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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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Research Focus Group Talk: Cold War Curvature: Measuring and Modeling Gravity in Postwar American Physics
David Kaiser

January 24, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

A popular image persists of Albert Einstein as a loner, someone who avoided the hustle and bustle of everyday life in favor of quiet contemplation. Yet Einstein was deeply engaged with politics throughout his life; indeed, he was so active politically that the FBI kept him under surveillance for decades. His most enduring scientific legacy, the general theory of relativity – physicists' reigning explanation of gravity and the basis for nearly all our thinking about the cosmos – has likewise been cast as an austere temple standing aloof from the all-too-human dramas of political history. But was it so? By focusing on examples of research on general relativity from the 1950s and 1960s, this lecture will examine some of the ways in which research on Einstein's theory was embedded in, and at times engulfed by, the tumult of world politics.…

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HUMANITIES DECANTED: Robert Samuels, Educating Inequality: Beyond the Political Myths of Higher Education and the Job Market

January 25, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Join us for a dialogue between Robert Samuels (Writing) and Heather Steffen (English and Writing) about Samuels’ new work, Educating Inequality. Refreshments will be served. Politicians and school officials often argue that higher education is the solution to many of our social and economic problems. Educating Inequality argues that in order to reduce inequality and enhance social mobility, public policies are needed to revamp the financial aid system and increase the number of good jobs. Exploring topics such as the fairness of the current social system, the focus on individual competition in an unequal society, and democracy and capitalism in higher education, this important book seeks to uncover the major myths that shape how people view higher education and its relation to the economy. Looking to models that generate economic mobility and social equality, this book advocates a broader vision…

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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

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic recounts twin stories of drug marketing in the twenty-first century: A pharmaceutical corporation flags its legal new opiate prescription painkiller as nonaddictive. Meanwhile, immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza in the US, and take that system nationwide, riding a wave of addiction to prescription pills from coast to coast. The collision of those two forces has led to America's deadliest drug scourge in modern times. Dreamland won a National Book Critics Circle award for the Best Nonfiction Book of 2015. Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author of three books of narrative nonfiction. 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…

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Crossings + Boundaries Talks: Sayak Valencia and Lia García
Sayak Valencia and Lia García

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

TALK: From Queer to Cuir: Geopolitical Ostranenie from the Global South Sayak Valencia 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. ARTIST TALK: The Weight of Prejudices Lia García In her talk, artist Lia García (La Novia Sirena) will show her performance piece entitled “The Weight of Prejudices,” in which the artist, as a mermaid, transforms a public space into a place of metaphorical collective transition of gender. This piece focuses on the voice…

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Conference: Patterns and Networks in Classical Chinese Literature: Notes from the Digital Frontier

February 9, 2018 @ 9:00 am - February 10, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Twelve scholars from around the globe will present examples of the groundbreaking research taking place at the intersection of digital humanities and classical Chinese literary studies. Covering poetry, prose, fiction, history, linguistics, and philosophy over the course of two millennia, these studies will show how computing technologies can help researchers uncover previously unseen patterns and networks in their materials, shedding new light on premodern texts. Keynote Address by Michael Fuller (East Asian Languages and Literatures, UC Irvine) on Friday, February 9 at 4:30 PM Free and open to the public. Conference participants include: JING CHEN (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), TIMOTHY CLIFFORD (Bryn Mawr College), MICHAEL FULLER (UC Irvine), YI-LONG HUANG (National Tsing Hua University), CHAO-LIN LIU (National Chengchi University), CHEN LIU (Kyoto University), THOMAS MAZANEC (UCSB), EVAN NICOLL-JOHNSON (University of Alberta), DONALD STURGEON (Harvard University), JEFFREY THARSEN (University of Chicago),…

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HUMANITIES DECANTED: Bhaskar Sarkar, “No Man’s (Is)land: Ecology of a Border”

February 15, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Join us for a discussion of Bhaskar Sarkar's new work. Refreshments will be served. "No Man's (Is)land: Ecology of a Border" was written for the special issue of a cinema journal on "foreignness." More information forthcoming. Sponsored by the IHC's Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment.

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

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 D. McCune Endowment.

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The 2018 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence: Helen Macdonald

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

This year’s Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence is acclaimed naturalist and writer Helen Macdonald. She is the author of three books, including Shaler’s Fish (2001), Falcon (2006), and H is for Hawk (2014), winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, the Costa Book Award, and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. Her work includes poetry, naturalist non-fiction about birds, and memoir. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. In addition to her work as a writer, Macdonald has contributed to various film and television programs, most notably the 2017 documentary “H is for Hawk: The Next Chapter” for PBS Nature, the film “10 X Murmuration,” made in collaboration with filmmaker Sarah Wood for the 2015 Brighton Festival, and the BBC Four documentary series, “Birds Britannia.” She is also an Affiliated Research Scholar in the Department…

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April 2018

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

April 12, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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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May 2018

Crossings + Boundaries TALK: Sinan Antoon and Sara Pursley

May 10, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Keynote Speakers: Sinan Antoon (Gallatin School, New York University), and Sara Pursley (History, New York University) Sponsored by the IHC's Crossings + Boundaries series and the IHC's Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment.

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Presentation by UCSB Student Veterans

May 24, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Student veterans will read stories about their military experience. Following the reading there will be time for questions and answers from the audience. Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the UCSB Veterans Writing Workshop and UCSB Veteran and Military Services.

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