The Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences department at UW Bothell is grateful to each faculty member and colleague who has participated in our Research Colloquium series.
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Spring 2013 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Buying and Selling the Serengeti: Safari Tourism and the Cultural Politics of Global Land Grabbing in Tanzania
Buying and Selling the Serengeti: Safari Tourism and the Cultural Politics of the Global Land Grab is an ethnographic study of tourism, development, and land struggles in Tanzania. This book examines how tourism investment in northern Tanzania is a critical site of struggle over the meaning of markets, land rights, and culture. Ben Gardner focuses on three tourism arrangements in Loliondo, an area in northern Tanzania bordering Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area: joint ventures between expatriate owned ecotourism companies and predominately Maasai villages; a private nature refuge established by a US owned safari company on a former state owned barley farm; and the leasing of a hunting concession on village lands by the central government to a powerful foreign investor from the United Arab Emirates.
One way to understand these projects is as part of free market or neoliberal development policies and ideologies. Conservation organizations, development experts and many academics have argued that these policies create new opportunities for communities to participate in tourism and benefit from global trends in conservation. Alternatively, a group of scholars and activists have criticized the accumulation of land and resources through market mechanisms in the name of global development. They have described a number of activities including tourism as perpetuating ‘a global land grab’. Gardner argues that Maasai people in Loliondo see contemporary land grabbing as firmly located in state claims to property and territory, despite the fundamental role of foreign investors in appropriating resources and surplus value in all of these cases. Maasai in Loliondo have come to think of the market, expressed through their direct relationships with ecotourism investors as the most promising space to legitimize and secure access to resources and citizenship rights. This book situates current land struggles within the political economy of tourism in Loliondo and shows how different articulations of market-state-community relationships become both materially and symbolically meaningful.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Being in Love and Writing Poetry
Jeanne Heuving discusses the theory chapter from her forthcoming book Transmutation of Love, which regards the relationship between being in love and writing poetry. For epochs, poets have celebrated how being in love enables them to write poetry, and how writing poetry intensifies their love. Heuving explores how these relationships are important to the avant garde inventions of Ezra Pound, H.D., Robert Duncan, Kathleen Fraser, and Nathaniel Mackey. These poets change love writing from a poetic speaker writing as lover to or about a beloved to a libidinized field of scintillating word art.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Contextualizing Technology Use: Communication Practices in a Local Homeless Movement
In this talk Amoshaun Toft presents his ethnographic work on Internet-enabled technology use in the local homeless movement. He focuses on four themes that characterize the strategies organizers used in communicating within and between constituents: how organizers emphasized ‘relational’ face-to-face communication, used ICTs to connect with housed allies, encouraged participants to move from the computer screen to street, and relied upon existing organizationally sponsored communications infrastructure in facilitating communication tasks. Most studies of technology use in organizing practices are focused on understanding how a narrow technological elite think, feel, and act in relation to ICTs, systematically excluded those with meager means, and those contexts in which technology is not central. Toft proposes that an analysis of communication practices broadly defined is important in understanding the role of technologies of communication more specifically, and highlights the classed dynamics that technology use reflects in organizing processes.
Winter 2013 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Why I Also Hate New Media: The Synthetic Rhetorics of Web 2.0
It certainly seems that everyone and everything is nowadays positioned in relation to so called social media. We are everywhere incited to use them, to discuss them, and to reconceive our lives around them. In North Africa and the Middle East, the grassroots, blood-sweat-and-tears uprisings of the “Arab Spring” were excitedly recast by (Western) newsmakers and commentators as The Facebook Revolution, Revolution 2.0 and Tanks Versus Twitter. Meanwhile, and closer to home, we find another kind of rebellion being touted by UW Seattle’s “self-sustaining” Masters of Communication in Digital Media, whose publicity has hinged on the following bold challenge (or threat): The digital media revolution is here. Are you? Oh, and then there’s the Queen of England—the revolution that never happened. You know something is afoot when one of the most detached, removed figureheads on the planet takes up social networking.
In this presentation, I follow the lead of linguistically-oriented discourse analysts like Norman Fairclough and Deborah Cameron as well as the broader sociological perspective of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault in presenting a critical reading of the “rhetorics of Web 2.0”. I consider how these often hyperbolic, always invested claims manifest in discourse domains like commerce, politics, education, the news media, celebrity, and academia. I will then show how a pointedly synthetic media is produced through stylized, commoditized notions of language and communication. It seems that the rhetorics of Web 2.0 usually have little to do with the everyday social uses of new/social media and everything to do with the kind of pseudo-sociality favoured by advertisers and other agents or beneficiaries of neoliberal capital.
