2013-14 UC President's Fellows
Capturing Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease): The Medical Gaze in America’s Tropical Empire
This project investigates scientific photography of leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and its critical role in the medical, sexual, and legal management of U.S. colonial subjects from the late-19th to mid-20th century. Centered on Hawai’i and the Philippines, U.S. colonial possessions that administered leprosy settlements, this work examines how photography medically racialized leprosy patients as non-citizen aliens. This modern medical gaze in turn influenced broader ways of seeing colonial populations as potential pathogens. In its most expansive sense, this work considers how racial difference and disease were mutually constituted through visual culture. The second major objective is to analyze how vernacular photographs taken by exiled leprosarium residents intervened in medicalized discourse.
The Second Oldest Profession: Journalism, Cynicism and Truth-Telling in Post-Soviet Russia
This book-in-progress is both an institutional ethnography of journalism in Russia and a study of broad cultural shifts after the fall of the Soviet Union. The study contends that one of the most important casualties of post-Soviet transformation has been the erosion of truth-seeking as a value; and that journalism and journalists had much to do with it. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the project shows how Soviet journalists–before 1989–often exercised a truth-seeking ethic displayed through seriousness and sincerity that, in complicated ways, spoke truth to power. This moral connection between the press and its public came undone after the fall of the Soviet Union, as press freedom became radically devalued, following a wave of media privatizations and sales of journalistic services to the highest bidder. The book traces how a radical devaluation of press freedom became possible in this atmosphere, and how it articulated with other varieties of state-sponsored cynicism under Putin.
2013-14 UCHRI Fellows
Catalan Independence: Voluntary Organizations and the Construction of Social Change
Andrea Davis is currently working on an interdisciplinary research project, Catalan Independence: Voluntary Organizations and the Construction of Social Change, while completing her dissertation. A recipient of the Fulbright grant in 2010, Andrea served as a research fellow for the Spanish Civil War Memory Project: Audiovisual Archive of the Francoist Repression from 2008 to 2010. Analyzing a network of local actors as they moved between neighborhood assemblies, clandestine organizations, sociopolitical movements and institutions, her dissertation examines how and why the vibrant grassroots movements forged during the final decade of the Francoist dictatorship were demobilized as democracy was consolidated in Spain.
The Forgotten Soldiers: Puerto Rican and Chicano Narratives of the U.S. Wars in East Asia. Challenging Racism from Within
Katrina Oko-Odoi’s (formerly White) research interests include contemporary U.S. Latina/o and Chicana/o narrative that deals with institutionalized racism, historical memory, haunting, and the militarization of racial minorities, Afro-Latina/o literature, and Hispanophone Caribbean literature surrounding issues of imperialism and state-instituted violence. Her dissertation addresses the literary and cultural representation (through fictional narrative, non-fiction chronicle and autobiography, historiography, screenplays, and documentaries) of the experience of minority ethnic soldiers of Latino heritage—specifically Puerto Ricans and Chicanos—in the U.S. military during the Korean and Vietnam wars. As a minority ethnic soldier, the Puerto Rican and Chicano soldier have the potential to draw attention to the systemic racism within the very system to which he belongs.
2013-14 Dissertation Writing Fellows
Avitia’s dissertation examines how middle-class Chicana activists in 1970s Los Angeles forged a new phase in Chicana politics as women organized for themselves and by themselves removed from mainstream Chicano Movement and American feminist movement. Focusing on the influential and overlooked Chicana political organization, Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc., she examines the establishment of political networks which she terms, political comadrazgos.
Chen is a graduate student in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include comparative and relational ethnic studies, Asian American Studies, urban studies, and museum studies. Her dissertation project, The Making of a Model Metropolis: Examining the Rise of Urban Cosmopolitanism and Multiethnic Racial Formations in Postwar Seattle, examines the postwar transformation of Seattle from a fishing and lumber village to a major urban center of the West Coast. Her dissertation argues that postwar Seattle adopted great lengths to elevate its national profile and declare its racial progressivism to the rest of the nation by celebrating cosmopolitanism at the 1962 World’s Fair, and by publicizing pioneering acts of racial integration and ambitious racial civic programs in public housing projects and urban renewal programs from the 1940s through the 1970s.
