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

Click the + links below to learn more about current research groups.

Since 2015, the Committee for African Studies has overseen the increasing awareness of Africa-related programming at UCR. Project events bring together the increasing number of faculty studying Africa to build community and to raise the profile of African Studies at UCR. The primary goal in 2020-2021 is to nurture an intellectual community among African Studies faculty and graduate students by hosting a brown-bag series and guest lecturers, convening of the Working Group of African Political Economy, and supporting the Inland Empire’s Ultimate Doundounba Festival.
Committee Members
Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi, Assistant Professor, History
Jody Benjamin, Assistant Professor, History
Kim Yi Dionne, Associate Professor, Political Science
Derick Fay, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Anthonia Kalu, Professor, Comparative Languages and Lit./Gender and Sexuality Studies
Kelechi Kalu, Professor, Political Science
Yolanda Moses, Professor, Anthropology
Worku Nida, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Anthropology
Makeda Parker, Lecturer, Dance
Jade Sasser, Associate Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Jennifer Syvertsen, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Learn more at africanstudies.ucr.edu

The “Being Human” initiative establishes a novel interdisciplinary platform for dialogue among humanists, scientists, engineers, medical professionals and others at UCR. Through a variety of formats, including mini-labs, thematic events & lectures, and working groups, the project brings researchers across campus together in short- or long-term research partnerships intended to spark cross-campus collaborations and to seed larger grant initiatives.

The first project for 2020-21 comprises three Interdisciplinary Mini-Labs. Each consists of 3 to 5 faculty investigators from colleges and schools at UCR and will deliver an in-depth position paper at the conclusion of its study describing the work conducted and assessing the interdisciplinary efforts and the potential for future collaboration. The three mini-labs are:

“COVID-19, Air Pollution, and Vulnerability in the Inland Empire” | Fall 2020

PI Jade Sasser (Gender and Sexuality Studies) with Brandon Brown (School of Medicine), Cesunica Ivey (Chemical and Environmental Engineering), Bronwyn Leebaw (Political Science) and Chikako Takeshita (Gender and Sexuality Studies).

“Humans in Relation: An Examination of Health Inequities” | Spring 2021
PI Juliet McMullin (Interim Dean, CHASS) with David Lo (Dean of Research, School of Medicine), Allison Hedge Coke (Creative Writing), Monica Carson, (Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine) and Jennifer Syvertsen (Anthropology).

“Picasso Presents Gernika: Using Embodied Performance and Fact-Based Theatre to Explore What it Means to “Be Human” | TBD
PI Begoña Echeverria (Graduate School of Education) with Richard Cardullo (Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology), Bella Merlin, (Theatre, Film and Digital Production) and Annika Speer (Theatre, Film and Digital Production).

The project is supported by the Center for Ideas and Society and the UCR offices of Research and Economic Development and International Affairs.

Faculty Coordinator: Jeanette Kohl (Art History)

The UCR Global 19th Century Workshop’s program, supported by CIS since 2015, continues in 2020-21 with a newly updated format for sharing and revising path-breaking interdisciplinary research for publication. A series of four Zoom virtual roundtable discussions will be held throughout the year involving presentations from the UCR Global 19th Century faculty organizers, four UCR Graduate Student Fellows, and four invited faculty guest presenters. UCR faculty discussants will be invited to moderate. This roundtable format builds on our past highly successful Works-In-Progress Roundtables, held in September 2017 and 2019. It will continue our practice of inviting scholars who work on the 19th century to UCR to publicly present on topics of wide interdisciplinary interest.

The Global 19th Century Workshop has, over the past decades, achieved international standing for collaborative, interdisciplinary research on all aspects of the material, cultural, intellectual, and scientific intersections of practices and formations of knowledge in the long 19th century. We intentionally and actively transgress disciplinary and national boundaries while making connections to 21st century intellectual and political endeavors. Past Global 19th Century Conferences held at UCR have attracted scholars from across America and abroad and underscored the Workshop’s reputation.

Faculty Coordinators:

Heidi Brevik-Zender – French and Comparative Literature
Jonathan Eacott – History
Fatima Quraishi – Art History
Susan Zieger – English

According to anthropologist and science museum professional Adrian van Allen (Quai Branly Museum, Paris:) “People in museums are either academically trained or practically trained. If you can come in with both you are a perfect candidate.” A thorough knowledge of exhibit design, public pedagogy, and digital humanities is essential for academically trained researchers who choose to pursue public-facing careers. These skills require cultivation, consultation with experts, and a great deal of practical experience. This issue is especially apparent in science-oriented public history careers which call upon practitioners to utilize both humanities and scientific skills and knowledge. Curators interpreting the history of science, educators working in museums with both natural and historic collections, archivists dealing with chemically diverse objects, and public historians using specialized technologies to communicate complex ideas and reach diverse audiences all benefit from training that is unlikely to be offered within single academic department or program. Archivists and museum curators in the United States most commonly have degrees in humanities fields, including History (13%,) Art History (11%,) English Language and Literature (6%) and Anthropology (5%.) Typically, individuals entering the museum field have either academic training 1 in public history theory or practical training in quotidian museum tasks. Through the development of digital programming, interpretive installations, and public pedagogy, H-SCHIP will bridge this gap between theory and praxis and allow students to enter the job market as competitive candidates.

A year-long cross-disciplinary professionalization program geared toward public humanities careers in science museums, national and state park services, and preservation, H-SCHIP workshops will focus on developing the skills necessary to create successful public humanities programming. Each workshop will provide hands-on professionalization training and culminate in collaboratively developed programming and exhibits. Students will work with each other and with professionals in the field to gain the hands-on skill necessary to developing and executing a coherent, critical public historical project. Science is broadly construed here to include technology, environment, agriculture, and medicine.


