2009 - 2010 CRG Forum Series

2009 - 2010 CRG Forum Series

Bios reflect speakers' status at the time of their presentation at the Center for Race and Gender.


Flyer for 3-10-2010 CRG Forum

Speaking Through Silence & Erasure: Race, Sexuality, & Expression in Marginalized Language Communities

03.18.2010 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

The Silence of Difference: Race, Sexuality, & Disability in Soviet Pantomime After Stalin
Anastasia Kayiatos, Slavic Literature & Languages

This paper considers the role of “full” speech in the fabrication of ideal Soviet subjectivity under late socialism; and the role of silence or vexed speech in coextensive constructions of alterity, especially for those “others” marked and marginalized by the linked categories of bodily difference: race, gender and disability.  To these ends, it looks at the silent pantomime performances staged by artistic avant-garde and “deaf-mute” subcultures in the early 1960s, in particular, ones that dramatize “blackness” or “Africanness,” in order to understand how specifically Soviet productions of race turned on the question of silence, and how the silence of speechlessness was in turn inflected by figurations of race and gender.

Erasing the Race-Gender Nexus in Moral Discourses of Kinship: The American Stuttering English Speech Community as Case Study

Nathaniel W. Dumas, Anthropology

Through investigating representations of marriage between speakers of American Stuttering English (ASE) and American Fluent English (AFE) in the U.S., I examine how social actors actively suppress, or erase, the race-gender nexus in their social projects of constructing the family as an ideal.  I conceptualize these marriages as a kind of linguistic exogamy, or marriage between two linguistically-distinct groups.  This presentation uses a discourse-centered approach to kinship by analyzing two texts taken from newsletters by the “Caring Group for Stutterers,” one of the first groups in the American English Stuttering Speech Community.  I argue that, in these written texts, AFE spouses use particular linguistic resources to construct and negotiate a moral and replicable subject position from which to speak, given their different linguistic and communicative competencies.  The data show that the project of constructing the family and moral responsibilities of an AFE “partner” relies on the erasure of race, foremost, and gender, to a partial degree.  This presentation forefronts how social actors perform this erasure and how it operates in the construction of a non-gendered and non-racialized ‘moral’ spouse.

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Flyer for 3-10-2011 CRG Forum

Knowing Palestine: Islamophobia, Imagination, & Critical Solidarities

03.11.2010| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

June Jordan’s Palestine
Prof. Keith Feldman, Ethnic Studies

In the interest of situating a political present marked by both the deepening racial dehumanization of Palestinians and the growing global solidarity movement in support of Palestine’s decolonization, this talk takes up the present-tense becoming-Palestinian of renowned African American poet, essayist, activist, teacher, and UC Berkeley and Barrows Hall denizen June Jordan. Where and when was Jordan’s “now”, and where and when is our own? How might we historicize Jordan’s signal moment of critical relation? How might this temporality teach us to conceptualize forms and frames of comparativity adequate to the crises of our political present?

Jordan’s writing on Palestine in the late 1970s and early 1980s mark an occasion to revisit a poetics that bears witness to the production of racialized spaces of social death (particularly in the 1982 massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps) even as it defiantly hails the potential futurity of what Jordan calls “living room.” In so doing, Jordan’s writing on Palestine helps us to chart a cartography that limns the critical relations among the Sabra and Shatila massacres and the Iranian Revolution; the emergence of a Cold War battle over Afghanistan; the proxy-fication of Latin America; the ascendance of Likud in Israel alongside Reaganism in the U.S. and Thatcherism in the U.K.; the rise of the prison as a hegemonic “fix” for social contradictions in the U.S.; and the widespread traction of struggles against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Her work likewise tasks us with seeing this becoming-Palestinian in relation to Jordan’s crucial participation in the twinned articulation of queer of color critique and radical feminisms, two formations predicated on deploying the relationalities of race, class, gender, and sexuality for rethinking the human in a global framework.

Islamophobia Production in the Palestine-Israel Conflict

Dr. Hatem Bazian, Near Eastern and Asian American Studies

The knowledge production associated with the Islamophobia phenomenon is entangled in a complex process that has many institutions, paid staff, influential individuals, interested agencies, corporations, media coverage, civic groups and religious organizations acting according to their constructed set or sets of self-interests. I maintain that a set of individuals, groups and organizations have managed to promote their collective self-interests, and promote Islamophobia at the center or the effective policy of, presently, the only super power in world. More importantly, the production of knowledge related to Islamophobia and its sub-parts in the US has a pre-dominant focus on Israel and its immediate strategic needs and the threats posed by “Islam” and its many sub-groups or organizations. In this brief paper, I will attempt to explore the work done by groups and organizations that have effectively managed to make a direct link between US policy and the Palestine-Israel conflict through the systematic deployment of Islamophobia signifiers both domestically and internationally.

