2018 Conference Abstracts

Abstracts, alphabetical by last name

Yvonne Antony-Lopez

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Cooking up Community, One Plate at a Time"

If livable futures is the end goal, where are we now? No doubt technology comes to mind when we discuss the future. Technology has given us access to unlimited information, new ways of connecting with one another and countless mores. However, there is a downside: we are losing our face-to-face interactions and with it important human skills like communication, listening, and empathy. What good does having hundreds of friends on social media platforms do if we do not ever connect in person? Studies show how artificial connections are having a negative impact, not only on our kids- teen depression is on the rise - but it is also on society as a whole. So, the question is, what we can do about it?

I make the argument for the power of food and the ritual of eating together as a way to revitalize our human spirit and build connections with one another. Bringing people around a table for a meal, whether it'd be family, friends or neighbors, becomes the perfect opportunity to build stronger bonds with family, strengthen friendships and make new ones, and as a result, build community which is at the heart of building livable futures.

Food fuels our bodies but when shared, food nourishes the soul.

Portia Boyle

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Spilt Milk: Lactation Rooms, Neoliberal Motherhood, and the Domestic Intellectual"

What are the limitations of the "lactation stations", "kid friendly spaces", and the neoliberal discourse so pervasive and dominate in university spaces? And how does it shape the ways in which we practice imagine and invest in the ways we care for one another? How can we value the domestic intellectual's work and the idea of care? What kinds of knowledge do caretakers have to offer to traditional/organic intellectual discourses and spaces? What knowledge is lost when problems of access keep caretakers from entering these spaces, or requires them to compartmentalize certain care identities in order to be 'accepted', or valued? Has this work also been taken out of the home in order to delegitimize the home of knowledge production and intellect? What intervention can recognize, value, and invest in parenthood within university spaces? This research considers the dominant script of "neoliberal motherhood" to reveal the limiting understanding how parenting is constructed under this system. Looking at lactation policies (Title IX policies, University of Washington Bothell website and lactation signage, syllabus policies), and the spatial layout of lactation rooms and family friendly spaces, and employing auto-ethnographic reflection on my own experiences, I propose a shift to center, value, and invest in interpersonal relationships and experience for a more liberatory sense of being.

Gust Burns

English, University of Washington, Seattle

Patrick McGowan

English, University of Washington, Seattle

"Non-Ideological Mass Shootings, Gun Control, Securitization: Neo-Liberal Effects"

Countering common-sense understandings of mass violence and perceived needs for gun control legislation and/or teacher militarization, our paper elaborates the interconnections between non-ideological mass shootings (school shootings), gun control, and securitization, and proposes an understanding of all these phenomena as effects of neo-liberalism, also mapping their relation to “traditional” forms of racial and gendered violence, drawing on theorists including Wendy Brown, Frank Wilderson, Etienne Balibar, and Tiqqun.

Beck Diamond

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"(Man)ifestations: Transmitting Trauma"

Manifestations is a performative auto ethnographic reflection through movement and dance. An inquiry into the ways intergenerational/ ancestral trauma performs and is archived within the body. My process follows intuitive artistic impulses but leaves space for improvisational adaptations in order to be present in the performance. This particular series is focused on the inheritance of patriarchal violence, in particular sexual violence, how that violence is archived in the body, and how it is transmitted gestationally. When so many of us are carrying the weight of life times of brutality in its multiplicity of man-ifestations; I hope this work gives light to resiliency for our varied practices of making livable futures. (Music: "Grasses Grow" by A Fine Frenzy)

Enrico Doan

 Master of Arts in Cultural Studies Program, University of Washington Bothell

"An Unlivable Education: Negotiating Power and Positionality on the University Campus"                   

This paper engages with the often-times tense negotiation between universities and their students, examining the ways in which students of color, poor students, immigrant students, and other marginalized students navigate complex spaces and avenues on campuses. I locate this inquiry specifically on registered student organizations (RSOs) engaged in explicitly political and contentious organizing at the University of Washington. My research enters directly into conversation with scholars engaged in critical education and university studies by questioning how universities attempt to regulate their relationship with students and how said students have actively reclaimed power and agency for themselves.

Magdalena Donea

 Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

Miranda Riley

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Interactive Storytelling as Critical Pedagogy: Lessons from the Warden Game"

The Warden Game is a 1980’s era computer-based “text adventure” game originally designed by Ed Mead, a former jailhouse lawyer and prison activist, while he was incarcerated in Washington State. The game was found among papers Mead donated to the University of Washington Bothell, and rebuilt by Magdalena Donea (MACS ‘18) under the auspices of the Washington Prison History Project by using Twine - a modern interactive storytelling platform. The Warden Game has proven to be an effective and highly engaging pedagogical tool for classroom explorations of the conditions and contradictions of the prison system of its era, as it was actually experienced on the inside.

