Research Colloquium

Join us for a monthly showcase of research-in-progress by Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences faculty members. The campus-community and the general public are invited to interact with faculty in conversations about their research, gain a sense of how research practices shift as they move across disciplines and sectors, and think critically and creatively about the implications of different forms of research design.

Fall 2015 Colloquium

The IAS Research Colloquium theme for Fall 2015 is Revisiting Social Science Research.  Organized by Dan Jacoby and Bruce Burgett, Revisiting Social Science Research addresses the question of how social science research methods do and can respond to a changing world.  Speakers discuss current and ongoing research projects, opening onto a conversation about how we conduct and should conduct research on and about society today.  

Speaker Lineup

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Ethnography in a National Security Landscape
Shannon Cram

This presentation addresses the ethnographic approaches and feminist methodologies that have been central to Shannon Cram's research within the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.  Drawing upon her experiences at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Cram discusses the challenges of doing ethnographic research in highly classified and contaminated spaces.  From practical considerations like safety, security, and access to conversations and relationships that have transformed her approach, Cram reflects on the methodological and analytical choices she has made throughout the course of her research.  As a scholar and activist who participates directly in policy discussions at Hanford, Cram also speaks to the ethical questions and representational politics that exist within the entangled spaces of academic scholarship and public involvement.  This discussion raises a broader set of methodological questions about how to engage productively in both critique and action.

Shannon Cram’s research examines the complex relationships between nature, culture, and power.  These interests are rooted in a deep commitment to interdisciplinary study and engaged scholarship, as well as extensive fieldwork within environmental and health justice communities.  As both teacher and scholar, Shannon’s work depends upon thoughtful integration of the social and natural sciences—drawing from fields as diverse as hydrology, cultural studies, and environmental policy.  In addition to her academic engagements, Shannon currently represents the community group Citizens for a Clean Eastern Washington on the Hanford Advisory Board—a multi-stakeholder body that develops policy advice and recommendations for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Extending the Conversation on Socially Engaged Geographic Visualization: Representing Spatial Inequality in Buffalo, New York
Christian Anderson
Jin-Kyu Jung

This presentation is based on a collaborative research project between two kinds of spatial research that do not talk to each other as often or as deeply as they could. GIS and geovisualization techniques are combined with critical socio-spatial theory to analyze housing segregation and unequal food and transportation access in Buffalo, New York. Anderson and Jung address the challenges and limitations, as well as the intriguing analytical possibilities where these approaches are combined, even and especially where they don’t sit easily with each other. Ultimately, this difficult conversation can push discussions of complex issues such as urban inequality away from narrow behaviorist and/or individualist explanations towards more socially engaged analyses of broader collective processes.

Christian Anderson’s research focuses on the ways that everyday practices intersect with broader political-economic and cultural processes in and across space, particularly in cities. He approaches these questions using ethnography to empirically examine everyday life. Christian’s work also grapples with disquieting questions of inequality, structural violence, and human struggle as they are lived within these contexts.

Jin-Kyu Jung is an urban geographer/planner who has a theoretical and practical expertise in Geographic Information Sciences (GISci) and a mixed-methods approach. Jin-Kyu’s research explores the importance of politics and power as well as the complexities of race, class, and gender in cities, and asks how the shaping of these categories effectively complicates urban geographical knowledge. In the process, Jin-Kyu works to develop new ways to expand the qualitative capabilities of GIS and geographic visualization. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Causal Inference Methods
Tate Twinam

This talk presents a number of methods for discerning causal effects using non-experimental, observational data, and demonstrates their application using examples from Twinam’s past and current research. He discusses how a wealth of underutilized historical data that can be digitized and used to answer questions of current interest, and illustrates this through a study of racial discrimination in zoning in the early twentieth century. Twinam shows how the method of instrumental variables can be used to understand the causal effects of neighborhood development patterns on street crime; applies the popular method of differences-in-differences to examine the impact of a low-cost health intervention (salt iodization) on urban crime rates; and addresses regression discontinuity in the context of a study on the political economy of urban redevelopment programs.

Tate Twinam’s research lies in the fields of urban, public, and environmental economics. He is particularly interested in urban crime, environmental justice, and the role of local government policy in shaping the evolution of cities. Tate also has a strong interest in econometric theory, with an emphasis on causal inference using observational data. His research is highly interdisciplinary, drawing from economics, urban planning, criminology, sociology, environmental studies, and statistics.

Winter 2016 Colloquium

The IAS Research Colloquium theme for winter quarter is GenderVentions: Exploring New Gendered Poetics, Practices, and Politics. Organized by Rebecca Aanerud and Bruce Burgett, GenderVentions takes up a range of feminist interventions focused on creative, theoretical, and empirical-based strategies for initiating and sustaining cultural and institutional change. Speakers discuss current research projects, opening a conversation about the importance of the creative process within and across gender and sexualities studies research.