To be clear, I am actually still very enthusiastic about “new” communication technologies and remain frustrated with knee-jerk, end-of-the-world reactions to them. I don’t really hate new media (much). As a critical discourse analyst, however, I am leery and weary of the rhetorical uses to which social media are often put. While questions of language change and language contact vis-à-vis new/social media are clearly important for language scholars, we need always to be keeping a watchful eye on the metalanguage and language ideologies of digital discourse, too.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Community, Knowledge, Economy
This paper distinguishes two accounts of community, and the knowledge community supports: the large, holist, from-above concept of “culture,” and the ground-level intersubjectivity that rests on extended living and work with particular other people. These accounts are commonly combined, so that “intersubjective” is generalized from particular relationships to a larger intersubjective space in which many people participate, bringing it into line with the holist concept of culture. This conflation is unwarranted.
After distinguishing a robust ground-level intersubjectivity that is not reliant on a holist doctrine of culture, I show that it provides a social-ontological base for drawing together insights from feminist, Austrian, and Post Keynesian economics about the nature and limitations of people’s knowledge.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Comedies of Surplus: Representing the Garden in Recent American Literature
This talk explores the function of the garden in American literature and culture as an instrument for reimagining problems of waste, surplus and value. Drawing on literary fiction, popular gardening publications and community or “guerilla gardening” movements, I discuss how garden-based economies of production and exchange are represented as a counter-figure to the commodity logic otherwise structuring everyday experience.
In particular, I focus on ways that growers, writers and activists from the past thirty years have used the garden to challenge assumptions that some form of subtraction must accompany a parallel act of increase. For example, when positioned against anxieties about environmental crisis, these images of the garden present a figurative alternative to our growing sense of living in an “unreplenishable” world (where every uptick in consumption exacts some corresponding environmental price); other representations of the garden invert the parasitic logic of systems that secure wealth and privilege for one group through the reciprocal impoverishment of another. In short, against the “zero-sum” relations structuring our social and economic practices, gardening stands out as a unique instance of the “net gain”—a form of non-parasitic increase that disrupts the seeming inevitability of capitalism’s subtraction-based accounting.
Across the genre of gardening literature, this dynamic has its clearest expression in scenes that repeatedly depict growers who struggle to manage an outrageous surplus, and must distribute their excess among friends, neighbors and strangers. This convention effectively reinvents the “crisis of overproduction” we often see in representations of industrial farming (where, most famously, landowners in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath maintain a desired market price by destroying surplus crops with kerosene). In the process, these accounts transform agribusiness’s “tragedy of waste” into the gardener’s “comedy of surplus.” My talk expands on these conventions to examine why the garden has increasingly come to magnetize a broader set of social desires for less alienated forms of work, less instrumental modes of calculating value, and less exploitative relations to nature and each other.
Autumn 2012 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Role of Civil Society in Environmental Policy
This article examines ratification of the Kyoto Protocol across 26 transitional economies of Europe and Eurasia for the period of 1998–2009; the period between the Kyoto Protocol and the 2009 Copenhagen meeting. The dependent variable measures whether or not the country has ratified the Kyoto Protocol in a given year. The key variable of interest is the strength of domestic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). To account for the nascent stage of the NGO sector, I measure NGO strength as a ‘‘stock’’ and as a ‘‘flow’’ variable. Using an event-history model, I examine the impact of the NGO strength while controlling for other domestic-based and international drivers of treaty ratification. All time variant independent variables are lagged by a year. My analysis suggests that the stock of domestic NGO strength is a significant predictor of the timing of ratification. Further, EU accession pressures, ratification levels in contiguous countries, and domestic economic cycle impact the timing of ratification of the treaty.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The Black Book of Nazi Terror in Europe: An International Collaboration between Artists and Writers, Mexico City, 1943
I will be discussing my research on the ways that knowledge about World War II, and especially about the Holocaust, was relayed to Mexico, where it was transformed into a book and illustrated with images by politically concerned Mexican artists.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Fire, Water, Earth, Sky: Global Systems History and the Human Prospect
I propose a new approach to world history that anticipates a global civil society and a sustainable human civilization. My approach integrates systems thinking, which focuses on the cooperative interdependence of natural phenomena, with Asian philosophy, which focuses on the paradoxical and complementary balance of opposites.
