenerational impoverishment)?
  3. How can we pragmatically engage and challenge the assumed genealogies of Black radical traditions that inform contemporary Black Studies?

We propose a multi-pronged approach to programming that includes faculty-led seminars and workshops, a series of campus visits from renowned scholars and artists focusing on the study of Black diasporas and experiences, and brown bag lunches highlighting graduate student works-inprogress. While the brown bag meetings foster graduate/faculty mentor relationships on campus, talks by visiting artists and scholars will be open to all UCR students and the larger public in
order to cultivate substantive exchanges with local and regional communities. Proposed seminars will bring together members of the campus community invested in Black Studies around shared readings, participatory workshops, and in-person small group dialogues. Additionally, we will extend the invitation for participation in seminars to graduate students and interested UCR staff. Seminar/workshop topics will include contextualizing the Black experience with regards to citizenship, the positionality of blackness in multiracial or diverse spaces, the relevance and impact of performance studies and the arts in the Black diaspora, and the effects (and affects) of gendered and queer critiques of Black radicalism.

“Blackness Unbound – Critical Black Diaspora Studies” will thus develop an intellectual space that supports the recruitment of undergraduates interested in Black diaspora studies into graduate programs at UCR. The project will also attract and support faculty whose work intersects with the project themes, and will thereby enhance our collective capacity to recruit graduate students with corresponding research interests. We are excited to expand on pre-existing efforts focused
on Black Studies and the unique infrastructure of UCR in a way that will position our campus as a premier space for Critical Black Diaspora Studies.

Participants include:

Anthony R Jerry, Anthropology
Joao Costa Vargas, Anthropology
Dylan E. Rodriguez, Department of Media and Cultural Studies
Taisha Paggett, Dance
Imani Johnson, Dance
Natasha McPherson, History
Ni’Ja Whitson, Dance
Donatella Galella, Theatre, Film, and Digital Production
Worku Nida, Anthropology
Vorris Nunley, English
Carolyn Murray, Psychology
Keith Harris, English
Rickerby Hinds, Theatre, Film, and Digital Production
Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi, History
Jody Benjamin, History
Eddie Comeaux, Education
Yolanda Moses, Anthropology
Augustine Kposowa, Sociology
Anthea Kraut, Dance
John Jennings, Media and Cultural Studies

For questions or more information, contact Anthony Jerry

Is capital secular? How can the academic study of religion help re-frame the relationship between political economy and theories of secularity? How do these concepts transform when approached from the geographical and methodological vantages normally absent in secularism studies? In this workshop, participants will be invited to test the limits and horizons of our frameworks for considering the relationship between capital and the secular. Specifically, the group seeks to advance and shift this conversation about the secular’s difference, and the difference the secular makes, by building upon recent scholarship in the history and anthropology of late capitalism. The last decade has produced renewed and severe challenges to the “putative transparency” of secularism and to the exceptional neutrality of capitalism. A rich conversation elaborates the secular as a discourse that is both constituted by, and productive of, its religious foil (e.g. Asad 2003; Taylor 2007; Fessenden 2007; Jakobsen and Pellegrini, eds. 2008; Asad et. al. 2008; Cady and Fessenden, eds, 2013). Another set of conversations, which cross-cuts humanities fields, is increasingly intent on situating capitalism as a specific, contingent historical and anthropological formation which is not historically given nor politically impartial (Rudnyckyj 2010; Coleman 2011; Graeber 2011; Brown 2015; Beckert and Rockman 2016; Cox 2016; Day 2017; Koenigs 2018; Harvey 2018). These literatures, despite their overlapping themes of questioning nonpartisan foundations and of debunking the ascent of a rational subject, remain largely detached from one another. They tend to construct their respective categories–the secular and capital–as independently articulated projects of modernity.

This exploratory two-day workshop would facilitate new lines of interdisciplinary inquiry into the secular and capital in their entangled constitution, their political imbrication, and their coeval social formations. The aim is to workshop position pieces already prepared by participants on key terms useful in this intervention. The outcome would be a polished coauthored piece for a special roundtable issue of the Journal of the American Academy of

Participants include:
Matthew King, UC Riverside
Lucia Hulsether, Yale
Rebecca Bartel, San Diego State University
Elayne Oliphant, New York University
Rosemary R. Corbett, Bard College
Michael Ralph, NYU
Josef Sorett, Columbia University
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University

For questions or more information, contact Matthew King

This new project will host a series of six talks and/or workshops in 2017-18 with guest scholars and artists for investigating interdisciplinary connections between the arts, technology, and society. By examining the influence of technology on how we think and what we create, the project aims to extend existing scholarship at UCR and to explore new methodologies and new kinds of research questions in the context of digital humanities. The idea of practice-based research and the emergence of entirely new fields of scholarship and artistic creation result in significant changes on how concepts are formulated in disciplines of the humanities. The speakers/presenters are contemporary scholars and artists engaging cutting-edge research on technology in their own work and collaborative environment, including a scholar on body/media technologies, a choreographer, a visual/digital media artist, a composer/digital sound scholar, an author/game designer and a performer/theater director. The talks/workshops will be organized in collaboration with the departments of Dance, Theater/Film/Digital Production, Art History, Media and Cultural Studies and Music, aiming to interact with ongoing research from faculty and students, and addressing specific needs of the departments. The overall goal of the project is to promote collaboration and the development of interdisciplinary research at UCR that critically inquires the relevance of various technologies in artistic scholarship and creation.


