Responding to the needs of others and relying upon others are twin conditions of human interconnectedness. The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s 2013-14 series “The Value of Care” will explore the many ways that cultures have organized themselves around care as a creative and transformative constant of life, how they have fostered bonds that enable individuals and groups to survive and thrive, and how institutional practices of care have an ambivalent potential: able to legitimate the vulnerable populations they serve or deprive them of a viable place in society.

Throughout the year, “The Value of Care” will feature philosophers, documentary filmmakers, architects, artists, bioethicists, journalists, mental health professionals, labor historians and other scholars, who will present projects about care from diverse perspectives.

souncloudClick here to listen to podcasts from the 2013-14 IHC series: The Value of Care on SoundCloud.

Past Events

2013 - 2014

Discussion: What have we learned about the Value of Care?

Facilitated by the 2013-14 IHC GAP scholars
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 / 4:00 PM
IHC Research Seminar Room, 6056 HSSB

This year at the IHC, more than fifty writers, architects, artists, historians, poets, literary critics, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and preachers have addressed the value of care as it pertains to diverse social groups and individuals, both human and non-human, and to the planet itself. Please join the IHC community for a discussion facilitated by the Value of Care Graduate Affiliates around these questions:

• What does it mean in today’s economy to care for yourself and others, including non-human others?
• What role does care play in insuring safety within community?
• In what ways—situations, spaces, modes—does care constitute a form of resistance, or how might ideas of care serve agendas of domination?
• How does valuing care impact those who do the work of caring, positively and negatively?
• What specific Value of Care events were particularly impactful, and why?

Now that we have heard from the many Value of Care speakers, the Graduate Affiliates invite you to participate in a discussion to examine how our understanding of the value of care has evolved over the course of the year.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Value of Care series and the IHC’s Graduate Affiliates Program.

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workshop: Workshop on Historical Trauma

Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart
(Psychiatry, University of New Mexico)

Friday, May 23, 2014 / 12:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
Registration is required for this workshop. Please register at http://tinyurl.com/reg-histtr-2014 to receive the preparatory readings.

Under colonial occupation, Native communities across the Americas endured devastating historical circumstances now increasingly recognized as genocide. Many Indigenous peoples continue to experience residual trauma at a cellular level. Yet as survivors of this intergenerational violence, many now seek to move from surviving to thriving. This workshop will provide an extensive introduction to the concept of historical trauma. Its aim is to offer those working in the field of Native American and Indigenous issues a deeper understanding of the underlying psychological and historical context that inhabits Indigenous peoples’ lives historically and in the present. In the workshop, Dr. Brave Heart will introduce the historical trauma theory she developed as a pedagogical therapy to raise consciousness about the continuing impacts of historical trauma in Indigenous communities and to spur healing through traditional coping.

Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, Hunkpapa, Oglala Lakota, PhD, is a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry. She is internationally recognized for developing historical trauma and historical unresolved grief theory and for healing interventions that draw from traditional practice. In 1992 she founded the Takini Network, a Native non-profit organization devoted to Native Peoples’ community healing from historical trauma.


Sponsored by the IHC’s American Indian and Indigenous Collective Research focus group RFG, the IHC’s Value of Care series, the Office of the Chancellor, American Indian Health & Services, American Indian Graduate Student Alliance, American Indian Student Association, the Graduate Student Association, the Department of History, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Chicano/a Studies, the Department of Global Studies, the Center for New Racial Studies, the Literature and the Mind Specialization, the Hemispheric Souths Research Initiative, and the American Cultures in Global Contexts Center.

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Reading: Stand By (Meditations on Africa and the Afterlife)

A LAUNCH PAD reading of a new play
Written by Christina McMahon (Theater and Dance, UCSB)
Directed by Risa Brainin (Theater and Dance, UCSB)
Thursday, May 22, 2014 / 5:00 – 7:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

A closet. A cry for help. Body broken, mind broken, a young woman fights herself as she struggles to finish writing her book. Across an ocean, an older man spirals into darkness and dances with death. What connects them is Africa, a memory, an imagination, a dream devastated. Together they breathe deeply, and search for the truth in the trauma.

Sponsored by the Department of Theater and Dance’s LAUNCH PAD program, the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the IHC’s Hester and Cedric Crowell Endowment, and the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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panel: 2013-14 UC President’s Faculty Fellows: Making Communities

Stephanie Batiste (Black Studies & English, UCSB)
“Trauma & Transcendence in Rickerby Hinds’ Dreamscape
Veronica Castillo-Munoz (History, UCSB)
“The Making of a Multiethnic Society in Mexican Borderlands”
Thursday, May 15, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

In this panel, UCSB’s recipients of the 2013-14 UC President’s Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities will discuss issues involved in making communities. Stephanie Batiste’s larger project attempts to assess the nuances of black identity and meaning making in late twentieth and early twenty-first century Los Angeles around issues of violence and death. Her talk for this panel analyzes the play Dreamscape by Rickerby Hinds, a hip hop drama that explores the event of a young woman shot to death by four police officers near Los Angeles, California. Veronica Castillo-Munoz’s current project examines family labor, and Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, American, and European migration to Baja California (1875-1950). Her talk for this panel examines how transnational labor and mixed race marriages shaped the Baja California borderlands.

