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October 2017

IHC Open House

October 5, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

You are invited to the IHC’s Open House on Thursday, October 5, from 4-6 pm. Cosponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. Meet new Humanities faculty, IHC fellows, and staff members. Learn about Crossings + Boundaries, our 2017-2018 public events series. Find out about our community-engagement programs and our numerous funding resources for faculty and graduate students. Explore our new lending library. Enjoy good food, drink, and conversation.

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RECEPTION: IHC Platform Gallery Exhibition Opening Reception

October 18, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Originating from the French word plateforme, meaning ‘ground plan’ or ‘flat shape’, the Platform Gallery is a public exhibition space at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB, that features the work of emerging artists displayed as two-dimensional printed media. The complete Platform exhibition archive is available online. The 2017–18 Platform exhibition engages with the IHC’s public events series theme, Crossings + Boundaries, which considers diverse experiences and phenomena of boundary crossing—institutional, political, cultural, artistic, gendered, psychological, and more.  The artwork displayed in the Platform exhibition gallery brings the IHC’s academic and community guests into dialogue with Crossings + Boundaries in creative ways. Join us as we celebrate the opening of the IHC Platform Gallery Exhibition, which features artists Alexis Crashaw, Maya T. Garabedian, Brent Gibbs, Lucy Holtsnider, Elisa Ortega Montilla, Sunny Samuel, Natasha Sarkar, and F. Myles Sciotto.

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INAUGURAL PANEL: Interdisciplinary Crossings + Boundaries

October 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

In this inaugural event for the IHC's Crossings + Boundaries public events series, four UCSB faculty members will discuss their varied experiences as interdisciplinary scholars, followed by a reception.   Beth DePalma Digeser (History, UCSB) studies the intersection of religion and philosophy with Roman politics, as well as the procession of “conversion” in Late Antiquity. Her latest book, A Threat to Public Piety: Christians, Platonists, and the Great Persecution (Cornell 2012), explores the interactions of Platonist philosophers and Christian theologians in the period leading up to the Great Persecution of AD 303-11. Her new research explores the questions surrounding the emperor Constantine’s move to become sole emperor. Why was his grasp of the West and the Balkans stable enough to allow him to move east (even though the Gallic empire had been a breakaway regime)? To what extent can the material…

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Talk: Interstellar Crossings: The Image of Exoplanets and the Imagination of Other Worlds
Lisa Messeri

October 26, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

When seven rocky planets were discovered around the star TRAPPIST-1, claims of potentially habitable worlds animated the scientific discourse and press coverage. Beautiful animations of the surfaces of these planets and imaginative tales of planet hopping suggested that this discovery was not just about discovering more planets, but that it was also about discovering worlds. In this talk, Messeri will recount ethnographic findings from her work with exoplanet astronomers. She will explore how planets become worlds and what resources scientists draw on to execute this conceptual crossing and imaginatively leave the boundary of our world to extend human presence beyond the solar system.

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January 2018

Crossings+Boundaries TALK: Opening the Gates of Heaven: Religious and Philosophical Implications of Space Exploration
Michael Waltemathe

January 11, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Religion and philosophy have always been present in human space exploration, in the form of religious rituals practiced during space missions, placement of sacred objects in space, and astronauts’ descriptions of transcendental changes in perspective when looking back on Earth. Space exploration also poses ethical, religious, and philosophical challenges. How, for example, do we protect other celestial bodies from contamination by human space exploration? How do we protect the Earth from contamination by extraterrestrial samples brought back on spaceships? How will human society be represented to extraterrestrial beings? What are the wide-ranging implications of finding life in the universe? In his talk, Waltemathe will discuss these issues, exploring questions that seem to belong to the realm of science fiction while focusing on scientifically plausible exploration scenarios. Michael Waltemathe is senior lecturer in the Department of Protestant Theology at Ruhr-University Bochum…

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February 2018

Crossings+Boundaries TALK: Dreamland: America’s Opiate Epidemic and How We Got Here
Sam Quinones

February 1, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Click here to read an article about Quinones' talk. Quinones will discuss the origins of our nationwide opioid epidemic: pharmaceutical marketing, changes in our heroin market, and new attitudes toward pain among American healthcare consumers. He will also discuss cultural shifts that made this epidemic possible. Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author of three books of narrative nonfiction. His book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic won a National Book Critics Circle award for the Best Nonfiction Book of 2015. He has reported on immigration, gangs, drug trafficking, and the border as a reporter for the L.A. Times (2004–2014) and as a freelance writer in Mexico (1994–2004). Sponsored by the IHC's Crossings + Boundaries series, the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life, and the IHC's Idee Levitan Endowment.

