Fall 1999 Colloquium Series

Colloquium Series

In Fall 1999, 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 and tea.


Richard Terdiman (Literature, UC Santa Cruz)
Enlightenment Representation and the Critique of Postmodernity

Anthony Chennells (English, University of Zimbabwe)
Early Rhodesian Women Novelists and White Rhodesian Nationalism

Lisa Rofel (Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz)
Qualities of Desire: Imagining Gay Identities in China

Carla Freccero (Literature, UC Santa Cruz)
Queer Encounters: Early Modern France and the New World

Cristina Lucia Ruotolo (Humanities, San Francisco State University)
Music, Audience, and Femininity in Turn-of-the-Century America

Lionel Cantu (Sociology, UC Santa Cruz)
Queer Diasporas: U.S. Immigration and the Political Economy of Sexual Identity

Christopher Nealon (English, UC Berkeley)
The Ambivalence of Lesbian Pulp Fiction



Richard Terdiman is Professor of Literature at UCSC. His work is primarily in French literature and history, and he is the author of several books that deal with representation, the social formation and reception of theory, and the role of memory in culture, including Discourse/ Counter-Discourse: The Theory and Practice of Symbolic Resistance in Nineteenth-Century France (1985) and Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis (1993). His talk is drawn from a book in progress that deals with Enlightenment pre-occupations with some of the theoretical choices also prominent in poststructuralism. It might be thought of as something like “Diderot Reads Derrida.” In addition to his current work on the Enlightenment and postmodernity, he is also completing a book on social time.

Anthony Chennells is Associate Professor of English at the University of Zimbabwe. He has published extensively on South African and Zimbabwean literature, history and culture. His co-authored Expanding Perspectives on Dambudzo Marechera appeared last year. During Southern Rhodesia’s ninety-year history, settlers produced over three hundred novels, most of which were published in London. Professor Chennells, whose family settled in Rhodesia more than a hundred years ago, has studied this body of writing to trace how it contributed to the myth of a discrete Rhodesian identity which was neither British nor South African, leading to Ian Smith’s declaration of Rhodesian independence in 1965 and to the liberation war from which Zimbabwe was born in 1980. Several scholars are now beginning to re-examine the women novelists in this group to see how they were implicated in the Rhodesian imperial and nationalist projects. This paper is a contribution to that discussion..

Lisa Rofel is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. Her book Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China After Socialism was published this spring by UC Press. This study of three generations of Chinese women silk workers proposes a cross-cultural approach to modernity that “treats it as a located cultural imaginary, arising from and perpetuating relations of difference across an East-West divide.” Rofel argues that “other modernities” are neither exclusively local nor variations on a universal model. Rather, “[t]hey are forced cross-cultural translations of various projects of science and management called modernity.” Rofel is also co-editor of Engendering China: Women, Culture, and the State (Harvard, 1994). Her talk is part of a current project on transnational culture, cosmopolitanism, and gender and sexuality in contemporary China.

Carla Freccero is Professor in the Literature Department at UC Santa Cruz, and specializes in early modern cultural studies, feminist and queer theory, and U.S. popular culture. Her first book, a study of Rabelais, is entitled Father Figures (Cornell 1991). She is co-editor, with Louise Fradenburg, of Premodern Sexualities(Routledge 1996), and most recently the author of Popular Culture: An Introduction (NYU 1999). Her talk is part of a book-length project on 16th-century French writings about South America and the Tupinamba Indians. This talk focuses on Jean de Lery’s History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, an account of a Protestant preacher’s exile among the Tupi in the 1550s near the bay of Rio. Claude Levi-Strauss called de Lery’s book the first modern ethnography. Using rhetorical and psychoanalytic methods of discourse analysis, the talk explores a configuration of European homoerotic ideological fantasies surrounding the ‘New World’ man.

Cristina Lucia Ruotolo is Assistant Professor of Humanities at San Francisco State University. She completed her Ph.D. in English at Yale University, and her Master’s in Violin Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music. She has been a violinist in the San Jose Symphony and the Marin Symphony orchestras. Professor Ruotolo’s talk is from a book in progress that explores the dramatic changes in American music cultures beginning in the 1890s from the perspective of their impact on and presence in literature, particularly works by Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson and Theodore Dreiser. She writes, “With the development of a centralized music publishing industry (“Tin Pan Alley”), of African American influence on both popular and classical music, and of a strong female presence in public audiences and on the stage, music began to have„ and to be perceived as having„a powerful role in shaping its audience’s sense of self and place. At issue in debates, and for these four writers, is the nature and extent of that power. Does music merely arouse emotions and states of being that already exist within the listening self? Or does music have the capacity to enter into and change a listener’s way of being„to, for example, infuse a young white man with not only black sounds but blackness itself? Or to lead a young middle-class woman into prostitution? In my talk I will bring such questions to bear on Willa Cather’s Song of the Lark and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.”

Lionel Cantu is a new Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCSC, and has received a post-doctoral fellowship at UC Davis for 1999-2000 to work with anthropologist Roger Rouse on the linkages between global capitalism, sexual commodification, migration, and sexual identities. A Ph.D. in Social Science from UC Irvine, Cantu’s work centers on the intersections of Chicano/ Latino studies, gay and lesbian studies, social movements, globalization, and immigration. His dissertation, “Border Crossings: Mexican Men and the Sexuality of Migration,” is representative of that project. His publications include the forthcoming article “Entre Hombres/Between Men: Latino Masculinities and Homosexualities, and other studies of Latina/o literary and cultural production.

Christopher Nealon is Assistant Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley, having received his Ph.D. from Cornell two years ago. He works on U.S. lesbian and gay literary and cultural studies, and is also a published poet. His first book, Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Invention Before Stonewall, is forthcoming from Duke, and his articles include “The Modernity of Queer Studies” and “Affect-Genealogy: Feeling and Affiliation in Willa Cather.” Nealon’s talk centers on Ann Bannon’s lesbian pulp novels of the 1950s and 1960s and the ambiguous reception of those novels. Nealon reads the problematics of Bannon’s model of lesbian bodies as gender-inverted to suggest that the novels offer contemporary readers a signal example of how to produce a livable relationship between historical possibilities and historical limits.