2016-2017 Archive

The 2016-2017 colloquia committee focused on the following three types of events: those in which we share our own research; those in which we invite outside speakers whose work is related to the research interests of the department; and brown-bag professionalization workshops for graduate students.

    Fall Quarter

  • No alternative text

    Technical democracy in the greening city? On urban sustainability and the (radical) politics of expertise (flyer-PDF)

    Thursday, November 17, 2016
    11:40 – 1:15 pm
    Rachel Carson College room 301

    Across divergent contexts, globalized urban transformations in the direction of sustainability, low-carbon development and other forms of official ‘greening’ are often read in vocabularies of a neoliberal and ‘post-political’ form of technocratic governance. This talk explores a different analytical route to contemporary urban sustainability politics, one informed by debates in science and technology studies (STS) on the prospects and possibilities of technical democracy in the greening city. The urban politics of sustainability, the talk argues, increasingly turns around socio-technical controversies and should be analyzed and engaged centrally as a (radical) politics of expertise. In this context of shared uncertainty, technical democracy signifies a fragile attempt to collectively search for and help form lasting collaborations among experts and laypeople, taken as heterogeneous partners in the articulation of situated urban socio-ecological concerns. Drawing on examples from the speakers’ own case studies into urban climate politics, planning, and activism in Asia and Europe – including Surat in India, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Hong Kong – the talk points to important potentials as well as tensions in the concept of technical democracy, and suggest possible routes ahead in terms of what will be dubbed an agonistic urban pragmatism suited to asking the questions of learning and institutional reform that urban sustainability demands.

    Anders Blok is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and this Fall is a visiting scholar in Sociology at UCSC. His current research deals with the urban politics of climate change and sustainability in Europe and East Asia. He has published widely in journals of environmental sociology, urban studies, science and technology studies (STS) and social theory. With Ignacio Farías, he recently co-edited the book Urban Cosmopolitics (Routledge, 2016) as well as a special feature of City (2016, 20:4) on the topic of 'Technical democracy as a challenge to urban studies.'

  • 'The Devil’s Wheels: Men and Motorcycling in the Weimar Republic' book coverThe Devil's Wheels: Men and Motorcycling in the Weimar Republic a book talk with Sasha Disko. (flyer-pdf)

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016
    11:40 – 1:15 pm
    Rachel Carson College room 301

    During the high days of modernization fever, among the many disorienting changes Germans experienced in the Weimar Republic was an unprecedented mingling of consumption and identity: increasingly, what one bought signaled who one was. Exemplary of this volatile dynamic was the era’s burgeoning motorcycle culture. With automobiles largely a luxury of the upper classes, motorcycles complexly symbolized masculinity and freedom, embodying a widespread desire to embrace progress as well as profound anxieties over the course of social transformation. Through its richly textured account of the motorcycle as both icon and commodity, The Devil’s Wheels teases out the intricacies of gender and class in the Weimar years.

    Sasha Disko is a historian and independent scholar. She is an alumnus of UCSC (BA in History and German Studies, 1997) and received her PhD in History from New York University. She has been living and working in Germany since 2008. Her research interests include the history of motorization, industrialization, business administration, and leisure. She currently lives in Hamburg, Germany.

    Co-Sponsored by the Center for Cultural Studies, Departments of History and Sociology, German Studies Program and the Institute for Humanities Research.

  • Winter Quarter

  • Retro Policies and Ongoing Fights: 
    Thinking the Present through HIV Activisms Then and Now

    Friday, January 13, 2017
    11:40-1:15 PM
    Rachel Carson College 301
    Science and Justice Visiting Scholar and UCSC alum Alexis Shotwell, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University joins UCSC Associate Sociology Professor Debbie Gould and Science and Justice Assistant Director Kate Weatherford Darling in conversation about HIV/AIDS activisms. Since the 1980s, HIV activists across the U.S. and Canada have deployed diverse survival strategies, tactics, policy demands. In the face of today's current political challenges—including vast and growing economic inequalities, resurgent racism and homophobia, and retrograde health policy—what can we learn from historical and contemporary HIV activisms? 
    Co-Sponsored and organized by the Science and Justice Research Center.
  • Indigenous Water GaurdiansWiring Gaia at the Water-Energy Nexus:
    Indigenous Water Guardians and Decolonizing Water Science (flyer-PDF)

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017
    11:40-1:15 PM
    Rachel Carson College 301

    As emblematized by the ongoing protests at Standing Rock, water is a foundational element—biophysical, epistemological, and spiritual—in Indigenous societies and lifeways. Dr. Karen Bakker discusses how this crucial life source has come under increased threat due to the claimed necessity of extractivist development projects which impact the lives of all relations: human and more-than-human. Joining her in the conversation will be S&J Faculty Affiliates Ben Crow (Professor of Sociology) and Kristina Lyons (Assistant Professor of Feminist Science Studies).

