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20 years of Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz

The Center for Cultural Studies celebrates its 20th anniversary in the fall of 2008 with three public presentations representing the full range of Cultural Studies’ activities: 1) cutting edge interdisciplinary work in new fields; 2) individual research enriched by collaborative conversation; and 3) collaborative editing projects and publications developed through lively intellectual exchanges. First, current Center Director and Renaissance Studies specialist Carla Freccero (Literature) and renowned science studies theorist and canine agility competitor Donna Haraway (History of Consciousness) conduct a seminar, “When Species Meet and Merge,” about the histories of human-dog relating and the challenges of companion species, bringing together new theories and fields to develop a richer picture of the cultural implications of thinking through similarities and differences. Then, two John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows and former Center for Cultural Studies directors, James Clifford (History of Consciousness) and Gail Hershatter (History), discuss the difficult and rewarding process of writing books in a dialogue entitled “Open Source: Histories That Won’t Sit Still.” Finally, former Center Director and Literature professor Christopher Connery, and poet and cultural theorist Rob Wilson (Literature) discuss their collaboration on The Worlding Project, essays and artwork facilitated by the Center and published by Santa Cruz’s locally owned New Pacific Press.


Tuesday, October 21
Carla Freccero & Donna Haraway
When Species Meet and Merge
4–6 PM / Humanities 210 (readings available-see below)

Wednesday, October 22
James Clifford & Gail Hershatter
Open Source: Histories That Won’t Sit Still
12–2 PM / Humanities 210

Thursday, October 23
Christopher Connery & Rob Wilson
Worlding Space, Worlding Time: On the Making of The Worlding Project
4:30–6 PM / Oakes Mural Room

A book display featuring work by scholars at The Center for Cultural Studies is graciously provided by the Bay Tree Bookstore.

Carla Freccero & Donna Haraway
When Species Meet and Merge: Explorations in Material Figures of Human-Dog Becomings
Tuesday, October 21 / 4–6 PM / Humanities 210

Based on Donna Haraway’s recent book, When Species Meet—an example of the recent explosion of trans-disciplinary animal studies that takes seriously diverse, historically situated, in-the-flesh relatings of human beings and other animals—and Carla Freccero’s study of the ancient, early modern, and modern histories of migration of the figure of the “cynanthrope” or “dog-man” and its counterpart in the emergence and deployment of huge dogs of prey in Asia, Europe, and the New World, this seminar will tackle some of the complex cultural issues at stake in the powerful merger that has resulted from dog-human companion species evolution. They will explore how we might think about the joyful possibilities and the dangers of the ways humans become dog and dogs become human in intimate and worldly places and spaces. They also hope to further pre-, post-, and humanist conversations about animal being, creatural life, and qualities of the living in general.

Carla Freccero is Professor of Literature, Feminist Studies, and History of Consciousness and current Director of the Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz, where she has taught since 1991. She was Humanities Distinguished Professor from 2003-2007.  Author of Father Figures (Cornell, 1991), Popular Culture (NYU, 1999), and co-editor, with Louise Fradenburg, of Premodern Sexualities (Routledge, 1996), her most recent book is Queer/Early/Modern (Duke, 2006). This work, “Figural Historiographies,” is the first installment of a short book on the subject of human-dog and dog-human hybridities.

Donna Hara way has been a member of the History of Consciousness Department since 1980. Her teaching and research explore the inter-implications of feminist theory, science studies, and animal studies. In 2000, she received the J.D. Bernal Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science. She is author of a number of prize-winning books that have been translated into several languages, including Primate Visions (Routledge, 1989), Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (Routledge, 1991), and Modest Witness@Second_Millenium (Routledge, 1997). Her most recent book is When Species Meet (Minnesota, 2008).

Download Seminar Readings:

Freccero, “Figural Historiography: Dogs, Humans, and Cynanthropic Becomings” (ms)

Haraway, When Species Meet, Chapter 1

Haraway, When Species Meet, Chapter 4

Haraway, When Species Meet, Notes

James Clifford & Gail Hershatter
Open Source: Histories That Won’t Sit Still
Wednesday, October 22 / 12–2 PM / Humanities 210

This colloquium grows out of a year of conversations as each of us wrestled with a book project. Clifford was writing about contemporary “indigenous” cultures: the embattled continuity of old societies and traditions in new local and global conditions. Hershatter was working with rural women’s narratives of Chinese socialism in the 1950s. Conceived and researched in very different contexts, both projects were shaped by tensions between narrative orderings of time and memory on the one hand, and habits of historical ordering on the other. The farm women who told their life histories to Hershatter were recoding their sense of their own past in the new context of the Chinese economic reforms, offering oblique commentaries on collectivization and decollectivization alike. The Native peoples whose histories Clifford traced were part of a recent indigenous emergence that deflects dominant narratives of modernity. Considered together, the two projects raise questions about how to historicize an open-ended present, when familiar metanarratives are interrupted by other story lines. How to write history when you know you’re standing on the historical banana peel? Questions of voice, audience, and formal strategy become inescapable.

 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.

Christopher Connery & Rob Wilson
Worlding Space, Worlding Time: On the Making of The Worlding Project
Thursday, October 23 / 4:30–6 PM / Oakes Mural Room

In assembling The Worlding Project: Doing Cultural Studies in the Era of Globalization (a successor volume is currently in the planning stages at New Pacific Press), editors Rob Wilson and Christopher Connery sought essays that encouraged thinking “world” as a critical category and a tactic of social imagination. “Worlding” has spatial and temporal dimensions, which will be the foci of their presentations. Spatially, a worlded criticism seeks new and emergent connections to and articulations with region, place, area, and trans-regional spaces. As a historical project, worlding is especially attentive to histories or movements that are other than, or are in opposition to, modern capitalist globalization. These orientations are rooted in the intellectual culture of UC Santa Cruz, particularly the work done at the Center for Cultural Studies since its origins. Professors Wilson and Connery will talk about some of the aims, values, and tactics that went into assembling this collection as an intervention into cultural studies practices.

Christopher Connery, Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Studies from 1997-2007, has been affiliated with the Literature Department and the Center for Cultural Studies since 1990. He is author of The Empire of the Text: Writing and Authority in Early Imperial China (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999). In addition to his work on imperial Chinese textual culture, he has written on the global 1960s, and on oceanic thought. Recent essays include a record of his autumn in Cyprus for Postcolonial Studies and a piece on Barack Obama for Liberation, an Indian monthly.

Rob Wilson has taught literature and cultural studies at universities in Hawai’i, Korea, Taiwan, California, and Massachusetts. His books include Waking in Seoul (Mineumsa, 1988), American Sublime (Wisconsin, 1991), and Reimagining the American Pacific (Duke, 2000). His forthcoming work includes Henry, Torn from the Stomach: Towards a Poetics of Conversion and Counter-Conversion in the U.S. Postcolonial Empire (Harvard, 2009), and Automat: Tracing Asia/Pacific Lines of Flight (Hawai’i, in progress).

Following Thursday’s presentation, please join us for refreshments as we welcome this year’s Resident Scholars and commemorate twenty years of scholarship and conversation.

Center for Cultural Studies
20th Anniversary Reception
Thursday, October 23 / 6 PM
Oakes Provost House

Please RSVP by October 6th to

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Last modified: September 11, 2008
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