News from the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

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News from the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

April 15, 2020

Greetings from the staff of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center. Although the McCune Conference room remains dark and our offices unoccupied, we have been enthusiastically at work on programs that support UCSB faculty and students and that serve our broader community.

We send you the following updates and highlights of our activities:

IHC Senior Artist Paula Schaefer, Associate Director Erin Nerstad, and Assistant Director Adam Morrison have curated a series of Talk Highlights taken from IHC public events series archives. From now through June, we will post links to these talks on our homepage and on social media—follow us @ihcucsb for a new highlight each Wednesday. You can find the complete list of archived talks here and on YouTube and SoundCloud. This week’s featured talk, Lisa Messeri’s “Interstellar Crossings: The Image of Exoplanets and the Imagination of Other Worlds,” is available here.

It’s Spring Awards time, and the IHC Advisory Board is reviewing applications for Faculty Fellowship and Collaborative Awards and Dissertation Fellowships. Our thanks go to our Board members for the important service they perform: Maurizia Boscagli, English and Comparative Literature; José Cabezón, Religious Studies; Miroslava Chavez-Garcia, History; Tim Cooley, Music; George Legrady, Media Arts & Technology and Art; Ross Melnick, Film and Media Studies; Eric Prieto, French and Italian and Comparative Literature; Elisabeth Weber, Germanic and Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature

This year’s cohort of IHC Dissertation Fellows is meeting twice during Spring quarter. We look forward to presentations by Yanitsa Buendia de Llaca, Religious Studies, who will discuss material from her thesis “The Macehual Path: Neo-Aztec Spiritualities and Embodied Practices,” and John Schranck, Comparative Literature, who will be discussing his doctoral research on “Sonic Alterities.” Earlier this year, we heard presentations from Bianka Ballina, Film and Media Studies, on “Vital Exports: Mediating Cuban Solidarity and Global South Imaginaries,” Anna Bax, Linguistics, presented a talk based upon her thesis “Young Mixtec Women’s Multilingual Language Practices in the Indigenous ‘Oaxacalifornian’ Diaspora,” and Thomas Franke, History, who presented a chapter from his thesis “Black Spaniards: Color, Status, and Community in Valencia, 1500-1550.”

Anna Jenson, Director of IV Arts and D.J. Palladino, Director of Magic Lantern Films, have been remotely teaching a class for the student writers and artists who produce WORD Magazine, a journal dedicated to the music, art, and culture of UCSB students. The latest edition of WORD examines issues related to climate change and its impact on all aspects of life in Isla Vista. You can read WORD online at:

Anna Jensen has also been coordinating the weekly half-hour shows of Improvability, UCSB’s improvisational theater troupe. The shows are now Zoom-enabled and can be seen here:

The 180 incarcerated participants are proceeding with their work in the Foundations in the Humanities program, a series of correspondence courses in literature that is active in 19 California prisons. Although our offices are closed, thanks to Adam Morrison, we have continued to administer the program, which is especially important now that prison visits have been suspended due to COVID-19.

Finally, the IHC is delighted to introduce our ten new Public Humanities Graduate Fellows: Unita Ahdifard, English; Amanda Brush, Political Science; Nathan Cox, Film and Media Studies; Robyn Fishman, History; Patricia Morland, History; Somak Mukherjee, English; Shannon Toribio, Religious Studies; Jordan Tudisco, Comparative Literature; MacKenzie Wade, Anthropology; and Maya Zaynetdinova, Global Studies.  We look forward to working with them as they develop their profiles as public humanists.

We at the IHC look forward to resuming our on-site work in the humanities. Until that time, we send you wishes for good health, continued hope, and a measure of sanity.