Research clusters are groups of faculty or faculty and graduate students pursuing a collaborative research effort. Clusters are encouraged to share elements their work with the larger community, and to work toward the production of a tangible scholarly event such as a workshop, conference, speaker series, or publication.
The Africana Dialogues Research Cluster (ADRC) is a collaborative project that brings graduate students and faculty together from various humanities and social sciences disciplines to investigate Africa and its diasporas. The cluster explores the ways in which Africa surfaces within current disciplinary formations, encouraging dialogue between scholars working on other areas in the global south, and making scholarship on Africa and its diasporas available to the university at large.
Considers the relationships among discourses on Asia, the Pacific, Asian-America and diasporic Asian communities, categories whose production must be considered in relation to gendered and expansionist practices of colonialism, transnational capitalism, racism, and militant nationalism. Activities included the fifth annual ARARC graduate student research conference, entitled “Spatial Imaginaries and Critical Geographies Across the Pacific”.
Black Cultural Studies
Provides a forum for cross-disciplinary discussions about scholarship on Blackness, focusing on Black culture and the circumstances of Black life throughout the African diaspora in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Bodies and Embodiment
Investigates research on bodies and embodiment across a variety of disciplines, including critical theory, visual culture, literature, philosophy, film studies, performance studies, political theory, and media studies. Activities included a two-day conference entitled “Reimagining the Poet-Critic: Practice, Pedagogy, Poetics.”
Capitalisms and Anti-Capitalisms
Focuses on the history, structure and future of the world capitalist system. The cluster considers various intellectual perspectives on capitalism and the prospects for movements and states that seek to build alternatives to it.
This cluster, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, continues its project of examining how regions are configured and configuring in the everyday habits of scholarship.
Colonial Atlantic Worlds
Moves beyond the limitations of nationally and linguistically bounded scholarship to consider the extended colonial period in the Americas and the Caribbean from a broad cultural-historical standpoint.
Comparative American Studies
The cluster’s activities will focus on multicultural dynamics and perspectives in U.S. and comparative studies. Monthly seminars are expected to begin winter quarter. Half of these seminars will have the format of colloquium discussions, and will feature the research of various UCSC faculty. The remainder will be devoted to presentations by scholars from other California institutions.
Contemporary Native North American Life and Scholarships
This group will work together across disciplinary lines to acquaint ourselves with contemporary issues in Native American Studies, to explore the possiblity of establishing a program in Native American Studies at UCSC, and to provice the foundation for organizing a UC-wide coalition of scholars working in this field. Readings in this field will include works that address current scholarly debates, including recent works by Robert Warrior and Richard Perry, as well as readings addressing such issues as native women’s response to Christianization, gambling, tribal law, and sovereignty. The group will also explore the utility of colonial and postcolonial studies for understanding the ongoing colonization of native peoples in the U.S. and Canada.
Critical Race Studies
Provides a space for the reading and discussion of current scholarship that focuses on race as an object or site of analysis. This year’s focus will be the meanings of race in the post-Civil Rights era: racial constructions since the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, racial difference in neoconservative ideologies and rhetoric, the overhaul of affirmative action policies on definitions of race, and the meaning of face in color-blind discourses.
Cultures of Environmentalism, BioDiversity and Nature
This group pursues a common interdisciplinary interest in popular and scholarly discursive practices which construct nature, seen variously as environments; the object of natural sciences, environmentalist movements, and environmental histories; the subject of commodification; and the point of contest in local, national, and global political struggles. The group takes a particular interest in the point of intersection of ecological sciences; landscape representations; agricultural, and forestry practices; biodiversity and sustainability discourses in various institutional and cultural settings; and comparative ethnographies of the relations of humans and non-humans, natures, and cultures. Our focus is on constructing, deconstructing, interpreting, and positing unities and fissions between cultural and biophysical “nature.”
Focuses on work that addresses or includes geography and spatiality. To facilitate an increasing complexity and sophistication regarding the concept of space, the cluster will meet biweekly to discuss readings and participants’ projects, invite speakers to present their work, and hold quarterly field trips.
Feminism and Pornography
Seeks to develop feminist understandings and critiques of contemporary pornographies, examines feminist discourses on pornography, and revisits the “sex wars” debates. Research foci include: content analysis of pornographic publications and films; and investigations of pornography’s role in representing and discursively constituting sexuality, gender, and race. Activities included seminars with Shine Louise Houston and Syd Balkovic and Kelly Dennis.
Draws on the work of the Critical Filipina and Filipino Studies Collective on the War on Terror, the war on political activists in the Philippines, and the extension of the U.S. prison-industrial complex to regions outside U.S. borders. The cluster will aim to intervene in Asia, Pacific, and Asia/Pacific Americas knowledge formations with an emphasis on both scholarship and community organizing.
Foucault Across the Disciplines
A cross-disciplinary exploration of the thought and impact of Michel Foucault. We read Foucault “across” the disciplines as an interdisciplinary project drawing on work from across the spectrum and as a counterdisciplinary critique performatively questioning the way such work often carves itself up into isolated disciplinary contexts. In Winter Quarter we will host a one-day research seminar with Professor Paul Rabinow.
