Public Goods will be a year-long program at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center that will explore the past history and present condition of the civic commons. In the context of the digital era such new formations as Google Books, Wikipedia, and the Creative Commons have emerged as institutions claiming to promote the public sphere. At the same time, however, government-sponsored programs intended to serve the public good by supporting education and the advancement of knowledge and culture are being challenged on both fiscal and ideological grounds. These developments have occurred in the context of expansive intellectual property doctrines and a movement toward cultural privatization that some scholars have likened to the privatization of the agricultural commons in early modern England. The IHC’s program will consider both the long tradition of the civic commons – an idea reaching back to historical notions of the polis and the commonweal – and the present political, commercial, and legal challenges that threaten a diminished and constricted future.

souncloudClick here to listen to podcasts from the 2011-12 IHC series: Public Goods on SoundCloud.

Past Events

2011 - 2012

Talk: Copyright, Piracy, and the Artist: Music and the Politics of Culture in Postcolonial Mali

Ryan Skinner (Music and African American & African Studies, Ohio State University)
Friday, June 1, 2012 / 4:00 PM
The Orfalea Center Seminar Room

1005 Robertson Gym
(detached office wing in front of main Ocean Road entrance)

In Mali today, appeals to confront the “scourge” (fléau) of music piracy and affirm the intellectual property of professional musicians resound within the public sphere. These debates echo anxieties about the social and economic value of the arts in an era of private markets and decentralized politics. In an effort to historicize such concerns, this talk will present a genealogy of copyright (le droit d’auteur) and its criminalized corollary, piracy, through an emergent politics of culture in Mali over the past half-century. Emphasizing the production, circulation, and performance of music, this history reveals the longstanding and steadily deepening social, political, and economic precarity that has shaped the subjectivity of the contemporary Malian artist. Framed as a critique, this talk brings the past to bear on the current era of neoliberalism, highlighting the anomic disjuncture between an unregulated free market and the disciplinary state institutions that neoliberal governmentality has produced in postcolonial Mali.

Sponsored by the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music, the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and the IHC’s Public Goods Series.

Website: http://www.music.ucsb.edu/projects/CISM/

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Talk: Open Access as Possibility

Hubertus Kohle (Professor and Chair, History of Early Modern and Modern Art Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 / 12:00 PM
McCune Conference Center, 6020 HSSB

Professor Kohle is renewing the time-honored “République des lettres” in a modern guise. Renowned for his work in digital art history, a paradigm he defines as “Art History 2.0,” Dr. Kohle will define and describe different ways to realize the future of the digital humanities, including the advantages and disadvantages, the pedagogical necessity to switch to the new medium in terms of its benefit for today’s student, and the perspectives of automatic data processing on the basis of digital texts. He will provide very concrete hints on how to proceed.

Dr. Kohle is one of the featured speakers at the May 31 colloquium for the launch of the Getty Research Portal, a free online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain.

Drinks and desserts will be provided; please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.



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Screening: The Corporation

(Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott, 2003, 145 min.)
Thursday, May 24, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this acclaimed documentary, forty corporate insiders and critics — including Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Milton Friedman — explore the nature and spectacular rise of the most pervasive institution of our time.  Combining analysis with footage from advertising, television news and industrial films, The Corporation is an entertaining and provocative look at the inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures of the modern global conglomerate.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Panel: The Uses of the University in 2050: A Report from the All-UC Faculty Charrette

Ann Bermingham (History of Art, UCSB)
Catherine Cole (Performance Studies, UC Berkeley)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

From February 23-26, 2012 colleagues from throughout the UC system converged at UC Santa Barbara to discuss the future of the University of California. Organized by Professors Catherine Cole (UCB) and Ann Bermingham (UCSB) the project was inspired by the thirty-year history of All-UC Faculty Conferences, in which faculty from all campuses and all disciplines came together for two days to discuss a topic of system-wide importance. The Santa Barbara meeting, while not officially convened by the Academic Senate (as were past all-UC faculty conferences), nevertheless was designed to draw upon and invoke this UC tradition. Its goal was to stimulate faculty re-engagement in envisioning the future of the University. The conveners will report on the charrette process, the findings, and future projects.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Listen to event podcast


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Talk: Defending the Communications Commons: Hackers, Spies, and Internet Freedom in an Era of Twenty-first Century Statecraft

Sascha Meinrath (Director, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Twenty-first century statecraft has elevated communications as a fundamental human right.  As last year’s Arab Spring exemplifies, improved information dissemination (and the enhanced documentation and communications capabilities that are rapidly becoming normative) are rapidly undermining authoritarianism around the globe.  However, we are also seeing the rise of new efforts to curtail both the free flow of information and the privacy and security of Internet users.  And this threat is not just coming from authoritarian regimes, but from forces that are hard at work here in the United States.  This talk will focus on the Open Technology Institute’s (OTI) work on the Commotion “Internet-in-a-Suitcase” project to build distributed, secure, and anonymous communications infrastructure, the blowback this initiative has faced, and the increasingly complex geo-political environment that OTI’s work inhabits.  It will discuss the full range of potential disruptions that technologies like Commotion make possible , as well as the internally schizophrenic foreign policies of the United States when it comes to internet communications.

Sascha serves on the Leadership Committee of the CompTIA Education Foundation as well as the Advisory Council for the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. He blogs regularly at www.saschameinrath.com.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC series Public Goods.