Dana Simmons, Faculty (History)
Audrey Meier, Graduate Student (History)

Critical Anti-Violence Research and Action (CARA) is a working group of faculty and graduate students at UC Riverside with a thematic foci of racialized gender violence, feminist carceral studies, decolonial feminist methodologies, and building bridges between scholarly research and community organizing. Established in Fall 2019, CARA emerged from a recognition of a critical mass of scholars at UCR whose research interrogates gendered violence critically , or through an analytic that interrogates the relationship between state-based and structural power and intimate forms of violence.

In 2020-21, the group will host “Making Space: Emerging Theories and Interventions in Critical Anti-Violence Research,” a two-day workshop that will include faculty and graduate student presentations on interdisciplinary research exploring various forms of epistemic, social, and political resistance to structural gendered violence, as well as guided discussions on developing areas of research on
connections between gendered violence and statecraft, biopolitics, subject formation, and the carceral state. The presentations will be followed by a creative roundtable format to cultivate conversation between the participants to identify new connections across fields and new areas of interrogation. The purpose of the workshop is to illuminate emerging scholarship on transnational, national, and local anti-gendered violence scholarship and movement building that remain at the margins of anti-violence scholarship across fields.

Faculty Coordinators:
Alisa Bierria (Ethnic Studies)
Andrea Smith (Ethnic Studies)

Political Economy Seminar

Ten Years Later: What Have We Learned? It has been a decade since the 2007‒2009 global financial crisis. The collapse of American investment bank Lehman Brothers sparked an economic downturn which was felt throughout the entire world, particularly across Europe. 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, anti-globalization, 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, such as the World Trade Organization. The crisis also broke a sense of trust, not just in financial institutions and the government that oversaw them, but in the very idea of experts and expertise. The past ten years have seen an open revolt against the intellectual elites and scientific experts. The dilemmas of and struggles over the governance and reform of this increasingly fragile, crisis-ridden order will define the social, economic and political terrain of the twenty-first century. Our goal is to bridge the collective expertise at the University of California, Riverside with that at other institutions to bear on these issues.

Faculty Coordinator: Jana Grittersova (Political Science)

More details at ucrpoliticaleconomy.ucr.edu

Building Research Excellence in Political Economy at UCR

An outgrowth of the successful UCR Polical Economy Seminars, this project will develop collaborations among UCR students and faculty engaged in theoretically informed empirical research on political economy. Through a series of workshops, students and faculty will (1) present ongoing research in a formal context designed to elicit interdisciplinary feedback; (2) address common problems from specific disciplinary perspectives as a vehicle for developing interdisciplinary solutions to such problems, including collaborative research projects across departments; and (3) promote the development of excellence in independent graduate student research by providing a venue for feedback and exposure to world-class state of the art research in political economy.

Faculty Coordinator: Matthew Mahutga (Sociology)

According to a joint American Council on Education’s and Research Triangle Institute International’s report (2016) “across all faculty ranks, the majority of full-time faculty were White. The total share of Whites was highest among full professors (79.8 percent) … associate professors (73.3 percent), and assistant professors (65.4 percent).” This means that only approximately 20.2% of full, 26.7% of associates, and 34.6% of assistant professors were faculty of color.

Why is there a drop in the number of scholars of colors as rank increases? Scholarly and popular works document 1) how diverse faculty face microaggressions and hostile environments in their classrooms, departments, colleges and universities; 2) the amount of invisible labor that they engage in related to underrepresented students, community work and committee work where they are asked to be a member of in the name of diversity, and 3) how their scholarship, and where it is published, is undervalued, among other reasons (e.g., Romero 2020, Harlow 2003, Social Sciences Feminist Network Research Interest Group 2017).

Given the extensive invisible labor faculty of color and queer faculty engage in, it is important to create spaces that prioritize faculty research and publications. To that end, this project builds on and enhances the existing work at UCR, particularly the efforts of the Center for Ideas and Society, to promote faculty research through manuscript development workshops. Over the coming year, “Retaining and Promoting Diverse Faculty” will host workshops for faculty of color and queer faculty who are at various stages of their second book project. In doing so, the project aims to create an institutionalized environment that supports faculty research and publication and the advancement of diverse faculty.

Faculty Coordinators:
Victoria Reyes (Sociology)
Jade Sasser (Gender & Sexuality Studies)

Re-Visioning Abolitionist Futures, funded by a 2020-21 UC Humanities Research Institute ‘Engaging Humanities’ grant, Re-Visioning Abolitionist Futures builds on and advances existing collaborations between abolitionist scholars across the UC system with Critical Resistance (CR), which is the leading grassroots prison industrial complex abolition organization. Abolition is a political vision and broad strategy to eliminate prisons and policing to create a society that provides genuine security for all people.

The project’s intellectual agenda fosters cross-disciplinary humanities scholarship by convening scholar-activists from five UC campuses and organizers from CR to advance an abolitionist approach to ICE, (im)migrant detention and deportation, queer and trans community organizing, and the interpenetration of policing and the university (Boggs and Mitchell, et al., 2019). This project will innovatively transform and transmit the collective research and analysis of scholars, frontline abolitionist organizers, and formerly imprisoned intellectuals into an accessible filmic form and open-access platform in collaboration with CR.

Faculty Coordinator:
Setsu Shigematsu (Media & Cultural Studies)
Co-PIs Latipa (Media & Cultural Studies), Eric Stanley (Gender and Women’s Studies, Berkeley)