Based at the University of California, Irvine, UCHRI offers competitive grant programs and leads externally-funded initiatives that support experimental, collaborative, interdisciplinary research and pedagogy across the University of California system and within the larger communities these campuses inhabit.
Living Through Upheaval: Under Fire
We explore the power and perils of fire. Standing apart from water, earth, and air, fire is discussed as a centerpiece of human developments, dynamics, and transformations, of narration across most all modes and forms of cultural expression, and as a catalyst for developments in food and shelter, not to mention sometimes unwelcome, if significant shifts in our contemporary culture. Joined by: Elizabeth Hoover (UC Berkeley), Abrahm Lustgarten (ProPublica), Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia), Brandi Summers (UC Berkeley), and Karen Tei Yamashita (UC Santa Cruz).
The driving question today is no longer whether this or that conflict is a civil war but what political work the notion of “civil war” is being exercised to do. States descend into civil wars when contrasting conceptions of life within them are deemed irreconcilable. Living, for a considerable proportion of the state’s inhabitants, is made unbearable. Those at least nominally controlling the state apparatus insist on obedience and deference to its way of being, on pain of erasure. Civil wars are struggles over competing ways of being in the world, over their underlying conceptions, over control of the state and its apparatuses to materialize and advance these commitments.
A critical discussion on cultures of civil warring in our times. On Wednesday, October 28, at 12:00 pm PDT, UCHRI will host a critical conversation on civil war with Elisabeth Anker (George Washington University), Adom Getachew (University of Chicago), Brad Evans (University of Bath), and Achille Mbembe (University of Witwatersrand).
In the background:
Giorgio Agamben, Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm
Elisabeth Anker, Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom
Walter Benjamin, “Critique of Violence”
Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism
W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880
Brad Evans, Deleuze & Fascism: Security, War & Aesthetics; “Histories of Violence”
Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended
Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination; “The Promise of Freedom: Orlando Patterson’s Modern World”
David Theo Goldberg, “On Civil War”
Nicole Loraux, The Divided City: On Memory and Forgetting in Ancient Athens
James Martel and Brad Evans, “Why We Should All Read Walter Benjamin Today”
Achille Mbembe, Out of the Dark Night: Essays on Decolonization
Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South
Nasser Mufti, Civilizing War: Imperial Politics and the Poetics of National Rupture
Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism
Warsan Shire, “Home”
Stephen Smith, The Scramble for Europe: Young Africa on Its Way to the Old Continent
Race at Boiling Point: Powers of the False
Counterfeit is our culture, our history forged, our idols fraudulent. We seek sources of truth as an active concept. But when the line dividing fact from fiction is buried beneath layers of bigotry, senselessness, and corruption, supposition becomes indistinguishable from the real, and we risk mortal wounds as victims to the powers of the false. How can we reinvigorate mechanisms of scrutiny and systems of representation? Where are the spaces from which the silenced might emerge?
On Friday, August 14, at 12:00 pm PDT, UCHRI hosted Race at Boiling Point: Powers of the False, a conversation with Beth Coleman (University of Toronto), Natalie Diaz (Arizona State University), Isaac Julien (UC Santa Cruz), George Lewis (Columbia University), and moderator Nina Sun Eidsheim (UC Los Angeles).
Race at Boiling Point: Movement We Make
Ruth Wilson Gilmore (City University of New York), AbdouMaliq Simone (University of Sheffield), Rafeef Ziadah (University of London), and moderator Avery Gordon (UC Santa Barbara) in conversation about movement as a vital keyword for understanding our fractious present— as collective mobilization, as social movements, as the circulation of ideas, as the shifting boundaries of the tolerable and the intolerable, as the movement of displaced populations, as constriction and its networkings of resistance.
The wide-ranging conversation emerged out of the national and international uprisings in response to the death of George Floyd and others. These leading critical thinkers engage questions about abolition, resisting the dilution of radical imaginaries into palatable language and action, strategies for building and sustaining infrastructures that foster the emergence of new worlds, how we might recognize movement itself as a map of the critical power relations and their subversion that structures life across the globe.
Race at Boiling Point: The Fire This Time
On June 5, 2020, UCHRI gathered Angela Y. Davis (Emerita, UC Santa Cruz), Herman Gray (Emeritus, UC Santa Cruz), Gaye Theresa Johnson (UC Los Angeles), Robin D.G. Kelley (UCLA), and Josh Kun (USC) to think differently together about the structural conditions and explosive events shattering our times.
In a wide-ranging conversation emerging out of the national protests in response to yet another spate of anti-Black police violence, these leading critical thinkers engage questions about intersectional and international struggle, the militarization of the border, racial capitalism, the feminist dimension of new social justice movements, the unsustainability of the nation-state, the power of the arts as a rallying force for imagining and sustaining solidarity, and much more.
Talkbits on Civil War: Biomedicine in Parts
For our final installment of our talkbit series interrogating civil war, we spoke with Jennifer Terry, professor of gender and sexuality studies at UC Irvine, about her 2017 work, Attachments to War: Biomedical Logics and Violence in Twenty-First-Century America, in order to investigate the symbiotic logic by which war and the advanced world of biomedicine are intertwined. How might war look differently if medicine had never progressed into the reparative world of prosthetics? Together, we talk through this important hypothetical as well as the implications of her work for our civil war project overall.