Sponsored by the IHC’s series The Value of Care.

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conference: First Responders: Care in Literature, Art and Psychoanalysis

Friday, May 9, 2014
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
10:00 AM-5:30 PM

Arriving on the scene of accidents and emergencies, first responders provide assistance to the wounded, initiating a continuum of care that was first systematized by French military surgeons during the Napoleonic Wars.  This conference seeks to explore literature, art and psychoanalysis as critical (in both the urgent and analytic sense of the term), even lifesaving, forms of first response. It will examine how discursive practices and interactions – from storytelling to testimony, from play to art-making –  can make suffering visible, and, in the aftermath of injury, can also aid in healing.

Conference Schedule

10:00 AM Welcome: Susan Derwin, Director, IHC

 10:10 AM Panel 1:

Brett Collins, Classics, UCSB, “’Terrible and Unable to be Spoken’: Sophocles’ Philoctetes and the Poetics of Pain”

Rebecca M. Groves, Drama, Stanford University, “Performance Philosophy, Dramaturgy, and the Ethics of Care”

Ming Holden, Theater and Dance, UCSB, “Jeanine”

Jessica Stankis, Music, UCSB, “Survival with Sight and Sound: Experiencing the Okinawan Uta-Sanshin Tradition”

12:00 lunch

1:00 Panel 2:

Ljiljana Coklin, Writing Program, UCSB, “Self-Care and ‘Defamilialized’ Writing in Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure

Shannon Forbes, English, University of St. Thomas “Creating Art from Crisis: Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse as an Experiment in Psychoanalysis”

Michaela Wunsch, UCLA, “Television as First Responder”

3:00 Reading:

Cole Cohen, UCSB
“Care and Writing About the Body”

3:30 Artist talks:

Alejandro Casazi, Department of Art, UCSB
“Empathic Art Installation”

Jennifer Vanderpool, Artist, Los Angeles
“Hotel Santa Barbara: Living in Plain Sight.”

 5:00 reception

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to a recording of this conference from the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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talk: Nature of Care: The Racial Politics of American Philanthropy

Karen Ferguson (History, Simon Fraser University)
Thursday, May 1, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

For over a century the largest American philanthropies, from the Rockefeller Foundation to the Gates Foundation, have promised no less than to promote the well being of all mankind. Acting on this grandiose mission, these powerful private institutions have had great influence globally and at home in areas such as education, public health, and economic development. However, the often ambiguous results and outright failures of these efforts have exposed the contradictions and conflicts inherent in a program of universal well-being, as well as the boundaries of philanthropists’ putatively limitless circle of care. At home, these limits are most apparent in the racial politics of American philanthropy.  Since the late eighteenth century, African Americans and the American “race problem” have been at the very center of American philanthropy’s domestic agenda. Yet white American philanthropy’s record in promoting black people’s well-being has been decidedly mixed. In her talk Karen Ferguson will interrogate the nature of white philanthropists’ care when it comes to addressing racial inequality in the United States. Who or what, exactly, have they cared about?

Karen Ferguson is the author of Top Down: The Ford Foundation, Black Power, and the Reinvention of Racial Liberalism. Ferguson was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and grew up in suburban Toronto. Always a city lover, she reveled in living in Montreal while pursuing an undergraduate degree at McGill University. she received a doctorate in African-American history from Duke University in North Carolina in 1996. Since 1997, she has been teaching at Simon Fraser University and enjoying living in Vancouver. In July 2007, she began a joint appointment with SFU’s Program in Urban Studies.

Sponsored by the Critical Issues in America series “The Great Society at Fifty: Democracy in America, 1964/2014,” the IHC series The Value of Care and the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment.

Click here to listen to a recording of Karen Ferguson’s talk for the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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talk: Procuratores: On the Limits of Caring for Another

John Hamilton (Comparative Literature, Harvard, author of Security: Politics, Humanity, and the Philology of Care)
Thursday, April 24, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Modern notions of political, legal, and corporate representation may be derived from the ancient figure of the procurator, whose role is discussed both in Roman law and in rhetorical theory. Historically examining the functions of the procurator in Cicero, Ulpian, Ovid and Martial enables a reassessment of the acts of speaking-for and acting-for as formulated and interrogated in the work of Franz Kafka. What are the limits of acting for another? What modes of personal agency are implied? Why is the possibility of abusing power vital for the viability of proxy operations? In his talk John Hamilton will discuss these issues.
John Hamilton is the author of Security: Politics, Humanity, and the Philology of Care.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care.

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talk: Anthropology Meets Psychiatry: The Cultural Epidemiology of Ritual Healing

William S. Sax (Anthropology, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 / 3:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

William S. (‘Bo’) Sax studied at Banaras Hindu University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington (Seattle), and the University of Chicago, where he earned his PhD in Anthropology in 1987. He has taught at Harvard, Christchurch, Paris, and Heidelberg, where he is Chair of Cultural Anthropology at the South Asia Institute. His major works include Mountain Goddess: Gender and Politics in a Central Himalayan Pilgrimage (1991); The Gods at Play: Lila in South Asia (1995); Dancing the Self: Personhood and Performance in the Pandav Lila of Garhwal (2002); God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in the Central Himalayas (2008); and The Problem of Ritual Efficacy (2010). In this talk, Professor Sax contrasts the radically divergent approaches to ritual healing taken by anthropologists on the one hand and and epidemiologists on the other, and explores the possibilities of bridging the gulf between the two.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the South Asian Religious Studies RFG, and the IHC series The Value of Care.

