2014 - 2015 CRG Forum Series

2014 - 2015 CRG Forum Series

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


Gendering and Racializing the Philippine Migrations: Women in the Global Economy of Care and Marriage Market

05.26.2015 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Why are Filipina women so numerous in the global economy of care and the marriage market? How do gender and race shape their experience throughout their journey in the care/marriage industry? In a joint presentation, Julien Debonneville and Gwenola Ricordeau share their respective results from fieldwork research conducted in the Philippines and France regarding the migration of “Filipina domestic workers” and Filipina brides. This talk draws on two different research projects based on observation among and in-depth interviews with Filipina migrants, and aims to deconstruct narratives surrounding Filipina women in a postcolonial age.

Gwenola Ricordeau is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Lille-I (France). Her first research and her PhD thesis have been dedicated to family relationships, gender identities and sexuality in French prisons. Since 2008, she is working on intermarriages, marriage migration, gender and race stereotypes in the Philippines and in France.

Julien Debonneville, University of Geneva, visiting scholar at the Department for Ethnic studies, UC Berkeley.  
Sociologist by training, Julien Debonneville is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Gender studies at the University of Geneva and a visiting student researcher in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. His thesis focuses on the social construction of the “Filipina domestic worker” as a category of otherness by exploring different patterns of migration in the Philippines today. Moreover, he examines how the process of becoming a Filipina domestic worker is framed by diverse power relationships. His main research topics are: gender and migration, care economy and reproductive labor, the coloniality of power, the social construction of otherness, and the intersectionality of power relations in terms of “gender”, class” and “race”.


Flyer for 4-20-2015 CRG Forum

Constructing Criminals: Xenophobia and the Politics of Panic

04.15.2015 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Perceptions of Threat and the Racialization of Illegality: Explaining Immigrant Group Participation in New York’s 2006 Protests
Prof. Chris Zepeda-Millán, Ethnic Studies

This presentation will utilize the case New York City to examine why certain immigrant groups participated in the 2006 protest wave more than others and why the city mobilized less compared with other major immigrant metropolises. The findings presented will indicate that certain immigrant groups participated more than others because of how the issue of “illegal immigration” was racialized and framed by the media, and because of the disproportionate impact the proposed legislation would have had on them. The data presented will illustrate how the city’s heterogeneous population served to diminish its capacity to produce the magnitude of mobilization found in other large immigrant cities.

The Boston Bombers, or The Citizen and the Terrorist
Prof. Leti Volpp, School of Law

On April 15, 2013, two bombs were set off during the Boston Marathon. The first suspects were fingered by the public through a new, technologically enabled vigilantism, based upon their appearance as “brown,” or “looks Muslim.” More than a decade after September 11, that those who appear Middle Eastern, Arab, or Muslim are identified as terrorists and disidentified as citizens, seems sadly uncontroversial. But what to make of the Tsarnaev brothers? While both brothers are generally held to have been responsible for the bombings, at various points Dzhokhar has been perceived as the citizen, with Tamerlan as the terrorist.  This correlates with how they have been differently racialized.


Flyer for 4-16-2015 CRG Forum

Critical Connections in Race, Sexuality, and Community: A Spotlight on Undergraduate Student Research

04.16.2015| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Transnational Feminist Approaches to the Identities and Experiences of Asian TCK Women at Cal
Jinoh Ryu (Kahn), Gender and Women’s Studies & Interdisciplinary Studies

Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a term that refers to “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture.” TCKs accompany their parents across national borders and into different societies before they build a coherent sense of cultural identity and “home.” Given their early exposure to multiple norms that may conflict with one another, Third Culture Kids carry a distinct consciousness and multifaceted subjectivity.

My research examines how UC Berkeley students who identify as Asian TCK women interpret and negotiate with their transcultural identities and experiences. I use transnational feminist approach in the intertextual analysis of 15 interviews. The study focuses on how global capitalism, neocolonialism, and neoliberalism as TCKs’ initial agents for highly mobile childhood may have affected their un/conscious cultural identification with or inclination toward (honorary) Whiteness. I also hope to find out how Berkeley politics of and education on diversity and the diverse sociocultural environment of San Francisco have possibly enabled Asian TCK women to reevaluate hegemonic Whiteness and to embrace their unique cultural backgrounds.

