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Colloquium Series

In fall 2008, the Center for Cultural Studies will continue to host a Wednesday colloquium series, which features current cultural studies work by campus faculty and visitors. The sessions are informal, normally consisting of a 30-40 minute presentation followed by discussion. We gather at noon, with presentations beginning at 12:15. Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunches; the Center will provide coffee, tea, and cookies.

WARREN SACK is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media and Affiliated Faculty in Community Studies, Computer Science, History of Art and Visual Culture, and Sociology at UCSC. A software designer and media theorist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion, his writings have been published widely and his art work has been shown at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the artport of the Whitney Museum of American Art. His “Conversation Map” will be included in the SFMOMA exhibition “The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now.” He argues that, since software design is a process of writing, the “computer revolution” can be understood as the rewriting of the world. In this presentation he introduces software studies, examining its history in computer science and comparing it to analogous work in science and cultural studies.

CAETLIN BENSON-ALLOTT is Assistant Professor of Film and Digital Media at UCSC. Her work has appeared in Film Quarterly, the Journal of Visual Culture, Jump Cut, and the Quarterly Review of Film and Video. She studies how ancillary distribution affects feature motion pictures’ aesthetics and potential for political expression. By examining the video revolution as a revolution in both spectatorship and production, she recontextualizes film as the movies’ first dominant distribution platform to ask how format matters in film studies. Her work engages feminist and queer theoretical approaches to cultural studies that foreground the influence of consumer electronics on our contemporary experiences of gender and sexuality.

JAMES CLIFFORD, Professor of the History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, founded the Center for Cultural Studies and directed it from 1988 to 1995. Among his books are: Writing Culture: the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (co-edited with George Marcus, California, 1986), The Predicament of Culture (Harvard, 1988), Routes: Travel and Translation in the late 20th Century (Harvard, 1997), and On the Edges of Anthropology (Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003). He was a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient in 2007-08. He is currently completing a book on homecomings, necessary and impossible.

GAIL HERSHATTER, Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, co-directed the Center for Cultural Studies from 1995 to 2007. Her books include The Workers of Tianjin, 1900-1949 (Stanford, 1986), Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the 1980s (with Emily Honig, Stanford, 1988), Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai (California,1997), and Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century (California and GAIA, 2007). She was a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient in 2007-08. She is completing a book entitled The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past.

is Professor of Literature at UCSC. She has just completed a co-edited collection of essays (with Russ Castronovo), States of Emergency: The Object of American Studies. Her new book Incomparably Yours: Adaptation, Translation, Americas Studies takes the many dramatic, filmic and linguistic adaptations for which the literatures of the Americas are both known and not so well known as a point of departure for a comparative critical history and theory.

RICHARD TERDIMANis Professor of Literature at UCSC. He is also the Coordinator of the FlashPoints Series in Literary Studies at UC Press and a former member of the Academic Council Special Committee on Scholarly Communication. His most recent book is Body and Story: The Ethics and Practice of Theoretical Conflict (Johns Hopkins, 2005). He is currently working on a book on cultural time and another on the ideologies of globalization.

GEORGES VAN DEN ABBEELE is Dean of the Humanities at UCSC. He is the author of Travel as Metaphor: From Montaigne to Rousseau (Minnesota, 1992), and has two new books in progress: The Retreat of the French Intellectual and The Children of Belgium: Myths of Failed National Identity. He is also co-editor of A World of Fables, a collection of traditional fables spanning the globe, and French Civilization and Its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race.

DANA TAKAGI is writing about the popularization of Buddhism in the West and its relation to macro shifts in the nature of selfhood in the late twentieth century, a version of which, “Form and Emptiness: Buddhism, Globalization and Neoliberalism,” appears in Amerasia (2008). She is also working on Hawai’ian independence, from which this talk emerges. Her books include The Retreat from Race, Thinking Theory, and a special issue of Amerasia co-edited with Professor Michael Omi.

JAN SOFFNER is a Research Associate at the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin. In addition to work on theories of embodiment (including avatars and telepresence), emotional psychology, and the relevance of the neurosciences for literary studies, he is writing a book that deals with Platonic and Neo-Platonic traditions of mimesis. He argues that textual criticism can no longer limit itself to describing what poems “think”; rather, it is also necessary to focus on what they “feel” in symbiotic reading processes. A late medieval poem by Guido Cavalcanti serves as paradigm for poetry as a phenomenon of embodiment equipped with its own kind of emotional reasoning.

TYRUS MILLER is Professor of Literature, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and Provost of Cowell College at UCSC. He is the author of Late Modernism: Politics,
Fiction, and the Arts Between the World Wars (California, 1999), Singular Examples: Artistic Politics and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Northwestern, 2009), and editor of Given World and Time: Temporalities in Context (Central European University, 2008). He focuses on the relationship of modernist and avant-garde textual, auditory, and visual culture from the early twentieth century to the present. His work in progress includes a translation of György Lukács’s Hungarian-language essays on democracy and culture in the immediate post-WWII years, and a study of the intersections of ideology and bio-political concerns in the literature and culture of Britain in the 1930s.

S. EBEN KIRKSEY is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. His book, Freedom in Entangled Worlds: Experiences of Possibility in West Papua, is currently under peer review. Competing visions of the world violently collided in West Papua at the start of the 21st century. Unexpected alliances emerged as five fragile social worlds struggled for survival and supremacy. Agents from worlds bent on mutual annihilation found themselves with cause for collaboration and for serious inter-world diplomacy. This talk builds on the literature on social worlds and worlding to think through the possibilities of freedom through a politics of collaboration.

ULLA HASELSTEIN is Professor of American Literature at the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University of Berlin. She is currently turning a series of essays on Gertrude Stein’s portraiture into a book and is involved in a transatlantic project on “Transnational America,” focusing specifically on contemporary Jewish-American literature. She’s also editing a collection, The Pathos of Authenticity in American Culture. Her paper addresses the enigmatic “Rucksicht auf Darstellbarkeit” or “means of representation,” one of the three mechanisms of dream work, along with condensation and displacement, that Freud outlines in The Interpretation of Dreams.




October 8
Warren Sack
(Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz)
Software Studies

October 15
Caetlin Benson-Allott
(Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz)
Ancillary Exploitation: or, How Grindhouse Looks Back at the Future of Film

October 22
James Clifford
(History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz) and
Gail Hershatter (History, UC Santa Cruz)
Open Source: Histories That Won't Sit Still

October 29
Susan Gillman
(Literature, UC Santa Cruz), Dick Terdiman (Literature, UC Santa Cruz) and Georges Van Den Abbeele (Dean of Humanities, UC Santa Cruz)
Humanities in the Age of Digital Reproducibility

November 5
Dana Takagi
(Sociology, UC Santa Cruz)
“I like your nationalism better than mine”: The Cultural Politics of the Everyday in Hawai’i

November 12
Jan Söffner
Research Associate, Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Berlin)
What Does the Poem Feel?


November 19
Tyrus Miller
(Literature, UC Santa Cruz)
The Culture of People’s Democracy: György Lukács’ Hungarian Essays on Literature, Art, and Democratic Transition, 1945-1948

November 26
S. Eben Kirksey
(Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz)
Entangled Worlds at War


December 3
Ulla Haselstein
(American Literature, John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University of Berlin)
Rucksicht auf Darstellbarkeit: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated

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Last modified: September 11, 2008
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