Spring 2008 Colloquium Series

Colloquium Series

In spring 2008, 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.


April 9
Giuseppe Martella
(Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz)
Science, Culture, Media

April 16
Miriam Leonard
(Greek and Latin, University College London)
Socrates and the Jews

April 23
Mark Pettigrew
(Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz)
Peacock Angel, Devil, King: Heterodoxy and the Play of Meaning in a Medieval Islamic Grimoire

May 7
Mel Chen
Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley)
Yellow Scares, Queer Animalities, and Contemporary Panics

May 14
Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti
(Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz)
Mediterranean Crossings: Interrupting Modernity

May 21
Jennifer González
(History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz)
The Face and The Public: Race, Secrecy, and Digital Art Practice
May 28
Juan Poblete
(Literature, UC Santa Cruz)
U.S. Latino Studies in a Global Context: Social Imagination and the Production of In/visibility

GIUSEPPE MARTELLA is Associate Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Urbino. His present research concerns philosophic hermeneutics, the relation between science and the humanities, and between literature and digital media. His current research belongs to the ETNP project ACUME2 (“Interfacing science, literature and Humanities, ”http://www2.lingue.unibo.it/acume2/networkdata/italy.htm). He is interested in technique as an area of mediation between science and the humanities and carrying out a study of types, functions and implications of digital interfaces and hypertexts, considered as both dominant features of current techno-science and powerful cultural agents.

MIRIAM LEONARD teaches in the Department of Greek and Latin at University College London, and is currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She is author of Athens in Paris (OUP, 2005) and co-editor of Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought (OUP, 2006). Her most recent book, How to Read Ancient Philosophy, will be published by Granta in 2008. The present work investigates how an opposition between Hebraism and Hellenism was central to the engagement with the past in post-Enlightenment Europe. With a specific focus on Germany, it argues that this antithesis played a crucial role in the development of Classics as a discipline, and reveals how the figures of the “Greek” and the “Jew” have been integral to the construction of modernity.

MARK PETTIGREW is currently Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Queens College, CUNY. He specializes in Classical Arabic Literature with an emphasis on aspects of popular culture in the late Middle Ages. His current research focuses on syncretism and heterodoxy in Arabic ritual magic texts from the late Middle Ages. The composite nature of these texts, referencing earlier cultural traditions, resists simple categorization and defies the sort of hierarchies imposed by contemporary orthodox Muslim scholars. The present case study will explore a particularly striking example of indeterminacy in a 14th or 15th-century grimoire entitled Shumus al-anwar (“The Solar Luminaries”).

MEL CHEN is Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley and an affiliate of the Center for Race and Gender and the Institute for Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences. She works on queer animality and race, language, and embodiment. Her current project traces the ethical contours of a queer of color approach to animality through a consideration of gender and sexuality in the U.S. as it appears in “multiracial dramas,” visiting early political cartoons, mid-20th century Fu Manchu films, and contemporary figures and moments such as the Cat Man, Michael Jackson, and queer vernaculars.

IAIN CHAMBERS teaches Cultural and Postcolonial Studies in the context of the Mediterranean at the University of Naples, “L’Orientale.” Among his recent publications are Culture after Humanism (Routledge, 2001), Mediterranean Crossings. The Politics of an Interrupted Modernity (Duke, 2008), and the essay
“Philosophy and the Postcolonial” (forthcoming). He is also editor of Esercizi di Potere. Gramsci, Said e il postcoloniale (Meltemi, 2006). He is currently working on critical reassessments of the Mediterranean in the light of postcolonial critical thought and the fall-out of subsequent analyses on current understandings of Europe, occidental humanism, and modernity.

LIDIA CURTI teaches Women’s and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and is a member of the editorial board of Anglistica, Feminist Review, and New Formations. She is the author of Female Stories, Female Bodies (Macmillan, 1998; repr. NYU, 1999), and co-editor of The Postcolonial Question (Routledge, 1996) and La nuova Shahrazad (Liguori, 2004). After finishing her most recent book, La voce della subalterna. Scritture ibride tra femminismo e postcolonialità (Meltemi, 2006), she has begun to study women’s literature of migration in Italy, while continuing her work on Indian cinema and literature and the poetics and politics of “another cinema.”

JENNIFER A. GONZALEZ is Associate Professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture department at UCSC. Her recently published book, Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (MIT, 2008), examines how artists mimetically engage the rhetoric of display found in museums, the fine arts and popular culture to critique underlying discourses of race dominance. Her second area of research addresses how humans are visualized in digital art and artificial worlds online. Her talk will focus on the question of the use of “the face” as a trope for universal subjectivity in the writings of Giorgio Agamben and Mark Hansen, exploring the relation of “the face” to questions of “the public” in digital art practice.

JUAN POBLETE is Associate Professor of Latin/o American Literature and Cultural Studies at UCSC. He is author of Literatura chilena del siglo XIX: entre públicos lectores y figuras autoriales (Cuarto Propio, 2003) and editor of Critical Latin American and Latino Studies (Minnesota, 2003.) He focuses on two areas of study: nineteenth-century Latin America and contemporary Latino American (US-Latin America) culture.  The first concerns the study of literature as a disciplinary discourse of national subject formation, a set of social practices, and a product on the cultural market.  The second deals with Latin/o America in times of globalization.  He is currently working on forms of mediation between culture and the market in the context of the neoliberal transformation of Chilean culture.