The Center is pleased to announce the following 2023-24 Conferences & Symposia award winners:

A Panoply of Colors, A World of Materials: Global Connections of Early Modern Dyes
Spring 2024

Yong Cho (History of Art), Jody Benjamin (History), Savannah Esquivel (History of Art), Fatima Quraishi (History of Art)

This UCR conference will bring together a leading group of scholars studying dyes and related materials to shed light upon the vast and entangled networks that constituted a global world of colors. While this conference takes indigo as the primary case study, the goal of this conference is to engage with the transcultural histories of other prominent colorants that circulated globally and appeared alongside textiles. The conference will be divided into three thematic sessions. The first, “Origins,” focuses on labor, examining knowledge of cultivating dyes and textile materials as both an embodied and intellectual practice. The second, “Mobility,” telescopes out to examine dyes in a global, connected world, charting the trajectories of materials and technologies across maritime and overland trade routes. Finally, the third theme, “Patterns of Use,” considers vibrantly colored dyed fabrics as they enfolded bodies and draped over structures. The conference will conclude with a tour of the UCR Botanical Garden.

Embodying Caste, Re-Casting the Body
Spring 2024

Anusha Kedhar (Dance), Sammitha Sreevathsa (PhD Candidate, Dance)

*Also awarded a UCHRI Conference Grant

This interdisciplinary conference brings together studies of caste, which have historically been the remit of the social sciences, with discourses of the body, which are rooted in the arts and humanities, to think about the body as a site of caste violence and caste reproduction as well as a site of refuge and healing from caste oppression. While the connections between caste and the body are rooted in the origins of the caste system, there has been little scholarly overlap between disciplines that study caste and disciplines that study the body. This conference will address this gap by featuring scholars from Religious Studies, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, History, and Dance Studies as well as caste-oppressed performers and activists from the US and India. Bridging the arts and humanities with the social sciences, it aims, in the short term, to introduce audiences to the problem of caste from multiple disciplinary points of view. In the long term, the goal is to spark other scholars in humanistic fields to consider the intersections of caste and the body in their work.

Beyond “Best Practices”: Proliferating Memory Work through Community-Grounded Oral History
Spring 2024

Crystal Mun-hye Baik (Gender & Sexuality Studies)

This symposium convenes an interdisciplinary research team of scholars (in education, gender and sexuality studies, Indigenous studies, performance studies, information studies, disability studies), community archivists, and independent oral historians to discuss community-grounded approaches to oral history with the UCR campus and broader public. Conceived by UCR’s Memory & Resistance Laboratory (MEM-RES) in collaboration with Separated: An Oral History Project, this gathering will be the research team’s first opportunity to share preliminary findings from an 8-month study that examines how practitioners across cultural contexts are engaging oral history in ways that challenge assumptions reproduced by professional bodies like the Oral History Association (OHA). This convening will seed a high-impact project: the development of a community-centered, location-sensitive toolkit that will serve as an alternative guide to OHA’s generalizable “best practice” policies.