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talk: Inhabiting the Space of Empathy

Jennifer Luce  (architect, Luce et Studio)
Thursday, April 17, 2014 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

To design an object, to envision a city, or to build architecture: each endeavor shares the common thread of assuming animation through human interaction. While observing her own process of design, Jennifer Luce of Luce et Studio Architects noted that empathy plays a key role in design that touches us deeply. Luce took her study of empathy in design to the critical context of care: design for healthcare. She choreographed a series of “design thinking” workshops for the product designers at GE Healthcare worldwide. The simple act of discussing empathy conjured intense response and often emotionally charged interchanges. In the end, whether making a building or crafting an MRI machine, empathy drives more thoughtful design. LUCE will explore how the psychological state of being compassionate towards the feelings of others can affect how we experience the buildings we live, work and meet in. The term empathy has become a buzzword in contemporary culture. What does it mean for the world of design? As we connect, and yet distance ourselves from each other through technology, is it not a cultural imperative to remain empathic?

Jennifer Luce is the principal and founder of Luce et Studio Architects in La Jolla, California. Luce has innovated creative space for the likes of a Salk Institute scientist, Nissan automotive designers, Disney imagineers and most recently the blind community of Los Angeles. She grew up in Canada and received her bachelor’s degree in architecture at Carleton University (1984). At Harvard University Graduate School of Design, she received her Master of Design Studies degree (1994). She has lectured at universities and AIA and AIGA symposia in the United States and Canada.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Value of Care series, the American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara and BEGA Lighting.

AIA Continuing Ed: Qualifies for 1CEU/HSW

Click here to listen to a recording of Jennifer Luce’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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talk: The American Way of Poverty

Sasha Abramsky (journalist)
Thursday, April 3, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist and the author of six books, most recently The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives.  It was listed by the New York Times as amongst the 100 Notable Books of 2013. Abramsky’s writings have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker online, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Salon, Slate, the London Guardian and many other publications. He is a senior fellow at the New York-based Demos think tank and a part-time lecturer in the University Writing Program at the University of California at Davis.

Books will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of Granada Books.

Sponsored by the Critical Issues in America series “The Great Society at Fifty: Democracy in America, 1964/2014″ and the IHC series The Value of Care.

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talk: Much Ado About Liberal Education: What It is and How to Get One, Clio’s Mischief Notwithstanding

Sheldon Rothblatt (History, UC Berkeley)
Tuesday, March 4 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Unlike vocational or professional education, liberal education is difficult to define. It is historically ambiguous because, over the centuries, it has acquired much curricular and ideological baggage. The only certain fact is that the search for whatever is called “liberal education” awakens the deepest human feelings and aspirations. That is why every generation  must search for it.

Sheldon Rothblatt  was knighted by the Swedish Crown in 2010 as Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (founded 1748), Sweden’s highest award to foreigners. He is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley and sometime Director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Citation for “distinguished achievement and for notable service to the University,” Educated at Berkeley and King’s College Cambridge University, he also holds an honorary doctorate from Gothenburg University in Sweden. He has been a Visiting Fellow of four Oxford University colleges, Princeton University and the Japan Society for the Advancement of Science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Britain, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (the body that awards the Noble Prizes) and a Member of the National Academy of Education (USA). Besides teaching in American universities, he has taught in Australia, Austria, Sweden and Norway. His academic publications are on the comparative history of universities, with translations in Russian, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Japanese and Chinese.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care and the IHC’s The Uses of The Public University RFG.

Click here to listen to a recording of Sheldon Rothblatt’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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Talk: Narrative Care, Ancient and Modern

Francis Dunn (Classics, UCSB)
Thursday, February 20, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

What is at stake in our interest — even obsession — with narrative forms of care?  We have become familiar, in recent years, with narrative medicine, narrative social work, and narrative forensics, as narrative tries to make social practices more responsive to the situations of individuals and more effective in addressing their needs.  Dunn’s talk considers several case studies of narrative care from ancient Athens showing, firstly, that modern developments have ancient precedents and arguing, secondly, that the different institutional contexts require us to rethink our assumptions about narrative care.  In particular, essentializing notions of “the elemental and irreplaceable nature of narrative knowledge” (Charon, Narrative Medicine) are turned on their head as we address a society whose institutions are fundamentally narrative yet ambivalent, and potentially indifferent, with respect to care.

Francis Dunn’s research centers upon Greek literature of the fifth century BCE, with special interests in Greek tragedy, concepts of time, and narrative theory, and has been supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the author of two books, Tragedy’s End: Closure and Innovation in Euripidean Drama, which explores connections between closural devices and Euripidean experiments with the limits of tragedy, and Present Shock: An Episode in Ancient Greek Culture (forthcoming), which traces a shift from the authority of the past to present uncertainties in the late fifth century, ranging from civic calendars to drama and from philosophy to medical theory. He has edited three books, Beginnings in Classical Literature, with Thomas Cole, Classical Closure: Reading the End in Greek and Latin Literature, with Deborah Roberts and Don Fowler, and Sophocles’ Electra in Performance. His current project is a commentary on Sophocles’ Electra for the Fondazione Lorenzo Valla.

