American Cultures and Global Contexts Center

2008-09 Events

Fall Quarter 2008

Literature.Culture.Media Center Lecture
Stephanie Strickland
Thursday, October 2, 2008, 3:30 p.m. South Hall 2635

The Literature.Culture.Media Center will be hosting new media artist and accomplished poet Stephanie Strickland who will give a talk and a reading. Stickland’s most recent book Zone: Zero (Ashanta Press 2008) has been widely praised. Marjorie Perloff writes, “ Stephanie Strickland is one of contemporary poetry’s polymaths: her poetry displays an astonishing command of scientific knowledge and unusual verbal virtuosity. The piece de resistance in Zone : Zero is the interactive generative Flash poem slippingglimpse, in which text and video, made by using motion capture coding, combine so as to create a genuinely new and distinctive eco-poetry. Readers/viewers will find themselves totally mesmerized.” For more information This event is sponsored by the Literature.Culture.Media Center.

Documenting Globalization Film Series
Life and Debt
Thursday, October 9, 2008, 6:00 p.m. South Hall 2635

Professor Bishnupriya Ghosh will be introducing this searing documentary that examines how the policies of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other aid organizations have changed the Jamaican economy over the past quarter of a century, leaving the local people to struggle in poverty and work in sweatshops. Author Jamaica Kincaid narrates with Belinda Becker to a reggae soundtrack that includes songs by Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Mutubaruka and Peter Tosh ( In a movie review written by Stephen Holden of the New York Times, Holden writes, “The term ‘globalization’ is so tinged with rosy one-world optimism that it’s easy to assume the essential benignity of an economic philosophy whose name vaguely connotes unity, equality and freedom. But as Stephanie Black’s powerful documentary Life and Debt illustrates with an impressive (and depressing) acuity, globalization can have a devastating impact on third world countries. The movie offers the clearest analysis of globalization and its negative effects that I’ve ever seen on a movie or television screen” (New York Times, June 15th, 2001).

Reception for Terry Tempest Williams
Monday, October 13, 2008, 4-5:00 p.m. South Hall 2635

Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams: Book CoverTerry Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, Refuge – An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger – Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red – Passion and Patience in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy. Her new book Mosaic: Finding Beauty in a Broken World, will be published in 2008 by Pantheon Books. Terry Tempest Williams is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her writing has appeared inThe New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change. She will be discussing her latest work at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on October 13 at 7:30 p.m. Her reception at UCSB is co-sponsored by the Literature and the Environment at UCSB and the ACGCC.

Global Ecologies Colloquium
“Street Theater and Environmental Activism”
Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 4:30-6:30 p.m. South Hall 2635

Sharon Paltin is a practicing Family Physician in Mendocino County. She graduated from UC Berkeley in Conservation of Natural Resources and received her medical degree from St. Louis University. Dr. Paltin completed her residency in Family Practice at Community Hospital in Santa Rosa. She was a Park Ranger and Outdoor Educator, using experimental techniques in the teaching of ecology to young people. Dr. Paltin is also a member of the Giant Mutant Spongesaffinity group, who continued the street theater tradition as anti-nuclear activists in the late 1970s and early 80s. She combined her medical and dramatic interests by experimenting with health education theater, traveling to Russia with Patch Adams, M.D. Paltin’s presentation will include a chance to participate in a taste of street theater, to view action photos form the archives of decades of creative collaboration, and to review some basics, themes, suggestions and useful tips for creating and manifesting your very own street theater. Street theater or activist theater includes puppetry, pageantry or parades, dance, props, costumes, sculpture, graffiti and music.

Global Ecologies Colloquium Film Screening
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion & the Collapse of the American Dream
Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 6-8:00 p.m. American Cultures and Global Contexts Center

This provocative documentary, a regular on the film-festival circuit, examines the history of suburban life and the wisdom of this distinctly American way of life. A post-World War II concept, suburbia attracted droves of people, giving rise to sprawl and all that comes with it — good and bad. How has the environment been affected by this lifestyle, and is it sustainable? Canadian director Gregory Greene dares to ask all the tough questions ( Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too the suburban way of life has become embedded in the American consciousness. Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream. But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary. The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today’s suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia? (

Spring Quarter 2008

CONFERENCE: “Citizenship in the Era of Globalization”
An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
Saturday, May 24, 2008, Centennial House

The 2008 American Cultures and Global Contexts Graduate Conference, an interdisciplinary forum at UC Santa Barbara, presents the problem of citizenship in the era of globalization. Graduate students from the Humanities and Social Sciences will weigh in on the challenges and possibilities of citizenship in a world of state-sponsored and state-less terrorism, rapid resource exploitation, displacement of indigenous communities, migrant labor flows, re-energized border and state security regimes, and robust patriotisms fueled by religious fundamentalism.