    On Monday, January 23 in Humanities 2, room 259 at 4:30PM, (flyer-PDF) Karen and her UCSC colleagues will screen, KONELĪNE: Our Land Beautiful, directed by award-winning filmmaker Nettie Wild. The film just had its U.S. premier at the Palm Springs International Film Festival playing to a sold out house. KONELĪNE: our land beautiful is a sensual, cinematic celebration of northwestern British Columbia, and all the dreamers who move across it. Some hunt on the land. Some mine it. Set deep in the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, KONELĪNE captures beauty and complexity as one of Canada’s vast wildernesses undergoes irrevocable change. View the trailer for KONELĪNE: Our Land Beautiful.

    Karen Bakker is Professor, Canada Research Chair, and Director of the Program on Water Governance at the University of British Columbia (www.watergovernance.ca). She is currently the midwife (aka Principal Investigator) to a research collective of Indigenous community members, academics, artists, activists who are striving to decolonize water in both theory and practice (www.decolonizingwater.ca). A Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford, Karen is trained in both the natural and social sciences. She currently works at the intersection of political economy and political ecology, and publishes on a wide range of environmental issues (water, hydropower, food, energy).

    Co-Sponsored by the Science and Justice Research Center and the IHR Anthropocene Research Cluster.

  • RiskInside a Technology of Prediction: Race, Risk, and Speculative Knowledge (flyer-PDF)

    Thursday, February 2, 2017
    11:40 – 1:15 pm
    Rachel Carson College 301

    Recent work in Science and Technology Studies has explored how the racial categories of the biopolitical nation-state have driven biotechnological innovation. However, venture capital, or biocapital, demands generating convincing global market applicability beyond the limited confines of any one particular nation-state. UCSC Assistant Professor of Sociology James Doucet-Battle examined one biotechnology company's attempt at recruiting African Americans to further hone a universal Type 2 diabetes risk algorithm for broader clinical and market acceptance. He argues that the company’s racial methodology failed to prove that race performs predictably as biology, ultimately exhausting the patience of its venture capital funders.

    Based on large part on fieldwork conducted in Northern California, New York, Texas, and North Carolina, Doucet-Battle interrogated both a biotechnology and a bio-moment, when speculative and disease risk eclipsed diagnostic technologies in terms of profitability and rationalizing earlier pharmaceutical interventions. Doucet-Battle offers an invitation to think more broadly about how both market and racial logics (mis)-inform biotechnological knowledge production, translation, and outreach; and their bioethical intersections with matters of consent, inclusion, and medical justice.

    James Doucet-Battle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is currently writing a book manuscript, Translating Sweetness: Recruiting Race and Risk in Type 2 Diabetes Research, an ethnographic recounting of three distinct, successive, and interrelated technological moments between 2008-2012 – clinical drug trial, diabetes risk prediction technology, and genomic research, respectively, when participatory inclusion of African-descent research subjects and researchers became increasingly important. Doucet-Battle is affiliated with the Science and Justice Research Center and the Race, Genomics, and Media Working Group at UC Santa Cruz, and is a member of the Center for Translational Genomic Research Working Group at the University of California, San Francisco.
  • Popular DemocracyPOPULAR DEMOCRACY The Paradox of Participation (PDF-flyer)

    Gianpaolo Baiocchi
    Associate Professor of Sociology, New York University
    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    11:40 – 1:15 pm
    Rachel Carson College 301


    Local participation is the new democratic imperative. In the United States, three-fourths of all cities have developed opportunities for citizen involvement in strategic planning. The World Bank has invested $85 billion over the last decade to support community participation worldwide. But even as these opportunities have become more popular, many contend that they have also become less connected to actual centers of power and the jurisdictions where issues relevant to communities are decided. 

    With this book, Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Ernesto Ganuza consider the opportunities and challenges of democratic participation. Examining how one mechanism of participation has traveled the world—with its inception in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and spread to Europe and North America—they show how participatory instruments have become more focused on the formation of public opinion and are far less attentive to, or able to influence, actual reform. Though the current impact and benefit of participatory forms of government is far more ambiguous than its advocates would suggest, Popular Democracy concludes with suggestions of how participation could better achieve its political ideals.

    Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He has written about and continues to research instances of actually existing civic life and participatory democracy. While much of his research and writing has been about Brazil, his most recent book, The Civic Imagination (co-authored with Elizabeth Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Stephanie Savell, and Peter Klein) examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today. His most recent research, with Ernesto Ganuza, has been about the global travel and translation of blueprints of urban participation in the current era. An engaged scholar, Baiocchi was one of the founders of the Participatory Budgeting Project and continues to work with groups improving urban democracy. He heads Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab, which launched in 2014 and which provides a space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures.

  • Democratizing the Green City: Sustainability and the Affordable Housing Crisis

    February 17, 2017 5:00pm-7pm | Digital Arts Research Center (DARC)108 
    February 18, 2017 9:30am-6pm | Red Room, Rachel Carson College 

    This two day conference examines a paradox: urban sustainability initiatives that are so vital in countering climate change can, through their improvements, contribute to driving up rents and driving out residents, and in the process, exacerbate sprawl, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change itself. Our speakers examine this growing link between environmental improvement and social displacement and ask: How is it possible to break this link? What would it mean to include affordable housing and equity within sustainability efforts? And what are the consequences—socially and ecologically—if we don't?