Gender and Political Economy
An interdisciplinary Marxist Feminist study group focused on thinking through the role of gender in relation to transformations in political economic modes of production. Research areas include: gender and the division of labor, feminism and socialism, the family and capitalism, sexuality and political economy, and the future of global feminism.
Examines digital media as hybrid media, a cross-pollinated, rhizomatically entwined growth within a global field of media. Also examines new networks of media connection, along with exploring new forms of media resistance.
This group focuses on contemporary issues in Native American Studies and communities, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and hemispheric perspectives.
Now in its third year, this cluster continues to pursue an ongoing, interdisciplinary project in Comparative Americas Studies, seeking newly invigorated dialogues among Anglo-American, African-American, Caribbean, and Latin American texts. Some recent and recently reexamined models and issues: region, nation, and empire in the Spanish Borderlands, Black Atlantic, and World-Systems New World; diasporic and transnational movements (Pan Africanism and Latinoamericanismo); comparative histories of mestizaje and miscegenation; comparative studies of nationalist film melodrama. In 1998-99, the cluster plans to continue its focus on imperialism in the Americas in this centenary year of 1998, and to introduce a more detailed study of the theoretical bases of archival recovery efforts, such as the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project,” based in Houston.
Jews and Modernity
Explores the ways Jews have contributed to thought and culture in the modern period and the effects of modernity on Jewish life.
Latino/a Americans in a Global Context
Explores the ways in which, from the USA and Latin America, Latina/o American populations are lived, constructed and studied. At stake in both cases are the ways of producing epistemological and social imaginaries. The group will explore concrete manifestations of those social imaginaries: global Latina/o spaces, contrasting understandings of multiculturalism/interculturality, and culture industries.
Lesbian Film, Parenting, and Documentary
This cluster will research lesbian and alternative parenting in preperation for the production of a documentary film. The goal of the cluster will be to initiate work on a long-term fimmaking project interviewing the children of lesbian parents at three-year intervals over a period of twelve years. In addition to working together to formulate the conceptual issues and specific questions to be addressed by the film, we will meet with experts to expand our knowledge of strategies for our interviewing and working with children. The cluster’s activities this year will culminate in the first phase of filming eight to ten children.
Now entering its fourth year of successful programming, the Living Writers cluster will continue to bring to the UCSC campus some of the best and most innovative prose and poetry writers currently publishing in English. Among the invited participants for this year are Robert Creeley, Alice Notley, Clark Coolidge, Mark McMorris, Kathleen Fraser, Robert Haas, and Myung Mi Kim.
Investigates the Mediterranean as a site of interaction and conflict across linguistic, religious, and political lines, suggesting new perspectives on questions such as the emergence of modernity and the historical interrelation of Europe, northern Africa and west Asia.
Museum and Curatorial Studies
Explores interdisciplinary topics related to the collection and display of art and artifacts. The 2009-2010 research theme was Critical Curations. Activities included seminars with Griselda Pollock and Carolina Ponce de Leon (Winter) and a conference entitled “The Task of the Curator.”.
New Comparative Formations in U.S. Studies
Dedicated to considering the “comparative” as a strategy for the study of U.S. literature and culture, and assessing the traditional structures of American Studies, its disciplines and methods: the nuances of interdisciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and multidisciplinary scholarship, as well as its objects of study, its units (region, nation) and counter-units (borders, diasporas).
On the Crisis in Radical Politics
This cluster continues as an ongoing forum in which to illuminate the social, cultural, and economic orgins of the current crisis in radical thought. The group’s interests include: the critique of “post-feminist” utopianism; aesthetics and the cultural politics of representation; the problem of freedom; the search for a new humanistic subject; discourses of nature and nonhuman others; the phenomenology of black women’s experience; globalization and consumer culture; the reification of theory; and technologies and paradigms of social change. From these varied approaches we hope to forge a common understanding of the present historical conjuncture, one that might allow us to identify, however tentatively, some of the basic conditions for the creation of democratic, egalitarian social structures, and relationships.
Promotes the active growth of Pacific Studies at UCSC. The cluster focuses primarily on the historical legacies currently facing Oceania’s island populations: sovereignty movements, tourism, militarization, economic development, globalization, negotiations of identity, migration, and diaspora. Activities included a poetry reading, workshop, and discussion with Craig Santos Perez.
Poetry and Politics
Conducts interdisciplinary conversations about poetry and poetics. Interests include: poetry and questions of political responsibility, poetry and pedagogy, and poetry and community. Activities included a conference entitled “Reimagining the Poet-Critic: Practice, Pedagogy, Poetics.”
This new cluster engages a wide range of popular cultural forms and idioms, including language games, hop hop culture, popular music, film, transgender representations, religion, and tourism.
Praxis Research Cluster
Provides a historical basis for the study of aesthetics and politics, as well as interrogating and creating contemporary practices of political artistic production.
Producing the Nation
This new research cluster will critically explore processes, claims, and contradictions regarding the nation and its influence on the formation of identities.