In such a world, if we describe it accurately, is citizenship, normally a function of liberal discourse but also recognized as a function of culture, still a relevant term? Which models of citizenship most effectively speak to our current condition, which varieties of citizenship are worth defending, and which modes of modeling “good citizenship” (through the arts, education, activism) might we in the academy embrace? This conference seeks to answer these generative questions and to frame more effective questions by building dialogue across a variety of relevant disciplines.

We are fortunate to have as one of our guides Professor Brook Thomas of UC-Irvine, whose recently published Civic Myths (UNC Press, 2007) draws on the intertwined histories of law and literature to probe the complexities of U.S. citizenship.

FILM SERIES: Children of Men (2006)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 6:00PM, South Hall 2710

In anticipation of our fifth annual end-of-year conference, “Citizenship in the Era of Globalization,” the ACGCC presents a screening and casual discussion of the 2006 film Children of Men. Aimee Woznick will introduce the film. All are welcome.

Children of Men is set in a dystopic world with no children, no future, and no hope. In the year 2027, eighteen years since the last baby was born, disillusioned Theo (Clive Owen) becomes an unlikely champion of the human race when he is asked to escort a young pregnant woman out of the country as quickly as possible. In a race against time, Theo risks everything to deliver the miracle the world has been anticipating.

ACGCC Celebration of Undergraduate Majors
Tuesday, May 20, 2008; 3:00-5:00 PM; South Hall 2635

Join us for food and drink, American Cultures jeopardy, and discussion and celebration of
student Honors theses and projects. Special prizes will be given to outstanding contributors to the American Cultures Specialization.

This party will be followed by a screening of Children of Men, to which all undergraduates are invited.

ACGCC Working Paper Series
Thursday, May 15, 2008; 6:00 PM

Please join us for the second meeting of the ACGCC’s “Working Paper Series.” The Working Papers Series offers graduate students the opportunity to workshop their papers in a supportive environment; we have two ‘official’ commentators on each paper, one faculty member and one graduate student–and, of course, all who attend the meeting are invited to respond. You needn’t be directly affiliated with the ACGCC to join us.

For this meeting the presenters are Yanoula Athanassakis and Eric Martinsen. They will be presenting their work-in-progress from their dissertations. Copies of their work will be available beginning on Monday May 12th, in the ACGC Center in 2607 South Hall, in a folder marked: “Working Paper Series.”

Food and drink will be served. Lively conversation is guaranteed. For those of you interested in presenting and/or responding formally, please contact Yanoula Athanassakis at:

ROUNDTABLE: “Hope, or the Futures of Environmentalism”
Friday, May 9, 2008; 1:00-3:00 PM; South Hall 1415

While apocalyptic narrative functioned as the first successful vehicle for environmental politics, exemplified by Rachel Carson’s classic *Silent Spring,* now it seems that fear and terror no longer motivate significant environmental policy change–at least if we look at polling results regarding the topic of global warming. Yet environmentalist artists, academics, and policy-makers don’t agree on what constitutes the next motivating narrative, or exactly how to implement a more sustainable environmental future. Hope for the environment, unlike environmental apocalypse, seems incredible–and those who have attempted to use hope as a buzz-word and impetus for policy-making (such as Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger) tend to have little credibility among environmental activists and scholars.

Join Professors Bill Freudenburg (Environmental Studies) and Lorelei Moosbrugger (Political Science) for an interdisciplinary conversation on the futures of environmental studies, whether hope is alive and, if so, where to find it.

Bill Freudenburg, the 2004-05 President of the Rural Sociological Society, has devoted most of his career to the study of environment-society relationships. He is particularly well-known both for his work on coupled environment-society systems in general and for his work on more specific topics, including resource-dependent communities, the social impacts of environmental and technological change, and risk analysis. He is the winner of Awards from the American Sociological Association, Rural Sociological Society, Pacific Sociological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recent and forthcoming publications have focused on topics ranging from the social impacts of U.S. oil dependence to the polarized nature of debates over spotted owls, with a special emphasis on “disproportionality,” or the tendency for a major fraction of all environmental impacts to be associated with a surprisingly small fraction of the overall economy.

Lorelei Moosbrugger is a comparative institutionalist focusing on industrialized countries, with regional expertise in Europe. Her primary research agenda concerns the impact of institutions on the ability of governments to provide public goods, especially environmental protection. Moosbrugger is currently working on a book manuscript in which she details how different institutional designs either inhibit or promote the production of collective goods in the face of concentrated costs. She also writes on the role of institutions in ethnic conflict and the policy impacts of the institutional structures of the European Union.

