What is the meaning and significance of community in the 21st century? How has community been conceptualized and created by different cultures throughout history? How are relationships between specific communities and the broader social milieu constructed and maintained? In today’s global society, what provides the impetus for a life of civic engagement, built upon democratic values, goals, and aspirations? Is the “network” the next form of community, now disconnected from the preconditions of shared physical or social space? These and other questions will be explored through the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s 2016-17 public events series Community Matters.

A primary focus of Community Matters will be the changing nature of a liberal education. Increasingly, higher education is emphasizing the cultivation of citizenship through field-based learning, collaborative community-based research and the co-creation of knowledge through community-university partnerships. Through such approaches, the goals of a liberal education are becoming refocused to align with the values of deliberative democracy, participatory citizenship and civic engagement through cooperative problem solving. Community Matters aims to stimulate reflection and transformation in this direction, inviting the campus and community to work together to develop humanities- and arts-based programs that cultivate essential skills of collaboration and that mutually engage the university and the local community through co-conceived learning opportunities and co-designed projects.

We invite members of the UCSB campus community to submit proposals and ideas for events, meetings, lectures, performances and other opportunities to think and work together on Community Matters. Please contact IHC Director Susan Derwin or Associate Director Emily Zinn with your suggestions for productive and creative collaborations.

Upcoming Events

Past Events

2016 - 2017

talk: Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the End of Mass Incarceration

Joshua Dubler (Religion, University of Rochester)
Thursday, May 25, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this talk, Joshua Dubler takes stock of the current critical discourses around mass incarceration and argues that if you are not yet a prison abolitionist there is a good chance that you will be one soon. In assessing the current impossibility of prison abolition, and by looking back to the movement that abolished slavery, Dubler argues that if prison abolition is to win it must in significant ways “get religion.” Simultaneously, Dubler argues, it is incumbent upon religious Americans to resurrect their own traditions’ abolitionist spirit.

Joshua Dubler is a critically engaged scholar whose teaching and writing takes place where American religious history and ethnography intersects with critical theory, and with the theory of religion. Among other topics he teaches classes on Religion in America, Islam in America, Theories of Religion, Guilt, Genealogy, and Pilgrimage. He is author of Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison (FSG, 2013). With Andrea Sun-Mee Jones, he is the co-author of Bang! Thud: World Spirit from a Texas School Book Depository (Autraumaton, 2007). With Vincent Lloyd, he is currently writing a book entitled “Break Every Yoke: Religion, Power, and the End of Mass Incarceration,” which looks to marshal religious resources toward prison abolition. He is also working on a cultural history of the concept of guilt in America.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the IHC series Community Matters.

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screening: Free Cece (2016, 87 min.)

Jacqueline (Jac) Gares (Director)
CeCe McDonald (Activist, Prison Reform Advocate)
Lal Zimman (Linguistics, UCSB)
Wednesday, May 10, 2017/7:0o0 PM
Pollock Theater

In 2011 CeCe McDonald survived a brutal attack, only to be incarcerated for defending her life. Her story inspired an international movement advocating for her freedom, and since her release she has worked to critique the prison-industrial complex and to advocate for reforms to the criminal justice system. Featuring CeCe McDonald and Laverne Cox, documentary Free CeCe confronts the culture of violence surrounding transwomen of color.

This screening of Free CeCe will be followed by a Q&A with Director Jacqueline (Jac) Gares, who will discuss the process of making the film with Moderator Lal Zimman of the Department of Linguistics.

Jacqueline Gares is a New York-based filmmaker and freelance television producer. From 2009 to 2012, she served as series producer for “In The Life” on public television; during her tenure, the series garnered awards from NLGJA, GLAAD, and Webbys. Gares has worked as a freelance producer on television specials and documentaries for the History Channel, Food Network, and USA Networks. Her first documentary Unraveled, which concerns genetic testing and Alzheimer’s Disease,  won a Freddie Award in 2008, and her short film Remnant won a TELLY Award in 1999.  She has received awards from the Ford Foundation and the Jerome Foundations as an emerging film/video artist.

Lal is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Affiliated Faculty in Feminist Studies at UCSB. His research focuses on the relationship between language, identity, and the body in trans and queer communities. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to this work, which ranges from qualitative discourse analysis of coming out narratives and talk about the body to quantitative acoustic analysis of the voice. The overarching goal of his work is to highlight the powerful challenges trans people pose to the naturalization of gender and sex and the power of language to reshape gender and sexual politics.

The event is free but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat.

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center, the UCSB Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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Demonstration & Discussion: Community Basketweaving

Jennifer Bates
Lois Bohna
Linda Yamane

Thursday, May 4, 2017 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room

Three Native American basketweavers will discuss the role that weaving plays in each of their communities. The basketweavers will also weave in their traditional style, showcasing each of their designs and techniques.

