Colloquium Series

All events are held in Hart Hall 3201 at 4pm unless otherwise noted. 

Click the drop down boxes for dates, speakers, and webinar registration links.

Fall 2022 Colloquia

Cultural Studies PhD students enrolled in CST 290 must submit colloquium papers for four events.  

October 11, 2022 

The Work of Rape by Rana M. Jaleel 

Rana M. Jaleel is an Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at the University of California, Davis. The Work of Rape tracks how feminist interventions in the “gender atrocities” of the 1990s-era ethnic wars—which established rape as a human rights violation, a crime against humanity, and a form of genocide— have traveled across bodies of law and social geographies. It asks how the all-too-familiar terms of rape culture, consent, and coercion fare if we refuse to imagine gender and sexual justice by disavowing conditions of colonialism, empire, capitalism, and war.

In conversation with: 

  • Leti Volpp is the Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law and the Director, Center for Race and Gender, UC Berkeley.
  • Chandan Reddy is an associate professor in the Department of Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. 
  • Emily Thuma is an associate professor of politics and law at the University of Washington Tacoma and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington Seattle.

Tuesday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201 

Webinar Registration Link

November 3, 2022 

Mohamad Jarada - “The Spirit of Security: Islam, Ethical Capacity, and Racial Violence”

This talk engages with a question: what ethical capacities and potentials are born out of the racial violence that Muslim Americans experience in the War on Terror? In this talk, I trace the material and spiritual life of security that finds its condition of possibility in racial violence and police power. Towards this end, I reconsider two things. The first is the relationship between Islam and security. Secondly, I reexamine the ostensible terms of war and transform them to speak to the practices that Muslim Americans employ to combat racial forms of violence that take shape in civilian transgressions, mass surveillance, and the production of anti-Islamic politics. I foreground my ethnographic engagements with Islamic communities in North Carolina, who have been exposed to the detrimental effects of counterterrorism protocols and racism in the American South. Through these communities, I demonstrate the ways securitization enables the practice of the Islamic tradition and, in turn, the way Islamic practices and sensibilities are repurposed for securitization. As such, I elaborate a lexicon of warfare that includes such practices in order to transform our understanding of the War on Terror and the ways in which racialized Islamic communities actively seek to contest and transform the tactics of policing and surveillance that vitiate their form of life.

Mohamad Jarada is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, and studied philosophy and theology at Harvard Divinity School. His writing and thinking are guided by a commitment to appreciate, conceptualize, and historicize the way racial subjects preserve and imagine a life not outside of, but through the pressures and consequences of violence. His research focuses on the constitution of American liberalism and how it develops its political, social, and legal technologies through enslavement, civil rights, security, police power, racial subjectivity, and the Islamic tradition.  

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201 

Webinar Registration Link 

Winter 2023 Colloquia

Cultural Studies PhD students enrolled in CST 290 must submit colloquium papers for four events.  

January 19, 2023 

Adam John Waterman - "Work is No More Work: Securitization, Grace, and the Aesthetic Perversions of Capital"

What relationships obtain between regimes of securitization and the multifarious expressions of aesthetic form, and how do these relationships impinge upon the abrasions that constitute the social? Touching upon questions of affect and desire, in this talk, Adam John Waterman explores connections between security formations that traverse the United States and the Middle East through attention to the manifestation and representation of transglobal modular spaces: the high rise, the camp, the railroad, the shipping container. He looks to the history of the Phelps Dodge corporation as a means to approach questions related to geophysicality of extractive industry, the racialization of the division of labor, and the erotic gamesmanship of capitalist excess. Exploring the legacies of copper extraction in the US Southwest, he hopes to foreground an understanding of security in which the slow violence of compulsive self-regard is understood as coeval with both extraordinary and aggressive modes of state violence. He proposes that a purposeful engagement with the question of desire, its dynamics, and its modulation, might serve as a tactic within broader struggles to understand infrastructures of securitization, capital, and empire.

