An illustration featuring Don Quixote wearing armor and riding on a horse. His sidekick, Sancho Panza, rides a donkey next to him. Above his head is text in Arabic

May 22, 2019 — Shadi Rohana: “Cervantes and the Arabs: Don Quixote in Translation”

The modern Arab reader cannot be indifferent when reading a novel like Don Quixote. Through its geography, historical context, characters and language, the novel evokes to the modern reader one of the Arabs’ most splendorous historical episodes: Al Andalus. This talk traces the Arab and Andalusian presence in Cervantes’ Don Quixote from 1605, and how this presence was later translated into modern Arabic during the 20th century. The talk will also discuss the reception of Don Quixote in varios Arabic speaking contexts.

Shadi Rohana is a Mexico City-based literary translator, translating between Arabic, Spanish and English. He has introduced and translated a number of Latin American authors from Spanish to Arabic, as well as speeches and declarations from the EZLN in Chiapas. He pursued Latin American Studies in the United States (Swarthmore College) and Mexico (UNAM), and is currently a full-time faculty member at the Center for Asian and African Studies at El Colegio de México, where he teaches Arabic language and literature. The Arabic translation of José Emilio Pacheco’s Las batallas en el desierto (Palestine, 2016) was his first novel-length work.

Date/Time

May 22, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute

A photo of the Geneva UN building

May 29, 2019 — Ashwini Tambe: “Tropical Exceptions: Racial Logics in Twentieth Century Intergovernmental Age of Consent Debates”

Legal age standards for sexual maturity are challenging enough to devise at the state or national level, but they are especially contentious at the intergovernmental level. Efforts at setting common standards have often been marked by imperial logics on the part of those proposing common standards and misgivings on the part of those most affected. Tambe’s talk traces how intergovernmental efforts at setting common age standards for sexual consent and marriage occasioned elaborate posturing and coding of racial difference. In the two cases she discusses —League of Nations conventions on trafficking in the 1920s and United Nations conventions on marriage in the 1950s— she shows how the proceedings staged contests between competing imperialisms and foregrounded moral differences between parts of the world. In effect, seemingly neutral age categories became a means to express geopolitical hierarchies and undercut formal liberal relationships of equivalence.

Ashwini Tambe is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park and affiliate faculty in the History department and Asian American Studies program. She is also the editorial director of Feminist Studies, the oldest US journal of feminist interdisciplinary scholarship. Her interests include transnational feminist theory, modern South Asian history, and sexuality studies. Her previous books are Codes of Misconduct:Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay (2009, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press/New Delhi: Zubaan) and The Limits of Colonial Control in South Asia: Spaces of Disorder in the Indian Ocean (2008, London: Routledge) coedited with Harald Fischer-Tiné. Her recent articles have spanned topics such as population and age of marriage (Women’s Studies International Forum 2014), climatology in scientific racism (Theory, Culture and Society, 2011), interdisciplinary approaches to feminist state theory (Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 2010), economic liberalization and sexual liberalism in contemporary India (Economic and Political Weekly, 2010), and the long record of transnational approaches in feminist scholarship (New Global Studies, 2010). Her current work, supported by SSHRC and NEH grants, examines the legal paradoxes in age standards for sexual consent in India; her forthcoming book on the subject is Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexual Maturity Laws (2019, University of Illinois Press). She is also co-editing a volume on the history and future of transnational feminist theory with Millie Thayer titled Transnational Feminist Itineraries.

Date/Time

May 29, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

Co-sponsored by the Center for Emerging Worlds

A headshot of Professor Massimiliano Tomba wearing a scarf and glasses, standing in front of a building.

January 23, 2019 — Massimiliano Tomba: “Insurgent Universality. An Alternative Legacy of Modernity”

Insurgent Universality offers a new way of thinking political universality that radically differs from the legal universalism of human rights and cosmopolitanism. Assuming a conception of history that is not linear but articulated in a multiverse of historical temporalities, Insurgent Universality excavates an alternative trajectory of modernity, which originally bridges European and non-European political experiments.

Massimiliano Tomba is Professor of the History of Consciousness Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. His work aims at reconsidering predominant schemes of interpretation in political theory and universal history in order to open up political trajectories of modernity which constitute the terrain for an alternative canon. His publications include Krise und Kritik bei Bruno Bauer. Kategorien des Politischen im nachhegelschen Denken, trans. L. Schröder, Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, 2005; La vera politica. Kant e Benjamin: la possibilità della giustizia, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2006; Marx’s Temporalities, trans. Sara Farris and Peter Thomas, Leiden, Brill, 2013; Attraverso la piccola porta. Quattro studi su Walter Benjamin. Milano, Mimesis, 2017.


Date/Time

January 23, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

The cover of Leta Hong Fincher's book called Betraying Big Brother. The cover photo depicts three Chinese women protesting.