Jennifer Bates is of Central Sierra Mewuk (Miwok) descent and has been a basketweaver for over four decades. She is a member of the Tuolumne Rancheria, where she teaches traditional methods of gathering and processing raw materials and weaving techniques.

Lois Bohna is a North Fork Mono cultural educator and basketweaver who lives and works in Coarsegold, in the Sierra. She is a preserver of Mono Indian cultural heritage and teaches her native traditions and language to the surrounding community.

Linda Yamane is an Ohlone basketweaver who traces her heritage to the Rumsen Ohlone, the native people of the Monterey area. She has spent the past thirty years researching and reviving Rumsen language, stories, songs, basketry and other Ohlone cultural traditions.

Sponsored by the IHC series Community Matters.

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talk: Ceramics as a Medium and Its Discontents

Jenni Sorkin (History of Art & Architecture, UCSB)*
Thursday, April 27, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020
* This event has been cancelled.

Ceramics has been a marginal practice within the history of postwar art. But embedded in a discourse of experimentation with materials, tactility, and performance, its formal concerns resonate as a parallel medium to avant-garde movements of the 1950s and 1960s, including, but not limited to: Abstract Expressionism, happenings, experimental music, minimalism, and early video art. This talk argues that ceramics is a socially engaged artistic practice that integrates aesthetic concerns with pedagogy and affective discourses.

Jenni Sorkin writes on the intersection between gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her new book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (University of Chicago Press) was published in July of 2016. This project examines the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics. She has published widely as an art critic, and her writing has appeared in the New Art Examiner, Art Journal, Art Monthly, East of Borneo, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters and Third Text. In 2004, she received the Art Journal Award. She has written numerous in-depth catalog essays on feminist art and material culture topics. She has been an invited lecturer at museums including Bellevue Art Museum, Dia Beacon, the ICA, Philadelphia, Menil Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery. She has been a visiting critic at Cranbrook Academy of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Wisconsin, Madison and the Yale School of Art. She sits on the Editorial Board of Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture and was a member of the Editorial Board of Art Journal from 2010-14. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014-15), the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (2012), the Getty Research Institute (2010-11), and the ACLS/Luce Fellowship in American Art (2008).

Sponsored by the IHC series Community Matters.

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talk: Urban Hallucinations

Julie Eizenberg (Founding Principle, KoningEizenberg)
Hank Koning (Founding Principle, KoningEizenberg)
Thursday, April 20, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020

Architects Koning Eizenberg take on the idyll of local and neighborhood through the design of recent projects in the Los Angeles region in Urban Hallucinations. They bring a fresh eye to placemaking and community building in an urban area that is ambivalent about development, yet conscious of regional issues — notably sustainability, affordability, and housing shortage. Believing opportunities hide in plain sight, the architects sift through the context of increasing regulation, differing opinions on responsible growth, and priorities for quality of life to extract their own unexpected and compelling approach to the architecture of the day.

Koning Eizenberg Architecture was established in 1981 in Santa Monica, California. Working collaboratively, principals Hank Koning, Julie Eizenberg, Brian Lane, and Nathan Bishop continue to think with developers, cities, and not-for-profit clients to reveal new possibilities for the design of housing and neighborhood places that strengthen community. Their groundbreaking work has been published extensively both in the US and abroad, and has earned over 135 awards for design, sustainability, and historic preservation.
A keen observer of everyday life, Julie Eizenberg leads investigations that reframe the way we think about conventional building typologies. Her focus on user experience, whether for individuals, underserved communities or the public at large, brings a perspective that translates seemingly mundane programs into places of ease and generosity.
Hank Koning leads the firm’s approach to regulatory and technical resolution. His strength with planning and code translate to unexpected opportunities at all scales of project development that propel signature solutions. His community involvement and planning expertise include 7 years of service on the Santa Monica Planning Commission and ongoing voluntary advisory work for the City.

Sponsored by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum and the IHC series Community Matters.

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talk: Beyond the Romance of Community: Envisioning Queer Collectivity, Contesting Racial Capitalism

Miranda Joseph (Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona)
Thursday, April 13, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This talk begins with a review of the extensive critiques of community offered by Joseph and other scholars of critical and cultural theory. While earlier analyses focus on the racist and exclusionary implications of community, these works examine deployments of community as a supplement to capitalism and neoliberal governmentality. Meanwhile, there have been widespread efforts in critical and cultural theory to articulate visions of collectivities that would not be liable the earlier concern. Guided by José Esteban Muñoz’s rich, sophisticated, and persistent contributions to the effort to envision such alternatives, and especially queer-of-color collectivities, this presentation surveys the various theoretical resources and terms on which he drew, from publics and counterpublics to affect to commons. Finally, this presentation explores how those efforts engage the relation of the collectivity to capitalism and governance.

