2012 - 2013 CRG Forum Series

2012 - 2013 CRG Forum Series

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


Flyer for 5-2-2013 CRG Forum

Embodied Epistemologies: Performing Spirituality, Queering Latinidad

05.02.2013 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Movement Methodologies: Embodied Conocimiento, Memory & Remembrance
Elisa Diana Huerta, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley Multicultural Community Center

This paper explores the nuanced tensions and poetics of ethnographic research praxis. Drawing upon my dissertation research, I explore the ways in which I, as the ethnographer/researcher/inside-outsider, navigate disciplinary and methodological boundaries while in the “field.”  In particular, I am interested in laying bare the generative ways in which the categories of “researcher” and “informant” continue to be disrupted throughout my research and writing process and the ways in which my negotiation of my own embodiment and subjectivity as a queer Xicana feminist in “traditional” dance and ceremonial spaces contributed an additional layer of complexity to my research.

Ser Femenina. Latinidad, the Human/non-Human, and the Spiritual Approach to Sexual Difference
Prof. Pedro di Pietro, Ethnic Studies (Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies)

This presentation is conceived with a dialogical tone in mind. It examines the possibility of collective thinking and interdisciplinary praxis. My contribution to this dialog begins with the understanding and lived experience of embodiment among two different socialities: racialized transvestites from the Southern Andes—southern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina—and members of a Bay Area network of young Latinos and Latinas of mixed background. They are both committed to the radical transformation of their bodies, a material grounding of desire and recognition. Both socialities foreground ties to the indigenous history of mixing and mestizaje characteristic of the condition of Latinidad worldwide. The forms of embodiment theorized in my contribution do not offer a direct link to ancestral knowledge. Rather, they point to the decolonial potential of embodiment as it carries and recreates the fractured traces of indigenous cosmologies (Andean and Mesoamerican).

Within these two socialities, embodiment underlines the ways in which sexuality and desire inform materiality while they are simultaneously confronted with material limits. Scholarship on sexual difference tends to gravitate towards genealogist or objectivist accounts. New materialisms of the last twenty years have opened previously untapped avenues to study sexed embodiment. However, their intersectional framework—the interweaving of racial and sexed difference—seems to rely on the separability of what is being intersected, defining thereby parallels sets of theorizing across the humanities. Ser Femenina or the shaping of racialized eroticism within the domain of queer Latinidad invokes the materiality of the mutual constitution of race/sex/gender difference. To theorize this form of embodiment, it is significant to dispel the colonial legacy of the human/non-human distinction within the domain of racialized sexuality.

The major thread of this contribution engages queer race difference by suggesting the following departure questions: a) how does the human/non-human distinction figure in our understanding of sexual difference; b) do the embodiments of queer people of color absorb and/or deflect the pressure of the colonial legacy embedded in the human/non-human distinction? In order to illustrate the main obstacle in our epistemological journey, this presentation frames the conversation within two opposing approaches. The first one is best exemplified by the metaphor “Gaga Queerness” in reference to Lady Gaga’s anthem “Born This Way.” The second one takes “Gender Trouble” as suitable metaphor to underscore the anti-naturalist materialism found within the postmodern project of undoing gender.  Finally, by drawing from the socialities described above, this presentation hopes to displace the epistemology of culture/nature and its ties to the human/non-human distinction, carving a new path towards the numinous, spiritual, and almost fantastic ontology/reality of ser femenina.

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Flyer for 4-18-2013 CRG Forum

Geographies of Violence and Resistance:  A Spotlight on Undergraduate Research

04.18.2013 | 4:00 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Arizona: A Contested Story, Whose History?
Salvador Gutiérrez Peraza, History

In 2010, the Arizona legislature banned the teaching of Ethnic Studies in public schools (K-12) via House Bill 2281.  This bill specifically targeted Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American Studies program.  According to the proponents of this bill, the MAS program was “dangerous” because it promoted ethnic, racial, and class divisions among students.  In my research project, I will go beyond such public declarations to investigate what were the historical and political factors that led to the drafting and adoption of HB 2281.  My methodological approach will consist of archival research at Arizona Historical Society archives, at the University of Arizona Special Collections and at Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.  Furthermore, I will complement this research with semi-structured interviews with critical actors that were involved in the dispute including local Arizona politicians, MAS educators, and MAS students in Tucson.  My project will directly engage with the growing historical and political literature documenting the struggle of Mexican-American students for education rights in the Southwest.  Lastly, by documenting their fight to revoke HB 2281, I will seek to contribute to the literature on Latino social movements and ethnic political organizations.