In this media session, Donea and Miranda Riley (MACS ‘18) present the Warden Game as a starting point in an exploration of the critical pedagogical opportunities this type of storytelling game presents. Our goal is to demonstrate the potential of interactive storytelling as a tool of pedagogy both inside and outside normative institutions of learning. We believe that interactive storytelling creates a type of learning opportunity unlike any other, by immersing a student in a first person narrative that engages them in making active choices that go beyond mere observation of a subject. By actually utilizing embodied knowledges, interactive storytelling allows for moments of critical interruption and resistance to the discursive structures that learning environments usually produce.

Emily Fuller

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Queer Theory, Queer Relations: an auto-ethnographic reflection on theory, queer relationalities, their tensions and potentials"

This project takes up the idea that sub- and counter-cultural community formations might provide glimpses and possibilities for modes of being, and particularly being in relation to each other, that are alternative to dominant, normative structures and systems. While recognizing that such spaces and formations are themselves necessarily imperfect and come with their own limitations and exclusions, I contend that there is still unique and potentially liberatory knowledge to be gleaned from looking to subcultural communities, spaces, and belongings for small moments that might open up further worlds of possibility. This exploration is rooted in my own experience in communities that understand themselves as “queer,” and critically interrogates the categories of both “queer” and “community” while still holding space for the transformative potentials that might be contained within their social materializations. Through personal reflection on my own movement through and histories in queer community spaces and formations, combined with the interweaving of texts and thinkers who have theorized queerness, I consider the tension-- as well as the potentially generative friction-- between Queer Theory and the material realities of (some) queer lives, with particular attention to what they might tell us about unique, expansive or alternative modes of relationality.

Samuel Aguiar Iniguez

Youth Aerospace Instructor, Goodwill, Marysville (MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics , 2015)


HisJazzRaptoMe is ebb and flow; it is the remix of the water flowing back towards the ocean once it hits the shore. It is a remix of genres and Hip Hop elements. HisJazzRaptoMe is a mixture of cyphers, vignettes, prose, poems, and rap songs. It distinguishes that different genres of literature can come together to create one body of literature. In doing so, it is a true reflection of what Hip Hop is and what Hip Hop literature should be. HisJazzRaptoMe has a purpose. It is here to remind people that mixed genre literature can coexist with the traditional. It is here to propose that Hip Hop literature should be a mixed genre. HisJazzRaptoMe is aka Hip-Hop Based Educational Performance (HHBEP) & the progression of thought into performance. 

Hip Hop Based Educational Performance (HHBEP) is a living document that breathes, thinks, acts, and reacts to environmental stimuli and thus enacted best as a performance.

Nejat Geresu Kedir

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Time, Property, Personhood and Blackness at Sea"

My capstone engages with two black artists who do experimental works of art to articulate a different poetics and grammar of writing and thinking about black life. I analyze the physical structure of M. NourbeSe Philip’s book Zong!, employing visual analysis as well as close reading of her durational performances to highlight how she is complicating and challenging our understanding of time and Blackness after 1492. I also examine Ethiopian artist Dagmawi Yimer’s visual poetry “ASMAT,” which addresses the Mediterranean migration crisis, locating it as an afterlife of European colonial conquest. I aim to identify how capitalism enables a structure that permits the exploitation of black people as what Denise de Silva calls “an event that takes place without time.” Both artists aim to demonstrate that in 1871 and in 2018, blackness and black personhood was and still is thought of through property logic rather than outside of it.  Both artists refuse to reproduce scenes anti-black violence in their work and their ethical creative labor shows a practice of care in their art. We make a livable future by attending not just to the political and social life of black people globally but also the aesthetic practice of attending to black people and black life in our creative practices.

Dani Kissinger

Cultural Studies, University of Washington, Bothell

"Futures Beyond Skin: Technologies of Becoming in Altered Carbon"

Altered Carbon, a recent “Netflix Original” TV show offers a vision of a world at an extreme endpoint of capitalism - society after the total commodification of life, in the possibility of encoding individual human consciousness into a transmittable format. In this paper I examine how the technologies of embodiment at the core of the show structure a possibility of intimate and political relationships “after skin.” In posting forms of “being together” after bodily continuity, the show calls towards the necessity of kinesthetic understandings of self, being, and belonging. I call particular attention to the the importance of memory work as an embodied and durational practice in a few areas of the show; Lizzie’s arc of becoming and reclamation; Takashi’s haunting by his relationship with Quellcrist; and finally the final moments of the first season. To do this analysis I am mobilizing affect theory, and digital performance studies to tease out the relationships between bodies, selves, and becomings in their multiple manifestations and fractures throughout the show. Noticing, or what is called “Envoy Intuition” in the show centers knowledge-of-self in place, in body, and in relationship leading my interpretation to a reading of technologies of becoming, as opposed to understanding the technological conceit as a form of being-through-time.