Miranda Joseph teaches feminist, Marxist, poststructuralist and queer theory, cultural studies methods, and LGBT Studies. Her research uses the tools of cultural studies to theorize the relationship between economic processes and social formations. She is the author of Debt to Society: Accounting for Life Under Capitalism (2014), which explores modes of accounting as they are used to create, sustain, or transform social relations, and Against the Romance of Community (2002), which examines the supplementary relation of community with capitalism in the context of political debates over LGBT art and culture and the discourses and practices of NGOs. She has undertaken many administrative and faculty leadership roles, including Chair of the university’s Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, 2007-2009. She is currently Co-chair of the Program Committee for the Cultural Studies Association 2016 conference. She received her PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford in 1995.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Revolution as Storytime: The Uprisings of 2011 and the Art of Viral Narrative

Nathan Schneider (Media Studies, University of Colorado – Boulder)
Thursday, April 6, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

What motivates people and mobilizes them to create change? In 2011, people in countries around the world rose up against their governments and economic systems, apparently spontaneously, and under very different conditions, with widely varying effects. Perhaps more than any particular structural or organizational cause, the phenomenon can be understood as the spread of a simple, viral story. Embedded in that story was an implicit theory of change, together with the movements’ power and their shortcomings. When we consider ongoing movements like Black Lives Matter and the rolling protests related to the Trump administration, the stories they tell can also help us understand their effectiveness as well as the limitations they must overcome.

Nathan Schneider is a scholar in residence of Media Studies and a reporter who writes about religion, technology and resistance. His current project is an exploration of models for democratic ownership and governance for online platforms in the wake of a major conference he co-organized at the New School in 2014, Platform Cooperativism. He is the author of two books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both published by University of California Press. His articles have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The Catholic Worker, Religion Dispatches and other outlets. He writes a column for America, a national Catholic weekly, as well as a finance column Vice magazine. Media appearances have included The Takeaway, Democracy Now, On Being, HuffPost Live and The Brian Lehrer Show. As an editor, Schneider co-founded the news website Waging Nonviolence and helped relaunch the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha. He has also helped organize projects with the Social Science Research Council about religion and media since 2008, including The Immanent Frame and Frequencies. Schneider holds two degrees in religious studies, a master’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: My Other’s Keeper: Radical Ethics and Visions of Community

Donna Orange (Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYU)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Thinking about community, badly needed, is in short supply in current public discourse.  We will step back here to consider what meanings community might bring now, how it can be used to include and exclude others, depending on intersubjective context. We will ask how presumption of common humanity relates to conceptions of community, and above all, what then, a radical ethics, as found in the theorists who emerged from other “dark times,” may require of us now.

Donna Orange is educated in both philosophy and clinical psychology. She also teaches at ISIPSé (Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychology of the Self and Relational Psychoanalysis), Milano and Roma. In New York, she teaches and supervises at IPSS, the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity. She runs study groups in philosophy, in the history of psychoanalysis, and in contemporary relational psychoanalysis. She is author of Emotional Understanding: Studies in Psychoanalytic Psychology; Thinking for Clinicians: Philosophical Resources for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Humanistic Psychotherapies, and The Suffering Stranger: Hermeneutics for Everyday Clinical Practice (2011). With George Atwood and Robert Stolorow she has written Working Intersubjectively: Contextualism in Psychoanalytic Practice and Worlds of Experience: Interweaving Philosophical and Clinical Dimensions in Psychoanalysis. With Roger Frie, she co-edited Beyond Postmodernism: Extending the Reach of Clinical Theory. Her philosophical studies include pragmatism, ethics, phenomenology, and many topics in the history of philosophy. In psychoanalysis, she wonders about the ways in which traumatic experience and fixed ideas, including especially her own, interact to inhibit dialogue and hospitality.

Click here to listen to a recording of Donna Orange’s talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC series Community Matters and the English Department’s Literature and the Mind Program.

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talk: The Discarded and The Dignified—The Politics of the Fear that “Only One Can Live”

Jessica Benjamin (Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYU)
Thursday, February 23, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this talk Benjamin brings together her psychoanalytic theory of the Third together with her experience with dialogue in the Middle East and with colleagues involved in post-war reconciliation in Rwanda, South Africa and Chile. She suggests ways in which we can think about deep psychological structures in both collectives and individuals that lead to fear-based hatred of the “Other.” Why is it so hard for some of us to meet the urgent call of victims? Why do some political movements, as we see in the present, engage in denial or even destructive attacks on those who are vulnerable? The historical efforts to redress this find that we may be in a struggle over whose suffering is considered worthy of attention. In such cases we find the imaginary position to be “Only one can live.” This fantasy may underlie the fact that in some instances where people are subjected to great suffering and helplessness this makes them and their injuries appear threatening to those who are (more) safe. The ultimate issue becomes the denial versus recognition of all suffering and human needs with the idea that “all should be able to live.”

