Fall 2020 Colloquium Series

The Center for Cultural Studies hosts a Wednesday colloquium series featuring work by campus faculty and visitors. Please note: these sessions will be remote until further notice.

Our Fall Series features films, conversations, and multimodal presentations. Please be online by 12:10 PM. Sessions begin promptly at 12:15 PM and end at 1:30 PM. Film sessions will go until 2 PM.

October 7
Film screening + discussion with Kelly Gillespie, Asher Gamedze & Rasigan Maharajh
Re/Distribute: Three Radical Economists on (Post)Apartheid

October 14
Samia Khatun (SOAS University of London)
Race, Gender & New Epistemic Grounds: Cross-Cultural Encounters in Desert Australia

October 21
Not About Race Dance

October 28
Anna Tsing (UCSC)
Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene

November 4
Gina Dent (UCSC), Debbie Gould (UCSC) & Savannah Shange (UCSC)
The Morning After: A (Post)Election Conversation

November 18
Vicente Rafael (University of Washington) & Jorgge Menna Barreto (UCSC)
Authoritarianism in the Philippines and Brazil

December 2
Film screening + discussion with Larissa Sansour & Søren Lind
In Vitro

A brainstorming map related to the film Re/Distribute

October 7, 2020 — Kelly Gillespie, Asher Gamedze & Rasigan Maharajh — Re/Distribute: Three Radical Economists on (Post)Apartheid (film screening + discussion)

Two radical collectives in South Africa working inside and outside the academy to agitate against ongoing histories of dispossession consider what redistribution means in the most unequal national context on earth. This 50-minute film looks at how the promises of redistribution in the anti-apartheid liberation movement were foreclosed during the transition out of apartheid in South Africa. The film features three left economists who were active in the anti-apartheid movement but have lived through a transition in which the promise and idea of redistribution was abandoned as South Africa inserted a post-apartheid project into global processes of financialization and neoliberalization.

We will screen the film and then discuss it with filmmakers Asher Gamedze and Kelly Gillespie and featured economist Rasigan Maharajh.

Kelly Gillespie is a political and legal anthropologist and cultural worker with a research focus on criminal justice and abolition in South Africa. She works at the department of Anthropology at the University of the Western Cape. She writes and teaches about urbanism, violence, sexualities, race, and the praxis of social justice. In 2008 she co-founded the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC). 

Asher Gamedze is a cultural worker based in Cape Town, South Africa, working mainly as a musician, student, and writer. He is also involved, as an organiser and an educator, with various cultural and political collectives such as Fulan Fulan, The Interim, and Radical Education Network. His debut album, dialectic soul, was released in July 2020.

Rasigan Maharajh is an activist scholar whose research focuses on the political economy of innovation and development, including the changing world of work, democratic governance, and ecological reconstruction. He is the founding Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation based at the Tshwane University of Technology and Professor Extraordinary of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University.

Oct 7, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 2 PM

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, October 7th to receive Zoom link and password.

October 14, 2020 — Samia Khatun — Race, Gender & New Epistemic Grounds: Cross-Cultural Encounters in Desert Australia

At the forefront of white nationalist border regimes, the Australian nation-state has long operated as an Anglo imperial outpost in the Indian Ocean world. If we look at Aboriginal language archives about South Asians, however, we see alternative epistemic grounds and spatial imaginations on which we can situate historical storytelling about race, gender, and migration. This presentation will follow two Muslim men into Australian deserts, where they encountered two Aboriginal sisters waiting for a train at a lonely railway station c.1897.

Samia Khatun became a feminist historian because she once lost her way to a mathematics lecture at the University of Sydney. Since then, Khatun has chased truths about the past in Sydney, Antigua, Kolkata, Istanbul, Berlin, New York, Dunedin, Melbourne, London, and Dhaka. She researches the life-worlds of people colonised by the British Empire and her documentaries have screened on ABC and SBS-TV in Australia. She is the new Chair for the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, London.

Oct 14, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, October 14th to receive Zoom link and password.

A image of two people dancing

October 21, 2020 — Gerald Casel & GERALDCASELDANCE — Not About Race Dance

Not About Race Dance is a collaborative, choreographic response to the homoraciality that haunts U.S. American postmodern dance. The work’s title reflects its primary impetus, Neil Greenberg’s Not About AIDS Dance (1994), which discursively refused the project’s central focus to underscore its appeal for public acknowledgment of the lived experiences and losses of the AIDS crisis. Not About Race Dance employs this central paradox to call attention to how whiteness historically formed the structures, experiences, and experiments of postmodern choreographers; whiteness is the “not race” that Not About Race Dance exposes as a durable history and dominant social structure perpetuated through modern and contemporary dance practices. During this presentation, artistic director Gerald Casel and the other artists/collaborators will share and discuss this most recent choreographic explorations during COVID-19.