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To Asia and Back: The Excursions & Incursions Of White Domesticity

03.04.2010 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Maternal Soldiers of Empire: Domesticity, English Instruction, & the Thomasites in the American Philippines
Funie Hsu, Education

Racialized Toxins & Sovereign Fantasies: Lead, Panics, and Transnational Toys
Professor Mel Chen, Gender and Women’s Studies

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Flyer for 2-11-2010 CRG Forum

Beautiful Sisters: Eyelid Surgery and Asian/Asian American Women

02.11.2010| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Beautiful Sisters
Connie Chung, Peace & Conflict Studies & Public Policy

Intersecting race, gender and beauty, Beautiful Sisters examines blepharoplasty, known as eyelid surgery, and prominent amongst Asians and Asian American women. The film aims to untangle a web of controversy involving Western influences, societal beauty standards, preservation of culture, and choices of the individual. Through research, interviews and a personal narrative, Beautiful Sisters provides a closer look at how we perceive and construct ideas about beauty, racial and gender identity. Beautiful Sisters premiered at the 25th Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and has screened at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York City, the Arab American National Museum, UC Berkeley’s Women of Color in Arts Festival, and the Pacific Film Archive. The film received Honorable Mention for the Eisner Prize, UC Berkeley’s award for the arts.

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"Beautiful Sisters" by Connie Chung


Flyer for 12-10-2009 CRG Forum

The Persisting Plantation: Laborers In The Field & Literature

12.10.2009 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

The Costs of Certified Food: Just Pineapple Production in Costa Rica
Dr. Sang Lee, College of Natural Resources

The dramatic increase in the production and export of tropical and off season fruits produced in the global south has distanced consumers and producers. It has created consumer anxieties around food production practices related to hygiene, environment, and labor. In today’s global food market, these consumer concerns are assuaged through third party certification (TPC).  This presentation is an examination of how TPC, namely GlobalGAP, has influenced the function of institutions, producers, and often ignored farm workers in the industry, provides insight into shifting agricultural production in the global south vis-à-vis TPCs. Focusing on the case study of pineapple production in northern Costa Rica, we’ll discuss how state institutions became replaced by private organizations, small producers were pushed out of pineapple production while others were forced to sharecrop, and there was a rise in contract farming, resulting in the further exploitation of migrant farm workers.

Little Gold Piece: The Production of Fetish Value in Corregidora
Dr. Alia Pan, Center for Race & Gender

In buying a slave, plantation owners purchased the slave’s potential to perform labor, or what Marx refers to as “labor-power.”  Whereas male slaves were sought primarily for the work they could perform in the fields, the fertile, female body offered owners three registers from which they could extract value: manual labor, reproductive labor, and sex labor (prostitution).  The novel Corregidora, by Gayl Jones published in 1975, presents us with four generations of women who, although spatially and temporally far removed from the plantation, continue to live with the horrific slave past.  Narrated by a blues singer named Ursa and set in Kentucky, the novel tells how Corregidora, a Brazilian plantation owner, removed Ursa’s great grandmother Dorita from the coffee fields so that he could rape and prostitute her.  Corregidora transforms Dorita from a body whose value is determined by the labor she performs into an object of desire whose value is no longer related to her labor power.  My reading demonstrates how the plantation confers value and privilege and I argue that Dorita’s passionate attachment to her elevated status of fetish causes her to participate in the maintenance of this fetish value.  Thus, Dorita binds her daughters to the plantation past by compelling them to stand as witnesses to slavery and reaffirm the value that she once held and refuses to relinquish.

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Flyer for 10-22-2009 CRG Forum

Slavery, Gender, & Colonialism 

10.22.2009| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall 

Colonial Anthroponomy and Gender Identity in a Former Slave-Trading Society
Prof. Ugo Nwokeji, African American Studies 

By virtue of being an aspect of language, naming expresses power and social change. From this perspective, systems of surnames in precolonial Africa and their transformation during the colonial period is a narrative of power relations in precolonial Africa on the one hand and between empire and its colonial/postcolonial subjects on the other. The broader issues concern gender relations and identity in precolonial Africa, imperial culture, cultural imperialism, as well as the priorities of social science and its widespread misunderstandings of the manner by which Africans adopt Western ways.

Seeking Freedom, Finding News: The Journey of Thomas de la Torre, A Slave in Spanish Florida
Alejandra Dubovsky, History 

In 1686, Thomas de la Torre, a 46-year mulatto slave, joined a Spanish military expedition against Port Royal, South Carolina. While the Spanish forces were defeated by ravaging storms, Thomas survived. The foul weather, however, proved to be only the beginning of his misfortunes; Thomas endured English imprisonment, pirate raids, and Indian threats, before being able to return to St. Augustine. This paper analyzes Thomas de la Torre’s testimony, a previously unexamined Spanish source, which gives insight into both the many forces shaping the colonial southeast and the ways in which an individual could travel and traverse through these contested spaces.