The Conditions of Power in Community Health: Gender, Race, and Harm Reduction at the Berkeley Free Clinic
Ariana DeNevi Weckstein, Interdisciplinary Studies

My research project is an investigation of the conditions in which power operates within STI (sexually transmitted infections) counseling sessions at the Berkeley Free Clinic. I intend to analyze the conditions in which the implementation of harm reduction during these appointments reinforces dominant bio-political norms around sexual health, as well as the conditions in which the implementation of harm reduction refigures and transforms these bio-political norms. I will attempt to address the ways in which these conditions are constructed in relation to a client’s gender and race within the relatively short time duration of these appointments, and I ultimately hope to highlight ways in which a client’s marginalized position and nonconforming subjectivity might allow the STI counselor to “queer” their implementation of harm reduction and refigure dominant bio-political norms of sexual health within these appointments.

Qualitative Study on the Intersection of Higher Education and Incarceration in African-American and Latino/a Households
Wendy Melissa Hernandez, American Studies

This study aims to analyze how two opposing institutions in California affect Latino/a and African American family ties. These two racial groups occupy the majority of the prisons in California, and are also two of the least represented racial groups in higher education. Additionally, recent studies surface familial incarceration as having negative schooling outcomes in the household (Loper 2014). Contrarily, this study is investigating the population of students that contradict the latter claim, as they are all university students. More specifically, it asks, what are the strategies that Latina and African-American womyn with incarcerated male family members have used to access higher education, despite the obstacles their families face due to familial incarceration? How do they overcome the negative stigma correlated with incarceration, financial and cultural obstacles to achieve higher education? And, does the presence of an incarcerated member in the home play a significant role in family dynamics? This work is approached through a critical race theory and restorative justice framework as the methodology is the collection of oral stories. The goal of this study is to identify policy reforms for the carceral and public education systems, by paying special attention to university womyn with incarcerated male family members.


Flyer for 4-9-2015 CRG Forum

Gendered Political Cultures of Iranian American Un/Belonging

04.09.2015| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

“Women Can Do Anything Men Can Do”: Gender And Sexuality in the U.S. Iranian Student Movement, 1961–1979
Dr. Manijeh Moradian, UC Davis

While significant feminist scholarship exists regarding the gender and sexual politics of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and of the Islamic Republic established in its wake, very little attention has yet been paid to the revolutionary Iranian student movement in the U.S., which engaged in almost twenty years of organizing against U.S. support for the Shah’s regime. Based on in-depth interviews with former members of the Iranian Students Association (ISA), the main anti-Shah coalition in the U.S., this talk will excavate the lived experiences of women who were willing to give their lives for freedom in Iran. How did they fashion themselves as revolutionary subjects within the Marxist subculture of the diasporic left? How did they challenge sexism within the ISA and empower themselves through their public participation in the movement? How did they imagine and attempt to prefigure gender equality and what were the limitations of their praxis? How was sexuality theorized, embodied and regulated?

Building on post-colonial feminist critiques of leftist complicity with the establishment of patriarchal post-colonial states, I argue that the vantage point of diaspora allows for a comparative perspective that disrupts the easily exploitable equation between women’s oppression and Islam. By situating the ISA in the context of the U.S. Third World Left, and within in a global era of decolonization, the influence of transnationally circulating secular revolutionary ideas comes into view. I consider the ways the ISA diverged from and was similar to other national liberation movements. This talk thus offers new insights into the contradictions between feminism, nationalism, and socialism that were raging within U.S. social movements by the late 1960s and that were unfolding as a major crisis for emerging postcolonial nations around the world.