Sponsored by the IHC’s series The Value of Care.

Click here to listen to a recording of Francis Dunn’s talk from the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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talk: To Grow or Not to Grow: Post-Recession Challenges Facing UC

John Aubrey Douglass
(Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

After more than two decades of state disinvestment, the University of California faces significant challenges and misunderstandings regarding its operating costs, its wide array of activities, and its mission. Reduced funding from the state for public higher education, including UC, has essentially severed the historic link between state allocations and enrollment, altering the incentive and ability for UC to expand academic programs and enrollment in pace with California’s growing population. “To grow or not to grow,” that is the question. This macro management and major modification in UC’s historical social contract with the people of California confronts the new president, Janet Napolitano, and, more generally, the UC academic community and Californians. On the positive side, there are signs of an improved economy as well as a governor and legislature dealing with fundamental budget issues, such as better controlling public pensions and reducing exorbitant incarceration rates. If California, under a revised Master Plan, floats toward an attempt to recreate a suitable funding and organizational model for public higher education, Napolitano is potentially a powerful political figure who could help drive it to a successful conclusion. To truly reach a solution, public leaders will need to work with lawmakers, not the other way around.

John Aubrey Douglass is Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of California – Berkeley.  He is the co-editor of Globalization’s Muse: Universities and Higher Education Systems in a Changing World (Public Policy Press, 2009), and the author of The Conditions for Admissions and The California Idea and American Higher Education.

Among the research projects he co-founded and remains the Berkeley Principal Investigator is the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium – a group of major research universities in the US and internationally, with members in China, Brazil, South Africa, the Netherlands and Russia. He is also the editor of the Center’s Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS), sits on the editorial board of international higher education journals in the UK, China, and Russia, and serves on the international advisory boards of a number of higher education institutes.

He has been a Visiting Professor at Amsterdam University College (a unit of the University of Amsterdam and Vrije University of Amsterdam), at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), at Sciences Po (Paris) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (OxCHEPS).

Scholarly publications include articles in Higher Education, the European Journal of Education Higher Education Quarterly, the Journal of California Politics and Policy, Higher Education Policy and Management (OECD), Higher Education Policy (journal of the IAU), BOOM (a journal on California politics and culture), Perspectives (UK), Change Magazine, California Monthly, Minerva, The Journal of Policy History, History of Education Quarterly, and The American Behavioral Scientists.

Current research interests are focused on comparative international higher education, including the influence of globalization, the role of universities in economic development, science policy as a component of national and multinational economic policy, strategic issues related to developing mass higher education, and studies related the SERU Consortium survey data that assesses the student experience in major research universities.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care and the IHC’s The Uses of The Public University RFG.

Click here to listen to a recording of John Aubrey Douglass’ talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.


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Talk: New Aging: Designing Architecture for All Ages

Matthias Hollwich (architect, HWKN)
Thursday, February 13, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Matthias Hollwich is on a mission. The Bavarian architect is focusing his considerable energy to bring about nothing less than a revolution in the aging experience. Hollwich is the founder of New York architecture firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) and a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania .  He organized the well-received 2010 New Aging conference, which brought together the worlds of aging and architecture. New Aging investigates and applies recent advances in architecture and urbanism dealing with age related challenges; ones that assure the best utilization of space with the utmost dignity for an aging population.  Hollwich is bringing together a team of leading architects from around the world to look at traditional problems from a different perspective. According to Hollwich, the built environment is just a part of what needs to be a radical makeover for how society deals with an increasing proportion of elderly citizens. He presents case studies that extend well beyond the drawing board to form what is effectively a manifesto that should resonate with anyone interested in the subject of aging.

1 AIA CEU available.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care and the American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC series The Value of Care.

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talk: The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the Community of Care

Thomas Lynch (poet, author of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade)
Thomas Long (Candler School of Theology, Emory University)
Thursday, February 6, 2014 / 5:00 PM
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB Music Building

In the authors’ book, The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the Community of Care, two of the most authoritative voices on the funeral industry come together here to discuss the current state of the funeral. Through their different lenses–one as a preacher and one as a funeral director–Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch alternately discuss several challenges facing “the good funeral,” including the commercial aspects that have led many to be suspicious of funeral directors, the sometimes tense relationship between pastors and funeral directors, the tendency of modern funerals to exclude the body from the service, and the rapid growth in cremation.

Courtesy of Chaucer’s Books, copies of The Good Funeral will be available for purchase and signing.

Parking for this event will be available in Lot 3, which is the parking lot closest to the Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  Please visit UCSB’s interactive parking map or visit the Department of Music’s website for directions to the Concert Hall.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care, the IHC’s Idee Levitan Endowment, and the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life.

Click here to listen to a recording of Thomas Lynch’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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talk: What Are Universities For?

Chris Newfield (English, UCSB)
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 / 5:00 PM*
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
*Note new time.