January 30, 2019 — Leta Hong Fincher: “The Feminist Awakening in China”

On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, the Chinese government arrested five feminist activists and jailed them for thirty-seven days. The Feminist Five became a global cause célèbre, with Hillary Clinton speaking out on their behalf and activists inundating social media with #FreetheFive messages. But the Five are only symbols of a much larger feminist movement of university students, labor activists, civil rights lawyers, performance artists, and online warriors prompting an unprecedented awakening among young Chinese women. In Betraying Big Brother, journalist and scholar Leta Hong Fincher argues that the popular, broad-based movement poses the greatest challenge to China’s authoritarian state today.

Through interviews with the Feminist Five and other leading Chinese activists, Hong Fincher illuminates both the difficulties they face and their “joy of betraying Big Brother,” as one of the Feminist Five wrote of the defiance she felt during her detention. Tracing the rise of a new feminist consciousness now finding expression through the #MeToo movement, and describing how the Communist Party has suppressed the history of its own feminist struggles, Betraying Big Brother is a story of how the movement against patriarchy could reconfigure China and the world.

Leta Hong Fincher is a journalist, scholar and author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (Verso 2018), which was named one of Vanity Fair‘s top eight political books of fall 2018. Dr. Hong Fincher has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Dissent Magazine, Ms. Magazine and others. She won the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for her China reporting and is the first American to receive a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University’s Department of Sociology in Beijing. She also has a master’s degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Harvard University. Her first book was the critically acclaimed Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (Zed 2014). Hong Fincher was a Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University and recently moved to New York.


Date/Time

January 30, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

 

A photo of Prof Desmond Jagmohan

February 6, 2019 — Desmond Jagmohan: “Candor and Courage: Ida B. Wells and Fearless Speech”

This paper explicates Ida B. Wells’s argument that journalists and leaders have a moral obligation to speak fearlessly. To do so, Jagmohan unearths the normative relationship between candor, courage, and duty underlying Wells’ anti-lynching editorials and reporting during the Progressive Era. First, he recounts Wells’ argument that “yellow” and impartial journalism are, in different ways, responsible for the precipitous rise in the lynching of African Americans at the turn of the century. Yellow journalism uses sensationalism to fuel whites’ fear and anxiety and, at times, goes so far as to coordinate lynchings. The more fact-driven and impartial journalism of the New York Times does no such thing. But it substitutes cold facts for moral courage and thus shirks an important social responsibility. Second, and drawing on work by Michel Foucault, Jagmohan contends that her willingness to risk death to expose the true causes of lynching to help others see their way toward justice and away from injustice exemplifies fearless speech, or what the ancients called parrhesia. Third, he questions whether intrepid speech can be a moral obligation for journalists and leaders living under extreme persecution.

Desmond Jagmohan is an Assistant Professor in the Politics Department at Princeton University. He researches and teaches history of political theory, and he works primarily in the areas of American and African American political thought. He also has interests in slavery and modern political thought and historical methods. At the moment, he is completing his first book, which is titled Dark Virtues: Booker T. Washington’s Tragic Realism. Based on several years of archival research, the book recovers an unseen Booker T. Washington. It reconstructs his political ethics, including his moral defense of equivocation, concealment, and deception as political virtues under conditions of extremity. His second project takes up Harriet Jacobs’ slave narrative to look at the broader philosophical relationship between property, personhood, and moral agency in the context of nineteenth-century American slavery. His work has been published in Perspectives on Politics; Politics, Groups, and Identities; and Contemporary Political Theory.


Date/Time

February 6, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

A headshot of Professor Laurie Palmer

February 13, 2019 — A. Laurie Palmer: “Public Sun”

This talk traces connections between oil, sun, and distributed forms of power by discussing three in-process projects: a large-scale model of California, a book on lichen, and a public tribunal charging private property for crimes against the common.

A. Laurie Palmer ’s place-based work takes form as sculpture, public projects, and writing, and she collaborates on strategic actions in the contexts of social and environmental justice. Her book In the Aura of a Hole: Exploring Sites of Material Extraction (2014) investigates what happens to places where materials are removed from the ground, and how these materials, once liberated, move between the earth and our bodies. She is currently researching the shapes and structures of underground oil shale formations and continuing to develop work on The Lichen Museum, a massively distributed, inside-out institution that considers this slow, resistant, adaptive and collective organism as an anti-capitalist companion and climate change survivor.

Date/Time

February 13, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

A photo of sand dunes in the desert

February 20, 2019 — Jerry Zee: “Continent in Dust: China in Aerosol Phases”

This talk offers a political anthropology of strange weather. As Chinese deserts increasingly appear as latent dust storms, it tracks geo-meteorological phase shifts as they rework contemporary land and air into a substantial continuum. It tracks territorial governance as it shifts into experimental formations that draw into the choreographies of sand, wind, and dust that they seek to re-engineer.

Jerry Zee is an assistant professor at UCSC’s Anthropology Department. His work considers experiments in politics and environments in China’s meteorological contemporary.