Jessica Benjamin is considered to be one of the most important and influential psychoanalysts of the last four decades. She was one of the founders of relational psychoanalysis, and was one of the first to introduce feminism and gender studies into psychoanalytic thought. Her early studies included social structure and feminism, but more recently she is known for her effort to explain the classical aspects of psychoanalysis using object relations, relational psychoanalysis, and feminist thought. She has made significant contributions to the concept of intersubjectivity in psychoanalysis. In 2015 Jessica Benjamin received the Hans-Kilian-Award for her achievements in the fields of psychoanalysis, feminist psychology and the theory of intersubjective recognition.

Click here to listen to a recording of Jessica Benjamin’s talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the Literature and the Mind Program and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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panel: Muslim American / American Muslim Community Engagements: Opportunities and Challenges in the Aftermath of the 2016 Elections

Juan E. Campo (Religious Studies, UCSB)
Edina Lekovic (Director of Policy & Programming, Muslim Public Affairs Council)
Yasmin Sallak (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, UCSB)
Laila Shereen Sakr (Film & Media, UCSB)
Sherene Seikaly (History, UCSB)
Thursday, February 16, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the status of Muslims in the country and Santa Barbara has become a important object of debate. This panel will consider this topic by raising the following  questions for discussion: What are the dynamics of community building among Muslims and non-Muslims in Santa Barbara? Who are the stakeholders and principle organizations? What are the local pathways of communication and community action? How do these pathways extend beyond the local community to translocal ones? What role does the University play in community building? What role should it play? How are issues of religious freedom, freedom of speech, social justice, civil rights, and gender equality pursued on the local level? These are key topics  that a panel composed of academic and community participants will address. Particular attention will be given to how these issues have become especially meaningful in the context of the recent elections, the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the violence that has beset different communities in the United States, and the opening of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara’s Community Center in the near future.

Click here to listen to a recording of the panel from the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Communities for Empowerment: Antebellum African American Literary and Debating Societies

Margaret Malamud (S.P and Margaret Manasse Chair, College of Arts and Sciences,  New Mexico State University)
Thursday, February 9, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Excluded from most schools, enterprising free black women and men in northern urban African American communities established their own schools and their own literary, historical, and debating societies, which offered, among other things, instruction and practice in debate and public speaking. Developing the skills of classical and neo-classical oratory and debate offered a powerful rhetorical tool with which to combat slavery and fight for the right to participate fully in the public sphere. The founders and members of these societies knew that oratory, empowerment and political transformation were intertwined.

Margaret Malamud is Professor of Ancient History and Islamic Studies at New Mexico State University, where she is also the S.P. and Margaret Manasse Research Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is author of the acclaimed book Ancient Rome and Modern America (2009) and her articles have appeared in the scholarly collections African Athena (2012) and Ancient Slavery and Abolition (2011).

Click here to listen to a recording of Margaret Malamud’s talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the Dept. of Classics, the Dept. of Black Studies, the Argyropoulos endowment in Hellenic Studies and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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workshop: Think Critically, Act Creatively: Worldbuilding for Civic Engagement

Henry Jenkins (Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, USC)
and members of the Civic Imagination Project research team
Friday, February 3, 2017 / 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
Transmedia worldbuilding is an approach to creative collaboration in which practitioners build on shared values to create a fantastic vision of the future.   After brainstorming the large scale contours of a future world, workshop participants will craft human-scale narratives within that shared fictional space and then reflect on the themes of the stories as pathways to understanding contemporary concerns of their home communities. Such a process models the core logic of what we call the Civic Imagination: before we can build a better world, we have to imagine what a better world looks like and to anticipate the resources and tactics which might allow for social change to happen. This speculative approach to social change helps us to escape what Steven Duncombe has called “the tyranny of the possible” and open up alternative perspectives that go beyond the constraints of our current situation. These skills and practices should be of interest to civic educators, activists and anyone interested in storytelling for social change.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Remixing the Civic Imagination

Henry Jenkins (Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, USC)
Thursday, February 2, 2017 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Henry Jenkins’s 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collides ended with the speculation that we were acquiring skills through play that would soon be used to change the world. Based on interviews with more than 200 young activists from diverse communities in the United States, Jenkins’s most recent book By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism explores this transition from participatory culture to participatory politics, considering a broad range of examples of political movements that have been effective at mobilizing American youth and their communication strategies. What emerges is not the usual picture of “slacktivists” or “Twitter Revolutions.” Young people conducting politics through a language that remixes elements from popular culture to inspire the civic imagination. The civic imagination refers to the various mechanisms by which groups and individuals conceptualize the process of political change and civic transformation, including how they model what a better future might look like and the process by which change might take place, how they conceptualize themselves as agents capable of changing the world and often how they imagine equality before they have directly experienced it, how they develop social links within a larger collective/community and how they develop empathy for people whose experiences and perspectives are different than their own. At different moments in different cultures, a range of rhetorical and storytelling practices emerge to inspire the civic imagination. Today more and more young people around the world are inspiring the civic imagination by creative appropriation and remixing of elements from popular culture. This talk will offer a wealth of examples of the ways fantastical figures – wizards and zombies and superheroes – have been tapped as expressive resources by groups that want to change the world.