Chris Newfield has been directly involved in current controversies about the future of universities. In this talk, he’ll first describe one of his best university experiences, which was directing study centers in France for UC’s Education Abroad Program.  His three years in Lyon, Paris, and Bordeaux gave him a new sense of the possibilities of student learning in college.  After discussing what he learned about learning, he will turn to an evaluation of two recent debates about the future of universities: the replacement of low with high tuition at public universities, and the claim that online technology can improve undergraduate teaching.  Newfield will make the case that twenty-first century student learning  requires both the subordination of educational technology to immersive face-to-face contact and the low tuition that supports egalitarian access to this immersion. Public universities, he will suggest, will thrive only if they address their society’s highest aspirations, and to do this they must give today’s college students unprecedented educational quality.

Newfield teaches American Studies in the English Department at UCSB. His books include Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke, 2003), and Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard, 2008), and he is the author of recent articles on solar energy policy and collaboration in nanoscience.  He blogs on higher education funding and policy at  Remaking the University (http://utotherescue.blogspot.com), The Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is completing a book called Lower Education: What to Do About Our Downsized Future.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Uses of the University RFG and the IHC series The Value of Care.

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TALK: Who Cares About Those Who Care? An Argument and Interaction

Eileen Boris (Hull Professor, Feminist Studies, UCSB)
Thursday, January 30, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Eileen Boris asks us to listen to the demands of those who do the work of care. We all have a stake in their struggle for dignity, respect, recognition, living wages and decent working conditions. We should join in coalition with home health, elder, and childcare workers, with domestic workers of all sorts—if not out of a sense of fairness and social justice than out of self-interest. Better work leads to better care. In the spirit of “Caring Across the Generations,” the initiative launched by the National Domestic Worker Alliance that brings together care providers with care receivers, she invites us to develop a care manifesto. Please bring your experiences as a caregiver or receiver, your visions of a more caring society and what we need to get there and what we in our own communities can do. This journey is not easy, given obstacles built from histories of race, gender, and class inequalities, violence and exploitation. But if the human condition is one of interdependence, it is a trip worth taking—together.

Eileen Boris is Hull Professor and Chair of the Department of Feminist Studies at UCSB, where she directs the Center for Research on Women and Social Justice. An interdisciplinary historian, she specializes in women’s labors in the home and other workplaces and on gender, race, work, and the welfare state. Among her many books are Home to Work: Motherhood and the Politics of Industrial Homework in the United States (winner of the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History); Intimate Labors: Cultures, Technologies, and the Politics of Care, co-edited with Rhacel Parreñas (Stanford University Press, 2010) and, with Jennifer Klein, Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 2011). She has authored policy reports on the feminization of poverty, the wages of care, and welfare reform. Her non-academic writings have appeared in The Nation, the LA Times, New Labor Forum, Labor Notes, Salon, Dissent, Women’s Review of Books, and the Washington Post. Locally, she is on the Board of Directors of CAUSE, Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, a central coast social justice NGO.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care.

Click here to listen to a recording of Eileen Boris’ talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.


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talk: Helplessness

Deborah Nelson (English, University of Chicago)
Thursday, January 23, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

“Helplessness” takes up a critique Susan Sontag made of the photography of Diane Arbus.  In brief, Sontag hated Arbus’s work because she considered it a “self-willed test of hardness” that eroded an already atrophied capacity for feeling.  By staging Arbus’s side of the debate through her photographs and writing, the talk will recast the uneasiness her photographs produce as a problem of helplessness, her subjects’ and the viewers’, and probe the relationship between empathy and agency.

Deborah Nelson’s interests include American poetry, novels, essays, and plays; gender and sexuality studies; photography; autobiography and confessional writing; American ethnic literature; poetry and poetics; and Cold War history. Her first book, Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America, examined the discourse of privacy beginning with its emergence as a topic of intense anxiety in the late 1950s. She is completing the manuscript for a book, Tough Broads, which explores the unsentimental, rigorous, and often “heartless” view of pain (to borrow a term from Hannah Arendt) in the work of some of the twentieth-century’s most prominent women artists and intellectuals.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to  a recording of Deborah Nelson’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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talk: The Po-ethics of Mediterranean Melancholia

Laura Sarnelli (IHC Visiting Scholar, University of Naples L’Orientale)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The psychoanalytical notion of melancholia has recently received increasing critical attention in the field of cultural and postcolonial studies. As an emotional reaction to the denial of the loss of a loved object, be it personal, collective, historical or cultural, melancholia has emerged as a critical touchstone for subjective as well as political formations. This talk explores the reconfigurations of the contemporary Mediterranean in Italian literature and culture in the light of a theoretical framework that revalues the transformative power of the melancholic process beyond its pathological connotations, as a critical tool for healing and an ethical response to loss. The refusal to let go of lost objects or past griefs takes on the form of political commitment and resistance against normative mourning; namely, against those strategies of amnesia which are meant to preserve the hegemonic social and political order without accounting for the issue of ethical responsibility. Reclaiming the body of the past by taking care of it means to revalue a crucial understanding of the present (the myth of Antigone proves central to this investigation). Focusing on the legacy of Italian colonial history, the talk will examine some poetical and aesthetical representations of contemporary migrations in the Mediterranean as an expression of critical melancholia.