Eroticizing War: Sex, Lies and the Racialization of Iranian Women

Nina Farnia, UC Davis

While the contemporary racialization of Iran as an American enemy is directly linked to U.S.-Iran relations after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, such racial processes began long before the United States had formal ties with Iran or a focused interest in the Middle East. In fact, the current policies that condone state-sponsored monitoring of Iranians by the FBI and profiling at airport facilities, that effectively prevent Iranian immigration to the United States and refuse Iranians American travel documents, would not be possible without longstanding ideologies that vilify Iran and racialize Iranians. Consistent with this racial project, Iranian women have emerged as a distinct racial group constructed to support American imperial aspirations in the Middle East. In this paper, I examine the gendered racialization of the Iranian nation-state and Iranians living in the United States. Generally, when the experiences of Middle Eastern women emerge in scholarly and popular culture, they are often discussed as victims of Middle Eastern men and as such are rhetorically deployed by the state and its various native informants[1] in order to justify American imperialism. That is, Middle Eastern men are racialized in part by their perceived and constructed subordinating relations with Middle Eastern women, producing a particular racialization of Middle Eastern women as well.

Field research I conducted at two mosques in southern California describes the particularities of the racial project facing Iranian women. Because Los Angeles has the largest Iranian population anywhere outside of Iran, Iranian women there are a more coherent and visible racial group than in other regions throughout the nation, and thus more easily associated with sexual stereotypes. In fact, though both women with hejab and women without hejab are racialized in a gendered manner, these women describe their racialization as differentially sexualized. As such, while this racialization process is seemingly gendered male in both law and popular culture, it has distinct female dimensions as well. Contrary to oft-made assumptions that men are the primary targets of Middle Eastern racial projects, my research reveals how the racialization of Iranian women is itself a distinct racial project linked to U.S. aspirations in the Middle East.

[1] Native informant is a term used in anthropology to describe the “native” who gave the observing “anthropologist” information about “native” practices and life. Edward Said and other critical Middle Eastern scholars have used the term to describe the role that Middle Eastern intellectuals play in the United States.


Flyer for 3-19-2015 CRG Forum

Unsettling the State: Native Women Derailing U.S. Indian Policy in Historical and Contemporary Articulations

03.19.2015| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Sovereignty Struggles: Native Californian Women and the Politics of Federal Recognition
Olivia Chilcote, Ethnic Studies

In the United States, Native American tribes are placed within a contrived hierarchy as either federally recognized or unrecognized tribes. Federally recognized tribes are considered sovereign nations with a government-to-government relationship with the U.S. These federally recognized tribes gained this status not because they are more “legitimate” than other tribes, but because of historical interactions with the federal government. Unrecognized tribes, however, are not considered political entities and the government sees no need to officially interact with these tribes. As a result, unrecognized tribes across the nation are seeking federal recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP). California currently has 81 tribes petitioning for federal recognition through the FAP—a number almost four times higher than any other state in the Union. Clearly tribes in California are seeking sovereign status from the government, but how are Native Californian women part of this process? This presentation focuses on the gendered politics of seeking federal recognition and how Native Californian women are leading the way in struggles for sovereignty. By showing how Native Californian women from three unrecognized tribes across the state are actively working through and against federal definitions of tribal nationhood, I contend that Native Californian women are both engaging and destabilizing U.S. federal policy through their activism.

Engaging Domesticity: Native Women Navigating Assimilation in the Bay Area, 1926 – 1946
Caitlin Keliiaa, Ethnic Studies

On the quiet residential streets of Claremont, Rockridge and such affluent Bay Area neighborhoods the landscape holds a deep history. Beneath the surface of well-appointed homes lays a once thriving project of government assimilation through the forced institution of domesticity. The Bay Area Regional Outing Program launched in 1918 and ended just after WWII. Each year, the program placed hundreds of Native women in homes inBerkeley, Oakland and the greater Bay Area. In exchange for room, board, and menial pay, young Native women cooked, cleaned, served as caretakers and lived in the private, unmonitored homes of their employers. Through this program, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) perpetuated its goal of assimilation: to supplant Native values and traditions with western substitutes. This paper positions domesticity as a settler colonial endeavor used to drive Native women out of traditional roles and into domestic work. To do so, I closely examine files from the BIA’s Relocation, Training and Employment Assistance archival records. The lens I employ focuses on the surveillance and monitoring of Native women and the choices and decisions they were obliged to consider. My intervention examines how Native women frustrated the government institution. Though the program functioned under settler mechanics, Native women reworked into these systems, potential and possibility. Faced with the pervasive force of the assimilation doctrine on Native bodies, Native women complied, contested and actively engaged.