    We begin with a focus on the housing crisis that is transforming our own state and region. Renowned for greening and sustainability initiatives—from transit-oriented development to locavore food sheds to green building—California is also home to the most unaffordable housing markets in the country, including Santa Cruz. Thus greening interacts with gentrification and increased consumption, declining diversity and rising inequality, displacement and longer commutes, and multiple environmental health and ecosystem impacts, including habitat fragmentation, loss of groundwater, and increased carbon footprints. Our region, however, is not alone. We bring together a new generation of scholars, planners, and activists addressing 'the housing question' and green affordability crises across the Americas —in Mexico City and New York, Seattle and Medellin, Sao Paulo and Oakland— as well as emerging strategies for democratizing the green city. 

    For more information on the schedule, locations and registrations visit: https://democratizing-the-green-city.sites.ucsc.edu/

    Organizers: Miriam Greenberg and Hillary Angelo, UCSC Sociology, Urban Democracy Lab/Democratizing the Green City NYC (NYU), Critical Sustainabilities Project (UCSC)

    Sponsors: Urban Democracy LabThe UCSC Sustainability OfficeRachel Carson CollegeUCSC Sociology DepartmentThe Science and Justice Research Center

  • Book Cover for Strangers in Their Own Land

    STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mourning on the American Right | A Book Talk with Arlie Hochschild (PDF-Flyer)

    Friday, March 10, 2017
    Time: 12:30-2:00pm
    Location: Colleges 9 and 10 Multu Purpose Room

    With the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican President-Elect, millions of Americans—politicians, journalists, and ordinary citizens alike—race to play catchup to better understand not only his appeal, but the hearts and minds of those who support him.

    Sociologist and bestselling author Arlie Hochschild is way ahead of the curve. For the past decade, from her home in Berkeley, CA, Hochschild became increasingly curious about “red” America. She wondered: why do the people in poor red states who would seem to benefit most from liberal government intervention abhor the very idea? Why do so many on the political right vote against what seems to be their self-interest? How do those on the right understand their self-interest and how does Trump appeal to it? Do the usual liberal explanations—economics , race—tell the whole story? Over the last five years, Hochschild “embedded” herself in Lake Charles, Louisiana, about as red a place as you can find. She attended fish fries, gumbo cook-offs, Pentecostal church services, and Trump rallies, and had long conversations over card games and cookies with people whose political beliefs differed greatly from her own. Ultimately she accumulated 4,690 pages of transcripts based on interviews with more than 60 people.

    Hochschild masterfully tells the story of her eye-opening journey in STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (The New Press; Hardcover; 368 pages; $27.95; September 6, 2016). In this deeply reported, ambitious exploration into the heart and soul of conservative America, Hochschild reveals what “reaching across the aisle” herself taught her about America’s political divide. Her findings go far beyond today’s election soundbites, revealing deep truths about our highly polarized political climate, and about the hopes—however slight—for changing it.

    ARLIE RUSSELL HOCHSCHILD is one of the most influential sociologists of her generation. She is the author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self. Three of her books have been named as New York Times Notable Books of the Year and her work appears in sixteen languages. The winner of the Ulysses Medal as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants, she lives in Berkeley, California.

    Co-Sponsored by Colleges 9 and 10, The Blum Center and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.

  • Spring

  • Lionel Cantú Lecture | Brown Soul (flyer-pdf)

    Tursday, April 27, 2017
    12:00 - 2:00PM
    Alumni Room, University Center
    This talk features a segment of my manuscript in progress, titled “Brown Soul.” As a queer feminist analytic “brown soul” reckons with Blackness in the field of Chicano Studies and by extension the political and aesthetic productions of Chicanidad, or what means to feel, imagine, and perform a Chicano sensibility. Brown soul necessitates different methodological movidas in studies of the cultural politics of Chicano music and performance. With a focus on the brown soul of various artists including oldies groups like Rosie and the Originals, Linda Ronstadt, Sheila E, corridos de Amalia/Amelio Robles, and the Mexican folkloric song “la negra," brown soul initiates a spirit of urgency to ponder performance iconographies and analytic frameworks that have too often elided Blackness in analyses of cultural productions, theoretical paradigms, and canonical historiographies that give meaning to the political potentiality of Chicano Studies, Chicano cultural production, and brown power.


    Deborah R. Vargas is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Vargas received her doctorate in Sociology (concentration in the Department of Feminist Studies) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Vargas’s areas of research includes Chicana/Latina cultural production, queer of color sexualities and genders, and critical race feminisms. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies; Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory; Feminist Studies, Social Text, and American Quarterly. Vargas’s first book Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) was awarded three national books prizes. 


    Co-Sponsored by the Division of Social Sciences, Rachel Carson College, the Chicano Latino Research Center, and departments of Anthropology, Community Studies, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, Latin American Latino Studies, Literature, and Politics