Water, Women, and Social Power in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Rebecca Peters, Society & Environment

Mujeres Indígenas y Yaku examines the ways access to water in the peri-urban margins of Cochabamba, Bolivia are drawn around race, gender, and socio-economic status. The current state of access to safe water in the Cochabamba Department of Bolivia remains dismally low despite longstanding efforts, both private and state-led, for improvement of basic services in peri-urban areas that have never been connected to the municipal water supply. In light of ongoing socially produced inequalities in the hydro-social cycle, women, particularly Quechuan and Aymara indigenous women, are disproportionately impacted. The goal of this research is to understand issues of indigenous women’s access to water in the peri-urban margins of Cochabamba, which are neglected by the government and marked by poverty, migration, and poor water quality due to exposure to raw waste from wealthier northern areas of the city. Through exploring the specific neoliberal legacy in Bolivia, this research will analyze the interacting roles of “the state” (the national government and municipal government of Cochabamba), women, and water cooperatives in contributing to the formation of current conditions of water access, control, and management in the Zona Sur region of Cochabamba.

A Critical Look at Domestic Violence Through the Lens of Young Hmong (American) Women
Mai Nhia Vang, Social Welfare

Domestic violence continues to be a critical issue that has not been openly addressed within the Hmong community.  My research project studies how gender roles have affected the experiences of intimate relationships, particularly partner violence/abuse, of young Hmong (American) women. Through fourteen in-depth, one-on-one interviews, data was collected to critically analyze young Hmong (American) women’s responses to and help-seeking behaviors for domestic abuse.  Their perspectives on addressing and preventing partner violence in the Hmong community suggest that Hmong cultural support systems must be transformative spaces that do not repress women’s voices and stories.

“Don’t Be Ratchet!”: Secondary Marginalization and Boundary Maintenance in the ‘Gay Mecca’
Andrew Levine-Murray, Sociology

The Castro district in San Francisco, California is often represented as the “Gay Mecca,” a utopian safe haven for LGBT-identified individuals throughout the globe. However, demographics of and observations in the Castro illuminate quite a different story, particularly as older, white, middle-class men predominate the neighborhood. Interestingly, on weekend nights, several low-income queer men and women of color consistently congregate on the corner of Market and Castro St., in the geographic heart of the Castro but quite literally at the margins of its social life. Relegated to a heavily policed corner of a single city block due to racial and class exclusion in the wider Castro community, members of this corner group enact boundary maintenance practices that produce an additional level of exclusion in the Castro community based on “ratchet” and non-“ratchet” behavior. Members of this corner group use these exclusionary boundary practices to help protect and maintain their meeting space on the corner as well as their larger stake – no matter how precarious – in the Castro neighborhood and community. Thus, although members of this group express ambivalence toward the mainstream Castro community, this corner holds incredible significance to their lives, particularly as they face a double exclusion from both the Castro – due to their race and socioeconomic class – and their home neighborhoods – due to their sexuality. This project seeks to better understand the effects of secondary marginalization within LGBT communities, particularly by placing individuals with multiple, intersecting identities at the center of analysis.

Faces of Occupy Cal
Noor Al-Samarrai, Political Economy; Creative Writing

The concept for Faces of Occupy Cal began as a media campaign attempting to harness the aesthetics of UC Berkeley’s Thanks to Berkeley campaign for good, and quickly morphed into an art-journalism project. The aim was to capture and make public some of the origin stories of the Occupy movement on the campus, and to illustrate through this tracing the changes in racial demographics at protests since the Occupy movement took hold. While it did reveal many compelling origin stories, the project laid bare an invisibly obvious fact: that student activists of color were made more vulnerable by the camera than their white peers. The camera provides a physical manifestation of double-consciousness – literally freezing in place a static self in a composite of colors, making still an externally-imposed understanding of the self seen “through the eyes of others,” in which one’s soul is “measured … by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” The project has served as a probe and a challenge to this fact. By combining text that acts in dialogue with the photo – providing voice as well as image, the hope is that the student and faculty subjects presented in the photographs are enlivened and dimensionalized by the conversation occurring in the photographs.