Flyer for 3-5-2015 CRG Forum

Gendering the Early American Marketplace: Slavery, Sexuality, and Trade

03.05.2015| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Female Soul Drivers, Lady Flesh Stealers, and She-Merchants in the American Slave Trade
Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Department of History

Conventional understandings of nineteenth-century American slave markets virtually erase white women from these commercial spaces. They appear as places hustling and bustling with nothing but white men and enslaved African Americans. White men transported the slaves to market. They were the individuals that went to the market to inspect and examine slaves, interrogate them about their pasts, and assess their suitability for the labor they would subsequently perform. They were the ones to prepare and expose them for sale and to auction them off. They were the ones to sell them or buy them and take them home. Yet slave markets were not off-limits to white women. Women were among the ordinary southerners who traversed and navigated the spaces in which traders, speculators, and brokers bought and sold human beings, separated families, and forced enslaved people to reconstruct their lives in new and unfamiliar places. They bought and sold slaves in these spaces and, even more than this, white women occasionally partnered with and worked for the men who were engaged in the slave trade in hopes of augmenting their personal wealth, too.

The talk highlights three groups of women who profited from their commercial ties to the nineteenth-century American slave trade. It examines the commercial activities of several female slave traders. It explores the experiences of women who owned establishments, like slave yards, that provided vital services to those engaged in the slave trade. And it reveals how female merchants, who were not directly involved in slave market activities, profited from the trade by offering their goods and services to the individuals who were. By paying close attention to these women’s pecuniary investments in the business of slavery, this paper helps to situate them firmly at the center of nineteenth-century America’s most significant and devastating system of economic exchange.

‘Ladies,’ Auctions, and the Gender of Value
Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor, Department of History, UC Davis

In 1816, businessmen in several American cities established new “Ladies’ Auction Rooms” dedicated to female bidders.  These enterprises immediately came under attack in the pages of local newspapers, which assailed them for promoting race-mixing and sexual danger.  Newspaper debates quickly escalated into full-blown political campaigns at the state and national level to tax auctions nearly out of existence.  These campaigns drew on longstanding suspicions that auctions were places of shady dealing and bad behavior.  They gained momentum as postcolonial protests, since many of the goods for sale at auction had been “dumped” there by British manufacturers immediately at the end of the War of 1812.  And they voiced emerging ideas about civic engagement in a free-trading world.  Yet an unexamined gender problem launched the auction wars of the 1820s.  The case of the Ladies’ Auction Rooms reveals Americans grappling with their profound discomfort over the question of value in a monetizing culture.  What was an object or a relationship worth?  How could people judge fair prices from foul when they were variable, rather than conventional?  And what were the broader implications for how people used economic institutions to negotiate intimate relationships?  This paper looks at the place of women’s work and women’s bodies in nineteenth-century auctions to investigate how ideas about gender shaped emerging understandings about the connection between value and price in the American marketplace.


Flyer for 2-12-2015 CRG Forum

Race, Disability, Unstable Epistemologies

02.12.2015| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Brain Fog: The Race for Cripistemology
Mel Y. Chen, Gender Women’s Studies

To what degree what is dismissively or apologetically called “brain fog,” or other cognitive states of difference, must be excluded from the presumed activity of cripistemology, given its active suppression particularly within academic spaces, including disability studies. In turning to cripping partiality, it attends to the concomitant importance of addressing questions of racialization and decolonization.

Action through Breakdown: Racial Violence, Disability, and a Reconsideration of Agency
Alisa Bierria, Center for Race Gender

How might we describe the practice of choice-making when some agents’ intentions are structurally distorted, and they are forced to act agentically in conditions of violence and precarity? This talk will critique the principle of efficacy as a criterion for agency. Using disability theoretical insights, I consider the practice of intending and acting in the context racialized violence and erasure, and I propose a mapping (rather than a measuring) model of agency that incorporates the experience of struggle.