Click here to listen to a recording of Henry Jenkins’ talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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conference: Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin; Simone Forti; Yvonne Rainer in CA and NY 1955 – 1972

Friday, January 27, 2017 / 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In the summer of 1960, dancer-choreographer and social activist Anna Halprin taught a revolutionary workshop on her open-air dance deck located on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais north of San Francisco. A natural environment within civic view, the dance deck had long drawn celebrated collaborators Merce Cunningham and John Cage. The 1960 summer dance workshop catalyzed the improvisational art of what is today known as the Judson Dance Theater and change forever how, where and by whom contemporary dance is made, performed and installed. Among the dancers attending the now famed workshop were Simone Forti, then married to the artists Robert Morris, and Yvonne Rainer. Within two years, Forti’s forceful dance constructions had premiered in Yoko Ono’s loft and Rainer had helped found Judson Dance Theater. Radical Bodies reunites Halprin, Forti, and Rainer for the first time in over 45 years.

Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer California and New York, 1955-1972, a day-long conference, reunites all 3 artists for the first time since 1960. Together, in conversation with Judson Scholar Wendy Perron, Anna, Simone and Yvonne will discuss the roots of postmodernism in dance and the visual arts. These up close and personal discussions will be surrounded by scholarly papers and film showings and conclude with the grand opening of the exhibition at UCSB’s Museum of Art, Architecture & Design and the Santa Barbara premiere of Yvonne Rainer’s MoMa-curated work, Concept of Dust (2014).

For more information please visit: http://www.theaterdance.ucsb.edu/

Sponsored by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Dept.of Theater and Dance, the Dept. of Feminist Studies, the Department of Film Studies, and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Making Shakespeare: Theatre as Community Engagement

Katherine Steele Brokaw (UC Merced)
Thursday, January 19 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

How does Shakespeare make different kinds of meaning in various local communities? And how can amateur theatre be a form of community engagement for drama and Shakespeare scholars? This talk will consider how community productions of Shakespeare produce indigenous forms of knowledge that should be of interest to academics and amateur theatre-makers alike. It further calls for academics who study Shakespeare to engage with their own community by not only attending local productions of Shakespeare, but also by making theatre alongside amateur actors and directors who are engaging in practice-based, collaborative research that shares knowledge and expertise and de-centers Shakespearean authority. Examples in the talk will be drawn from Brokaw’s own work acting, directing, and dramaturging with the amateur company Merced Shakespearefest in California’s Central Valley.

Katherine Steele Brokaw received her PhD in English from the University of Michigan in 2011. She is the author of Staging Harmony: Music and Religious Change in Late Medieval Early English Drama (Cornell University Press, 2016). She has also published articles and reviews in Shakespeare Bulletin, Comparative Drama, and Pedagogy, and has an essay in the forthcoming collection Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England (Indiana University Press, 2017). She is currently working on articles about dice games in Tudor drama, and about contemporary performances of amateur drama.

Click here to listen to a recording of Katherine Brokaw’s talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC series Community Matters.

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discussion: Isla Vista: Voices from the Community

Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 5:00 PM
UCSB Library (Special Research Collections, 3rd Floor, Mountain Side)

A new UCSB Library exhibition in its Special Research Collections will explore the political, cultural, and social struggles of Isla Vista to become an independent, cohesive community, from 1970 to the present day. In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel of Isla Vista residents will talk about life in their community. The panel will be moderated by George Thurlow, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Alumni Affairs and Chancellor’s Special Assistant, Isla Vista.

Sponsored by the UCSB Library and the IHC’s Community Matters Series.

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screening & discussion: Investigating My Father and “Reading Hunger” with The Memory Project

Wu Wenguang (Director, Investigating My Father)
Zhang Ping, Liu Xiaolei, Zhang Mengai (Members of The Memory Priject)
Moderator:  Michael Berry (East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, UCLA)
Saturday November 19, 2016 / 2:00pm-5:15pm
The Pollock Theater

This event is free but space is limited; please reserve a ticket here.