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Flyer for 10-08-2009 CRG Forum

Lawyers in Wartime

10.08.2009| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Lawyering in the Shadow of War: A Study of Attorneys Representing Guantánamo Detainees
Prof. Laurel Fletcher, Law; Director, International Human Rights Clinic

Who are the attorneys representing Guantánamo detainees? What is the nature of this representation? What lessons can we learn from the experience of habeas counsel about the role of lawyers during this chapter in United States legal history? This paper seeks to elucidate the experience and impact of attorneys serving this unique population.  Studying their experiences provides new knowledge about the nature of legal practice of habeas attorneys for Guantánamo detainees. It also deepens our understanding of the role of law and the legal profession in the nation’s efforts to combat terrorism.

Women at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg
Prof. Diane Amann, UC Davis Law; Director, CA International Law Center

This presentation will give an account of women’s participation in the Nuremberg Trials, placing focus on those women who served as lawyers. In addition to discussing the work they did, it will consider both the reasons their contribution fell into obscurity after the trials ended and the contemporary implications of the diminution of women’s roles in these landmark proceedings. The talk derives from a 2007 series of the same name, which appeared at IntLawGrrlsblog and is available at:  https://ilg2.org/tag/nuremberg/.

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Flyer for 9-17-2009 CRG Forum

Foreign Bodies: Gendering Transnational Migration In Contemporary Italy and Ireland

09.17.2009| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Made in Chitaly
Dr. Laura Fantone, Beatrice Bain Research Group

The symbolic and material economies of Italy shaped a specific space around the figure of the East Asian immigrant, especially living in central Italy . Drawing from recent data about Italy and sociological analysis of economic and cultural integration patterns, I analyze opportunities, limits and racial policies operating in contemporary Italy regarding East Asian women and their families.  Such ideas draw upon old fear and ignorance as well as new perceptions of global capitalism and the connections between Chinese and Italian mafias.

‘Opening Doors’: The Domestic Worker’s Support Group and Performing Migrant Women’s Labor in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland
Charlotte McIver, Performance Studies

This paper examines art practice as a mode of intercultural engagement and anti-racist work in Ireland through the “Opening Doors” project, which combined work on a quilt showing the experience of domestic workers in Ireland, a collaborative photography project depicting scenes from domestic work with artist Susan Gogan, and independent photography captured by the women.  How should art practice in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland be situated as part of the “process” of social and structural change that works to get to the “root causes of poverty, inequality, and exclusion” ?  How does the practice of controlling “representation” and “staging images” of labor as “art” open up performance and arts practice as modes of resistance for migrant communities in Ireland today, while also indexing the power relations that give them access to these avenues?  Do art and activism have to be mutually exclusive in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland today, or can they ever work together separate from the discipline of the “Irish racist state”?

Co-sponsored by the Beatrice Bain Research Group.

LISTEN - Click to hear "Foreign Bodies: Gendering Transnational Migration In Contemporary Italy and Ireland"

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Flyer for 9-10-2009 CRG Forum

Queering Race, Policing Bodies

09.10.2009| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

The Face of Gays in the Military: Neoliberalism, Multiculturalism, and the ‘Right To Fight’
Liz Montegary, UC Davis

This paper examines how calls for the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, mainstream lesbian and gay organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) often rely on the testimonies of lesbian and gay service members who “come out” against the federally mandated ban on openly homosexual conduct in the military. Eric Alva, a gay Latino marine who lost his leg to a landmine as the first American casualty in the second Iraq war, has become one of the most visible and vocal figures in the recent campaign to end the discrimination of lesbian and gay servicemembers. Through an examination of how the figure of Alva circulates within lesbian and gay rights discourse, this paper investigates the ways in which these activist practices rely on his disabled body of color in order to depict lesbians and gay men as patriotic citizens and thus to justify their claims on the state. Bringing together the fields of queer studies, critical race studies, and disability studies, Montegary interrogates the strategic incorporation of marginalized subjectivities into political projects advocating for the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Who counts as legitimate, who is further marginalized by policies of inclusion, which must necessarily imply exclusion?

Documents and Disguises: Transgender Politics, Travel, and U.S. State Surveillance
Toby Beauchamp, UC Davis

This paper draws on the critical lens of transgender studies to examine contemporary modes of state surveillance, suggesting that gender-nonconforming bodies are bound up in surveillance practices intimately tied to state security, nationalism, and the “us/them,” “either/or” rhetoric that underpins U.S. military and government constructions of safety. Analyzing the Real ID Act and activist responses to it, Beauchamp considers the links between racial, sexual, and gender deviances present in the surveillance of gender-nonconforming bodies that has escalated with the global war on terror. Beauchamp argues that new legislation and security practices like those mandated in the Real ID Act draw on a long history of colonialist and scientific logics of classification, through which gender-nonconforming bodies come to be monitored and produced as deceptive threats that must be (often literally) uncovered. At the same time, given activist organizations’ stance that new security measures prevent many transgender people from legitimately changing their identification documents, Beauchamp examines the possibility that these responses may reinforce the necessity of such documents, obscuring the ways that appeals for state recognition often require complicity with regulatory norms for bodies and behaviors.

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