Flyer for 12-9-2014 CRG Forum

Retracing, Repurposing, and Reimagining:
Critiquing Contemporary Engagements With Colonial Expeditions

12.09.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

(Re)imagining Race, Nature, and the Colonial Frontier in Northern Spaces through the Harriman Alaska Expedition and the Harriman Retraced
Jen Smith, Ethnic Studies

(Re)presenting Race and Land: Constructions of Nature, Culture, and Ecology in The Confluence Project in the Columbia River Gorge
Ashton Wesner, Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Creative representations of colonial histories have the potential to contest dominant narratives of erasure and modernization, as well as reinscribe them in new ways. The retracing of original colonial events reveals continuity in the elision of alternative epistemologies and the obfuscation of positionality. We examine two historical retracings to critique the narrative power of environmental ethic and its link to the nation’s purposeful production of race and other forms of difference. The Lewis and Clark and Harriman Alaska Expeditions (HAE) are cases of vaunted masculinist colonial endeavors that expanded American landscapes geographically and ideologically. The contemporaneous repeated journeys of The Confluence Project (TCP) and Harriman Retraced intersect with current anxieties regarding climate change, as the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic operate as environmental strongholds in the national imaginary.

TCP is a collaborative project in the Columbia River Gorge with the goal of exploring intersections of environment, culture, and regional history at eight points along the river through building ecological parks with art installations and interpretive materials inspired by passages from Lewis and Clark’s documentation of each location. As a social and political process that produces both a material place and immaterial narratives run-through with power relations, TCP not only (re)tells and (re)imagines the history of the Gorge but (re)shapes the land with built memorials that may unintentionally continue to solidify and naturalize settler colonial violences.

The HAE of 1899 was an academic pilgrimage of the era’s predominant intellectuals, including John Muir, John Burroughs, and Edward Curtis. During four months, HAE taxonomized thousands of flora and fauna, and procured dozens of Tlingit cultural items from Saanya Kwaan village site. The HAE was retraced in 2001, and the written documents, photographs, and maps from the maiden voyage served as guiding narratives for a contemporaneous coterie of elite academics, repurposing a set of literature that has yet to be critically examined. Documenting a century of environmental change, the HAE Retraced privileges environmental concerns as benign and seemingly universal. The team commits a mistake similar to their forefathers by producing an environmental ethic that separates itself from violent colonial histories.

We aim to generate discussion surrounding how histories of colonial exploration, enacted by the HAE and Lewis and Clark, can be engaged in a contemporary moment such that narratives of manifest destiny and moderniziation are undone. In retracing an imperial expedition, how can we trouble the maintenance of whiteness inherent in these repetitions? What are the possibilities of retracings and what kind of politics, methods, and collaborations are necessary to cultivate liberatory potential?


Flyer for 12-4-2014 CRG Forum

Space as Weapon: Mapping Repression in Tahrir Square & Cape Town

12.04.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall 

Re-scripting the City: Race, Gender and Architecture in Cape Town’s Migrant Labour Hostels
Sharone L. Tomer, Architecture

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Cape Town was represented as a ‘white’ city. Because the indigenous population at the Cape at the time of European colonization was ‘aboriginale’ rather than ‘black’ – meaning Bantu-speakers that migrated from East and Central Africa – it was possible to discursively distance Cape Town from its (South) African context and the related ‘black’ identity. As apartheid came to an end, however, the narrative of the white city also began to come into question.

In this paper I examine one site that posed the possibility of unsettling Cape Town’s hegemonic racialized narratives, at a moment in which the end of apartheid was being negotiated. I examine the ‘Hostels’ Upgrades’, an architectural project that sought to convert single-sex migrant labour hostels into permanent family accommodation, as a case in which marginalized black residents made claims for space, security, and by extension recognition, in the city. I argue that while a simple reading may suggest that the project was merely about improving physical infrastructure, for the hostel dwellers and architects involved in the project, much more was at stake. The single-sex and dormitory attributes of the hostels rendered them liminal spaces that disturbed gender relations, forcing families to live apart, or in illicit and spatially compromised arrangements. The claims made by the hostel dwellers as they sought to convert the hostels were for a normalizing of gender relations: for the right to live in the city, as families. I examine how it was that by turning to the domestic – the space of the family – as a site of political action, the hostel dwellers were able to deploy the Upgrades as a form of political protest, when their precarious status in the city as migrant laborers put more typical forms of action – such as strikes and demonstrations – out of reach.

