News | 13 March 2012

UCHRI Awards for 2012-13 Conferences and Collaborative Engagement Projects


The UC Humanities Research Institute is pleased to announce the 2012-13 awards for Conferences, Extramural Explorations, and Collaborative Compositions.


Empire, Narrative and the Global Environment
Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey, UCLA
This two-day conference will bring together a group of leading international and interdisciplinary researchers and writers concerned with the role narrative can play in drawing attention to long-term environmental problems such as climate change, deforestation, toxicity, the food crisis, and water and agricultural resource management. Bringing together an international slate of scholars working at the intersection of ecocriticism and postcolonial studies, the conference will provide an opportunity to address and further refine the implications of interdisciplinary environmental study for the humanities as well as to share our strategies for imaginatively rethinking how sources of the current environmental crisis are understood and what new approaches in humanities-based research, writing and teaching might be crucial to redirecting that history.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Exploring the Human Experience and Conceptualization of Caves
Holley Moyes, UC Merced
This two-day multidisciplinary conference, sponsored by the Center for Research and Humanities at UC Merced, examines the role caves in human experience. This topic emerges from an archaeological cross-cultural phenomenon, which demonstrates that through time and space, ancient people used dark zones of caves as ritual spaces but rarely inhabited them. We suspect that dark caves have physical properties experienced by humans that lead to the assignment of similar meanings among different human groups across time and space. Assigned meanings prompt or “afford” the use of cave dark zones as sacred or ritual spaces and venues for intentional semiotic communications. The conference will bring together international scholars from anthropology, cognitive sciences, psychology, philosophy and other humanities to examine, articulate, and explain these findings.

Illuminating the Human: Transforming the Museum for the 21st Century Participants
David Yager and Jennifer Gonzalez, UC Santa Cruz
A recent National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy report finds that 55% of grantor dollars serve just 2% of elite cultural institutions, while a University of Chicago study notes a seismic shift in U.S. demographics: “Within four decades, the group that has historically constituted the core audience for museums – non-Hispanic whites – will be a minority.” UCSC will host a one-day interdisciplinary conference, Illuminating the Human: Transforming the Museum for 21st Century Participants, with UC alumnus Jock Reynolds, former director of Washington, D.C.’s Project for the Arts and now The Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale Art Gallery, America’s oldest university teaching museum. It will draw humanities scholars from fields as diverse as ethnic studies, digital technology, music, women’s studies, architecture, literature, and history, to jumpstart a collaborative conversation about the nature, role, and significance of museums on UC campuses, in California, and in the wider world.

Dickens! Author and Authorship in 2012
John O. Jordan, Dickens Project, UC Santa Cruz
In honor of the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, the Dickens Project MRU will hold a conference on “Dickens! Author and Authorship in 2012” at UC Santa Cruz, July 27-29, 2012. The conference will focus on life writing and authorship with reference to the Victorian period generally and to Charles Dickens in particular. Featuring keynote lectures by Professors Robert L. Patten (Rice University) and Rosemarie Bodenheimer (Boston College), the conference will address topics including Biographies (of Dickens and other Victorians); Archives and Life Writing; Biographical criticism (limits, possibilities, new approaches); the Idea of the Author in Contemporary Critical Discourse; Victorian Afterlives; Signature; Celebrity; Relics (material traces of the author); and Houses (museums, homes, national heritage). The conference will be attended by faculty and graduate students from UC campuses and from other member institutions of the Dickens Project consortium and will include scholars from literary studies and other disciplines in the humanities.

Occupation Affect
Deborah Gould and Carla Freccero, UC Santa Cruz
“Occupation Affect” seeks to take the emotional pulse of the current moment. Staging two days of public talks and roundtable discussions, we will gather a multidisciplinary group of scholars to investigate the feelings that permeate both this era of economic collapse and the modes of adaptation as well as rebellion that have arisen in its midst. We will explore the affective dimensions of the Great Recession and jobless “recovery,” of bail-outs and sell-outs, of tea parties and coffee klatches, of magnificent inequality and vanishing public services, of the growing concentration of wealth and the emergence of autonomous, decentralized social movements, of hopes dashed and hopes raised, of diminishing faith in government and expanding political imaginaries, of economic freefall and resurgent activist energy. We will, in short, investigate the current conjuncture through the lens of political emotion.


Restore/ReStory: A Collaborative Public History of the Cache Nature Preserve
Michael Ziser and jesikah maria ross, UC Davis
Restore/Restory documents the changing social, economic and physical landscape of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve in rural Yolo County, California. A collaboration between the UC Davis Art of Regional Change (ARC) and the Cache Creek Conservancy, the project brings university and community members together to tell the complex story of this Preserve through an interactive public history website and site-based audio tour. In doing so, the project brings California’s rural history to life in new and innovative ways that can reach significant, and often underserved, off-campus audiences.

Bringing Theater to the UCLA Clark Library
Barbara Fuchs, UCLA
The Clark Library, in collaboration with the UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies and L.A. Theatre Works (LATW), a non-profit media arts and theater organization, launches a new long term initiative to strengthen our cultural community by using innovative technologies to produce and record significant works of dramatic literature, providing diverse audiences with wide access to theater. The collaborative project hopes to produce three plays each year, drawing on the collection at the Clark Library, and will begin with the live presentation and recording of “Pride and Prejudice.” The live performances, featuring high profile and renowned actors, will be available to key community groups and campus constituencies and, pending additional funding all subsequent plays will be recorded and digitally disseminated.


“Transnational and Diasporic Citizenship Across the Americas”
Robyn Rodriguez, UC Davis
During a two-week intensive residency at UCHRI, Rodriquez and her collaborator, Ulla Berg (Rutgers) will complete their introduction and editing of a special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power on the topic of “Transnational and Diasporic Citizenship Across the Americas.” The issue aims to examine how increasing transnational migration within and beyond the Americas have produced shifting boundaries of citizenship – both in source countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in destination countries across the world. They will also offer a public workshop on the UC Irvine campus during the residency.