For the last fifteen years Adam John Waterman has been living in Lebanon and Algeria, where he was a professor of English and American Studies at the American University of Beirut and a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the Universite d’Alger 2. He now finds himself back in the United States. His research explores relationships between settler colonialism, capital, sexuality, and desire. His book, The Corpse in the Kitchen: Enclosure, Extraction, and the Afterlives of the Black Hawk War, was published by Fordham University Press in 2021. At present, he is collaborating with the artist Tef Poe on a manuscript entitled Rebel to America, due out from Norton in the fall of 2023. He is completing a book called Digest All The Plague Years, which explores everyday life in Lebanon from the revolution of October 2019 to the explosions of August 2020 through a consideration of the uneven distribution of physical and mental illness, environmental toxicity, food scarcity, and psychosis.

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201

Register for the webinar here:

February 9, 2023 

Erica Kohl-Arenas - Working with Oral Histories 

This presentation will focus on why one would consider using the oral history research methodology, the opportunities and limits of this approach, and an overview of the basic principles and practices of conducting oral history interviews. Kohl-Arenas will share oral history interview samples from her current research in Mississippi and from her forthcoming book, Unruly Utopias.

Dr. Erica Kohl-Arenas is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis and the national director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. She is a scholar of grassroots community development and the radical imaginations and deferred dreams of social movements that become entangled with the politics of professionalization, institutionalization, and philanthropy. Kohl-Arenas is the author of the book “The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty” (UC Press, 2016) and is working on a book about radical world building projects from the 1960s and today in rural California and beyond. She is the co-organizer of two action research projects, including one on transforming higher education to better support activist and public scholarship, and another on the reclamation of land and agriculture in building self-determined futures in rural Black Mississippi as a partner with the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture).

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201

Register for the webinar here:  

February 24, 2023 

Christina Heatherton - "Arise! Global Radicalism in the Era of the Mexican Revolution"

The Mexican Revolution was a global event that catalyzed international radicals in unexpected sites and struggles. Following figures like Black American artist Elizabeth Catlett, Indian anti-colonial activist M.N. Roy, Mexican revolutionary leader Ricardo Flores Magon, Okinawan migrant organizer Paul Shinsei Kochi, and Soviet feminist Alexandra Kollontai, Arise! reveals how activists found inspiration and solidarity in revolutionary Mexico. From art collectives and farm worker strikes to prison "universities," Arise! considers how disparate revolutionary traditions merged in unanticipated alliances. Drawing on prison records, surveillance data, oral histories, visual art, and a rich trove of untapped sources, Christina Heatherton charts how radicals in the era forged an anti-racist internationalism from below. 

Christina Heatherton is the Elting Associate Professor of American Studies and Human Rights at Trinity College. She is the author of Arise! Global Radicalism in the Era of the Mexican Revolution (University of California Press, 2022). For two decades she has been working with social movements to produce collaborative works of political and popular education, including Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), co-edited with Jordan T. Camp. She currently co-directs the Trinity Social Justice Initiative. 

Friday, 11:00am-12:30pm, Hart Hall 3114

March 9, 2023

Jose Manuel Santillana Blanco - "Racial Motherhood Ecologies: Towards a Mapping of Social Life, Violence & Resistance in the Southwest Borderlands"

Racial Motherhood Ecologies: Towards a Mapping of Social Life, Violence & Resistance in the Southwest Borderlands examines and explores how Black, Brown, and Indigenous activist mothers in the Southwest Borderlands have fought against racialized ecological violence for over three decades. Through a deep engagement of working-class racialized women’s experiences in the rural California town of Kettleman City, San Francisco’s Southeastern community of Bayview Hunters Point and the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico, this research highlights the intricate role local environmental histories play in shaping ecologies across varying geographies, especially in relation to the ways in which motherhood becomes salient as a mobilizing force to address and disrupt structural violence in their communities. As such, racialized mothering or motherhood becomes a central tenet to understanding ecological violence, resistance, spatiality, and the environment in the United States.  

José Manuel Santillana Blanco is a Queer Xicanx Feminist scholar and storyteller. As a son of Mexican immigrant parents, José Manuel was politicized within the rural migrant farmworker landscapes of central California. He is a University of California President’s and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of American Studies at UC Davis. Drawing on the work of Black, Latinx and Indigenous decolonial thinkers, his work explores the ways Black, Immigrant and Indigenous women-led community struggles across the United States have been foundational to our understanding of racialized social life, ecological violence and resistance across entangled geographies. Santillana Blanco’s work has been published in Aztlán: A Journal for Chicano Studies, University of Washington Press, University of Nebraska Press and Routledge. He is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Dissertation Fellowship at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change and University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201