Using Stuart Hall’s concept of articulation, I examine how race, gender and space were brought together and worked through each other at the Hostels Upgrades. The case serves as an example of discursive and spatial post-apartheid transformation working together, in which the change to a spatial artifact of apartheid served as a site through which to re-script the city’s racialized and gendered identities.

The Disciplining of Space: Tahrir Square and the Gated Communities under the Military Governance 

Momen El-Husseiny, Architecture

In November 2011, the interim military rulers of Egypt erected concrete walls around Tahrir Square to surround the roundabout in an unprecedented act of zoning it out and separating it from the Downtown Center with its vibrant governmental, political, economical and commercial buildings. This act epitomized the death of the public space and the revolutionary momentum that was once celebrated in January 25 for the central role it played in mobilizing people and removing the head of the corrupted state, Hosni Mubarak. In the months that follow, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) imposed new security measures onto Tahrir Square to establish a profound genre of spatial discipline.

This paper argues that the surveillance measures of walls and checkpoints are more than material objects for division and segregation; these measures have deeper significances of disciplining space that encompass a moral mission of religious conduct and subject trans-formation of protestors. Female activists had been arrested, humiliated, and subject to virginity tests, in which the military practiced its patriarchal role in framing what is haram, or forbidden, to constrict women’s participation in sit-in demonstrations and public space. Young protestors and activists continue to be arrested and accused for their immoral conduct of national treason. In fact this patriarchal device of governance and securitizing measures have a contemporary precedent in gated communities that are directly run and managed by military generals — after retiring, where they work as private security sub-contractors.

Accordingly, in order to understand the ramification of the disciplining mechanisms of walling space that is relatively new to Tahrir Square, I delve into the genesis of this spatial discipline that had been taking place in gated communities for more than a decade. In gated communities, the disciplining of space is more structural using mapping tools and training workshops of security guards that is pivotal in transforming them into better muslims or honorable citizens, becoming faithful, honest, and vigilant. The role of the security guards is then to enforce the moral rules through reporting and surveilling the misconduct of residents. My central argument is that the disciplining of space whether private or public, under the military governance, is always enmeshed with a moral project of religious patriarchy that is manipulated for national sentiments.


Flyer for 11-6-2014 CRG Forum

Family Routes: Transnational Adoption & the Production of Nationhood

11.06.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America
Prof. Catherine Ceniza Choy, Ethnic Studies

Prof. Choy will discuss the findings explored in her recent publication, Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America (NYU Press, 2013).  In the last fifty years, transnational adoption—specifically, the adoption of Asian children—has exploded in popularity as an alternative path to family making. Despite the cultural acceptance of this practice, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the factors that allowed Asian international adoption to flourish. In Global Families, Prof. Choy unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States. Beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia, she reveals how mixed-race children born of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese women and U.S. servicemen comprised one of the earliest groups of adoptive children.  Based on extensive archival research, Global Families moves beyond one-dimensional portrayals of Asian international adoption as either a progressive form of U.S. multiculturalism or as an exploitative form of cultural and economic imperialism. Rather, Choy acknowledges the complexity of the phenomenon, illuminating both its radical possibilities of a world united across national, cultural, and racial divides through family formation and its strong potential for reinforcing the very racial and cultural hierarchies it sought to challenge.

Claiming Others: Transracial Adoption and National Belonging

Prof. Mark Jerng, UC Davis, English
Transracial adoption has recently become a hotly contested subject of contemporary and critical concern, with scholars across the disciplines working to unravel its complex implications. In his book, Claiming Others: Transracial Adoption and National Belonging, Prof. Jerng traces the practice of adoption to the early nineteenth century, revealing its surprising centrality to American literature, law, and social thought. Jerng considers how adoption makes us rethink the parent-child bond as central to issues of race and nationality, showing the ways adoption also speaks to broader questions about our history and identity. Imaginative and social practices of transracial adoption have shaped major controversies, Jerng argues, from Native American removal to slavery to cold war expansionism in the twentieth century and the contemporary global market in children. As Claiming Others makes clear, understanding adoption is crucial not just to understanding the history between races in the United States, but also the meaning of emancipation and the role of family in nationhood.