November 1, 2017: Harmony Bench
On the Rails: A data visualization approach to 20th century dance touring

January 24, 2018: Matthew McCray
Media in Performance Workshop

April 21, 2018: Chris Chafe & Scott Oshiro
Online Jammin’

April 30, 2018: Grisha Coleman
Listening as the Land Talks Back

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Paulo C. Chagas (Music)
Jeanette Kohl (Art History)
Erith Jaffe-Berg (Theater, Film, and Digital Production)
Anthea Kraut (Dance)
Linda Tomko (Dance)
Taisha Paggett (Dance)

The UCR Political Economy Seminar provides a venue for graduate students and faculty from UCR and elsewhere to engage actively in interdisciplinary and state of the art research in political economy.

Two of the key pillars of the post-war economic order are under threat. In the wake of World War II, the United States and its Western allies built an international institutional regime premised upon greater political and economic cooperation and interdependence. The Bretton Woods Institutions and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade were perhaps the two key institutional bodies charged with making these a reality. On the heels of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression and “secular stagnation,” we are now seeing a backlash against globalization in the form of rising economic protectionism and political nationalism. Populist, antiglobalization, and anti-immigration parties in both Europe and the United States are riding a wave of voter frustration with the market-driven global economic architecture, and are calling for an end to trade and financial globalization, to international migration and to the very institutions that provided the legal and administrative foundations of the post-war order. The dilemmas of and struggles over the governance and reform of this increasingly fragile, crisis-ridden world order will define the social, economic and political terrain of the twenty first century. The seminar’s goal is to bring the collective expertise at UCR with that at other institutions to bear on these

Over the next year, the Political Economy seminar will host several speakers and a one-day conference on “Globalization and the rise of Right-Wing Populism.” For questions, or if you would like to present your work at the seminar, please contact the organizers, Jana Grittersova ( and Matthew C Mahutga (

More details at

(re)Draft workshop awards support focused conversations that help faculty revise and develop drafts for publication. Awards underwrite revision “feedback” sessions that pair CHASS faculty with an external reader who, along with a small group of local participants, provide critical commentary and analysis to assist authors with refining their works in progress.

Katja M. Guenther: Sheltering Inequality: Power and Resistance in the Lives of Shelter Animals

Jennifer Hughes: Contagion and the Sacred in Mexico

Jacqueline Shea Murphy: Choreographing Resurgence: Indigenous Dance Artists (Re)Making New Worlds

Hyejin Nah: Mapucheando (Mapuche-ing): Activating Urban Mapuche Language and Sovereignty

This humanities project responds to the question: how can we work together across disciplines and colleges to more effectively address urgent environmental and social concerns that have direct impact on human health and sustainability? Our aim is to develop a unique format to promote public understanding and engagement with intersectional sustainability that brings together issues of ecology and social justice. This project brings together environmental sustainability and gender justice through the staging of a musical, Princess Ten Ten and the Dark Skies, featuring a gender-non-conforming heroine who unites people to oppose the toxic effects of air pollution and gender-based bullying.

Planned programming includes the performance of the Princess Ten Ten and the Dark Skies musical along with two educational workshops on air pollution and gender-based bullying. This program is planned for end of fall quarter. The Gluck Program will oversee community outreach and bring elementary school students to the musical performance, and then participate in the educational workshops. The musical and workshops will integrate theater and multimedia animation, and will become a professional development opportunity for MCS and TFDP graduate and undergraduate students.

Project participants include:

Setsu Shigematsu, Media and Cultural Studies,
Francesca Hopkins, Climate Change and Sustainability,
Ying-Hsuan Lin, Environmental Toxicology,
Tamara Ho, Gender and Sexuality Studies,
Donatella Gallela, Theater, Film and Digital Production and Dramaturg,
Chari Arespacochaga, Director and Theater Educator
Winter Lawson, undergraduate, UCR

For questions or more information, contact Setsu Shigematsu,

Why Science Studies? Our world is increasingly technoscientific, mediated by technical knowledge and operations. Scholars of science and technology (STS) work in the places where people, tools and knowledge meet. STS is, consequently, an interdisciplinary collaborative field at its very core. STS offers a lens for understanding the production of social and biological difference, and is engaged with feminist and anti-racist theory. Scholars active in the field today critically engage with sustainability, environmental toxicity, and the science and politics of urban infrastructure. STS scholars expand our understanding of innovation and speculative futures.

The Science Studies Workshop at UCR builds bridges across the sciences and humanities, with a public-facing orientation. Workshop participants include faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars across the humanities, social sciences, the School of Medicine, Engineering, and the natural sciences. When it began in Fall 2014, Science Studies was a unique forum for faculty and researchers across UCR to meet and discuss issues related to science and society. Thanks, in part, to this intellectual space, multiple collaborations are now well established across campus. Science Studies group members are key leaders in UCR Medical and Health Humanities (MHH,) Science Fiction and Cultures of Science (SFCS,) Bridging Regional Ecology, Aerosolized Toxins, and Health Effects (BREATHE,) and the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFE.) Through connections made at the Science Studies Workshop, members initiated and participated in STS-related faculty recruitment, and UCR has gained several new faculty members working in this area (Fuson Wang, English; Gloria Kim, Media & Cultural Studies; Philipp Lehmann and Antoine Lentacker, History.)


Dana Simmons, History
Chikako Takeshita, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Sherryl Vint, English
David Lo, School of Medicine
Norm Ellstrand, Botany
Maile Arvin, Ethnic Studies
Susan Zeiger, English
Drew Story, Engineering
Kyle Harp, Anthropology
Stina Atteberry, English

More details at

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