Date/Time

February 20, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

Photo by Boris Ulzibat

A still from Dr. Dee Hibbert-Jones' animated film, "Last Day of Freedom," depicting a line drawing of a man speaking and a helicopter in the background

February 27, 2019 — Dee Hibbert-Jones: Last Day of Freedom & Run With It

Professor Hibbert-Jones will be screening her Academy Award®-nominated short film Last Day of Freedom. When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime he agonizes over his decision- should he call the police? Last Day of Freedom is a richly animated personal narrative that tells the story of Bill’s decision to stand by his brother, a veteran returning from war, as he faces criminal charges, racism, and ultimately the death penalty. This film is a portrait of a man at the nexus of the most pressing social issues of our day – veterans’ care, mental health access, and criminal justice. She will discuss Last Day of Freedom as well as her upcoming animated documentary Run With It about Troy Davis, a black man accused of killing a white police officer in Savannah Georgia, USA.

Dee Hibbert-Jones is an Academy Award®-nominated, Emmy®-award winning documentary filmmaker, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a MacDowell Fellow. Working in collaboration with Nomi Talisman, she produces animated documentary films that explore the crisis in the criminal justice system and the US racial divide, challenging entrenched attitudes, immersing viewers in a complex world of feelings and experiences, engendering empathy and critical reflection. In 2015 they received the Filmmaker Award from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change. Hibbert-Jones was recently awarded a United States Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award in recognition for her “outstanding national commitment to civil rights, and social justice” and a Gideon award for “support to indigent minorities” for her film work. She a Professor of Art, Film, and Digital Art New Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Date/Time

February 27, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

 

Photo: Still from Last Day of Freedom (Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman)

A photo of Professor Camilla Hawthorne

March 6, 2019 — Camilla Hawthorne: “On Diasporic Ethics: Locating the Black Mediterranean in Italian Citizenship Struggles”

This talk examines the possibilities and limitations of the “Black Mediterranean” (which emphasizes the power-laden relations of cultural exchange and racial violence linking Europe and Africa) as an analytical framework for understanding the historical and contemporary forms of racial criminalization and racialized citizenship in Italy. The emergent “Black Italian” movement in Italy has been increasingly confronted with the limits of national citizenship as a means for addressing racial inequality. In response, activists have begun to turn toward alternative political imaginaries and practices of community that extend far beyond the Italian nation-state. In this context, what can the Black Mediterranean open up in terms of new political praxes and transgressive alliance? Specifically, how might this framework help to bridge Black liberation politics in Italy with refugee rights mobilizations?

Camilla Hawthorne is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Inequality in the Department of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. She is a principal faculty member in the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program, and a faculty affiliate of the Science & Justice Research Center at UCSC. Camilla received her PhD in Geography with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies from UC Berkeley in 2018. She also holds an MPA from Brown University. Camilla’s work addresses the politics of migration and citizenship, racism and inequality, and social movements. Her book project, tentatively titled Different Waters, Same Sea: Contesting Racialized Citizenship in the Black Mediterranean, explores the politics of race and citizenship in contemporary Italy. She is also co-editing a volume about Black Geographies with Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis of UC Berkeley, as well as a volume on racial subordination and resistance in the Mediterranean. Camilla serves as faculty member and project manager of the Summer School on Black Europe in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Date/Time

March 6, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

A photo of Professor Dai Jinhua. She is facing the camera and is wearing glasses.

March 13, 2019 — Dai Jinhua: “The Specter of Post-Revolution”

In this talk, Professor Dai Jinhua addresses the challenges for theorists and activists alike in these post-revolutionary times.  She begins by analyzing the terms “post-revolution” and “specter.” She argues that the “post” in post-revolution does not indicate the end of revolution. Rather, it points to the past and future of revolution and the ways that memories and imaginations of revolution still persist in various forms and haunt the present.  If we refuse the verdict that the revolution is over, if we refuse cynicism and the idea that there is no alternative outside of global capitalism, then how should we proceed?

Professor Dai answers this question by way of considering the novel cultural productions at the intersection of new technologies and new forms of media. She discusses three cultural sequences across different genres and media, such as internet novels, television dramas, films, and internet dramas derived from popular publications.  These cultural series include 1)ancient historical costume dramas; 2) contemporary reconstructions of the monkey king Sun Wukong; and 3) danmei internet novels (novels that narrate intimate romantic relationships between men and whose main readership is almost exclusively women).

In this new context of cultural production, we must reconsider our most basic concepts, such as “the author,” “to write,” “to create,” “originality,” and “ideology.”  In examining these cultural productions, Professor Dai highlights the different approaches to history and the differences in popular consciousness between the revolutionary generation (her own) and the post-revolutionary generation.

Dai Jinhua is an internationally well-known feminist Marxist critic. She is a Professor in the Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture and director of the Center for Film and Cultural Studies, Peking University. Her research interests include popular culture, film studies, and gender studies.

Date/Time

March 13, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Venue/Location

Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Emerging Worlds