Edwards is a PhD Candidate in US History, with particular interests in youth and popular culture, comparative and relational race and ethnicity, social movements, and transnational American studies. His dissertation, Styles of Struggle: Community Organizing, Youth Culture, and Multiracial Politics in New York City, 1968-1981, examines the constellation of multi-racial social movements, cultural expressions, and activist impulses that marked New York’s political landscape as the city transitioned into the post-Civil Rights, deindustrialized urban setting that would define the so-called Hip Hop generation. Placing local responses to racism, colonialism, and capitalist exploitation in the context of Third Worldism, it demonstrates how community organizers and cultural workers transformed the freedom dreams of the 1960s to suit the shifting political terrain of the late 20th century.
Ricketts specializes in the history of modern East Asian art and visual culture. His previous graduate training in literature culminated in a study of the pictorial uncanny in Surrealist art. After working in Japan for two years, he became interested in its inter-war mass media culture. To that end, his dissertation examines the international graphic design techniques used in Chinese and Japanese popular illustrated magazines from the 1920s and 1930s.
Skotnicki is a graduate student in the Sociology Department, interested in consumerism, ethics, historical research methods, theories of action, and the relationship between philosophy and sociology. In his dissertation, he studies late nineteenth and early twentieth century movements to address social issues through consumption in the United States and Great Britain. These movements sought to incite “ethical” purchasing by publicizing the conditions under which goods were produced, distributed, and sold. He seeks to understand why these movements converged on a shared ideology of the consumer and diverged in their practical attempts to mobilize consumers to purchase ethically.
Zroka is a doctoral candidate specializing in the history of modern Europe. Her research interests include German history and the history of women and gender. Her dissertation Serving the Volksgemeinschaft: German Nurses in the Second World War examines the experiences and memories of women who worked as German Red Cross nurses with the Wehrmacht. She investigates the social, cultural, and military aspects of nurses’ lives with the goal of exploring the ways in which female nurses found positions within the Volksgemeinschaft or “people’s community.”
2013-2014 Faculty Fellows
Bazargan’s primary interests are in applied ethics and normative ethics. He is currently working on revisionist theories of Just War according to which the moral permissibility of imposing harms in warfare depends on the justness of the war being fought. He also works on theories of individual responsibility for collectively committed harms.
Gary’s research focuses on geographical landscapes as representations and instruments of power, and the practice of “territoriality” which refers to the power of human agency to influence patterns of development in a place by asserting control over a geographical area.
Nancy is interested in the evolution of cities and urban spaces in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the role of planners, architects, and policymakers in reshaping neighborhoods and communities. While trained specifically in US urban history, Prof. Kwak currently pursues transnational, international, and comparative approaches to American urban history.
Martha is engaged in a study of work science, agricultural productivity and wages in Hungary (1920-1956), studying in particular the rise of economic policies advocating scientifically calibrated wage forms in the 1920s and 1930s, and the influence of these policies on the development and implementation of Stalinist cooperative agriculture in the 1950s.
Babak’s research examines the relationship between culture, religion and politics. His book, Theater-State and Formation of the Early Modern Public Sphere in Iran: Studies on Safavid Muharram Rituals, 1590-1641 C.E. (Brill 2011), studies the relationship between ritual, public space and state power in early modern Iranian history.
Yingjin’s book Ethics, Subject, and Place in New Sinophone Documentaries treats ethics as a central issue in current Chinese documentary film studies and brings subject and place into an ethical investigation. Yingjin is interested in Chinese Literature; Comparative Literature; Cinema and Media Studies; Visual Culture; Literary and Cultural History; Urban Studies; Transnational Cultural Politics.
2012-13 UC President's Fellow
German Angst? Fear and Democracy in Postwar Germany
My project employs a newly conceptualized history of emotions for writing a history of fear and anxiety in postwar West Germany. Contrary to dominant teleological narratives of the Federal Republic’s successful postwar stabilization and “arrival in the West,” the project takes seriously postwar Germans’ own fearful and apprehensive anticipations of their past futures after 1945. It examines how and why recurrent circles of fear and anxiety complicated the process of postwar democratization. Based on a series of empirically rich case studies, the project analyzes the shifting objects of fear and anxiety from the 1940s to the 1980s as well as the changing cultural norms governing the experience and expression of emotions. A synthetic analysis draws these cases together and offers a new perspective on postwar West German history more generally. The book also seeks to provide a historical perspective on contemporary manifestations of a politics and culture of fear.