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Panel: Public Art as a Public Good

Laurel Beckmen (Art, UCSB)
Rita Ferri (Visual Arts Coordinator, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission)
Colin Gray (local artist)
Harry Reese (Art, UCSB)
Thursday, May 10, 2012 / 4:00 PM

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Something happens when art goes public. Cultural interventions in spaces designated as belonging to the public are subject to greater and more varied kind of scrutiny than works exhibited or performed in the private sphere. Site specificity, community values, and notions of what constitutes “good art” all come into play when art goes public. This panel will examine public art in Santa Barbara as a public good precisely because it is an object of public debate.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this panel from the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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Talk: Collaborative Public Goods: Wikipedia’s Engagement with Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM)

Andrew Lih (Communication, USC )
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In 2010, the British Museum made the remarkable step of having a “Wikipedian in Residence” to coordinate collaboration between grassroots community encyclopedia editors and expert curators in London. Since then, that seed project has grown into a movement to share open content practices with galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) around the world, and in turn, for knowledge from those institutions to help improve Wikipedia’s content.  This engagement has marked a shift towards involving the global public in historical interpretation, and away from museums and archives as the primary isolated authorities of knowledge. Lih will discuss how this redefines knowledge creation and public goods in a networked age.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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SYMPOSIUM: Renaissance Publics, Material Goods

Patricia Fumerton (English, UCSB)
Ann Rosalind Jones (Comparative Literature, Smith College)
Julia Reinhard Lupton (English, UC Irvine)
Peter Stallybrass (English, University of Pennsylvania)
Friday, May 4, 2012 / 1:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This symposium will contribute to the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s “Public Goods” theme by looking at the dynamic interplay of material goods and emergent publics in Renaissance Europe.  Our four speakers will address the role played by furniture and affordances, costumes and conduct manuals, trinkets and ballad sheets, and the gathering and circulation of news in the creation and constitution of publics in the early modern period.

1:00: Panel 1
Peter Stallybrass:  “Gathering and Circulating News”
Patricia Fumerton:  “The Pack of Autolycus”

3:00: Panel 2
Ann Rosalind Jones: “The Emperor’s Clothes: Costume Books as Conduct Manuals, 1560-1600”
Julia Reinhard Lupton: “Furnitura: Reading Shakespearean Affordances”

5:00 Reception

Sponsored by the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell endowment as part of its Public Goods Series, the Early Modern Center, Renaissance Studies, and the IHC’s History of Books and Material Texts RFG.

Click here to listen to a recording of this symposium from the IHC series Public Goods.

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Talk: Digitize, Democratize: Libraries and the Future of Books

Robert Darnton  (Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library, Harvard)
Thursday, May 3, 2012 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Openness may seem self-evident as a principle of library policy, but libraries have often been closed and the world of knowledge in general has been fenced off by commercial interests intent on making profit at the expense of the public good.  Commercialization and democratization run through the history of copyright right up to the present, when Google Book Search dramatized the need to strike a proper balance between private profit and the public good.  The Digital Public Library of America will redress that balance by making the cultural heritage of America available, free of charge, to all Americans and in fact to everyone in the world.

Robert Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian at Harvard.  He is the author of The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie (1979), The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984), Berlin Journal, 1989-1990 (1991), The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France (1995), The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future (2009), and Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (2010).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series and UCSB Library.

Click here to listen to a recording of Robert Darnton’s talk from the IHC’s series: Public Goods.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series and UCSB Library.

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Talk: The People in Power are Nothing to Fear: Jessica Mitford and the Public Good

Leslie Brody (Creative Writing, University of Redlands)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Over the course of her long and adventurous life, Jessica Mitford was an investigative journalist, civil rights activist, vivid raconteur and champion of outsiders and underdogs. You find that her admirers and detractors use the same words to describe her: muckraker, subversive, mischief-maker, tease, and nuisance. In a series of literary exposés like The American Way of Death, The Trial of Dr. Spock (about conspiracy laws during the Vietnam era) and Kind and Usual Punishment (about the necessity of prison reform), Mitford fearlessly defied authority figures. It was a habit she’d cultivated reaching back to the 1930’s, when as the daughter of English aristocrats she had repudiated wealth and privilege to run away to the Spanish Civil War with Winston Churchill’s nephew, Esmond Romilly. The inscription on the Mitford family coat of arms was “God Careth for Us”, but embarrass the powerful, mock the hypocrite and shift the complacent were always mottos more to Decca’s taste. Leslie Brody’s memoir Red Star Sister was awarded the 1999 PEN Center USA West prize for Creative Nonfiction.

Click here to listen to a recording of Leslie Brody’s talk for the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Sara Miller McCune and George D. McCune Endowment as part of its Public Goods series.

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Panel: Copyright: What Happened to the Republic of Letters?

Meredith McGill (English, Rutgers University)
Oren Bracha (Law, University of Texas)
Moderator: Mark Rose (English, UCSB)
Thursday, April 19, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Two eminent historians of copyright will discuss the transformation of American copyright law from the very limited regime of the early nineteenth century to the expansionist regime of the late nineteenth century.  This transformation set the foundation for the current copyright regime which many believe represents a threat to the civic commons.

Oren Bracha, Professor of Law at the University of Texas, is the author of many important articles on the history of copyright as well as a book-length study forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Meredith McGill, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University, is the author of a major study of US copyright in the early nineteenth century, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting.

Sponsored by the Dickson Emeritus Professorship and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Meredith McGill and Oren Bracha will also be participating in a colloquium for UCSB graduate students on April 20.  For details, visit this page.

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Talk: Afghan Women and Youth Claiming the Public Spheres

Ashraf Zahedi (Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women)
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Afghan women and youth have been on the forefront of change and have drawn on all forms of publicity to create a favorable environment for progressive social change. They have drawn on social media to raise public awareness, mobilize people, and influence public policies. While focusing on the public spheres, they have simultaneously shaped the private sphere and generated sympathy for their causes. Whether they can build up on this success and expand their base of support beyond gender and generation remains to be seen and depends on many socio-economic, political, and cultural factors at the national and international levels.