CONFERENCE: “Backwoods, Backwater: Bartering Social Identities in Faulkner’s South”
Friday, April 18, 2008, Starting at 9 AM; South Hall 1415

This one day conference seeks to explore the range of identities (both chosen and prescribed) seen in William Faulkner’s fiction. As the term “bartering” implies, identity in Faulkner’s South is something that is highly gendered as well as multifaceted, a narrative of exchange that is mapped onto interpersonal and intercultural interactions.

Anne Goodwyn Jones, known for her work on femininity, masculinity, and, in particular the masculine romance genre in Faulkner, has been invited to be the keynote speaker. She is the author of Tomorrow is Another Day: The Woman Writer in the South, 1859-1936.
This conference is in preparation for a larger conference next year on “The Hemispheric South.”

9:00-9:15AM Arrival and opening remarks from Stephanie LeMenager
9:15-10:15AM PANEL I:
Katie Berry-Frye, “Washed-Up and “Wiped-Out: Addie

Aimee Woznick, “‘Not Singing and Not Unsinging’: Nancy’s Blues Aesthetic in Faulkner’s ‘That Evening Sun'”

10:30AM-12:00PM Keynote address: Anne Goodwyn-Jones, “Bartering Histories: Bill, Flannery, and Vann Write the Civil War”
12:00-1:00PM Break for lunch
1:00-2:00PM PANEL II
Kathryn Dolan
, “‘Our heritage of free will and decision’ in Faulkner’s ‘Uncle Willy'”

Dan Pecchenino, “Discrepancies and Contradictions: ‘Mule in the Yard’ and the Economics of Revision”

2:00-3:00PM PANEL III
Carina Evans
, “‘Parchmentcolored’ Fiction: Ambiguity and Multiracial Identity in Light in August

Brandon Fastman, “‘Dispossessed of Eden’: Recovering Animal Kinship in William Faulkner’s ‘The Bear'”

3:00-4:30PM Keynote address: Candace Waid, “Dewey Dell: Dead Center”
4:30-5:00PM Roundtable discussion: “Faulkner and the Hemispheric South” featuring Elliott Butler-Evans, Stephanie Batiste, Stephanie LeMenager, and others
5:00PM Southern potluck dinner in South Hall 2635

Winter Quarter 2008

LECTURE: “Figurational Sociology: The Critical Potential of a European Approach to American Studies” by Prof. Christa Buschendorf (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University)
Friday, Mar. 7, 2008, 1 PM; HSSB 6020

Do scholars in Europe approach American Studies differently than their colleagues in the US? Looking at the history and culture of the United States from a distance, they indeed show a tendency to ask uncommon questions. European perspectives onto America may also derive from intellectual traditions rooted in specific national schools of thought. A typical European approach, e.g. French structuralism, may travel swiftly across the Atlantic and become an integral part of American academia. In other cases, there is notable resistance to certain ideas or methods. The talk will present a socio-historical approach well-known in Europe and widely neglected in the United States: the method of figurative or processual sociology, as derived from the theories of the German-Jewish cultural historian Norbert Elias and the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Professor Buschendorf will discuss key concepts of this approach – such as “(de)civilizing processes,” “habitus,” “established and outsiders,” or “(symbolic) power” –with regard to their implied notions of the relationship between individuals and society. Jesse Hill Ford’s almost forgotten novel The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones (1965), which highlighted violent eruptions of racial tensions in a small town in Tennessee in the early sixties, will provide a concrete example of both the conceptual advantages of the figurational approach and the reasons for its neglect.
Professor Buschendorf is Director of the Institut for North American  Studies, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt-Main.

The event is co-sponsored by the History Department, Policy History program, the Center for Work, Labor, and Democracy, the Department of English, the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.

FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: Manufactured Landscapes (2006, dir. Jennifer Baichwal)
Thursday, Mar. 6, 2008, 6 PM; SH 2635

Join the ACGCC, the Literature and the Environment Colloquium, and the undergraduate English Club for a screening and discussion of this award-winning film about Edward Burtynsky, the internationally-acclaimed photographer known for his large-scale photographs of nature transformed by industry. Tim Gilmore will offer an introduction to the film, and pizza and refreshments will be served.

RECEPTION: Mitsuye Yamada
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008, 6 PM; home of Prof. Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

Affliliated faculty and graduate students of the ACGCC are invited to this reception for Mitsuye Yamada. Yamada is a second-generation Japanese American, or Nisei, activist, feminist, poet, and essayist, and the author of six books, including Camp Notes, Desert Run, and Three Asian American Writers Speak Out About Feminism. Individuals planning to attend should RSVP to Shirley Lim,, for directions to the reception.