Gerald Casel is a dance artist, performance maker, cultural activator, and educator. He serves as the Provost of Porter College and is Associate Professor of Dance at UC Santa Cruz. He is the artistic director of GERALDCASELDANCE. His choreographic research and social practice converge to complicate and provoke questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power.

GERALDCASELDANCE is a San Francisco-based company that strives to invent new movements and structures that seek explanations for what humans fear, love, and hate. The company supports collaboration between dance, sound design, and emerging technology, mixing performance with recorded and live video projections to enhance the experience of seeing and feeling dance.

Oct 21, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, October 21st to receive Zoom link and password.

Abstract illustration of a scene in the ocean

October 28, 2020 — Anna Tsing — Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene

A collection of maps, a game, an archive, an analysis, a meditation on life on Earth: Feral Atlas is the cumulation of a five-year curatorial project involving more than a hundred scientists, humanists, poets, and artists. Stretching the concept of the map, the atlas shows how imperial and industrial infrastructures have had world-ripping effects on the ways humans and nonhumans live together. A diversity of observers, from Indigenous elders to research scientists, bring us beyond transcendent terror and hope into the present.

Anna Tsing is Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015), Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005), and In the Realm of the Diamond Queen (1994). Tsing is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Niels Bohr Professorship for a multi-year project on the Anthropocene. She is interested in multi-species anthropology; social landscapes and forest ethnoecologies; globalization; feminist theory; and multi-sited ethnography.

Oct 28, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, October 28th to receive Zoom link and password.

A yellow mural

November 4, 2020 — Gina Dent, Debbie Gould & Savannah Shange — The Morning After: A (Post)Election Conversation

The U.S. presidential election is on Nov 3. We will gather as a community the morning after to process the preceding night (and preceding years) and to think together about the weeks, months, and years to come. Gina Dent, Debbie Gould, and Savannah Shange will start off the conversation. And if it makes more sense to take to the streets on this Wednesday, then that’s what we’ll do. 

From Fair Fight: for voters who plan to vote by mail, you should request your ballot now so that you have plenty of time to receive and return it, by going to www.vote.org. If your state offers ballot tracking, you will be able to track your application and ballot from vote.org. You can find information on how to return your ballot, including drop boxes and other methods, on vote.org. 

If you plan to vote in person, Fair Fight strongly recommends that you vote early if your state offers early voting. To make your early vote plan, visit https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/. If your state does not offer early voting, visit https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/ to find your Election Day polling location.

Gina Dent is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She writes and teaches on race, feminism, popular culture, and visual art, and her current book project — Prison as a Border and Other Essays, on popular culture and the conditions of knowledge — grows out of her work as an advocate for human rights and prison abolition.

Debbie Gould is Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP’s Fight Against Aids (2009), and works on political emotion and affect, social movements and contentious politics, and feminist and queer theory. She was involved in ACT UP/Chicago for many years and was a founding member of the research/art/activist collaborative group, Feel Tank Chicago, most famous for its International Parades of the Politically Depressed.

Savannah Shange is an urban anthropologist who works at the intersections of race, place, sexuality, and the state. She is author of Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, AntiBlackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (2019) and is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, with research interests in circulated and lived forms of blackness, ethnographic ethics, Afro-pessimism, and queer of color critique. 

Nov 4, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, November 4th to receive Zoom link and password.

Photo of Duterte and Bolsonaro

November 18, 2020 — Vicente Rafael & Jorgge Menna Barreto — Authoritarianism in the Philippines and Brazil

This dialogic colloquium enjoins us to learn about and reflect on authoritarianism in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines and Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil.  In each of these democracies, what histories and dynamics have contributed to these figures’ rise, and how is their appeal connected to the place of each country in global economies of material and cultural capital? How should we understand their contemporaneity and connection? How have they approached the pandemic’s necropolitical possibilities and challenges? The session will begin with brief opening remarks from Vicente Rafael on Duterte’s Philippines and Jorgge Menna Barreto on Bolsonaro’s Brazil. We will then open to a broader conversation among participants. 

Please Note: colloquium participants will be expected to have completed brief readings by Vicente Rafael and Jorgge Menna Barreto before the event. 

Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History at the University of Washington in Seattle. He works mainly on the cultural politics of the Philippines and occasionally on the United States, focusing on such topics as colonialism, nationalism and postcoloniality; language and religion; translation and technology; and race and empire. His books include Motherless Tongues (2016); The Promise of the Foreign (2005); White Love and Other Events in Filipino History (2000); and Contracting Colonialism (1988). 

Jorgge Menna Barreto is a Brazilian artist and educator who works at the intersection of art and agroecology, focusing on agroforestry. Since 2015, Menna Barreto has been a professor at UERJ, Rio de Janeiro, and he is presently on postdoctoral leave in Europe. In January 2021, he will begin as Assistant Professor in Environmental Art at UC Santa Cruz. He is also the translator of Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World into Brazilian Portuguese, to be launched next year.

Nov 18, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM
This session is co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions (SEACoast).

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, November 18th to receive Zoom link and password.

A still of two people looking directly at each other

December 2, 2020 — Larissa Sansour & Søren Lind — In Vitro (film screening + discussion)

In Vitro is a 2-channel sci-fi film set in the aftermath of an eco-disaster. An abandoned reactor under the biblical town of Bethlehem has been converted into an enormous orchard. A group of scientists are preparing to replant the soil above. In the hospital wing, the orchard’s ailing founder Dunia is visited by the younger Alia, a clone who has never seen the town she’s destined to rebuild. Their encounter evolves into an intimate dialogue about memory, exile, and nostalgia.

We will screen the film, after which Peter Limbrick (UCSC) will moderate a discussion with filmmakers Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind.

Larissa Sansour was born in East Jerusalem, Palestine, and studied fine arts in London, New York and Copenhagen. Central to her work is the dialectics between myth and historical narrative, and she uses science fiction to address social and political issues. Working mainly with film, Sansour also produces installations, photos, and sculptures. In 2019, she represented Denmark at the 58th Venice Biennial. She has shown her work at Tate Modern, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, and the Istanbul Biennial. 

Søren Lind is a Danish author, artist, director, and scriptwriter. With a background in philosophy, Lind wrote books on mind, language, and understanding before turning to art, film, and fiction. He has published novels, short story collections, and several children’s books. Lind screens and exhibits his films at museums, galleries, and film festivals worldwide. His work was shown at the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennial. Other recent venues and festivals include Copenhagen Contemporary, MoMA, Barbican, Berlinale, and BFI London Film Festival.

Dec 2, 2020 | 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM
This session is co-sponsored by the Center for the Middle East and North Africa (CMENA).

RSVP by 11 AM on Wednesday, December 2nd to receive Zoom link and password.

Spring 2020 Colloquium Series

In light of the global pandemic and restrictions on in-person gatherings, Cultural Studies colloquia for the Spring quarter have been cancelled. We will hold the following special sessions.

May 6
Thinking the Pandemic: Part I
With Chris Connery (UC Santa Cruz) and Massimiliano Tomba (UC Santa Cruz)

May 13
Thinking the Pandemic: Part II
With Anjali Arondekar (UC Santa Cruz) and Mayanthi Fernando (UC Santa Cruz)

May 20
World Without Clouds
With Steven Gonzalez (MIT), Jia Hui Lee (MIT), Luísa Reis-Castro (MIT), Gabrielle Robbins (MIT), Julianne Yip (Independent Scholar), and Donna Haraway (UC Santa Cruz)

May 27
Thinking Through Television in a Pandemic
With Lynne Joyrich (Brown University)

June 3
The Pandemic and the University to Come: A Collective Action
With Jody Greene (UC Santa Cruz)

A Renaissance-era painting depicting a town square filled with people selling or carrying goods

May 6, 2020 — Special Session — Thinking the Pandemic: Part I with Chris Connery and Massimiliano Tomba

A number of scholars have recently written about the current pandemic, taking up questions of sovereignty and biopolitics in different ways. We will read and discuss some short pieces by Alain Badiou, Bifo Berardi, Byung-Chul Han, and Bruno Latour. Chris Connery and Max Tomba will start the conversation off with presentations on some of the readings. Please do the readings beforehand.

May 6, 2020 | 12:00 PM

RSVP by 4pm Tuesday, May 5 to receive Zoom link and password.

On the Epidemic Situation” by Alain Badiou
Beyond the Breakdown” by Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi
We cannot surrender reason to the virus” by Byung-Chul Han
What protective measures can you think of so we don’t go back to the pre-crisis production model” by Bruno Latour