Sponsored by Representing Rights, a research initiative of the Mellichamp Chairs of Global Studies and the Carsey-Wolf Center, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: The Story of Making Change

Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff, Regents’ Lecturer in Film and Media Studies )
Thursday, April 12, 2012 / 7:30 PM
Pollock Theater

When Annie Leonard released The Story of Stuff film, she had no idea that her message would resonate so widely. Since its launch in 2007, the film has been viewed by more than 15 million people all over the world and Annie has been flooded with emails and letters from inspired viewers asking what they can do to help build a better future. Annie is more confident than ever that there are real solutions to today’s problems and enough of us who care that we can turn things around in this country. In her visit to UCSB, Annie will share some of the solutions that most inspire her, will identify some big—but not insurmountable—obstacles in the way and will make the case for each of us to occupy our citizen selves as a strategy for making change.

Annie Leonard is best known as the creator and narrator of the animated documentary about the life-cycle of material goods, The Story of Stuff. The documentary began as an hour-long talk, and was made into a condensed film version based on popular demand. After The Story of Stuff, she created The Story of Cap and TradeThe Story of Bottled WaterThe Story of Cosmetics and The Story of Electronics, The Story of Citizens United v. FEC, and most recently, The Story of Broke. Annie is currently the director of the Story of Stuff Project, and serves on the boards of the International Forum for Globalization and GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives).

Admission to the lecture is free.  To reserve seats, please visit: http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/pollock

Sponsored by the Department of Film and Media Studies, the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Art, UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Carsey-Wolf Center, the UCSB Reads Program, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Public Goods series.



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Talk: Intellectual Property Wars, New Media, and the Activist Turn

Kembrew McLeod (Communication Studies, University of Iowa)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This talk will focus on the tactics that have been used by hacktivists and other “copyfighters” to resist the expansion of intellectual property laws. Drawing from personal experience and interviews with other activists and engaged scholars, McLeod will provide a lively overview of the past two decades of intellectual property legislation and the pushback against them. Kembrew McLeod is an independent documentary filmmaker and an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.  His books and films focus on both popular music and the cultural impact of intellectual property law. He is the author of Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property and co-author of Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling.  His documentary films include Money For Nothing: Behind the Business of Pop Music, Freedom of Expression®, and Copyright Criminals.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: The Archaeology of Shipwrecks: Treasuring the Past?

John Adams (Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK)
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 / 3:00 PM
HSSB 2001a

To the media and in the minds of the general public ‘maritime archaeology’ often suggests the study of shipwrecks, perhaps because of the prominent role they played in the development of the subject over the last half century. In reality maritime archaeology encompasses all past human activity relating to seas, interconnected waterways and adjacent locales. But ships and ancient seafaring nevertheless remain a significant focus for research. Unfortunately it is not only archaeologists for whom shipwrecks hold a fascination but those whose motivation is rather more commercial. This lecture reviews current research, reviews some dramatic discoveries and asks in what ways should we treasure the past?

Jonathan Adams is a specialist in maritime archaeology, with interests in ships as manifestations of innovation and social change, and in the practice of archaeology in the coastal zone and under water, particularly the ethics of the developing field of deep-water archaeology. He was a Deputy Director of the Mary Rose Project and has directed several other research excavations including the Amsterdam (UK), and the Sea Venture (Bermuda). He is currently working on medieval and early modern shipwreck sites in Sweden including the Kravel Project, and in Guernsey, as well as prehistoric maritime landscapes in Sweden and the UK. He is Director of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology and a member of the Archaeology Management Group.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology. the IHC’s Archeology RFG, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Globalization, the Commons, and the Limits of Democracy

Boatema Boateng (Communication, UCSD)
Thursday, March 8, 2012 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In invoking the commons as part of their resistance to the encroachment of intellectual property rights on cultural production, scholars and activists have claimed that what is at stake in resisting this new form of enclosure is democracy itself. But is this claim valid or even relevant for the cultural production of indigenous peoples and Third World communities? Is a global commons possible, and can it be a democratic space when it includes the cultural production of groups whose very conditions of existence are the outcome of deep and historical structural inequalities? Under such conditions isn’t democracy simply a flag of convenience under which traditional knowledge and culture can be more easily exploited? How democratic is the idea of the cultural commons in global perspective? This talk explores these questions, drawing on the case of adinkra and kente fabrics in Ghana as discussed in The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana.

Sponsored by the IHC’s African Studies RFG and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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Symposium: Beyond Utopia: Crisis, Values and the Socialities of Nature

Thursday-Friday, March 1-2, 2012 / 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020

The world is experiencing concurrent environmental and socio-economic crises that put dominant models of management and governance into question. A global economy organized around principles of market freedom and individual benefit drives accumulation by dismantling commons and public goods. This workshop explores alternative forms of human-environment interaction in specific regional spaces in an effort to rethink the foundations of the politics of nature, and gain some clarity about the possibilities of sustainable development in a time of profound ecological and socio-economic crises. The organizers have three goals in mind for this workshop.  First, we wish to critically assess dominant political, economic and socio-cultural models in order to understand the ways in which they have caused, enabled or hindered environmental crises. Second, we want to identify alternate traditions and visions of environmental stewardship and citizenship, in an effort to chronicle the diversity of creative and sustainable environmental values, worldviews and social practices that exist in various parts of the world. Third, we choose to discuss the role of alternative cultures of nature, how they have been marginalized as impractical, naïve and utopian but also how this utopia has concretely contributed to sustainable nature-culture relations across the globe.