LISTEN - Click to hear "Geographies of Violence and Resistance: A Spotlight on Undergraduate Research"

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Flyer for 4-4-2013 CRG Forum

Queer Tensions, Racialized Erotics, & Hostile Territories

04.02.2013 | 4:30 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi

Prof. Amy Sueyoshi, San Francisco State University

Beauty = Power: Blade the Vampire Hunter and Homoerotic Super-Heroism
Prof. Darieck Scott, African American Studies


Flyer for 3-21-2013 CRG Forum

Revising Freedom: Law, Literature, the Racial Imaginary

03.21.2013| 4:30 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom:
Mulattoes in the Early-Nineteenth-Century United States
A.B. Wilkinson, History

Why Our Post-Race Society Still Has A Race Problem: How Race and Freedom Go Hand-in-Hand
Michael McGee, African American Studies


Flyer for 2-12-2013 CRG Forum

Racializing Optics: Whiteness, Neoliberalism, and Visual Cultures

02.12.2013| 4:30 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

“Thanks to Berkeley…” Managing Multiculturalism in an Age of Austerity
Prof. Leigh Raiford, African American Studies
Dr. Michael Cohen, American Studies African American Studies

This paper takes the UC’s recent “Thanks to Berkeley…” private capital fund drive and its slick PR campaign – focused on a campus wide photographic project – as a site of contestation over issues of austerity, privatization, racial re-segregation and student protest in the Neoliberal University.

LISTEN - Click to hear "Racializing Optics: Whiteness, Neoliberalism, and Visual Cultures"

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Flyer for 10-18-2012 CRG Forum

Mapping Colonial Amnesia: Filipino/American Cultural Landscapes

10.18.2012 | 4:30 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Blues Narratives and Indigenous Imaginaries: On a Critical Filipino/American Poetics of Place
Thea Quiray Tagle, UC San Diego

This talk engages with transformations in the poetics and politics of Filipino American decolonial cultural productions made by San Francisco Bay Area-based artists and activists in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Beginning from the blues poetry of Al Robles, my talk will explore the ways in which his work deploys concepts of Filipino indigeneity in order to track Filipino bachelor male (manong) migration to, settlement in, and displacement from the International Hotel specifically and the Manilatown district in particular. Robles’s poetry is then contrasted to the work of Filipina American poet Barbara Jane Reyes, which explicitly foregrounds a feminist and queered framework that imagines different forms of relationality between people of color, native peoples, and the material and discursive landscapes of the Bay Area. Read together, I argue that the work of these poets transvalue the lives and labor of Filipino/American workers and communities, from ones wastefully occupying valuable real estate in downtown San Francisco, to a people whose continuing presence in the Bay Area serves as witness to the nation’s ongoing investment in settler colonial and imperialist relations as the foundations of American multicultural democracy.

This is talk draws in part from a chapter-in-progress of my larger dissertation project, tentatively titled: Grounded Struggles: Filipino/Americans in San Francisco and the Hunger for Justice. In this larger work, I am interested in exploring the following questions and concerns: How, in the afterlife of the struggle to save the International Hotel in the 1960s and 1970s, has the material and social landscape of Filipino San Francisco been forced to reconstitute itself differently? What have cultural productions—including site-specific performances; poetry and prose; and urban farming projects among others—contributed to our understandings of both the hidden history of the manong generation as well as the embodied repertoires of Filipino/American peoples in the present moment? Moreover, how have these works gestured towards an alternative futurity that places Filipino/Americans not in contention to, but in solidarity with, native and Third World peoples and other communities of color?  Finally, how might these works, alongside or differently from other forms of political activism, help us transform the material and affective architectures of San Francisco from a geography produced out of racial and gendered violence to one built upon other structures of feeling?