Spring 2012 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Donation, Compensation, and Data: The Politics of Transnational HIV Research in Uganda
What happens when humanitarian aspirations to “do good” are wedded to the scientific imperative to produce knowledge? This paper uses tools from medical anthropology and science studies to examine the intermeshing of humanitarian and scientific motivations as they played out within a U.S.-sponsored HIV research project in rural Uganda. In this project, the humanitarian act of “donating” information technology to a Ugandan HIV clinic led to tensions and complications over the status of the data that this technology supported, forcing U.S. scientists to choose between their motivation to “give” to the clinic and their desire to assert ownership over valuable scientific data. Moreover, the growing prominence of global health research as a source of supplemental income for underpaid local health professionals at the clinic produced an uncomfortable politics around compensation from which my own anthropological research was not exempt. I use these examples to argue that the humanitarian ethos underlying global health risks positioning researchers in low-income countries as recipients of charitable donation rather than as scientific peers.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Landscape Change in Western Amazonia: From Dispersed to Nucleated Production Systems
This presentation describes the implications of changes in settlement patterns on food production systems and territorial organization in Western Amazonia and highlights the effects of landing strips on current land-use patterns in indigenous territories in the region. The study characterizes riverine and inter-fluvial production systems in the lower Pastaza River basin in Ecuador based on ethnographic records, remotely sensed data, surveyed information, and statistical descriptions. Results show that nucleation of local populations around landing strips increased control of indigenous populations over their ancestral territories and changed the political and geographic landscape. At the same time, nucleation is slowly transforming indigenous livelihoods from mobile cultivators and foragers to sedentary stock-farmers. We conclude that even though indigenous communities will eventually integrate into the national economy, the main elements of the traditional food production system will likely remain the same. This suggests the creation of adequate development programs that respond to local land use management strategies and guarantee the long-term sustainability of local socio-ecological systems.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Does a Corpse Have Human Rights?
This research explores the complexity of the concept human rights, specifically what is a “human” and how far can rights be extended outside of the political consensus that recognizes them. Triggered by the aftermath of Katrina when bodies were left to rot in the sun without being attended to, the research uncovers the issue of extending the notion of human dignity beyond biological life. Historical and cultural practices suggest that there might be a universal claim for an extension of the idea of human life beyond the biological to the metaphorical or memorial realms. At the same time, “rights” are being extended in law to animals to unborn fetuses to stem cells to clones, which suggests that rights are not solely a political claim by political actors on their own behalf.
Winter 2012 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The Politics of Hindutva South Asian Cinema
This paper explores cinematic representation of the 2002 state-led genocidal violence perpetrated against the Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. While the films under investigation offer a scathing critique of the rise of right wing Hindu fundamentalism in India and within its diaspora, they overlook some of the key pieces of the context such as: the expression of solidarity and compassion by moderate, non-fundamentalist Hindus towards minority communities; the question of class and economy that get buried underneath cultural explanations for the anti-Muslim violence; the Hindutva-led politics of divide and rule whereby one minority community was pitted against the other with the view to gaining majority sympathy and electoral gain. And where the films do represent moderation of communal attitude and behavior they locate this humanity in the context of working / lower-middle class femininities, whose classed and gendered subjectivity renders them not entirely effective, or within the narrow parameters of upper-middle class secularity whose adherents are shown to be far above communal matters to be affected by them.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Playing in the Noxious Sector: Extended Practices and Artistic Interventions
There are times when it’s not enough to be rational – moments when one must exaggerate or over-emphasize or simply lie in order to more accurately represent the nuances of a question. These are moments where probability as a scientific endeavor fails to represent the poetic actuality of the moment – moments that can challenge, and sometimes defy, the parameters of certainty and verifiability because the imagination has never been limited by possibility or truth. There are also times when one must put the imaginary first, creatively engaging the irrational possibilities of the world, whether seductive, absurd or entirely nonsensical. Part theoretical reflection, part artist talk, this presentation shares work from recent projects of the Noxious Sector Arts Collective. Dedicated to the exploration of the imaginative, the implausible and the absurd, Noxious Sector projects provide creative forums from which to rethink questions of artistic possibility and integrated practice.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Who’s Speaking Now? Sorting Out Voices in Polyvocal Texts
In a broad sense, this report on current research looks at the question: what happens (obligatorily) between the “voice” of the storyteller as it leaves her mouth and ends up as ink on a printed page? And, what kinds of transformations (or worse, transmogrifications) can (optionally) happen when “voice” is written down? I will illustrate with excerpts from the “same” text first recorded in 1897, first published in 1902, and “republished” in 1953. Excerpts from several texts recorded in 1935 and as yet unpublished will look at the question from my title: who’s speaking now—the consultant or the anthropologist? Finally, we’ll consider the question: why should we care?
Autumn 2011 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Introducing Human Rights to the Anti-Sex-Trafficking Agenda
Since the passing of the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, anti-trafficking efforts have grown in funding, political strength, and popular-culture appeal in the United States and globally. Particularly influential in shaping anti-trafficking policy in the United States are the "new abolitionists" whom are primarily concerned with "saving" sex workers and eradicating sexual commerce. Simultaneous to the development of abolitionist anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution efforts in the US, movements for sex worker rights have also grown in strength and visibility, impacting a variety of cultural, academic, and public health arenas. While these sex worker activists have widened the dialogue around sex workers' rights, their perspectives have not until recently been acknowledged by US policy makers. This talk will describe the unprecedented collaborative activist process by which a human rights agenda for US-based sex workers was introduced and approved at the United Nations Human Rights council through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The talk will conclude with policy recommendations for the federal, state, and local levels of the United States.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Portfolios and Recovery Districts: the Future of Public Education?
States and localities, looking for ways to increase school performance even during a time of fiscal stringency, are experimenting with new methods of performance-based management. These involve assessment of all schools based on student achievement gains, which can lead to dramatic actions, including closing schools and replacing them with new independently-managed schools. The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is studying these local and state initiatives. Paul Hill will describe CRPE's research and summarize current findings about consequences for teaching, student learning, equality of opportunity, and interest group politics.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
What is Class?
What happens when a concept travels across disciplinary boundaries? The implications and meanings of terms and ideas shift as they take their place within a different conceptual order, and the work a concept does begins to change as it enters a new terrain. One such concept is class. This paper draws on and refines the work of Julie Graham, and argues that the work the concept of class can provide for Cultural Studies differs dramatically depending on whether class is translated as social position, subject position, or process.
Spring 2011 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Managing the Teacher Workforce in Austere Times: The Implications of Teacher Layoffs
This research presentation estimates the factors that predict the likelihood of a teacher receiving a reduction-in-force (RIF) notice. Results suggest that a teacher’s seniority is the greatest predictor of receiving a layoff notice, and that teacher effectiveness is not considered in the layoff decision.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Biopolitics of the Fenceline
In communities located on the fencelines of the nation’s oil refineries, residents worried that pollution is making them ill have a tense relationship with refinery scientists and engineers, who assure them that it is not. Drawing on ethnographic research in a Louisiana fenceline community, this talk looks at the ways that contemporary cultural values of individual responsibility and self-care shape the resident-expert relationship--and, in particular, how these values make the costs of challenging expert knowledge prohibitively high for poor and working-class residents.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Qualitative Geovisualization for Community Planning: Masten District Neighborhood Plan in Buffalo, NY
This talk will discuss what qualitative geovisualization is, and particularly, what it can offer to the community-based planning process. By showcasing the Masten District Neighborhood Plan in Buffalo, NY, it will show how qualitative geovisualization draws similarly or differently on other related practices such as Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS), qualitative GIS (QGIS), and traditional community-based planning.
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Winter 2011 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
This talk will examine the basic tenets of arts-based research, its history, and its current status in a variety of research, arts practice, and applied settings. Particular consideration will be given to the role of performance based approaches and the place of the moving body in Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren’s work on disability (hearing theaters) and the environment (the dramaturgy of natural disasters).
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
4:00 – 5:30pm
The Impact Of Maternal Religion On African-American Girls’ HIV Risk
Dr. Udell will review her study examining the relationship between religion, mental health problems, and sexual risk behaviors among African American girls. She will discuss the importance of an ecological framework in understanding how aspects of psychopathology and religiosity relate to sexual risk behavior among African American girls in psychiatric care.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
How can we conserve biodiversity where we live?: Land use planner perspectives on barriers and opportunities for conservation
Martha Groom and David Stokes
The ways in which we develop land have far reaching consequences for the degree to which we conserve species, maintain ecosystem services, and functional natural habitats. Working with collaborators at UW Bothell and at two other universities, Dr. Groom and Dr. Stokes tried to understand the degree to which biodiversity considerations are included in local land use planning and what factors create barriers or promote opportunities to achieve conservation goals. They will discuss key results of their studies and new ideas for collaborations with local planners to better conserve biodiversity in our region.
Autumn 2010 Speaker Lineup
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Human Rights from the Bottom Up: How Culture Matters
Dr. Gillespie will describe her current research project focused on the nonformal human rights education program of Tostan, a nonprofit working in remote rural areas across North Africa. Tostan’s approach has led to widespread abandonment of female genital cutting and early child marriage. Gillespie’s research project is qualitative, exploring how Tostan’s participatory human rights education, as it was implemented in three rural villages in Senegal, West Africa, position participants to become involved in social transformation.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Teachers Unions and the Current Challenges of Educational Reform
Dan Jacoby, Keith Nitta, and Mari Taylor (Policy Studies, '10)
This talk discusses K-12 schools at the national level and examines two local district strikes. The speakers ask how teacher unions can and have addressed the larger issues of educational standards and accountability.
Listen to the podcast (may take up to one minute to load):
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
My World Cup
Ron Krabill, Angelica Macklin, and Georgia Roberts
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, UW partnered with Cape Town Community Television to produce a series of short films looking at the impacts of the World Cup on multiple communities in Cape Town. The UW leaders of this program will be sharing their research.
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