Presentations will include:

The Environmental Arena in Chile: How engaged citizens contest and participate today

Consuelo Biskupovic
Department of Anthropology, Institut de Recheche sur les Enjeux Sociaux, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales & Universidad de Chile

Life and Death in Non-Anthropocentric Utopia
Rosemary-Claire Collard
Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

Whose Utopia? — Our Utopia!: Competing visions of the future at the UNFCCC’s COP17, the last Kyoto negotiation before the climate treaty expires
John Foran, Sociology, UC Santa Barbara
Richard Widick, Orphalea Center, UC Santa Barbara

Climate Cosmopolitics
Donna Houston, Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University
Diana MacCallum, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Curtin University
Wendy Steele, Urban Research Centre Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University
Jason Byrne, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University

Putting Nature Back in Place: Governance for social-ecological innovation
Abid Mehmood, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
Susan Baker, Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University

The Governance of the Nature-Culture Nexus: Literature, case-studies and lessons to learn
Constanza Parra, University of Groningen, Environment and Planning; University of Leuven, ASRO, P&D
Frank Moulaert, University of Leuven, ASRO, P&D

An Inquiry in Regional Policy Diffusion: A case study of the Croatian island of Unije
Marijana Sumpor, The Institute of Economics Zagreb
Nenad Starc, The Institute of Economics Zagreb

Can Environmental Activism Benefit from Post Normal Science?
Philip J. Tattersall, University of Western Sydney

Community Bites: Local communities, global production, and the common good
Christian Thauer, Otto Suhr Institut, Freie Universitat, Berlin
Zoe Bray, University of Nevada, Reno

Website: http://www.risc.lu/events/workshop-beyond-utopia-crisis-values-and-socialities-nature

For more information please contact Casey Walsh (Anthropology, UCSB) at walsh@anth.ucsb.edu

Sponsored by Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC), Université du Luxembourg,  The Department of Anthropology, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Panel: Using the Ancient Greeks to Think About Public Goods: a Dialogue

Greg Anderson (History, Ohio State University)
Josiah Ober (Classics & Political Science, Stanford)
Glenn Patten (Classics, UCSB)
Thursday, February 16, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Classical structures (such as the polis) and ideas (such as koinonia) are frequently invoked in discussions of the common good — either as the grounds from which modern ideas and structures developed, or as marks of a fundamental break between ancient and bourgeois societies.  Two leading scholars offer complementary views, exploring both civic decision-making and social practices, Aristotelian theory and cultural context, continuity of past with present and the distance between them.  Together they offer new perspectives on the problem of re-imagining the commons today.

Greg Anderson is the Ohio State University Department of History’s  specialist in the history of ancient Greece. He is a graduate of the universities of Newcastle and London in his native Britain, and holds MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees in Classics from Yale University. Anderson’s primary research areas are archaic Greece, classical Athens, and social theory. His work explores articulations between culture, politics, and the production of material life. His first book, The Athenian Experiment (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), addressed the cultural implications of the shift from a narrow oligarchic regime to a more socially inclusive political formation in pre-classical Athens. Among his more recent publications, one article reconsiders the cultural construction of “tyranny” in archaic Greece, while another makes a case for seeing the classical Greek “state” as a cultural “effect,” the product of a complex entanglement between the material and the ideational. His current book project (Illiberal Athens) is a postmodern Marxist “social ecology” of classical Athens, an account of the inequalities, the exploitations, and the other costs of producing a “free society” in Greek antiquity.

Josiah Ober, the Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanf, specializes in the areas of ancient and modern political theory and historical institutionalism. He has a secondary appointment in the Department of Classics and a courtesy appointment in Philosophy. His most recent book, Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens, was published by Princeton University Press in 2008. His ongoing work focuses on the theory and practice of democracy and the politics of knowledge and innovation, Recent articles and working papers seek to explain economic growth in the ancient Greek world, the relationship between democracy and dignity, and the aggregation of expertise.

He is sole author of about 60 articles and chapters and several other books, including Fortress Attica (1985), Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), The Athenian Revolution (1996), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (1998), and Athenian Legacies 2005). He has held residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center, Center for Hellenic Studies, Univ. of New England (Australia), Clare Hall (Cambridge), Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences , and Univ. of Sydney; research fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, and Guggenheim; and has been a visiting professor at University of Michigan, Paris I-Sorbonne, and UC-Irvine. Before coming to Stanford he taught at Montana State University (1980-1990) and Princeton University (1990-2006).

Sponsored by the Department of Classics, the Department of History, the Department of Political Science and the IHC’s Idee Levitan Endowment as part of its Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this panel from the IHC series Public Goods.

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Screening: Capitalism: A Love Story

(Michael Moore, 2009, 127 min.)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
The IHC celebrates Valentine’s Day with a screening of Moore’s scathing film, which examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans and asks the question: what is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism?
Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Intellectual Property and Molecular Biology: Biomedicine, Commerce, and the CCR5 Gene

Myles Jackson (Polytechnic Institute, NYU)
Thursday, February 9, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The patenting of the CCR5 gene is an interesting story that can be used as heuristic tool to probe the relationship among biomedical science, technology, and society in general and between molecular biology and intellectual property law in particular. The talk will address the accuracy of computer sequencing for determining the function and utility of a gene product, the nature of the deposited object vis à vis  the written specification, and patenting based on broad utility claims. Myles Jackson is  the Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s Dibner Family Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, director of science and technology studies at NYU-Poly,  professor of the history of science at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, senior faculty fellow of NYU-Poly’s Othmer Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, and head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. His research interests include molecular biology and intellectual property in Europe and the U.S., genetic privacy issues, and the history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German physics. Professor Jackson received his Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. Before coming to NYU, he taught at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago. He has been a senior fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He has published more than 35 articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on the history of science and technology from the Scientific Revolution to the present. His most recent work, Harmonious Triads: Physicists, Musicians and Instrument Markers in Nineteenth-Century Germany (MIT Press), was released in 2006 with the paperback edition appearing in 2008. His first book, Spectrum of Belief: Joseph von Fraunhofer and the Craft of Precision Optics (MIT Press, 2000) received the Paul Bunge Prize from the German Chemical Society for the Best Work on Instrument Makers and the Hans Sauer Prize for the Best Work on the History of Invention. It was translated into German as Fraunhofers Spektren: Die Präzisionsoptik als Handwerkskunst (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2009). Professor Jackson received the Francis Bacon Prize for Contributions to the History of Science and Technology from Caltech. He has won teaching awards from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Erfurt Academy of Sciences in Germany. He is currently working on a new project dealing with issues of intellectual property germane to the CCR5 gene.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Myles Jackson’s talk for the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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Talk: Lessons from China: Past, Present and Future of Field Urbanism

Renee Chow (Environmental Design, UC Berkeley)
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Until the middle of the twentieth century, Chinese urban living revolved around courtyards. Whether for housing or retail, administration or religion, imperial family or peasant, every day activities took place in a fabric of pavilions and walls that formed collective courtyard compounds. While the image of the Chinese compound is typically described as a bounded rectangle, singular and autonomous, this lecture explores the reciprocal realities between these compounds and the urban field structure they form to hold everyday life in cities as well as villages.