Sponsored by the Department of French and Italian Studies and the IHC’s Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Laura Sarnelli’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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talk: Medical Ethics at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center

Sondra Crosby, MD (Medicine, Boston University)
Thursday, January 16, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Crosby was one of the first doctors allowed to travel to Guantanamo to independently examine Guantanamo captives. She served as the director of medical care at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, where she examined over 300 torture victims. Crosby is one of the authors of the report Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by the US, published by Physicians for Human Rights.

In October 2009 Crosby submitted an affidavit following her examination of Guantanamo’s longest-term hunger striker, Abdul Rahman Shalabi.  She stated that if he didn’t receive more calories he would die.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care and the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life.

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Hull Lecture on Women and Social Justice: Caring Democracy: The Paradigm Changes

Joan Tronto (Political Science, University of Minnesota)
Thursday, January 9, 2014 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

The feminist ethic of care grew out of a challenge to the traditional public/private split with its exclusion of women from the public sphere.  In the past generation, though, neoliberal economic and political policies have reduced the prospects for collective life in a “public” sphere.  This talk will discuss how care, beginning from different ontological, epistemological, ethical and political premises, can serve as an overarching critique of neoliberalism. Joan Tronto is the author of Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality, and Justice and Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. She is the co-editor, with Cathy Cohen and Kathy Jones, of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader.

Sponsored by the Hull Lecture on Women and Social Justice, the IHC’s  Sara Miller McCune and George D. McCune Endowment, and the IHC’s Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Joan Tronto’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series. 


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Talk: Robot Caregivers and Robo-therapy in Japan: Treating the “Trauma” of Aging

Jennifer Robertson (Anthropology, Art, University of Michigan)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 / 5:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

After their own children, elderly Japanese apparently prefer robot caregivers and companions to foreign ones (in the increasingly likely event of a severe shortage of ethnic Japanese nurses and social workers). Robots are perceived by seniors, and by politicians too, as eliminating the socio-cultural anxieties provoked by foreign laborers and caregivers.  (And for some right-wing conservatives, limiting the number of foreigners reinforces a tenacious ideology of ethnic homogeneity.) Already high-tech homes for senior citizens are part of a booming industry, and specialized robots are being developed to stabilize and even reverse the effects of aging-related dementia and depression.  Moreover, those promoting the country’s robotization argue that US$21 billion of elderly insurance payments could be saved over the next decade by using robots instead of humans to monitor the health of senior citizens, who now comprise 25% of the population. Sociable, interactive robots have also become the primary subjects of a new field of study named “robot psychology” and “robo-therapy.” Robertson’s talk represents a shift in focus from the more usual association of trauma with the consequences of the experience or witnessing of graphic violence. In linking aging to trauma, she is drawing from Ann Kaplan’s feminist scholarship in which she makes the case for aging as traumatic in the sense of the elderly being as vulnerable to identity crises as are adolescents.

Jennifer Robertson is Professor of Anthropology and the History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has non-budgeted appointments as Professor of Art & Design and Professor of Women’s Studies, and is a faculty associate in the Anthropology/History Program. Robertson is a former director and member of the Center for Japanese Studies, and an associate in the Science, Society and Technology Program, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and Center for South Asian Studies. Her six books and dozens of articles and chapters address a wide spectrum of subjects ranging from the 17th century to the present, including nativist and social rectification movements, agrarianism, sex and gender systems and ideologies, mass and popular culture, nostalgia and internationalization, urbanism, the place of Japan in American Anthropology, sexuality and suicide, theater and performance, votive and folk art, imperialism and colonialism, and eugenics and bioethics. Robertson is currently writing and editing articles and books on the cultural history of Japanese colonialism, eugenics, bio-art and contemporary art, ideologies of “blood” in Japan and Israel, and humanoid robots and posthumanism in Japan and elsewhere.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Reinventing Japan Research Focus Group, the East Asia Center,  the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, the Dept. of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, the Dept. of History, the Dept. of Anthropology, the Dept. of Media, Arts & Technology, and the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Jennifer Robertson’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.


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Talk: Return to Duty: The Ethics of Caring for People in Uncaring Places

Jan Haaken (director, Mind Zone)
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Psychologist and filmmaker Jan Haaken will discuss her new documentary film project Mind Zone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines. Since the First World War, military therapists have been evaluated largely on their success at enabling soldiers to return to duty. The clinical means of achieving this success have been the focus of intense controversy, as have the ethics of returning traumatized soldiers to settings known to produce trauma. Mind Zone follows members of a Combat Stress Control unit as they deploy to Afghanistan, focusing on how these therapist/soldiers manage their dual roles of both preventing PTSD and maintaining the fighting forces. Using illustrative vignettes from her film, Haaken will discuss the dilemmas faced by these therapists, and she will consider how ethical issues in war zones hold important lessons for caregiving work on the home front.

Professor Haaken serves on the editorial board of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, Psychotherapy and Politics International, and on the board of the Association for Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. She co-produces The Old Mole Variety Hour, a public affairs program on KBOO Portland Community Radio.

The IHC will host a screening of Mind Zone on Monday, November 18 at 4:00 PM in the McCune Conference Room.  For details, visit this page.