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Crossings + Boundaries Talks: Sayak Valencia and Lorena Wolffer

February 8, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Talk: From Queer to Cuir: Geopolitical Ostranenie from the Global South Sayak Valencia’s talk will explore the politics of survival and the alliances of the trans/border/messtizx/sissy/lesbian/dressed/slut-fag/cripple. The word “cuir” represents a defamiliarization—or ostranenie—of “queer,” which challenges automatic reading and registers, through its unfamiliarity, a geopolitical inflection southward and from the peripheries. Countering colonial epistemology and Anglo-American historiography, cuir invokes a space of decolonialized enunciation, at once playful and critical. Sayak Valencia (Cultural Studies, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte) is the author of Capitalismo Gore. Talk: Citizen Affects/Afectxs ciudadanxs Lorena Wolffer will discuss her experiences producing Citizen Affects/Afectxs ciudadanxs at UC Santa Barbara and at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City in 2017. This participatory cultural interventions project is focused on the affects that cross, regulate, and define women, queer, and non-normative individuals in our interaction with others…

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Crossings + Boundaries Talk: Exodus: The Largest Movement of People Since the Second World War
Dexter Filkins

February 28, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Corwin Pavilion, 494 UCEN Rd

The world is witnessing the greatest mass migration since 1945. More than sixty-five million people, about one in every hundred on Earth, have fled their homes. Some are internally displaced; others are refugees who have moved to multiple countries. This talk will discuss the three main causes of this giant human tide: the implosion of the Middle East following the Arab Spring; climate change, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where drought and advancing deserts are pushing people to abandon their homes; and famine, because of which at least twenty million people are currently at risk of starvation, most of them in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. In his talk, Filkins will take the audience on a tour of these places and discuss ways to address the complex causes of mass migration. Filkins has been a staff writer with The New Yorker since…

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March 2018

Crossings + Boundaries Talk: Murder and Mattering in Harambe’s House
Claire Jean Kim

March 6, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Date change to Tuesday, March 6th at 4:00PM. This talk approaches the controversy over the killing of the gorilla Harambe in the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 as a unique window onto the making of animalness and blackness in the contemporary U.S.  It will explore the notion of a racial-zoological order in which the “human” is constructed simultaneously in relation to both the “black” and the “animal.” Claire Jean Kim is Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine.  She is the author of Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (2000) and Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (2015), both of which won book awards from the American Political Science Association. Sponsored by the IHC’s Crossings + Boundaries series and the Sara Miller McCune and George…

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April 2018

Crossings + Boundaries Reading: Of Great Importance
Nachoem M. Wijnberg

April 12, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Wijnberg Poetry Reading

The poems in Of Great Importance discuss taxes and debts, stocks and flows, citizenship and labor contracts, notaries and accountants, factories and strikes, freedoms and fundamental rights, how to make money and how to win elections, when to declare war and when to found a new state. The collection has been called “a painfully consistent and uncomfortably accurate analysis of power, economic and social structures and mechanisms which are at the root of the degenerate world in which we wake up each morning.” The poems look at history in order to learn something from it and build upon the best work of thinkers and poets such as Marx, Keynes, Heine, Miłosz, and especially Kaváfis. Nachoem M. Wijnberg is a Dutch poet and novelist who has been acclaimed as one of the foremost Dutch authors of the last decennia. His poetry has received many Dutch and Belgian awards,…

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Symposium: Humanities in Prison

April 26, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Humanities in Prison

Why study the humanities in prison? Why teach them?  What is the value of prison humanities programs for communities both inside and outside of prisons?  What humanistic texts and skills do we teach? This day-long symposium, hosted by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center of the University of California, Santa Barbara, will explore the building of intellectual communities across systemic divides through the humanities. The symposium will include the voices of educators and formerly incarcerated individuals and will be of interest to those involved in public humanities, social justice, transformative pedagogy and civic engagement. Sponsored by the IHC’s Crossings + Boundaries series and the Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment; the College of Letters & Science Critical Issues in America series, Changing Faces of U.S. Citizenship; and the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life Schedule 9:00–10:45      Introductory…

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May 2018

Crossings + Boundaries Talk: Borderwall as Architecture
Ronald Rael

May 3, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Ronald Rael’s talk will reexamine what the 650 miles of physical barrier dividing the US and Mexico is and could be, suggesting that the wall is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling. Rael will illuminate the transformative effects of the wall on people, animals, and the natural and built landscape through the story of people on both sides of the border who transform and creatively challenge the wall’s existence. He will also discuss his architectural studio’s counterproposals that reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance, and meaning. Rael proposes that despite the intended use of the wall, which is to keep people out and away, the wall is instead an attractor, engaging both sides in a common dialogue. Ronald Rael is the Eva Li Memorial Chair…

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Crossings + Boundaries TALKS: Sinan Antoon and Sara Pursley
Sinan Antoon and Sara Pursley

May 10, 2018 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Talk: The Times of Revolution in Jawad Salim’s Monument to Freedom The Iraqi artist Jawad Salim’s famous Monument to Freedom, which still stands in Baghdad’s Liberation Square, is usually read as a linear historical narrative of the Iraqi nationalist movement and the 1958 revolution it produced. Pursley’s talk explores heterogeneous conceptions of time in the work, including depictions of cyclical forms of temporality that reference Khaldunian historical time, Shi`i messianic time, and the time of mourning. She suggests that these forms of time do not work against promises of radical change in the monument, but, on the contrary, give such promises more imaginative purchase than they typically achieve in linear modernization narratives, with their tendency to open onto a singular and static future. Sara Pursley is Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Talk: Pre-occupation, Epistemic Violence,…

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