In the last three decades, cities have served as showcases of China’s leap to international prominence. China boasts of the largest, longest and tallest of every kind of building, park, street and highway. To highlight the iconic, each piece of the city is intentionally dissociated from its context. The result of this tabula rasa development as a cacophony of figured objects where the extraordinary is becoming a burden to the ordinary — cities are disconnected, illegible and disorienting. The result is a dulling uniformity of urban experience within and between Chinese cities.

With a growing dissatisfaction about the loss of urban character, Chinese urbanism sits at a crossroads with a choice of either continuing to fragment or to develop new models for resource and cultural sustenance. Within this framework, an alternative paradigm for architecture and urban design is proposed, one that cultivates the built fields already rooted in place.

Renee Y. Chow is Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at University of California Berkeley as well as Principal at Studio URBIS in Berkeley.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series and the Isla Vista Research and Teaching Initiative award.

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Conference: The Port Huron Statement at 50

Keynote Speakers: Michael Kazin (History, Georgetown University)
Tom Hayden (principal author of the Port Huron Statement, political activist)
Thursday-Friday, February 2-3, 2012
Corwin Pavilion and McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The 1962 Port Huron Statement was the most important manifesto of the early New Left. This conference brings together a wide range of scholars and Port Huron veterans to generate a conversation designed to evaluate what is living, dead, and irrelevant in a document that has become a flashpoint for debates over the legacy of “The Sixties.” The idea of “participatory democracy” first popularized in the statement, will be among the key ideas and practices to face a twenty-first century reevaluation. Likewise, the dialectical relationship between liberalism and its presumptively radical antagonists remains a subject of much contestation, then and now.

Paul Booth                      Charles McDew
Joshua Freeman            Lisa McGirr
Grace Hale                      James Miller
Howard Brick                 Alice O’Connor
Richard Flacks               Charles Payne
Daniel Geary                  Bob Ross
Nelson Lichtenstein      Vivian Rothstein
Ben Manski                     Michael Vester
Jane Mansbridge           Howard Winant
Steve Max                        Eric Olin Wright

For a conference schedule please visit: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/labor/porthuron50-schedule.html

Sponsored by Dissent, The Nation, the Dick Flacks Democracy Fund, UCSB Associated Students, the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Public Goods series.

For more information please visit: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/projects/labor/

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Screening and Q&A: Sushi: The Global Catch

Mark Hall (director)
Peter Alagona (History, UCSB)
ann-elise Lewallen ( EALCS, UCSB)
Mike McGinnis (Environmental Studies, UCSB)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 / 4:00 PM McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Sushi, a cuisine formerly found only in Japan, has grown exponentially in other nations, and an industry has been created to support it. In a rush to please a hungry public, the expensive delicacy has become common and affordable, appearing in restaurants, supermarkets and even fast food trailers. The traditions requiring seven years of apprenticeship in Japan have given way to quick training and mass-manufactured solutions elsewhere. This hunger for sushi has led to the depletion of apex predators in the ocean, including bluefin tuna, to such a degree that it has the potential to upset the ecological balance of the world’s oceans, leading to a collapse of all fish species. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mark Hall. Ann-Elise Lewallen (East Asian Language & Cultural Studies, UCSB), environmental historian Peter Alagona (History, UCSB) and Mike McGinnis (Environmental Studies, UCSB) will join the discussion.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, UCSB’s Global & International Studies Program, UCSB’s Environmental Studies Program, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, UCSB’s East Asia Center, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Conference: The Struggle for Civility and Justice: The Common Good in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy

Saturday,  January 21, 2012 / 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This colloquium will address ideas about the Common Good and the actual realities of political, economic, and social life in the polities of Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. This was an era in which corporate bodies such as factions and interest groups threatened, influenced, or controlled what might be said about the traditional, classical and medieval concepts of the common good of society.

Speakers and schedule:

9:45 Welcoming remarks: Heather Blurton (Chair, Medieval Studies Program, UCSB) and Edward D. English (UCSB)

10:00 Session I: Renaissance Venice

Sarah Ross (Boston College): “Al beneficio commune’: Physicians and the Common Good in Renaissance Venice”
Elizabeth Horodowich (New Mexico State University): “Public Speech and the Public Good: The Control of Language in Early Modern Venice”
Comment: Jon Snyder (French/Italian, UCSB)

1:00 Session II: The Common Good and Politics in Bologna and Siena

Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto): “The Common and Uncommonly Good: Cultures of Charity and the Struggles of Republicanism in Late Renaissance Bologna”
Edward D. English (UCSB): “The Reality of the Common Good in Fourteenth-Century Siena”
Comment: Stefania Tutino (History/Religious Studies, UCSB)

3:00 Session III: Ideas about the Common Good in Thought

Ronald G. Witt (Duke University): “The Common Good in Thirteenth-Century Artes arengandi and in the Thought of Albertano da Brescia.”
Peter Stacey (UCLA): “Representation in the Renaissance res publica.”
Comment: Robert Morstein-Marx (Classics, UCSB)

Sponsored by the Medieval Studies Program, the Department of History, the Renaissance Studies Program, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Seeking Spatial Justice and the Right to the City

Edward Soja (Urban Planning, UCLA)
Thursday, January 19, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Center, 6020 HSSB

In his 2010 book Seeking Spatial Justice, from which this lecture will be drawn, Soja argues that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources, services, and access is a basic human right. Building on current concerns in critical geography and the new spatial consciousness, Soja interweaves theory and practice, offering new ways of understanding and changing the unjust geographies in which we live. After tracing the evolution of spatial justice and the closely related notion of the right to the city in the influential work of Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey, and others, he demonstrates how these ideas are now being applied through a series of case studies in Los Angeles, the city at the forefront of this movement.  Edward Soja is the Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and for many years was Centennial Visiting Professor in the Cities Programme, London School of Economics. He is the author of Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Theory, Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places, and Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment as part of its Public Goods series.