Pioneering documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang presents Investigating My Father (2016), a film twenty years in the making that explores his father’s story of transformation from landowner’s son and man of the ‘old society’ to the post-1949 ‘new society,’ a history he spoke about with his son for the first time for this film. Following the screening of Investigating My Father, Wu Wenguang and fellow members of the filmmaking collective The Memory Project Zhang Ping, Liu Xiaolei, and Zhang Mengai will present “Reading Hunger,” an account of the process by which each filmmaker returned to their own village to interview elders and document their memories of the Great Famine. A discussion and Q&A with the filmmakers will be led by Michael Berry, Professor of East Asian Languages and Culture at UCLA.

In 2010, Wenguang founded The Memory Project to support amateur filmmakers working in rural China to collect oral histories from the survivors of the Great Famine (1958–1961). Over the past six years, the filmmaking collective and their body of work have grown to include over a thousand interviews about the Great Famine, as well as the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960), the Land Reform and Collectivization period (1949–1953), the Four Cleanups Movement (1964), and the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

Sponsored by the Carsey Wolf Center and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Public Universities and the Future of Democracy

Harry Boyte (Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College)
Thursday, November 17, 2016 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In the midst of enormous external pressures to narrow or eliminate the public purposes of higher education, how can educators become agents of constructive, democratizing change, not objects, spectators, and observers of change? How can students, including first generation college students and students from immigrant, ethnic, and other backgrounds who feel like strangers in institutions where pedagogies and assessments are structured around individualist, hyper-competitive achievement norms, move from survival and protest to leadership in making change? In this talk, Harry Boyte will argue that higher education is a crucial site for democratic change making. To develop its potential requires incorporating skills and lessons of civic agency and “a different kind of politics” from broad-based, cross-partisan community organizations and related movements like the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa into both curricular and co-curricular life. We also need a future oriented time horizon, adapting such skills and lessons to prepare students for careers as citizen professionals, leaders in the democratic transformation of institutions and professions, not cogs in impersonal bureaucracies and corporations driven only by narrow bottom lines. Boyte will sketch new intellectual and practical resources for this work in the transdisciplinary field of Civic Studies. Civic Studies conceives of citizens as co-creators of a democratic way of life and it advances an epistemology of civic agency, a lived way of seeing and knowing in the world which blends “head,” “heart,” and “hand,” empirical, cultural and normative disciplines with capacities for effective action. Civic Studies is becoming a prominent presence in Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. It holds annual Civic Studies Institutes in Boston and the Ukraine, and constitutes a growing network of practitioners and public intellectuals associated with The Good Society: A Journal of Civic Studies.

Harry Boyte is an architect of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship’s public work approach to civic engagement and democracy, and the creator of Public Achievement. Boyte has worked with a variety of foundations, and non-profit, educational, and citizen organizations in the United States and abroad concerned with community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal. Boyte served as a senior advisor to the National Commission on Civic Renewal and presented research findings at a Camp David seminar on the future of democracy. He is the author of nine books on citizenship, democracy, and community organizing, and his writings have appeared in more than 100 publications including the New York Times, Perspectives on Politics, Kettering Review, and the Wall Street Journal. In the 1960s, he worked for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the Civil Rights Movement. Boyte teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on organizing theory and practice at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and is in demand as a keynote speaker with faculty, students, and professionals.

Click here to listen to a recording of Harry Boyte’s talk for the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series, the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life and the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment.

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talk: Can We “Teach to Transgress”?

Margaret Klawunn (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UCSB)
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 / 4:00 PM
MultiCultural Center Theater

A social justice approach to building campus community encourages activism. What does it look like to have an inclusive university invested in just community values on and off campus? A conversation about challenges, lessons learned, and thoughts about the way forward. Dr. Margaret Klawunn is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UCSB where she oversees over 20 non-academic departments on campus that exist to serve the student body.

Sponsored by the MultiCultural Center and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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PANEL: The Engaged Classroom: Learning at the Intersection of Campus and Community

UCSB students:
Zenzile Riddick
Katie Walker
Jonathan Gomez
Jasmine Kelekay
Moderators: Rick Benjamin (Associate Director for Community Engagement, IHC)
Margaret Klawunn (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UCSB)
Thursday, November 10, 2016  / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

How best might our academic experiences at UCSB be both guided and deepened by community engagement and practice? As the title suggests, this panel will be informed by an inquiry into opportunities students at UCSB have for engaging in building community in relationship with others. This includes, of course, outreach, but potentially also fostering communities on campus.

Zenzile Riddick is a second-year student majoring in Sociology and Black Studies, and is the Program Director of the Black Student Union. Katie Walker is a fourth-year student majoring in Anthropology and Theater with a community emphasis, and is the Artistic Director of City of Peace, a theater program for 13 – 19 year olds. Jonathan Gomez is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology with emphasis in Black Studies, and is a Co-facilitator of the Transformative Pedagogy Project. Jasmine Kelekay is a Doctoral Student in Sociology with an interest in race and racism, punishment and social control, critical criminology, policing, global African diaspora, Black Europe, among other things.