2012-13 UCHRI Fellows
Theatre & Dance
In Corporation: Lecoq-Based Pedagogy’s Body-Bound Theory and Cognitive Science
This dissertation applies recent cognitive neuroscience to the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq and other related physically based actor-training systems. By coupling cognitive science and Lecoq-based pedagogy, I explore how this training offers not only skills for theatrical performance and interpretation of pre-existing roles, but develops overall cognitive states and abilities specific to theatre-making. Because this training centers on the body, it illustrates how active physical engagement actually creates cognition. This work then considers other physically based performer training such as the SITI company’s Viewpoints and Jerzy Grotowski’s pedagogy to outline a larger group of artists that advocate the specific creative advantages of body-focused training
Charles Nick Saenz
National Reform and Municipal Revolt in a Revolutionary Spain: Seville and Western Andalucia, 1766-1823
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Spain, the Bourbon monarchy lost the ability to function as an absolutist regime and was forced into uneasy accommodation with the emerging ideology of liberal democracy. My dissertation examines the role of political culture in facilitating this shift. Seville and surrounding towns serve as a case study uncovering how political culture framed practical discussions on the nature of government in this period as a dialogue between local and national elites. Central to these debates were the importance of longstanding traditions and local autonomy, which became challenges to the consolidation of a heavily centralized liberal democratic state.
2011-12 UC President's Fellows
The Intimacies of Four Continents
Liberal ideas of human freedom were central to the founding of eighteenth-century republics, and to the international forms of empire, trade, and government taking shape throughout the nineteenth century. My book, The Intimacies of Four Continents, examines liberal philosophies and institutions of citizenship, free labor, and free trade, in light of transatlantic and transpacific encounters in the “new world,” Africa, and Asia. Studies of the early Atlantic world observe links between Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the transatlantic slave trade, while recent work on Asia suggests that China possessed advanced state formation, market, and government, in the seventeenth century. Drawing upon these insights, my project brings the Pacific and Atlantic worlds into relation and elaborates the emergence of the United States within late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British and European encounters with Africa and Asia. Not only did the post-1840 worldwide trade in Chinese laborers enable British abolition of the slave trade, but the British engagements with China during and after the Opium Wars constituted conditions for U.S. liberalism, and inaugurated new modes of Anglo-American free trade and imperial intimacy.
Patrick Hyder Patterson
From the Gates of Vienna to the Gates at Heathrow: Christian Soldiers and the Islamic “Invasions” of the New Europe
Targeting several key Eastern and Western European polities, the project seeks to determine how and why those Europeans whose political activism comes from Christian religious commitments have welcomed or rejected the new presence of Muslims, and how they have drawn on (and mobilized for political purposes) a potent collection of centuries-old images, fears, remembrances, stereotypes, and history-laden received traditions concerning the nature of Islam and its followers. The study will trace and interpret the shifting approaches taken since the 1960s as these critical brokers of integration – political Christians in church and lay organizations and party groups – have argued over whether Islamic views of society are compatible with Europe’s dominant liberal-secular and (post-) Christian cultural, political, and legal traditions. The project puts Samuel Huntington’s persistent and seductive “clash of civilizations” thesis to a rigorous and much needed empirical test, establishing how the civilizational view has, in practice, found militant adherents (“Christian soldiers”) in the East and the West, and, just as important, explaining those crucial instances in which some political Christians have opted to become not soldiers but peacemakers instead, thus undercutting the widely popular Huntingtonian view that religious differences are paramount and that conflict is virtually inevitable.
2011-12 UCHRI Fellows
An Anthropic Approach to the Second Law Asymmetry
Any process that an electron or a quark undergoes can occur in reverse. So if the laws of microscopic physics do not distinguish between past and future, how do we account for the arrow of time that we experience? What is the source of the sharp distinction between past and future in the macroscopic world? There is a presumed gulf between the humanities and the physical sciences on the grounds that the humanities explore the particularities of what it means to be human while physics is concerned with far more fundamental questions about the basic structure of the world. I argue that exploring the nature and capabilities of human beings can in fact be crucial to answering those fundamental question, and the presumed gulf is spurious.
Culture, Politics, and Neoliberalism: New Subjectivities and Representation in Argentina and Central America, 1990s-2000s
Quirós explores the relationship between film and literature and the consolidation of neoliberalism as the dominant socio-economic system in Argentina and three countries of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) during the 1990s-2000s. By this time, the promises of development and democratization under a neoliberal agenda characterized by free markets and free trade are seriously challenged by a dramatic increase in criminality, violence, poverty and inequality in all four countries. The project argues that these specific political and economic events also involve certain shifts in subjectivity, representation, and the relationship between politics and aesthetics.