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Talk: Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It

Lawrence Lessig (Harvard Law School)
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Lawrence “Larry” Lessig is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining Harvard, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a board member of the Software Freedom Law Center, an advisory board member of the Sunlight Foundation and a former board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Lawrence Lessig’s talk for the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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Panel: Welfare as a Public Good

Sharon Farmer (History, UCSB)
Eileen Boris (Feminist Studies, UCSB)
Alice O’Connor (History, UCSB)
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the notion of welfare as a public good has a venerated–if highly contested–history, and has found valence in many different cultures, political regimes, and religious traditions over the course of centuries. It has also been shaped as much by the politics of class, race, gender, and political economy as by more formally recognized norms of public and private provision.  This panel explores the changing idea of welfare as a public good over time and in very different historical contexts from medieval Europe to the contemporary U.S., from narrowly-construed aid to the “deserving poor” to more expansive visions of social provision as a basic human right for all. It further considers how sharply divergent visions of the good society, and how to realize it, have fueled past and present debates over welfare.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.


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Symposium: Catastrophe and Security

Peter Van Wyck (Media Studies, Concordia University of Montreal)
Andrew Lakoff (Anthropology, Sociology & Communications, University of Southern California)
Friday, January 13, 2012 / 2:00 PM

Catastrophic events produce radical uncertainty. The temporality of such events varies: they could be sudden, unexpected, but ever-possible (e.g. natural disasters or terrorist attacks) or protracted events whose long duration escapes the human imagination (e.g. radiation toxicity). Speculative projections of disaster, catastrophe, and crisis trigger endless efforts at securing a collective future gainst various forms of macroscalar destruction. This symposium hosts two distinguished speakers, Peter van Wyck and Andrew Lakoff , who have variously addressed speculations of catastrophe in their work. Van Wyck has written extensively on nuclear threats (Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and Nuclear Threat) and Professor Lakoff on public health and biosecurity (Disaster and the Politics of Intervention).

Peter Van Wyck will be speaking on:

“An Archive of Threat”

Professor Van Wyck will trace a route from Canada’s far north, to Japan, Finland and New Mexico. A history written not with lightening, but close; a history written with the energy of restless, recalcitrant matter. The talk hopes to convey some small piece of this story of the nuclear. For this, to paraphrase Stengers, is not simply a matter of power, but an affair of a process, or processes that one must follow. Here, as elsewhere, Van Wyck’s concern is about the constellation of effects wrought by atomic and nuclear threats and disaster; of particular interest are aspects of memory in relation to traumatic transformations of place, of landscape.

Andrew Lakoff will be speaking on:

“Biopolitics in Real Time: The Actuary and the Sentinel in Global Health”

Focusing on recent developments in biosecurity and global health, this talk contrasts two ways of understanding and managing catastrophic disease threats. Whereas an actuarial approach projects the past into the future, a sentinel-based approach assumes that the future cannot be known and that one must remain vigilantly prepared for surprise.

Sponsored by UCSB’s Critical Issues in America series Speculative Futures and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: It’s a Wonderful Life: Commerce, Community and Christmas

Introduction by Mark Rose (English, UCSB)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room 6020 HSSB

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) with its dramatic opposition between the rapacious banker Old Man Potter (Lionel Barrymore) and the benevolent  George Bailey (James Stewart) remains an allegory for our own day of financial crisis and libertarian fundamentalism.  The movie incorporates themes and character types that reach back through Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at least as far as Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

Rob Nixon (English, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Friday, November 18, 2011 / 2:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The violence wrought by climate change, toxic drift, deforestation, oil spills, and the environmental aftermath of war takes place gradually and often invisibly. Using the innovative concept of “slow violence” to describe these threats, Rob Nixon focuses on the inattention we have paid to the attritional lethality of many environmental crises, in contrast with the sensational, spectacle-driven messaging that impels public activism today. Slow violence, because it is so readily ignored by a hard-charging capitalism, exacerbates the vulnerability of ecosystems and of people who are poor, disempowered, and often involuntarily displaced, while fueling social conflicts that arise from desperation as life-sustaining conditions erode.

Nixon examines a cluster of writer-activists affiliated with the environmentalism of the poor in the global South. By approaching environmental justice literature from this transnational perspective, he exposes the limitations of the national and local frames that dominate environmental writing. And by skillfully illuminating the strategies these writer-activists deploy to give dramatic visibility to environmental emergencies, Nixon invites his readers to engage with some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series, the English Department’s Literature and the Environment specialization, the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center, and the College of Creative Studies Literature Program.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC series of Public Goods.

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Panel: Arab Spring / American Autumn: Reclaiming the Public Sphere

Swati Chattopadhyay (History of Art and Architecture, UCSB)
Nuha Khoury (History of Art and Architecture, UCSB)
Alice O’Connor (History, UCSB)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

From Beirut to Cairo to Tunis, the Arab Spring has played out in public space in ways that extend to the American Autumn and New York. This panel asks how and why public space, as a physical place of gathering in these varied locations, works to alter public opinion in the digital age. What are the mechanisms of overlap and intersection among them, and between public space and the public sphere?