Psychoanalysis and Sexuality
Serves as a collaborative forum bringing together graduate students and faculty in the humanities who are committed to fostering research in the fields of psychoanalysis, sexuality, and culture. Activities included a colloquium with Stefania Pandolfo.
A collaborative endeavor bringing together graduate students and faculty members, the Queer Theory Research Cluster meets to discuss recent, innovative work in the field of lesbian, gay, trans-studies and queer theory, as well as foundational earlier texts and movements. Activities included a seminar with Chandan Reddy, a colloquium with Juana Maria Rodriguez, and a seminar with Ann Pellegrini.
Race and Nation
Provides a space for examining the ways race and nation condition and constitute each other in the construction of current issues on both the domestic and international levels, such as the War on Terror, religious identities, the housing market crisis, and immigration restriction/reform.
Radical Aesthetics and Politics
Provides a historical basis for the study of aesthetics and politics, as well as interrogating and creating contemporary practices of political artistic production.
Religion and Culture
An interdisciplinary group focusing on new models for studying and writing about religion, interrogation of the category of religion, and intersections of study of religions with other work on social and political formation.
Religion, Culture, and Social Movements
Explores how religious experience, belief, practice, and theology produce and reveal webs of power enmeshed within cultural forms. Examining the strategies and tactics in the organizing of new discursive formations and hegemonic practices, it facilitates discussions on the topic of “religion” and creates productive workshop experiences for visiting scholars and graduate students. Activities included a colloquium and workshop with Charles Hirschkind and a seminar with Keith E. McNeal.
At the turn of the century, where formal experimentation now inescapably characterizes televisual media and where the proliferation of personal computers has forged an indissoluble link between cultural revolution and technological saturation, what sort of critical space remains to the media artist? Or has the notion of criticality itself become one of the least mourned casualties of these developments? Our group will attempt to engage these issues through ongoing discussions centered around both theoretical texts and works in the field of experimental media. One of the primary goals of the group will be to foster a dialogue between recent developments in film and media theory and new practices by contemporary artists and filmmakers. The overarching question will be “How can we conceptualize the role of criticism and experimental practice in a culture which is largely defined by the increasing imbrication of media aesthetics and everyday life?”
Science Fiction Cluster
The cluster brings together students and faculty interested in science fiction (sf), providing a transdisciplinary context to discuss and compare methodologies, pedagogies, and writing strategies appropriate to the study and teaching of S.F.
Engages questions of science, science studies, technoscience, and naturecultures to engender broad interdisciplinary conversations. The cluster explores an ethics of flourishing within relations across differences that materialize the world and its inhabitants. Activities included a day-long workshop entitled “Experiments in Science and Technology Studies.”
Trauma and its Representation
Cathy Caruth has suggested that “in its repeated imposition as both image and amnesia, the trauma thus seems to evoke the official truth of a history that is constituted by the very incomprehensibility of its occurence.” Taking this proposition and the problematic it outlines as its point of departure, this research cluster will investigate the following questions: What difficulties arise in the contemporary visual, legal, literary, and spoken representation of “trauma”? To what degree does the effort to contain trauma in representational discourse also function to foreclose our awareness of the immanence of violence in everyday social relations? What are the advantages and ploblematics associated with approaching questions of identity, history, and a narrative from the perspective of a burgeoning field of “trauma studies”? What are advantages to figuring trauma in relation to discrete events in history and memory? How might we explore continuing sources of trauma such as torture, catastrophe, environmental hazards, work-related injury, etc.? What meaning can be derived from the current proliferation of work centering theories of trauma and injury as methodological frameworks?
Takes a transdisciplinary approach to the study of cities, exploring relationships between nature and the city and the cultural, spatial, and political-economic dynamics in urban life. The cluster hosts scholars and activists for panels and presentations and runs a monthly meeting for cluster members to share new work. Activities included a seminar with Neil Brenner and a lecture by Juan Flores.
Visual and Performative Studies
This cluster concentrates on key thoeretical aspects of visual and performative studies. Among its activities for 2000-2001 is a winter symposium entitled Performing Africa and the Archive: Bodily Practices/Visual Technologies.
An interdisciplinary group engaging visuality through a range of concerns, including semiotics, technology, spectatorship, racialization, apparatus theory, and literacy studies. Cluster plans include a speaker series and a conference on materiality and visuality.
Women of Color in Collaboration and Conflict
Founded in 1991, the Women of Color Research Cluster is a changing configuration of graduate students and affiliated faculty engaged in and promoting the study of Women of Color. The Cluster produces a variety of programs and events, including the annual Women of Color Film and Video Festival, conferences, publications, pedagogy workshops,curriculum development, and lectures and colloquia by guest speakers. The Research Cluster for the Study of Women of Color in Collaboration and Conflict encourages and welcomes new membership from graduate students and faculty interested in participating in this work.
Coordinates faculty and graduate student teaching and research interests in motion pictures. In the fall of 2008 it will host a day-long workshop, “Re-Thinking World Cinema.”