Gambling with Debt: Lessons from the Illiterate

Prof. Sarita See, UC Davis

What debt do we owe the subprime debtor? What purchase, the kind of knowledge and literacy produced by the contractual illiterate, the debtor who seemingly does not know how to read a contract? Analyzing the twenty-first century theatrical adaptation of Carlos Bulosan’s 1940s short story “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” Sarita Echavez See makes a case for the renewed relevance of Bulosan’s insights about the illiterate Filipino American fieldworker of the Great Depression for the contractually illiterate subprime debtor of the current era.  Bulosan’s juxtaposition of the abstract with the literal in his portrayal of the exploited labor and desires of Filipino American seasonal fieldworkers exposes new forms of knowledge about debt, obligation, and reciprocity that ironically emanate from the illiterate and the uneducated. As the critic-scholar E. San Juan, Jr., has put it: “Bulosan will not ignore us.” This presentation attempts to “not ignore” Bulosan in order to understand how structures of ignorance–who is deemed ignorant and who is deemed knowledgeable–fortify the United States empire. Then we may be able to more clearly understand, reaffirm, and revive how alternate and anti-capitalist structures of  debt circulate in Filipino America.

LISTEN - Click to hear "Mapping Colonial Amnesia: Filipino/American Cultural Landscape"

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Flyer for 10-4-2012 CRG Forum

A Crisis in Paris: Xenophobia, Stigma, and Empire in France

10.04.2012| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall 

Mon petit chien de guerre: Conflating Jewish and Homosexual Identity during the Dreyfus Affair
Cameron McKee, History and History of Art

The Dreyfus Affair, as the scandal came to be known, was sparked in 1894 when Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer, was accused of communicating confidential military documents to the German attaché. Dreyfus’s show trial and subsequent conviction on the basis of falsified documents engendered a violent storm of media that bifurcated France into the leftist Pro-Dreyfusards and the systematic, malicious anti-Semitism of the staunchly rightist Anti-Dreyfusards.

A metaphoric language developed around the Affair and Dreyfus’s purported treason came to symbolize an expansive dialogue of perceived anxieties plaguing fin-de-siècle France. Vitriolic debates surrounding Dreyfus’s guilt of innocence assumed overtones of French fears surrounding everything from the declining authority of the Catholic Church, to French military degeneration. In his research, McKee emphasizes the use of the Affair as a cultural framework through which French society questioned French manhood and attacked the developed gay inhabitants of Paris. It was Dreyfus’s subversive identity as a “foreign” Jewish-Alsatian man that allowed the Anti-Dreyfusard press to propagate an image of the Jewish male as the cause of French degeneration.

Theoretically rooted in writings on intersectionality, McKee centers his study of the period on political cartoons, contemporary medical texts, and other sources of popular imagery to address a conspicuous gap in the historiography of the Dreyfus Affair: the levying of homosexuality as a pathological, degenerative practice on the body of the Jewish male who threatened to subvert French patriarchal society. Supported by archival materials McKee’s study contextualizes the marginalized identities of Jewishness and homosexuality in fin-de-siècle France and their peculiar conflation during the Dreyfus Affair.

A New France?:  Race, Class, and Gender in the Aftermath of World War I

Prof. Tyler Stovall, History

During the first world war France mobilized both women and colonial subjects into its labor force to an unprecedented degree. Members of both groups worked in heavy industry, specifically munitions plants, to a much greater extent than ever before. With the end of the war in November 1918 French authorities had to decide whether or not to continue this experiment in diversity or to try to turn back the clock to a traditionally white and male labor force. In general they opted for the latter strategy, seeing the presence of nonwhite and female laborers in the workforce as a temporary and undesirable legacy of the war. The first half of 1919 consequently witnessed a major series of expulsions and repatriations with the goal of restoring the racial and gendered purity of the French working class.

This presentation will consider this history of expulsion and the larger debates about French national identity that surrounded it. It will explore the perspectives of French authorities, business, labor, and women and colonial workers themselves with regard to the expulsion of female and nonwhite labor. It will consider the ways in which the experiences of these two groups resembled each other, as well as the ways in which they differed. This process of expulsion succeeded in the short-term, but ultimately failed to turn back the clock. Instead, I see this process of expulsion and the debates around it as a landmark in the rise of postcolonial France.

LISTEN - Click to hear "A Crisis in Paris: Xenophobia, Stigma, and Empire in France"

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