Event co-sponsored by East Asian Studies and Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies. 


Flyer for 10-16-2014 CRG Forum

Negotiating “Feminisms” through Time & Space:
A Comparative Analysis of the Problematic Legacy of Feminism in Egypt & the United States

10.14.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Postcolonial Feminism and the Egyptian Context
Sara Salem, Ethnic Studies

State Violence and the Quest for Race-Conscious Feminist Praxis
Rekia Jibrin, Social & Cultural Studies, Graduate School of Education

The question of “feminism” has long been contentious in postcolonial contexts across the Global South. The reasons for this, however, remain important to probe in light of the discursive assumptions behind both the term itself and mainstream feminist movements. This panel seeks to explore the ways in which the legacy of feminism has played a crucial role in the apparent rejection of the term and/or movement in the Global South. We argue that this rejection should not be understood as a rejection of notions of gender justice itself but instead should be contextualized in light of the problematic construction of feminism along the lines of a Eurocentric liberalism.  Such a construction renders it out of place in contexts that conceptualize gender and racial justice, differently. Contexts in the Global South often conceptualize gender as intersecting with other structures such as imperialism, capitalism, and so on, and this is often at odds with forms of feminism that are constructed Eurocentrically.

Focusing discussion on historical US and contemporary Egyptian case studies, the presenters formulate a genealogy of the term feminist and the movement it connotes, highlighting the ways in which underlying liberal assumptions marginalizes political possibilities within movements for liberation and racial justice.


Flyer for 9-18-2014 CRG Forum

Racial-Sexual Ontologies of the Other

09.18.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Ritual Murder versus Sexual Perversion: Antisemitism, Liberalism, and the Hilsner Affair (Austria 1900)
Johanna Rothe
, UC Santa Cruz

Johanna Rothe is a PhD candidate in History of Consciousness (with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies) at UC Santa Cruz. She is finishing a dissertation on psychoanalysis, sexuality, and the politics of nationality in late Habsburg Austria.

Queerphilic Imperialism and Purportedly Queerphobic Occupied People: Kashmir and Indian Islamophobia

Huma Dar, Ethnic Studies     

Huma Dar lectures in the AAAS Program of the Ethnic Studies Department, UCB.  Dar’s work is focused on the intersections and co-formations of race, religion, class, caste, gender, sexuality, and national politics of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, centered on intellectual and political activism for social justice.  Dar is a feature writer at Pulse Media, a collaborative political, activist, and academic weblog.


Flyer for 9-11-2014 CRG Forum

Queer Rhythms: The Makings of Race & Rehearsal

09.11.2014| 4:00 – 6:00 PM |  691 Barrows Hall

Ordinary Failures: Reciting Diaspora
Ianna Hawkins Owen, African American Studies

In the face of overdetermined failure, ranging from policy to philosophy, artists and writers of the black diaspora have chosen to depict, recite, and repeat intraracial failure in their work. My concern with these recitations are their capacity to racialize the interventions of Heather Love’s Feeling Backward to arrive at a place of critical, but not redemptive, exploration of black failure. What is failure and what does it do for those marked as backward people? Broadly, my project is interested in what theorizing black failure, as a kind of diasporic ethics, might reveal about the racial dimensions of success and failure. This talk pursues these interests through the memoirs of Paule Marshall, Saidiya Hartman, and Jamaica Kincaid. Each include moments of meeting and reunion between author and (m)other, engaging in acts of misrecognition and interpellation in pursuit of reparative diasporic aims such as recovery, forgiveness, and rememory that ultimately go unrealized, remain unsatisfied.

