Working Groups, Research Clusters, Centers & Initiatives

  • Affect Working Group

    Affect Working Group

    The Affect Working Group brings together faculty and graduate students from across the University who are interested in the felt dimensions of social life. Themes that participants are currently addressing include: how race is lived now; the conditions of possibility for political hope and despair; and the affective dimensions of computer games. For further information please contact, Deborah Gould.

  • Center for Labor Studies

    Center for Labor Studies

    The UCSC Center for Labor Studies, founded in 2007, is dedicated to the study of working people, the labor movement, and the challenge of the broader global economy as it impacts the working people of California and beyond. Through conferences, workshops, public lectures, and a range of guest speakers, in particular, on the relationship between the labor movement, social movements, and democratic practices; on gender, race, and ethnic dynamics; and on labor activism in international context. For further information please contact, Steve McKay.
  • Critical Sustainabilities

    Critical Sustainabilities

    From activism to ecology, popular culture to industry, sustainability, it seems, is everywhere. In the face of economic and environmental crisis, and unprecedented rates of urbanization, the term has become ubiquitous in policy circles and across myriad social domains.

    This reveals a deeply felt and widely shared desire for a sustainable future. At the same time, it presents us with competing and often contradictory meanings and applications of the term that pose challenges for sustainability scholarship, organizing, and practice.

    This site offers tools—in the form of keywords, sites, and projects—that can help us make sense of the multiple sustainabilities circulating today, and engage with the concept in more critical, creative, and powerful ways.

    Critical Sustainabilities is still evolving, and we welcome contributors. Please contact us if you'd like to get involved.

  • Interdisciplinary Development Working Group

    Interdisciplinary Development Working Group

    The Interdisciplinary Development Working Group (IDWG) provides a bi-weekly forum open to faculty and students from all disciplines for an in-depth discussion of issues in development theories and practices. Our sessions center around members’ own research, close readings of selected texts, and presentations from invited guests. As a transdisciplinary research group, we value the differing perspectives and experiences of development of our participant scholars who belong to various disciplines including economics, environmental studies, sociology, social psychology, engineering and anthropology. We envision the cluster as a space to workshop papers and presentations, collectively draft articles, share new readings and debate theories and practices of development. For further information please contact, Ben Crow.

  • Science & Justice Research Center

    Science & Justice Research Center

    The Science & Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is a globally unique endeavor that innovates experimental civic spaces and collaborative research practices for exploring today’s most pressing challenges. Biomedical innovation, species extinction, big data and other contemporary matters of concern pose questions that cross multiple intellectual and institutional lines. Science & Justice generates collaborative modes of inquiry and empirically rigorous research that can address these enormous challenges and support a diversity of livable technoscientific worlds. The Center is home to the Science & Justice Working Group, graduate training programs and sponsored research projects. The initiative builds on the UCSC campus’ historic commitments to social justice and strengths in science studies and interdisciplinary research. For further information please contact, Jenny Reardon or scijust@ucsc.edu.
  • Urban Studies Research Cluster

    Urban Studies Research Cluster

    The Urban Studies Research Cluster formed in 2007 to provide a home for faculty and graduate students to explore the urban dimension of their research, engage with emerging approaches in the field of urban studies, and address pressing urban issues, both locally and globally.  In particular, we engage with three sub-areas that draw on research strengths at UCSC: urban cultural studies, urban environmental studies, and space and social justice. The cluster also aims to provide a fruitful space for urbanists of all stripes -faculty and students, artists and activists, planners, policy makers, and local residents- to come together, share ideas, and collaborate.  We do this through monthly meetings, a speaker series, and campus-wide events. For further information please contact, Miriam Greenberg.

  • Working for Dignity

    Working for Dignity

    The Working For Dignity project is a collaboration between the UCSC Center for Labor Studies (CLS), California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), and the Chicano Latino Research Center (CLRC). The project emerged when CRLA – which provides free legal services to the community - noticed a shift of county workers from agriculture into low-wage services but found no reliable data on the trend and nothing on the experiences of workers. CLS proposed conducting a “census of the invisible” – or a survey of low-wage workers across the county about work and workplace issues. CLS, along with the CLRC then organized a research apprenticeship course in January 2014 to train 20 undergraduates – many native Spanish speakers - to carry out both surveys and open-ended interviews.

    Following the successful apprenticeship course, 3 more field research courses were organized (in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies) in Spring and Summer 2014 and Winter 2015 to train more students and involve them in every aspect of the project, from background research, to data management and analysis, to visual documentation, to website development.

    In all, over 100 undergraduates participated in the study. With a grant from the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the project was extended to include a “public humanities” component – this Working for Dignity website – that showcases the survey data, the narratives and images of low wage workers, and provides resources for community members, organizations, scholars and policy makers interested in the issues facing low wage workers.

    An exhibit of photos from the Working for Dignity project can be found here. For more information please contact, Steve McKay.

See Also