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

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screening: Mind Zone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines

Dir. Jan Haaken, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Mind Zone follows therapists with the 113th Army Combat Stress Control unit as they carry out two conflicting missions: protecting soldiers from battle fatigue and keeping these same soldiers in the fight. With psychiatric casualties mounting, the United States Army ups the deployment of mental health detachments to war zones—an undertaking on a scale previously unimaginable. As the 113th is deployed to Afghanistan and trains for their dual roles as soldiers and healers, Colonel David Rabb and his team of therapists are equipped with a wide arsenal of psychological techniques, from mindfulness training to the use of video games. In following the unit into theater, the film explains how the second mission of keeping soldiers in the fight overwhelms the unit’s first mission of protecting their mental wellbeing. And in telling that story, a larger tale unfolds of ethical dilemmas around the use of psychiatry in war zones.

Director Jan Haaken will be discussing this film on Tuesday, November 19 at 4:00 PM in the McCune Conference Room.  For details, click here.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care.

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talk: From Playing with Power to Interacting with Autism: Developmental Tales of Transformers and Neurodiversity

Marsha Kinder (Critical Studies, University of Southern California)
Friday, November 15, 2013 / 1:00 PM
SSMS 2135

This talk traces the speaker’s movement from a book published in the early 1990s on children’s media culture—Playing with Power in Movies, Television and Video Games: From Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—to a video-based website launched this September on Interacting with Autism, which is primarily addressed to individuals on the spectrum and their families, teachers and healthcare workers.  Despite the obvious transmedial moves from book to website, from cultural studies to documentary production, and from movies, television and electronic games to neuroscience, therapy and ethnography, the through-line is a developmental theory of narrative that generates a distinctive mode of subjectivity embodied in transformers, that fosters neurodiversity and privileges autobiography as a genre.  In this talk Kinder explores what’s at stake for all of us  in the current cultural debate over whether autism is a disorder or a form of neurodiversity.

Sponsored by the Dept. of Film and Media Studies and the IHC series The Value of Care.

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TALK: Soul Service: The Politics and Ethics of Practicing Michel Foucault’s Care of the Self

Jane Flax (Philosophy and Religion, American University)
Thursday, November 14, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Towards the end of his life, Michel Foucault radically rethought subjectivity and his previous ideas about power and political action.  This lead him to explore practices of subjectivity that could productively resist existing technologies of the self and test the limits of possibilities for generating greater freedom and creativity in inventing alternate modes of living.  He called such practices “care of the self.”  In this talk, Flax will discuss his rethinking and some of its practical applications.

Flax’s research interests include feminist theory, critical race theory, psychoanalysis, contemporary European and American political theory, and philosophy of mind and ethics. She also maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Washington, DC. She is the author of Thinking Fragments, Disputed Subjects,and The American Dream in Black and White.

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series.

Click here to listen to a recording of Jane Flax’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.


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Performance: Happy Few

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 / 7:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Ratatat Theater Group is proud to present Happy Few, a new play based on the first-person accounts of Santa Barbara veterans and Shakespeare’s Henry V.  It mixes the stories of veterans about the wars in their past, and Shakespeare’s play about the wars in Europe’s past, to form a new play about the war in our own hearts, today.

More information on the play can be found at www.ratatattheatergroup.com/happy-few

Sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Santa Barbara Public Library, the Veterans Coordinating Council of Santa Barbara,  Noozhawk.com, and the IHC series The Value of Care.

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Life as a Terrorist: The FBI and Me

William T. Vollmann (National Book Award recipient)
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Journalist and novelist William T. Vollmann will discuss his experiences with government surveillance.  As detailed in a September 2013 article published in Harper’s Magazine, Vollmann obtained his own FBI file through a Freedom of Information Act request. In reading the file he learned that he had been a suspect in the Unabomber case and also a suspect in the Amerithrax case, in which terrorists mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people.  Vollmann is the recipient of the National Book Award for his novel Europe Central (2005).  He is the author of twenty books, including both fiction and nonfiction.  His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care and the Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS).

Click here to listen to a recording of William T. Vollmann’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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TALK: Ethics, Animality and Ahuman Theory

Patricia MacCormack (English, Communication, Film and Media, Anglia Ruskin University)
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This talk seeks to radically alter trajectories by which the term ‘animal’ is understood, both in nonhuman and human incarnations. It is founded on the urgent ethical imperative to think animality differently and beyond humanism in order to project ecosophical futures. It is premised on two key themes: an absolute critique and repudiation of speciesist discourse, and a desire to liberate subjectivity from human discourse and subjectification. The paper asks: what can the human be as its own animal, at once no longer fetishising non-human animals, and also giving up the majoritarian species category human toward ahuman theory — an ethics of absolute alterity? What takes us from human systems of thought, acknowledging ourselves as lives without the intervention of excluding and oppressive human discourse? The catalysts for this are limitless. Some examples could be found in certain forms of art encounters, libidinal events, abstraction, literary and filmic experiences, political activism, transgressive practices, ecosophical and chaosmotic becomings, any examples which take us to the outside. Ultimately the question of care toward material alterity, ethics and care is: “what makes possible our thinking beyond thought within a human episteme?” This question is one which must be addressed in order to truly liberate all organic bodies from oppression toward freedom of expressivity and becomings.

