Fall 2007 Colloquium Series

Colloquium Series

In fall 2007, 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. 


October 10
Susan Gillman
(Literarture, UC Santa Cruz)
Otra Caliban/Encore Caliban: Adaptation, Translation, and Americas Studies

October 17
Lisa Rofel
(Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz)
The Traffic in Money Boys: Neoliberalism, Desire, and Normativity in China

October 24
Barbara Spackman
(Italian and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley)
Hygiene in the Harem

October 31
Susan Harding
UC Santa Cruz)
Get Religion

November 7
Paul Roth
(Philosophy, UC Santa Cruz)
The Disappearance of the Empirical

November 14
Renee Tajima-Peña
(Community Studies, UC Santa Cruz)
Calavera Highway: Haunted Landscapes,
Contested Memory, and How to Cope with 3,000 Miles of In-laws and Learn to Love it

November 21
Harry Berger Jr.
(Emeritus, Literature & Art History, UC Santa Cruz)
On the Perverse Henrification of George Bush, or, Why Praising Bush as Shakespeare’s Henry V is Really Dumb

November 28
Angela Davis
(History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz)
The Prison: A Sign of U.S. Democracy?


SUSAN GILLMAN is Professor of Literature at UCSC. She is the author, most recently, of Blood Talk: American Race Melodrama and the Culture of the Occult (Chicago, 2003), and co-editor (with Alys Eve Weinbaum) of Next to the Color Line (Minnesota, 2007). Her new project (tentatively titled Incomparably Yours: Adaptation, Translation, Americas Studies) uses theories of adaptation to understand the field variously called hemispheric studies, post-nationalist American Studies, or comparative U.S. studies. The archive is drawn from works famous for their travels on stage and in film, the hypertext networks of the Uncle Tom’s Cabin/Cecilia Valdés/Ramona complex, the multiple editions of the slave narrative/testimonio complex, and contextual examples of specific situations in which some nations need other nations’ histories as models. This talk lays out the Fernández Retamar-Martí/Caliban-Ramona nexus of adaptation and translation to which the book as a whole is indebted.

is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at UCSC. Her new book is Desiring China: Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality and Public Culture (Duke, 2007). She is currently at work on three projects: a forthcoming issue of positions: east asia cultures critique entitled Across the Strai(gh)ts: Transnationalism and Chinese Queer Politics, co-edited with Petrus Liu, which stages a dialogue on the divergent views of the question, what do “Chinese” and “Chinese politics” mean, and how do queer developments open up and shape this debate?; a project on independent documentary filmmaking in China: The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record (Minnesota), co-edited with Chris Berry and Lu Xinyu; and a collaborative project with Sylvia Yanagisako on The Twenty-First Century Silk Road, between Italy and China.

BARBARA SPACKMAN is Cecchetti Professor of Italian Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, where she also chairs the Italian Studies Department. She is the author of Decadent Genealogies: The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D’Annunzio(Cornell, 1989) and Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy (Minnesota, 1996). She is currently working on a study entitled Detourism: Traveling Fictions from Italy to Islam, which looks at the Italian peninsula as a place traveled from, and reads the accounts of a handful of women, from early nineteenth-century travelers to post-Napoleonic Egypt and the Ottoman Empire, to an early twentieth-century Italian convert to Islam. The larger stakes of the project involve claims about the specificity of Italian Orientalism and the conditions of its production.

SUSAN HARDING is Professor of Anthropology at UCSC and author of The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics (Princeton 2000). During the 1980s and 1990s, American fundamentalists plumbed hitherto secular and liberal institutions and practices, not to be assimilated but to assimilate, to consume, digest, and convert the politics they encountered to their ends. Voices are now emerging that are turning the tables. The current project examines the voices of these other Christians, some of them liberal, lapsed, or ethnic, but most of them more moderate evangelical Christians, that are taking up the narrative and rhetorical forms of the religious right, performing them with a difference, and swerving them to other ends. This talk will take a look at green evangelicalism, the emerging church movement, and “Big Love.”

PAUL ROTH is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at UCSC, author of Meaning and Method in the Social Sciences: A Case for Methodological Pluralism (Cornell, 1987 and 1989) and editor, with Stephen P. Turner, of The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences(Blackwell, 2003). His most recently published work concerns theories of historical explanation (to appear in the Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of History), disciplinary “border disputes” in science studies (to appear in the Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science), explanations of genocide (to appear in the Oxford Handbook on Genocide), and “philosophical naturalism” (published in The Philosophy of Anthropology and Sociology, ed. Stephen Turner & Mark Risjord). 

RENEE TAJIMA-PEÑA is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and Associate Professor and founding faculty of the Social Documentation Program in the Community Studies Department at UCSC. She is completing the feature-length Calavera Highway, a road documentary that follows her husband Armando Peña and his brother Carlos as they carry their mother’s ashes back to South Texas and reunite with their brothers. Calavera Highwaywill be broadcast on the PBS documentary series “P.O.V.” in the fall of 2008. She is also executive producing Whatever It Takes, a documentary about a high school in the South Bronx that is a part of the “small schools” movement.

HARRY BERGER JR. is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History and the author, most recently, of Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief: Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” and other Dutch Group Portraits (Fordham, 2007) and Situated Utterances: Texts, Bodies, and Cultural Representations(Fordham, 2005). His current projects include Apprehension: Dialogical Warfare in Plato’s Writing, which argues that Platonic writing is a critique of the interlocutory events it dramatizes. The study targets the dominant practices and discourses of Athenian public life as language games shaped and encouraged by speech-centered institutions. Plato represents Socratic method or philosophy as a failed attempt to overcome the influence of those language games. Obliged to argue on the grounds provided by his interlocutors, Socrates is unable to free his method from the constraints of its rhetorical predicament.

ANGELA DAVIS is Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at UCSC. She is the author of eight books, and most recently Abolition Democracy(Seven Stories, 2005) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories, 2003). She is currently completing a book on Prisons and American History. A persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.