A Lover’s Scream: Latina Lesbian Desire, Queer Ethics, and the Mariachi-Punk of Las Cucas
Ivan Ramos, Performance Studies

This paper considers the possibility of lesbian desire as the starting ground for queer ethics through the work of mariachi-punk band Las Cucas, integrated by Nao Bustamante, Al Lujan, Marcia Ochoa and Devil Bunny. Following work by Monique Wittig, Lynn Huffer, and Juana María Rodríguez on the unwieldiness of lesbian desire, I explore the combination of the bolero and the punk scream as the site of queer desolation as ethical practice. Following the contours Nao Bustamante’s voice I linger on the promise of romantic dissolution as a site that has been often unexplored by queer theory and politics.  By negotiating the space between the erotic and the abject, I argue, Las Cucas bridge the affective modalities of transnational Latinidad. I then turn toward Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse to place this performance within longer histories of longing and desire.

I propose that in the grain of Bustamante’s voice romantic bleakness, loneliness, and sorrow, function as a corrective to the felicitous subject of queer theory and Latina studies. I conclude by mining the history of other Latina punk screams and arguing that this sonic meeting, between bolero and punk, invites us to explore and reshape the grounds of queer theory through the lover’s desolation.

Movement from the Underground: Rerouting the Birth of Waacking/Punking
Naomi Bragin, Performance Studies

The improvisation-based dance styles of waacking and punking developed in gay underground disco clubs of 1970’s Los Angeles and were broadcast nationwide on Soul Train, the first black music and dance program and longest running show in TV history. Waacking often describes fast, rhythmic arm whipping that is a defining characteristic of the style, while punkin’ tends to focus on experimental movement behavior that incorporates elements of large locomotion, posing, melodramatic gesture, facial expression, and narrative. With almost all male progenitors passing during the early AIDS crisis, the dance culture was reborn in the 2000s into the competition-based global street dance arena. While vogue maintains a primary association with the LGBTQ-identified Ballroom World, contemporary punking and waacking are most widely practiced outside the United States, in the generally straight-identified hip hop/street dance scene.

I am exploring ideas for incorporating my research into documentary production and staged performance. This video interview with new generation waacker Princess Lockeroo accompanies the article “Techniques of black male re/dress,” published in the May 2014 Women & Performance special issue Critical intimacies: hip hop as queer feminist pedagogy. I argue that the ideas of woman, feminine and female that (widely nonblack and cisgender female) dancers are accessing and experiencing through the practices of punking and waacking, are made possible through the production of black masculinity, in the history and afterlife of slavery.

Ianna Hawkins Owen is a doctoral candidate in African Diaspora Studies and member of the D.E. in Women, Gender and Sexuality at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation is tentatively titled, “Diasporan Recitations of Failure and Ethical Possibility.” Ianna’s areas of interest include failure, diaspora theory, critical whiteness studies, and race/sexuality. She received a B.A. from CUNY Hunter College in Africana Studies and an M.A. from UC Berkeley in African American Studies.

Iván A. Ramos is a doctoral candidate in Performance Studies. His dissertation, Sonic Negations: Sound, Affect and Unbelonging between Mexico and the United States explores how Mexican and U.S. Latino artists, musicians, and publics, have increasingly turned to sound to offer an alternative political imaginary rooted outside of normative frameworks of national, political, or identitarian belonging

Naom Bragin's project, Black Power of Hip Hop Dance: On Kinesthetic Politics, uses native ethnography, oral history, black critical theory, and performance to research foundations of global hip hop/street dance in 1960s-1970s California. This work draws from her background as a street dancer, educator, activist, and former director of Oakland-based DREAM Dance Company. Her pieces published in 2014 are “Techniques of black male re/dress” in the Women & Performance special issue All Hail The Queenz, and “Shot and Captured: Turf Dance, YAK Films, and the Oakland, California, R.I.P. Project,” She was the Drama Review’s 2013 Student Essay co-winner with her work which critiques the viral circulation of hood dance and black performance in light of disproportionate policing, incarceration, and death in the lives of black youth.

Three participants from the Spring 2014 CSSC/CRG Dissertation Workshop Retreat presented work from their in-progress dissertations at the Center for Race and Gender’s first Thursday Forum event of the Fall 2014 semester, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture.