American Cultures and Global Contexts Center

2010-11 Events

Fall Quarter 2010
Scroll down to view the next upcoming ACGCC event!
Announcing: Risk Society Series, “Globalizing Risk” 2010-2011
A research project sponsored by Transcriptions and ACGCC

UCSB Faculty Series: Lecture by Barbara Harthorn, Center for Nanonotechnology Society: Title TBA (October 22,12:00-2:00, SH 2635)

Public Event: Lecture by Joyce Goggin, University of Amsterdam. “My Future’s so Bright, I’m already Dead” (October 25, 3:30, SH 2635)
Reading Meet: Ulrich Beck, Risk Society (1986) with excerpt from Joseph Stiglitz’ Free Fall (2008) (November 5, 12:00-2:00, SH2635)
Reading Meet: Excerpts from Kirsten Ostherr, Andrew Lakoff and Joost van Loon (November 19, 12:00pm, SH 2635)

Winter 2011 forthcoming

Graduate Colloquium: Working Papers in the Risk Society Series (full drafts of papers to be submitted by invitation for planned web project, “Speculative Globalities”)

Public Event: “Speculative Globalities” conference, March 3-5, 2011 (Centennial House): capstone event on accident media

Spring 2011 (planning stages)

Graduate Colloquium with capstone lecture

Collective reading hour of excerpts from:
Kirsten Ostherr, Andrew Lakoff and Joost van Loon
12:00pm, Friday November 19 — South Hall 2635

The two centers in the English Department, Transcriptions and the ACGCC (American Cultures and Global Contexts) invite you to join us in taking a close look at the two forms of risk discourse central to Ulrick Beck: scienticized and commercial risk. Even as we are habituated to risk through various media forms—from our local or cable access news to health insurance ads—there is curiously little attention to risk society media and its information networks and infrastructures. This event continues the conversation on the discourse of risk society; our focus will primarily involve the media forms, technologies, infrastructures, and institutions that globalize and mediatize risk.

– Joost van Loon, “Virtual Risks in an Age of Cybernetic Reproduction,” from The Risk Society and Beyond, Eds. Barbara Adam, Ulrich Beck and Joost van Loon

– Kirsten Ostherr, Ch. 2: “Noninfected but Infectible,” and “Conclusion” from her book Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health

– Andrew Lakoff, “From Population to Vital System,” from Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question(Columbia UP 2008), Eds. Andrew Lakoff and Stephen J Collie

*For copies of the readings please contact Yanoula at:

Ambivalence, Uncertainty & Risk: Public Engagement with New [Nano]Technologies
a talk by Barbara Herr Harthorn
12:00pm, Friday October 22 — South Hall 2635

New technologies simultaneously evoke pro-technology sentiments and deep reservations about realizing benefits. Harthorn explores the perceptual and cultural bases for such nano-techno-ambivalence, perceived constraints on promised benefits and the narratives through which progress and its impediments are enacted. The work is based on a series of deliberative engagement workshops held in the United States in 2009 as part of research in the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, and contextualizes these ambivalent views in culture and risk, structured uncertainty, and other conundrums of contemporary new technology Research & Development and citizen engagement.
Please join us for the first event in the Globalizing Risk UCSB Faculty Lecture Series (sponsored by Transcriptions and ACGCC). We are pleased to announce our first speaker, Barbara Herr Harthorn, Principal Investigator and Director of the CNS (Center for Nanotechnology in Society) and Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology at UCSB. If you would like three short readings Professor Harthon offered in prepartion for her talk please e-mail:

“Wearing Shades: Credit, Futurity and the ‘Art’ of Gunther von Hagens”

a talk by Joyce Goggin, University of Amsterdam
3:30pm, Monday October 25 — South Hall 2635
Please join us for the second event in our Globalizing Risk Lecture Series as we welcome Joyce Goggin, the Acting Chair of English Literature at the University of Amsterdam, where she also teaches film and new media. She has published numerous articles on literature, painting, film and new media, as well as gambling, addiction and finance. Her most recent work is a co-edited volume entitled The Rise and Reason of Comics and Graphic Literature: Critical Essays on the Genre.

This talk will discuss the financial revolution that began in the late 17th century, the rise of modern banking, and the invention of credit. In particular, this paper will address the persistent orientation to the future inherent to credit-based economies, as well as how this orientation expresses itself in a number of creative and artistic forms not immediately associated with the world of finance.

“Aldo Leopold’s Continuing Legacy: A Land Ethic for Turkey”?
a talk by Ufuk Özdağ, Hacettepe University
11am, Wednesday, October 13th — South Hall 2635
You are cordially invited to a talk by visiting scholar Ufuk Özdağ, Associate Professor of American Culture & Literature, Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey). Professor Özdağ’s talk, “Aldo Leopold’s Continuing Legacy: A Land Ethic for Turkey?” will center on the drained wetlands of Turkey and the ways in which a “land ethic” could be fostered through Leopold’s essays in A Sand Country Almanac.

Ufuk Özdağ is Associate Professor of American culture and literature at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. She received her Ph.D. in American culture and literature from the same university. Özdağ specializes in 20th century American fiction, American nature writing, environmental literature, and in the intersections between literature and visual arts. Özdağ’s book, Edebiyat ve Toprak Etigi: Amerikan Doga Yazininda Leopold’cu Dusunce (Literature and the Land Ethic: Leopoldian Thought in American Nature Writing) was published by Urun Yayinlari in 2005. Özdağ has been a lecturer in the TUBITAK-coordinated outdoor ecology-based environmental training programs in Amanoslar, Antakya, Turkey, since 2008, incorporating environmental literature to the lectures on environmental sciences. Özdağ is currently on sabbatical at the University of Nevada, Reno, doing research on the theory and practice of place-based education.

Ufuk Özdağ is Associate Professor of American culture and literature at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. She received her Ph.D. in American culture and literature from the same university. Özdağ specializes in 20th century American fiction, American nature writing, environmental literature, and in the intersections between literature and visual arts. Özdağ’s book, Edebiyat ve Toprak Etigi: Amerikan Doga Yazininda Leopold’cu Dusunce (Literature and the Land Ethic: Leopoldian Thought in American Nature Writing) was published by Urun Yayinlari in 2005. Özdağ has been a lecturer in the TUBITAK-coordinated outdoor ecology-based environmental training programs in Amanoslar, Antakya, Turkey, since 2008, incorporating environmental literature to the lectures on environmental sciences. Özdağ is currently on sabbatical at the University of Nevada, Reno, doing research on the theory and practice of place-based education.

**Please e-mail Yanoula at if you plan on attending as we’ll be providing a light lunch and would like to know how much to prepare.**

This event is cosponsored by Literature & the Environment and the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center.

Spring Quarter 2010
READING: Karen Tei Yamashita
Monday, May 24, 2010 1:30 p.m.
Old Little Theater


Many of us have taught, read, or written on Karen Tei Yamashita’s beautiful and complex books, which include Through the Arc of the RainforestBrazil-Maru, and Tropic of Orange. In fact, some of you may have seen her read from a work in progress during the ACGCC’s 2006 Symposium on Asian American Studies.  That work is now a brilliant new book called I Hotel, a series of ten novellas set in the late Sixties. The book’s description reads:

“Dazzling and ambitious, this hip, multi-voiced fusion of prose, playwriting, graphic art, and philosophy spins an epic tale of America’s struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Divided into ten novellas, one for each year, I Hotel begins in 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, students took to the streets, the Vietnam War raged, and cities burned. As Karen Yamashita’s motley cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, they become caught in a riptide of politics and passion, clashing ideologies and personal turmoil. And by the time the survivors unite to save the International Hotel—epicenter of the Yellow Power Movement—their stories have come to define the very heart of the American experience.”

Come join us as Yamashita (who the Los Angeles Times has called “a visionary”) reads from her new book. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and releases May 1st, so you may have a chance to dip into it before the event.

Special thanks to Nhu Le, PhD candidate in English, who was instrumental in arranging this event. Co-sponsors include Asian American Studies, the College of Creative Studies, the Consortium for Literature, Theory, and Culture, and the MultiCultural Center.

Research Slam
EVENT: Friday, May 21, 2010 1-5:30 p.m.
South Hall (various locations)
Call for Participation

Literature.Culture.Media Center Research Slam*
Where the Poster Session Meets the Poetry Slam!

Down from the lectern and into the crowd!

Please send project description, technical requirements (if any), and a short biography by April 17 to

Have you done recent work that you’re particularly proud of? Are you working on a project and would like to get feedback from your peers and faculty? Interested in seeing the diversity of scholarship occurring on campus? UCSB’s Literature.Culture.Media Center is devoted to investigating and highlighting innovative ways of combining traditional humanities research with concepts and methodologies related to information media and technology. In this tradition, we are hosting the third annual Research Slam to showcase the unique work done by scholars across campus.

The goal of the Research Slam is to combine the best features of traditional academic humanities venues like lectures and roundtables and combine them with the free-flowing, hyperattentive and participatory focus of the poster session and poetry slam. The format includes a series of parallel presentations, followed by a plenary discussion at the end of the afternoon. Glow necklaces will be provided!

glow necklaces

A Research Slam is:
• Non-linear intellectual encounters
• Smaller, more personalized discussions, followed by a large group session
• Multi-media, multi-modal, and/or multi-temporal
• Inclusive of faculty and students
• Performative, interactive, playful
• Interested in new paradigms of sharing scholarly work

A Research Slam is not:
• Divided and structured hierarchically
• Quiet or stationary
• Lecture-based
• Traditional or conventional
• Boring

The Literature.Culture.Media Center is now soliciting multimedia projects, research posters, and other creative or scholarly works taking advantage of the intersections between academics, information and technology to showcase at the Slam, regardless of department, class level, or period of focus of the contributor. We invite faculty, graduate students, or undergraduates to apply! If you think your project fits the structure of the event, we’d love to have you!

Potential Critical Nodes

  • archives
  • history
  • reading/audience practices
  • educational technology
  • media arts
  • popular culture
  • activism
  • GIS/mapping/locative media
  • communication studies

(Please note that the Research Slam does not endorse exhaustive lists. Please expand at your will.)

*Co-sponsored by the ACGCC

Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows Panel (Volunteers Needed!)
Wednesday, May 2, 2010 2pm
Location TBA
This panel is an opportunity for the Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows in the English department to learn about the activities and research mission of the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center. They will have the chance to speak with graduate students and faculty about their research and about the many initiatives that have originated in the Center. Please contact if you are a current ACGCC grad student or professor and would like to participate in the conversation!
Performance: Stephanie Batiste’s Stacks of Obits: A Choreopoem

Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:30pm
MultiCultural Center Theater

Talk: Jayne Cortez, “From Watts to Dakar: A View of African American Culture in Los Angeles and Beyond”
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 4 p.m.
Multicultural Center Theater
Reception for the Journal for Transnational American Studies
Friday, April 2, 2010 2 p.m.
South Hall 2710 (American Cultures & Global Contexts Center)

You are cordially invited to a reception for the Journal of Transnational American Studies.


Please join us as we celebrate the upcoming launch of our second issue! Food and drink will be provided, and editors, contributors, and friends of JTAS/ACGCC will be present.

The Editors of the Journal of Transnational American Studies,apeer-reviewed online, open-access journal published by the Center for American Cultures and Global Contexts at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the Program in American Studies at Stanford University, are delighted to announce the publication of the journal’s newest issue.

JTAS 2 features a previously unpublished essay by W. E. B. Du Bois and an article by Mark Twain that has not been reprinted since its initial publication in 1868, as well as contributions from scholars based in Argentina, Canada, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the United States. In addition to new articles that examine questions in American Studies as the field intersects productively and problematically with other national cultures, societies, politics and histories, the journal contains excerpts from newly-published books intransnational American Studies (in the Forward section), and select re-publication of significant contributions to the field (in the Reprise section).The journalmay be accessed without charge at:

Please consult the Call for Papers section of the web site fordetails on the journal’s standing CFP as well as CFPs for open special forums and instructions for submitting to the Forward and Reprise sections of the journal.

We look forward to going through this issue’s contents and giving a “behind-the-scenes” look at an online publication.

Winter Quarter 2010
Film Screening
Rize (2005)
Monday, March 8, 2010 6:30 p.m.
South Hall 2635


Former commercial photographer and music video director David LaChapelle delves into the “krumping” culture in South Central Los Angeles, capturing the unbelievable gyrations of dancers with moves so quick that they warrant a special disclaimer. The high-octane documentary centers on Tommy the Clown,” a former birthday entertainer who opened a school to train community kids to krump — and keep them out of trouble. (

Hosted in conjunction with Prof. Stephanie Batiste’s Black Performance Studies class.

Brown Bag:
Cognitive Impairment, Care, and ‘Defenses of Narrative’ in an Age of Neuroscience”
Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:30 p.m.
South Hall 2635
Talk by James Berger, American Studies, Yale University
Presented by the Hull Chair in Feminist Studies with support from the ACGCC

gearsProfessor Berger’s current research concerns the representation of cognitive and linguistic impairment in modern fiction: how science, popular beliefs and ideology, social and political fears and desires, theories of language, literary genres, religion, and ethics are continually in tension, and how these tensions can be approached through literary texts. He explores the limits of language, the relations between language and non-language, the status of discursive objects imagined as somehow—whether through global catastrophe, personal impairment, or religious or ethical imperative—outside the bounds of discourse.  How such texts take shape depends much on the particular concerns of their historical moments—on whether, for instance, cognitive impairment is regarded as divine simpleness, genetic degeneration that threatens the social order, or a position on a neurological spectrum.

Professor Berger is the author of After the End: Representations of Post-ApocalypseMinneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999 and the editor of Helen Keller, The Story of My Life: The Restored Edition, New York: The Modern Library/Random House, 2003.