Speaker Lineup

micha cárdenas
Trans of Color Poetics: Poetics of Life and Death
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
4:00 – 5:30 PM
UW1-280 (Rose Room)

In this presentation, cárdenas considers the strategies for social change prototyped by speculative art, speculative design, and science fiction.  cárdenas reflects on examples from her own practice-based research and creative activity (including Local Autonomy Networks (Autonets), Redshift and Portalmetal (Redshift) and Unstoppable) as well as media made by other artists (including Zach Blas, Mattie Brice, Giuseppe Campuzano and Nao Bustamante), through the frame of a Trans of Color Poetics.  Drawing on Achille Mbembe’s “Necropolitics,” she elaborates Trans of Color Poetics as a materialist approach grounded in women of color feminism, and performance, media, and transgender studies, fields that have variously excluded transgender women of color.

micha cárdenas is an artist/theorist who creates and studies trans of color movement in digital media, where movement includes migration, performance, and mobility. cárdenas earned her Ph.D. in Media Arts + Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. Her solo and collaborative artworks have been presented in museums, galleries and biennials including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centro Cultural del Bosque in Mexico City, and the Zero1 Biennial.

S. Charusheela
Sexing Economy
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
4:00 – 5:30 PM
UW1-280 (Rose Room)

Intersectional and transnational feminists have foregrounded the question of difference in their analyses.  Despite these valuable contributions, much of this scholarship takes capitalism as the self-evident ground on which to analyze economy.  This talk argues that this approach limits feminist efforts to theorize the relationship between gender and economy.  In particular, “capital-centrism” forces us to split economic subjectivity between the “utero-centric” reproductive-laboring female body and the “cliterocentric” desiring-consuming/consumed female body.  As a result, work and pleasure/desire cannot be brought into the same frame.

S. Charusheela is past editor and current editorial board member of Rethinking Marxism.  Her co-edited volume (with Eiman Zein-Elabdin), Postcolonialism meets Economics, was published by Routledge in 2004.  Selected other publications include “Engendering Feudalism:  Modes of Production Debates Revisited,” (Rethinking Marxism) and “Gender and the Stability of Consumption:  A Feminist Contribution to Post Keynesian Economics” (Cambridge Journal of Economics).

Kari Lerum
Why the U.S. still needs Sex Slaves: Homeland Security, Amnesty International, & the Battle over Sex Work Decriminalization
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
4:00 – 5:30 PM
UW1-280 (Rose Room)

Since 2000, sex workers have been subject to increasingly aggressive police arrests and faith-based “rescue” and “restoration” programs. In contrast to previous state discourses about sex workers as immoral or “sick,” contemporary discourse asserts that sex workers (especially cisgender women) are trafficked or coerced. This assertion has provided generous funding and righteous cause for international, federal, and local policing of sex workers, their pimps, and clients. This presentation describes political struggles between current anti-trafficking mobilizations, and activism by sex workers, global health researchers, and human rights advocates which prioritize the health and human rights of all individuals in the sex industry, regardless of choice, coercion, or circumstance. 

Kari Lerum’s research centers on critical studies of inequality, focusing on intersections of sexuality, power, and cultural/institutional/political context. Her recent work critically evaluates popular discourses about the "sexualization of girls," and discourses and policies about sex work and human trafficking. She has published in journals such as Journal of Sex Research, Sex Roles, and Sociological Perspectives, and edited volumes such as Presumed Incompetent. Her public scholarship can be found at Ms. BlogSexuality & Society, The Feminist Wire, and The Conversation.

No RSVP is required for general attendance.  A one-credit course option is available to graduate students.*

Visit this page again soon for more information on these and future presentations. If you have questions regarding the research colloquium series, please contact Bruce Burgett

*A one-credit course option is available to graduate students (BCULST/BPOLST 591).  The first class meeting of the quarter begins at 3:30pm (location TBD), with the actual colloquium presentation beginning at 4:00pm.

The University of Washington is committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To inquire about disability accommodations, please contact Rosa Lundborg at Disability Support Services at least ten days prior to the event at 425.352.5307, TDD 425.352.5303, FAX 425.352.5455, or email



Background readings are available via the campus e-reserve system under “IAS Research Colloquium.” If you would like access to these readings and do not have a UW NetID, please contact Bruce Burgett at

Past Colloquia

Learn about past colloquium presentations.

Subject areas included: education policy, sex trafficking, rethinking Marxism, environmental justice, arts-based research, qualitative geovisualization, religion and HIV risk, conserving biodiversity, human rights, and media activism.