Register for the webinar here: 

Spring 2023 Colloquia

Cultural Studies PhD students enrolled in CST 290 must submit colloquium papers for four events

April 6, 2023 

Shannon Cram Unmaking the Bomb: Environmental Cleanup and the Politics of Impossibility 

What does it mean to reckon with a contaminated world? Shannon Cram investigates the social politics of this question at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a former weapons complex in Washington State. Home to the majority of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste and its largest environmental cleanup, Hanford is now tasked with managing toxic materials that will long outlast the United States and its regulatory capacities. This talk considers the structural impossibilities associated with Hanford’s cleanup as well as the normative categories that inform atomic hazard. It recognizes that multi-millennial waste will inevitably exceed its institutional containers, and that administering eternity has unthinkable, science-fiction-like qualities. But it also explores the powerful conditions and contexts that define unthinkability itself—the social relations that designate some impacts as reasonable and others inconceivable, allowing cleanup to distribute survival unevenly. Thus, it considers both the concrete and constructed realities of contaminated life, and the oft-blurred boundaries between the two. 

Shannon Cram is an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. She is the author of Unmaking the Bomb: Environmental Cleanup and the Politics of Impossibility (forthcoming from University of California Press). 

Co-sponsored by the Critical Militarization, Policing and Security Studies Research Cluster with funding from the Davis Humanities Institute

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201 

Register for the webinar here:

April 27, 2023 

Shaista Patel Indian Americans Engulfing “American Indian”: Marking the “Dot Indians’” Indianness through Genocide and Casteism in Diaspora

Shaista Aziz Patel works as an Assistant Professor of Critical Muslim Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UCSD. She identifies as a Pakistani Shi'a Muslim. Her scholarly and all other political investments are in several questions that draw upon theories in critical Muslim, Indigenous (to North America and South Asia), Black, Dalit, anti-caste, and transnational feminist studies. 

In this talk, I contribute to the slowly emerging conversation on why South Asians must center caste in all our scholarly and other political work. I will argue that it is urgent to talk about the participation of non-Black, non-Indigenous people of colour in upholding structures of violence, such as white settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, and casteism in order to challenge the epistemology of “colonial unknowing” in critical praxis. I am particularly invested in thinking about this urgency in relation to the participation of caste-privileged brown South Asians in various systems of domination in North America (specifically Canada and the US). To think about the complicity of caste South Asians I will examine part of a photographic series called An Indian from India (2001–07) by Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, an Indian American photographer to show that even seemingly critical conversations on anti-indigeneity and anti-Blackness without centring caste are not only simply performative rhetoric but also casteist and, therefore, harmful to the work of political organizing. 

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201 

Register for the webinar here:

May 11, 2023

Christine Imperial - Mistaken for an Empire

Born in postcolonial Philippines into a family—and country—with a complicated history, Christine Imperial learns from a lifetime of experiences that there is no easy path to understanding or belonging. Setting out to renew her relationship to Tagalog, the language she had previously distanced herself from, she contends with the meaning of her dual Philippine/US citizenship along with the conditions surrounding it, reflecting on imperialist and class systems and the history of her birth country. Beginning with an attempt to translate into Tagalog Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”—Kipling’s ode to American imperialism after the US takeover of the Philippines—Imperial reflects on and writes against Kipling’s poem as she unspools her fractured family’s story.

Reckoning with both the anguish and promise of hybridity, Mistaken for an Empire expands into an exploration of the author’s relationship to English and Tagalog, history, family and state, origin and belonging. By interrogating the many intricacies of individual and national identity and the legacies that shape them, Imperial grapples with the tangled nature of allegiance, whether it be to family, to country, or to self.

Christine Imperial is a PhD Cultural Studies student at UC Davis where she was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. Her first book Mistaken for an Empire is published with Mad Creeks Books, an imprint of the Ohio State University, as the 2021 Gournay Prize Winner. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the California Institute of the Arts. At CalArts, she was the 2020 Emi Kuriyama Thesis winner and a 2020-2021 REEF Fellow. A 2021 Hawker Prize Winner for Southeast Asian poetry, she has published writing in POETRY, TLDTD, American Book Review, Inverted Syntax, among others.  

Thursday, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Hart Hall 3201 

Register for the webinar here: 

Colloquium Series