Hard copies of Prof. Berger’s paper are available in advance of the talk in the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center (SH 2710) or access the PDF version here.

“Oil, Water, and the Sacred”
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 1 p.m.
McCune Conference Room 6020 HSSB
Talk by Richard Watts, French and Italian Studies, University of Washington
Introduced by Teresa Shewry, English, UCSB

Oil, Water, and the Sacred: Super/Natural Resources in Francophone Postcolonial Fiction

Focusing on Nan Bessora’s 2004 novel Petroleum but drawing on a wide range of texts, this paper argues that the ubiquitous deployment of “natural resources” in francophone postcolonial fiction has always served as a means of figuring the properly political relationship between France and its former colonies and highlighting the resource-extractive politics of colonialism and neo-colonialism, but that it has recently come to signify broader cultural and
eco-philosophical differences between metropole and postcolony. Bessora’s Petroleum represents with equal emphasis the social and environmental externalities of the oil boom in postcolonial Gabon (pollution of waterways, political corruption) and the spiritual conflict that it provokes (between the Black Atlantic water divinity Mami Wata and what the author calls the “dieu de l’or noir,” the Oil God of the Industrialized West). Political economy and symbolic economies are therefore overlaid in a text that productively troubles the divide between the environmental social sciences and the ostensibly “soft” eco-humanities.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Oil + Water Series, Community Environmental Council and American Cultures and Global Contexts Center.

Film Screening
On the Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juarez (2006)

Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:30 p.m.
South Hall 2635

juarezPart of the ACGCC “Hemispheric American Studies” Film Series

This compelling documentary addresses the brutal murders of hundreds of young women in the bordertown of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Issues such as narco-trafficking, sexism, free trade, immigration, corruption, poverty, and sweatshops, all come to foreground, moving the focus beyond the murders to the social, cultural and economic factors that have created this situation.

Symposium: Kim Cheng Boey
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Lecture at 4pm in the Old Little Theatre
Reception at 5pm in the English Department, South Hall (Room TBD)


Please welcome Kim Cheng Boey for a symposium co-sponsored by the College of Creative Studies and the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center. Boey–an accomplished poet, writer, and lecturer–will be reading selections from his poetry and his new essay collectionBetween Stations.

A reception will follow at 5:00pm in the English Department.

Writer Biography: Kim Cheng Boey was born in Singapore in 1965. After completing a Master’s thesis in travel literature at the University of Singapore, he pursued German Studies in Murnau. In 1994, he attended the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Two years later, he emigrated to Australia, where he completed a PhD in contemporary Irish poetry at Macquarie University. Boey has published four collections of poetry – Somewhere-Bound (1989), Another Place (1992), Days of No Name (1995) and After the Fire (2006). The first won the National Book Development Council’s Award for poetry while the second received the commendation award. Before emigrating, Boey received the Young Artist of the Year Award. He now teaches Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. Between Stations, a book of personal essays exploring the themes of migration, identity and belonging, was published by Giramondo last year. An interview with Boey and excerpts from his work will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of Cerise Press.

IHC Future of the University Series: Equity and Access

Thursday, January 21, 2010 4:00 p.m.
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

A panel discussion treating the futures of racial, ethnic, and economic diversity in the UC system in an era of budget crisis and fee “deregulation.” Will the University of California still serve all the people of California, and which students or prospective students stand to be most affected as the UC system moves toward greater privatization? Panelists include Professors Julie Carlson (English, UCSB and Academic Director, Project Excel), Marisela Ramos (History, Latino/a Studies, University of the Pacific), Claudia Martinez (Director of Academic Preparation, UCSB), and Jeffrey Stewart (Chair, Black Studies, UCSB). Student activists will be invited to attend and participate in post-panel discussion.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Future of the University series and the American Cultures and
Global Contexts Center.

Film Screening

Tuesday, January 11, 2010 6:00 p.m.
South Hall 2635

Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett, Tommy Davidson, and Michael Rapaport. An Ivy-League educated writer (Wayans) joins a comedy show at a major network. The show includes an all black cast, but is written mostly by white people. One of his first ideas is to have a skit where the cast wears “black face,” and the show becomes an instant smash. (

“Savage, abrasive, audacious and confrontational, “Bamboozled” is the work of a master provocateur, someone who insists audiences think about issues of race and racism we’d rather not face, especially when we go to the movies. It’s the angriest film an unfailingly angry filmmaker has yet made, skewering almost everyone in it, both black and white. Taking comfort in its own fury, it doesn’t necessarily care if you agree with its points, just as long as you take the time to listen.”
– The Los Angeles Times

Hosted in conjunction with Professor Stephanie Batiste’s Black Performance Studies Class.