Click here to listen to a recording of the panel from the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Democracy Matters: The Road to Self-Governance in Isla Vista

Alice O’Connor (History, UCSB)
Thursday, November 3, 2016 / 5:00 PM
UCSB Library, Special Research Collections

On November 8, Isla Vista residents will take part in an historic vote that will determine the future of self-governance in the community. With ballot initiatives E and F, they will weigh in on proposals to create a new Community Services District, with an elected board, and a utility tax to empower it to provide locally-controlled services. Drawing on the UCSB Library’s extensive historical holdings as well as the contemporary scene, Professor of History Alice O’Connor will discuss the issues, debates, and traditions of community-based activism that have brought Isla Vista to this important point of decision-making about its political future, and what’s at stake in the vote.

O’Connor’s talk is in conjunction with “Isla Vista—Building a Community, 1970-2016,” a new UCSB Library exhibit in its Special Research Collections exploring the political, cultural, and social struggles of Isla Vista to become an independent, cohesive community, from 1970 to the present day.  For more information, visit this page.

Alice O’Connor is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History at UCSB. She teaches and writes about poverty and wealth, social and urban policy, the politics of knowledge, and the history of organized philanthropy in the United States. Among her publications are Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History; and Social Science for What? Philanthropy and the Social Question in a World Turned Rightside Up. Her current research focuses on wealth, inequality, and the politics of redistribution in the twentieth century U.S.

Sponsored by the UCSB Library and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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workshop: The Porous University: Creating Successful Community-Based Public Art, Drama, and Archive Projects

Laura Browder (English, University of Richmond)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 / 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this workshop, Laura Browder will draw on her sixteen years of creating documentary dramas and museum exhibitions through university-community partnerships to address participants’ questions. These might include how to create long-term, mutually sustaining university-community projects; how to build diverse audiences for this work, how to build networks within and outside of the university to extend the reach and life of these projects, and how to involve students in these projects in a way that will be meaningful—but will not put the success of the project at risk.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: Driving Richmond: From Pop-up Public Art Exhibition to University Class—and Transit Museum

Laura Browder (English, University of Richmond)
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In 2013, Laura Browder was commissioned by the city of Richmond to produce a piece for the RVA Street Art Festival, a four-day festival housed in the disused bus barns that were once the home of the Greater Richmond Transit Company. The resulting oral history/photography exhibition, Driving Richmond: Stories and Portraits of GRTC Bus Drivers, told a complex and dialogic story of Jim Crow, civil rights and the racial geography of Richmond through the eyes of the bus drivers.

Less than two years later, Browder was invited by the GRTC to memorialize the history of public transit in Richmond. In conjunction with GRTC bus driver Bruce Korusek and curator Alexandra Byrum, Browder and her University of Richmond students held history harvests at GRTC headquarters which attracted dozens of drivers and mechanics; conducted archival research at the Valentine Museum, and incorporated the portraits and text panels of Driving Richmond into RIDE: Public Transit in Richmond Since 1888, a permanent exhibition housed at the GRTC headquarters. This project provided a template for a series of projects Browder has completed since then, including museum exhibitions and documentary dramas, but also the pop-up archive project that she and her students are creating next spring in conjunction with faculty and students from Virginia Commonwealth University and Syracuse University, as well as a range of community partners.
Click here to listen to a recording of Laura Browder’s talk from the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters. 

Sponsored by the IHC series Community Matters.

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workshop: Engaging Undergraduates Through Community-Based Participatory Research

Anne H. Charity Hudley (Linguistics, The College of William and Mary)
Friday, October 14, 2016 / 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) empowers community members to fully participate in research from idea conception to interpretation and presentation of findings. Charity Hudley will demonstrate ways to engage undergraduate students through the use of CBPR. In the undergraduate context, CBPR expands the service-learning teaching approach to focus on research in addition to direct service and action learning models. Charity Hudley will also show how peer and graduate student mentoring can enhance the CBPR experience. She will share examples of work created by students in CBPR courses and how students’ initial work helped them to develop their academic and professional trajectories though college and beyond.

Charity Hudley will address challenges that educators may face when teaching in a CBPR framework including: helping students understand community-centered and IRB/human subjects-centered ethics, helping students understand the limitations of the impacts of their research, and supporting community and student relationships when research projects are not successful. Charity Hudley will also show how CBPR is a way to engage students from diverse backgrounds and a way to work towards inclusivity in higher education, particularly in the professoriate.

Sponsored by the Department of Linguistics and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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INAUGURAL LECTURE: Insubordinate Spaces for Intemperate Times: Why Civic Engagement Matters Now

George Lipsitz (Black Studies, UCSB)
Barbara Tomlinson (Feminist Studies, UCSB)
Thursday, October 13, 2016 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

What is a university and why does the work we do here matter? What is the relationship between what goes on in our classrooms, studios and laboratories and what transpires in the wider world around us? The arts, humanities and social sciences promise to cultivate the capacity to imagine and create a better world, to envision and enact a common creative existence. Yet in practice, higher education is structured in dominance and the skills it cultivates are used to hurt as well as to help, to dominate and subordinate as well as to liberate. At this moment in history, when the economy, the environment and the educational system are all perpetually in crisis, when wars without end rage around the world, and millions of people facing displacement, dispossession, and deportation find themselves consigned to unlivable destinies, it has never been more important, and never more difficult, to discern what the proper role of the university should be. We argue for an ethic of co-creation and accompaniment, for recognizing and recuperating the lost potential of civically- engaged scholarship and fusing it with the energy, imagination and artistry emanating from aggrieved communities. We contend that there is worthy work to be done, both at the scene of academic argument and at the scene of social justice struggles where imaginative projects of art-based community making are bringing forth new polities and new politics, new practices and new pedagogies.

George Lipsitz studies social movements, urban culture, and inequality. His books include Midnight at The BarrelHouse, Footsteps in The Dark, The Posessive Investment in Whiteness, and Time Passages. Lipsitz serves as chairman of the board of directors of the African American Policy Forum and is a member of the board of directors of the National Fair Housing Alliance. He received his Ph.D in history at the University of Wisconsin.

Barbara Tomlinson’s work on rhetoric and affect in feminist and antifeminist argument in sociolegal studies, feminist musicology, and feminist science studies has appeared in Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Cultural Critique, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology, Journal of American Studies, and Literatura e Estudos Culturais/ Literature and Cultural Studies. Other work, particularly on metaphor and composing processes, has appeared in Cultural Sociology, Written Communication, Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, the Journal of College Reading and Learning and edited collections. She received her Ph.D from University of California Riverside.

 Click here to listen to a recording of George Lipsitz and Barbara Tomlinson’s inaugural lecture from the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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talk: The Color Line and the Borderline: Locating William Ellis, the Texas Slave who Became a Mexican Millionaire, in the Archives and in Family History

Karl Jacoby (History, Columbia University)
Members of the Ellis family
Thursday, October 13, 2016 / 1:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

To his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican banker and broker, with an apartment on Central Park West and an office on Wall Street.  He began life, however, as William Ellis, an enslaved African American in south Texas.  Columbia University historian Karl Jacoby and members of Ellis’s family from Mexico and the U.S. discuss the meanings of Ellis’s strange career and the complicated path he charted through the archives and through family memories on both sides of the border.
Sponsored by the Public History Program, the Dept. of Anthropology, the Dept. of History and the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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2015 - 2016

reading: UCSB Student Veterans

Thursday, May 26, 2016 / 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

UCSB student veterans will present original writings on topics relating to their diverse military experiences, including their reasons for enlisting, their deployments, homecomings, and return to the civilian community. There will be time for questions from the audience and general discussion.

Sponsored by UCSB Veteran and Military Services, the UCSB Veterans Writing Workshop and the IHC’s Community Matters program.

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reading: Rick Benjamin

Rick Benjamin (Associate Director for Community Engagement, IHC)
Thursday, April 14, 2016 /4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Now happily entrenched at UCSB, Rick Benjamin has also taught at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Goddard College, Haverford College, Haystack, New Urban Arts, as well as at countless schools, community and assisted living centers. He is also still serving as the state poet laureate of Rhode Island through the winter of 2016. His books of poetry include Passing Love (2010), Floating World (2013) and, most recently, Endless Distances (2015), and his essays and interviews have appeared in Identity Theory, The Providence Journal, La Petite Zine, and American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics. He is currently at work on both another book of poetry and a book about the work that poetry helps us to do in our lives.

soundcloudClick here to listen to a recording of Rick Benjamin’s reading from the 2016-17 IHC series: Community Matters.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Community Matters series.

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workshop: Shards & Markings: Poetry as Excavation

Rick Benjamin (Associate Director for Community Engagement,IHC)
Thursday, April 7, 2016 / 3:30-5:00 PM
UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum

In this poetry workshop, led by Rick Benjamin in celebration of National Poetry Month, we will talk and write toward surfacing truths in the geological, historical, cultural and/or personal records. Using a few touchstone poems as a spur for both conversation and reference, we will explore some ways in which poetry unearths, illuminates, documents or simply brings to light sometimes difficult or uncomfortable narratives that we would do well to remember and acknowledge.

The workshop will be followed at 5:30 PM by a reading with Teddy Macker, College of Creative Studies Lecturer and poet.  Macker will be reading from his first book of poetry, This World  (White Cloud Press, 2015), which revolves around seeing beauty and the divine in nature and the mundane.

Sponsored by the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum and the IHC’s Community Matters series.






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