News | 7 January 2013

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies hosts Professor Roderick Ferguson


Roderick FergusonIn anticipation of the development of a formal Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) proposal to the Academic Senate, the Humanities Division is sponsoring a 2012-13 CRES visiting speaker series, which brings scholars from other programs at other universities to UCSC.

Last fall, we hosted Sunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies at UC Davis. Professor Maira presented “More Delicate Than a Flower, Yet Harder Than a Rock: Human Rights in the Shadow of an Empire” to an overflowing crowd. This winter, we welcome Roderick Ferguson, Professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, who will speak on Wednesday, January 9.

Professor Ferguson will present “Comparative Ethnic Studies: Retrieving, Redistributing, and Holding the Institution Under Erasure.” This talk looks at the question of comparative ethnic studies through the critique and the rearticulation of comparative projects. It goes on to ask the question of how one might institutionalize and let one’s institutional practice and project be shaped by the critique of institutionalization.

Professor Ferguson specializes in African-American Literature; queer theory and queer studies; classical and contemporary social theory; African-American intellectual history; sociology of race and ethnic relations; and black cultural theory. He is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (2004) and The Parvenu Baldwin and the Other Side of Redemption: Modernity, Race, Sexuality, and the Cold War (1999), and has published numerous articles and essays. He was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Crompton-Noll Award for “best essay in lesbian, gay, and queer studies in the modern languages” for his article “The Parvenu Baldwin and the Other Side of Redemption.”

“The CRES faculty members invited Roderick to speak because we’re interested in his important work at the intersection of ethnic and gender studies,” said Eric Porter, Professor of American Studies at UCSC. “We also expect to learn a great deal from Roderick because of his recent edited collection, Strange Affinities, which seeks to rethink comparative ethnic studies by making critical studies of gender and sexuality more central to it.”