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Maps as a Public Good: Crowdsourcing in Fire Emergencies

Michael F. Goodchild (Geography, UCSB)
Thursday, November 10, 2011 / 4:00 PM

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Developments in web technology have made it easy for the average citizen to provide information about events on the Earth’s surface. This information is especially valuable in time-critical situations, such as wildfires. After examples of the power of crowd-sourced geographic information, the presentation focuses on the role of the community in gathering and maintaining current information during fire emergencies in Santa Barbara. Volunteers have played key roles both in creating information, and in synthesizing it in the form of online maps and situation reports. The key issue of data quality will be discussed.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Michael Goodchild’s talk for the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Animating the Archive: Emerging Forms of Scholarly Publishing

Tara McPherson (USC, School of Cinematic Arts)
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 / 3:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In a belated recognition of Open Access Week (October 24-30), Tara McPherson, strong  advocate and practitioner of open access publishing and explorer of innovative interdisciplinary digital scholarship, will share her ideas about the future of scholarly communication, interdisciplinarity, new model publishing initiatives, and the principles behind the peer-reviewed  open access journal Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular (www.vectorsjournal.org), of which she is the founding editor.

Tara McPherson is Associate Professor of Gender and Critical Studies at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and co-director of USC’s Center for Transformative Scholarship. She also serves as the Faculty Chair for USC’s Provost Initiative in the Arts and Humanities. Her Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South (Duke UP: 2003) received the 2004 John G. Cawelti Award for the outstanding book published on American Culture, among other awards. She is co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture (Duke UP: 2003) and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning (MIT Press, 2008.) Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, including Camera Obscura, The Velvet Light Trap, Discourse, and Screen, and in edited anthologies such as Race and Cyberspace, The New Media Book, The Object Reader, Virtual Publics, The Visual Culture Reader 2.0, and Basketball Jones. The anthology, Interactive Frictions, co-edited with Marsha Kinder, is forthcoming from the University of California Press, and she is currently working on a manuscript on the cultural and racial logics of code. Her new media research focuses on issues of convergence, gender, and race, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship.

She is the Founding Editor of Vectors, www.vectorsjournal.org, a multimedia peer-reviewed journal affiliated with the Open Humanities Press, and is one of three editors for the MacArthur-supported International Journal of Learning and Media (launched by MIT Press in 2009.) Each of these efforts supports emerging electronic scholarship that pushes far beyond the boundaries of the printed page. Her expertise in digital publishing is widely sought out, and she has presented her work and participated in working groups and task forces for the MacArthur Foundation, SCI, CLIR, CNI, NSF, and the NEH, among others. She is on the advisory board of the Mellon-funded Scholarly Communications Institute, is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Archives, has frequently been an AFI juror, and is a founding board member of HASTAC www.hastac.org. She serves as a managing editor for American Quarterly and is on the boards of several journals. With support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, she is currently working with colleagues from Brown, NYU, Rochester, and UC San Diego and with several academic presses and archives to explore new modes of scholarship for visual culture research. Tara was among the founding organizers of Race in Digital Space, a multi-year project supported by the Annenberg Center for Communication and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. She continues the efforts begun during these events through an ongoing partnership with local public schools in Los Angeles. She is currently working with the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts to integrate digital platforms for learning into a constructivist, hands-on curriculum.

Sponsored by Davidson Library and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Workshop: Defending the University

Rick Perlstein (journalist, author of Nixonland)
Saturday, November 5, 2011 / 9:30 AM – 4 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
Application deadline: Monday, October 10

As part of its yearlong “Public Goods” series, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB invites interested faculty and other members of the campus community to participate in “Defending the University,” an Op-Ed writing workshop.  This daylong workshop is designed to provide a set of journalistic skills and practical techniques that can help academics demonstrate to the wider public how and why higher education is a vital, valuable public good that deserves support even – perhaps especially – in times of fiscal distress and economic turbulence.

The “instructor” for the workshop will be Rick Perlstein, a noted journalist and author who has published widely on the opinion pages of the nation’s leading newspapers, as well as in such venues as The New Yorker, The American Prospect, The Nation, The New Republic, The Village Voice, Slate, and the Huffington Post. For two years Perlstein was an editor of Lingua Franca: The Review of Academic Life. He is the author, most recently, of Nixonland: the Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.

This workshop is prompted by the widespread misunderstanding, sometimes amounting to disdain, which has seeped into the public discourse when it comes to the purpose and promise of the University of California and other public institutions of higher education. Therefore, we hope that those attending the workshop – it will be limited to fourteen individuals – may draw upon their own experiences and expertise, in the classroom, the archive, the studio, and the state to craft an 800-word Op-Ed piece that offers an account of what we do, how it is useful, and why this work deserves financial and moral support from the citizenry. Organizers of the workshop will help writers place their work in print or on-line.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please send a brief application e-mail by Monday, October 10 to IHC Associate Director Emily Zinn: ezinn@ihc.ucsb.edu.  In your email, please identify your interests and describe in general terms the kind of opinion piece you propose to write. Graduate students, lecturers, and staff, as well as ladder faculty are urged to apply. Those accepted must send a draft Op-Ed to Mr. Perlstein by Monday, October 31 at 5:00 PM and should plan to bring a laptop to the workshop. Please contact Emily Zinn for further information.
This workshop is sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series and the UCSB Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy.

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Talk: Reclaiming Fair Use: The Best Practices Approach

Peter Jaszi (Law, American University)
Thursday, November 3, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

“Fair use” is the safety-valve of the U.S. copyright law; it authorizes activities that would otherwise be considered infringement when they add significant value to collective culture. Today, more than ever, a robust understanding of fair use doctrine is essential to the health of  the intellectual property system.  Professor Jaszi will discuss the history of  the doctrine , the ways contemporary courts apply it, and how communities of practitioners are joining forces to claim – and assert – their fair use rights.  He will also discuss some current fair use controversies concerning education and libraries.  He is the co-author, with Patricia Aufderheide, of a new book from the University of Chicago Press:  Reclaiming Fair Use:  How to Put the Balance Back in Copyright.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Peter Jaszi’s talk from the IHC’s series Public Goods.