Patricia MacCormack’s  principal research interests are in continental philosophy, particularly the works of Deleuze, Guattari, Irigaray, Foucault, Bataille, Serres, Lyotard and Blanchot and she has published extensively in these areas. She has also written on a diverse range of issues such as body modification, performance art, monster theory and European horror film.

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series and the Leverhulme Trust.

Click here to listen to a recording of Patricia MacCormack’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.


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TALK: Relational Selves and Narrative Communities in the Aftermath of Trauma

Susan Brison (Philosophy, Dartmouth College)
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room

The undoing of the self in trauma involves the disruption of past from present, the inability to envision a future, and the severing of sustaining connections to community.  And yet, with the help of empathic others, trauma survivors can reconstruct themselves and carry on with reconfigured lives.

The act of bearing witness to trauma can facilitate recovery by reintegrating the survivor into a caring community, reestablishing bonds essential to selfhood.  In different contexts, however, trauma narratives can have very different functions—some more conducive than others to remaking a shattered self.  In this talk, Brison explores the role of care in this process of recovery and the ways in which narrative communities can help—or hinder—a trauma survivor’s healing.

Brison is the author of Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care.

Click here to listen to a recording of this talk from the IHC series The Value of Care.

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Event: Witnessing Witnessing: A Conversation with Thomas Trezise

Thomas Trezise (French, Princeton)
Monday, October 28, 2013 / 2:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Thomas Trezise will facilitate a conversation about his new book, Witnessing Witnessing: On the Reception of Holocaust Survivor TestimonyWitnessing Witnessing focuses critical attention on those who receive the testimony of Holocaust survivors. Questioning the notion that traumatic experience is intrinsically unspeakable and that the Holocaust thus lies in a quasi-sacred realm beyond history, the book asks whether much current theory does not have the effect of silencing the voices of real historical victims. It thereby challenges widely accepted theoretical views about the representation of trauma in general and the Holocaust in particular as set forth by Giorgio Agamben, Cathy Caruth, Berel Lang, and Dori Laub. It also reconsiders, in the work of Theodor Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas, reflections on ethics and aesthetics after Auschwitz as these pertain to the reception of testimony.  Referring at length to videotaped testimony and to texts by Charlotte Delbo, Primo Levi, and Jorge Semprun, the book aims to make these voices heard. In doing so, it clarifies the problems that anyone receiving testimony may encounter and emphasizes the degree to which listening to survivors depends on listening to ourselves and to one another.

Trezise will focus the discussion on chapter 1 of the book, available for download here.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Value of Care.

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TALK: After the War

Tim O’Brien (author of The Things They Carried)
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 / 4:00 PM
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UCSB Music Building
(please note venue change)

National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien will discuss the similarities between his own experiences in Vietnam forty years ago and the experiences of soldiers in our more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He will address some of the difficulties veterans encounter as they try to readjust to civilian life; he will talk about how veterans very often fall silent and about how that silence can have a terribly corrosive effect on the human psyche. O’Brien will also discuss the power of storytelling to heal, and read short excerpts from his work to illustrate his points.

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series, the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s community reading program “The Big Read,” and the Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Limited reserved parking for this event will be available in Lot 3, which is the parking lot closest to the Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.  Student attendants will be available to sell parking permits.  Please visit UCSB’s interactive parking map or visit the Department of Music’s website for directions to the Concert Hall.


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Inaugural Lecture: Care of the Wild: Sense, Sentience and the ‘Primitive State’

Aranye Fradenburg (English, UCSB)
Thursday, October 17, 2013 /4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

“Beautiful words are already remedies,” according to Gaston Bachelard.  From the medical writings of antiquity to the medical humanities of our own day, the power of the arts both to redress and inflict injury has been axiomatic.  This power is often attributed to the arts’ ability to capture and sustain attention (and thus modify the functional architecture of the brain).  Discourses on care foreground the role of various rhetorics in crossing boundaries and permeating membranes, for example the premodern (and increasingly contemporary) belief that music literally “has charms to soothe the savage beast.”  Care means to enhance organismic vitality, sentient experience, and the experience thereof, but precisely insofar as it is transformative, it cannot elude ethical considerations of risk and responsibility.

This talk explores care-practice rhetorics that try to create relationality between culturally-defined extremes, especially the wild and the tame.  Care is commonly (and loosely) associated with   domesticity; but care is not just a means to restrict the freedom of movement that has been associated with the term “wild” at least since 1000 A.D.  Care is also a means of talking to, and being changed by, the wildness within us.  In psychoanalytic and developmental discourses on care, care is the means by which we form transformative connections with “primitive states” of mind—what the analyst James Grotstein refers to as “inchoate mental life.”  The literature on primitive states suggests that performative movement and cross-modality—the touch that also speaks, listens, and sees, the listening that feels pain—is needed to open the organism to the “experience of experience” and the receptivity to the differences of creatures entailed therein.  The talk will conclude by exploring some unexpected and even unwelcome implications for psychoanalytic technique in particular and arts therapies in general.

Sponsored by the IHC Series The Value of Care.

Click here to listen to a recording of Aranye Fradenburg’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.

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