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Talk: The Fog of Freedom: Liberation and Lock-in in the Age of the Internet

Christopher Kelty
(Center for Society and Genetics and Information Studies, UCLA)
Thursday, October 27, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Why are new information technologies so frequently associated with freedom? Which cultural and philosophical concepts of freedom are central to technology design, use and critique? Why freedom instead of justice, equality or well-being? How was the link forged and why? This presentation will explore the fog of freedom in episodes from the last forty years of the development of information technology: the development of UNIX; the rise of free software; the appearance of “social media,” cloud computing, and crowdsourcing; and the eternal return of the monopoly tech company. Christopher Kelty is a member of the Information Studies Department, the Anthropology Department, and the Center for Society and Genetics at UCLA.  He is the author of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as articles on the nanotechnology and responsibility, new forms of mediated civic participation in science and culture, and the history of software.

Sponsored by the UCSB Library in recognition of Open Access Week (October 24-30) and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Christopher Kelty’s talk from the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Articulating The Public Good: Protocols of Liberty and the American Revolution

William Warner (English, UCSB)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

At a time when so many are eager to appropriate the political mantle of the American Revolution, it is worth investigating the techniques and values that enabled the Massachusetts Whigs to gather the power to challenge to the British Empire in 1772-1776. At the origin of their movement were three new modes of political mediation: an associational practice, the public committee of correspondence; a genre, the popular declaration; and a set of communication protocols. These innovations enabled the emergence of a distributed network of the Massachusetts towns with the coherence and purpose to act together.
William Warner is Professor of English at UC Santa Barbara. In addition to books on the novel as a form of eighteenth-century media culture, he is co-editor with Clifford Siskin of This is Enlightenment (Chicago: 2010).   This talk is drawn from his recently completed monograph, Protocols of Liberty: Communication and the American Revolution.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods series.

Click here to listen to a recording of William Warner’s talk from the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Talk: Making Human Rights the Compass for All Ethical Globalization

Mary Robinson (Former President of Ireland)
Friday, October 21, 2011/ 8:00 PM
Campbell Hall
Admission: $20 / UCSB Students $10
Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. In 2009, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She now chairs the Council of Women World Leaders and is President of the Mary Robinson Foundation, a center for leadership, education, and advocacy on the struggle for global justice.
Sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures, the Orfalea Foundations’ Support for Global and International Studies, and the IHC’s Public Goods series.
For more information, please visit: www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu

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Inaugural Lecture: Public Goods and Those Who Create Them: From Respect to Disdain in Modern America

Nelson Lichtenstein (History, UCSB)
Thursday, October 20, 2011 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this talk, the inaugural lecture for the IHC’s Public Goods series, Nelson Lichtenstein argues that the recent attacks upon public employee unions in Wisconsin and other states have been just as much an assault upon the idea that government is essential to provide key goods and services as it has been an effort to curb the power of organized labor and reduce spending in fiscally austere times. Lichtenstein, the MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UCSB, is director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Public Goods Series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Nelson Lichenstein’s inaugural talk from the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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Discussion: A Conversation with Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen  (film director, conceptual artist)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Michael Madsen will talk about his own film, Into Eternity, and other media projects that engage questions of nuclear energy and security.
Sponsored by the Critical Issues in America Series Speculative Futures and the IHC’s Public Goods series.
For more information please visit: www.criticalissues.ucsb.edu

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Screening and Q&A: Into Eternity (Michael Madsen, 2010, 75 minutes)

Monday, October 17, 2011 / 7:30 PM
Campbell Hall
Admission: $6 general / students free

The mind-bending film explores the utter impossibility of storing nuclear waste for 100,000 years, the time estimated by scientists to render it safe.  Especially relevant since the earthquake and crisis at the nuclear plants in Fukushima, Japan, Into Eternity is both an investigation about the Onkalo storage facility in Finland and a starkly beautiful work of art. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director Michael Madsen, who has been involved in contemporary European debates on nuclear futures.
Sponsored by the Critical Issues in America Series Speculative Futures, the IHC’s Public Goods series and UCSB Arts & Lectures.
For more information please visit: www.criticalissues.ucsb.edu

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Symposium: Historical Perspectives on Risk

Wolf Kittler (Germanic, Slavic & Semitic Studies, UCSB)
Colin Milburn (English,UCD)
Friday, October 14, 2011 / 2:00-6:00 pm
Wallis Annenberg conference room, SSMS 4315

Serving as an introduction to programs on Speculative Futures (the Critical Issues in America theme for 2011-2), the talks offer both history and post-mortem: the pasts of contemporary risk discourse and the effects of obsessively thinking futures on present concerns.
Sponsored by the Critical Issues in America Series Speculative Futures and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

For more information please visit: www.criticalissues.ucsb.edu

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Talk: Reinventing Our Education Future

Salman Khan (founder of the Khan Academy)
Monday, October 10, 2011 /  8:00 PM
Campbell Hall
Admission: $20 / UCSB Students $10

A hedge-fund manager turned internet superstar, Sal Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, a free online educational platform and not-for-profit organization that streams educational lessons on various topics via YouTube. Started as a simple online tutorial for his cousin, Khan’s YouTube videos quickly became the online educational phenomenon Khan Academy, with each new video attracting on average more than 20,000 hits. Called “Bill Gates’ Favorite Teacher” by FORTUNE magazine and a “pioneer” by Gates himself, Khan’s innovations are revolutionizing the way that people think about learning all over the world.
Sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures and the IHC’s Public Goods series.

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