Frances S. Lee

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Toward an Ethics of Activism: A Community Investigation on Humility, Grace, and Compassion in Movements for Social Justice"

Social justice activism has reached unprecedented levels of prominence in US public consciousness in the last several years. And yet, the internal conditions of social justice communities are plagued with messy relational conflicts. Leftist activists have bulked up their muscles for critiquing and tearing down problematic behaviors, but are less practiced in reflection and turning towards one another. This collaborative, community reader asks: as social justice oriented workers, organizers, activists, and community members, how can we treat each other with more care? How do we let our movements flex and morph as the conditions of our struggles shift?

Maisha Manson

Cultural Studies, University of Washington, Bothell

"Harnessing Happiness as/in/through Resistance"

Happiness as resistance is a workshop that leads the participants through the embodied knowledges in happiness and joy as a mode of combating oppositional forces. Following research in performance of happiness and joy in queer, trans and people of color(QTPOC) communities, participants will question where they are told where happiness comes from. Exploring and questioning the ideals and maintenance of messages of joy. Questions including; where are in community is joy felt and created, what are the ways we see ideals of happiness ascribed. Using Capitol Hill Seattle, and concert music of Mykki Blanco as a starting point of inquiry through theorist; Jose Munoz, Sarah Ahmed and Cathy Cohen. This workshop will lead participants in creative writing, conversations and ideas of how happiness can be revolutionary and a mode of resistance.

Jacob Morefield

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Mapping Development: a look into the process of development in systems of education"

When we talk about how we want to change education to make it better we rarely fully understand how it got to where it is. To truly make lasting change I believe we must understand the historical influences that affect educational policy and implementation. My project looks into the influences that constantly pull at our education policy and its implementation in a effort to highlight areas of possible change and intervention.  I am reminded of a quote saying “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” I hope to prevent us from continuing to make the mistakes of the past and help create a brighter future for all.

Cesar Rangel

Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Washington Tacoma

"A Survey of Language Experience and Usage among First Generation Community College Latina/o Students"

 In this preliminary research, I critically reflect on the ethnic identity and language experience among fifteen first generation Latina/o students at a Washington State community college Latina/o club designed to explore and support academic challenges faced by Hispanic/Latina/o students. General results indicated that respondents shared common associations like language use, ethnic self-identification, and/or preferred language preference.

Khairat Salum 

Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell

"Self, Culture, Language: A Critical Self-Reflexive of Kiswahili"

"Self, Culture, Language: A Critical Self-Reflexive of Kiswahili” is an immersive multimedia installation narrating the story of a girl relationship with language. A relationship of joy and loss, joy of knowing that even though she may have lost her ability to reply back in Kiswahili, she still maintains a connection to that language. A connection to that language by reinventing her own language that captures the reality of her life, as a Zanzibarian immigrant. By reinventing a language that still represents Zanzibarian and Swahili culture through the blending of visual elements like food, dance, games, music and more. The installation comes together to ask, how can one express joy while exploring their own loss? And how is code-switching providing transnational people a way to navigate their transnational identity?

Haliehana "Alagum Ayagaa" Stepetin (Unangax)

Master of Arts in Cultural Studies

with Sierra Campbell (Apsaalooke/Mexican), Delia Gomez (Yaqui/Mexican), Arlie "Hataalii Chee" Neskahi (Dine'), Dustin "Unignax" Newman (Unangax/Deg Hit'an), and Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos)

"Resist, Subsist: A Contemporary Indigenous Performance"

This project includes performative research conducted regarding notions of authenticity and essentialization of the contemporization of Indigenous performance, art, and identity within settler colonial society. How and why do Indigenous communities accept or refuse contemporary Indigenous performers as community and cultural representatives. What is at stake in such acceptance or refusal? A main point I emphasize is that Indigenous people exist beyond stagnant pre-contact culture; we were and are always contemporary. What can we learn about the character and potential of contemporary Indigenous performance within settler colonial contexts? Methodology and theory are informed from Indigenous sources, oral histories, Indigenous community members, and ethnographies, which explore Indigenous issues of membership, acceptance, and refusal.

Meshell Sturgis

Communication, University of Washington

"Drawing (from) the Demonic Grounds: Which Witch am I?"

Which Witch is an auto-ethno-bio-mytho-graphic chapbook drawn as a spell, read as incantations, and made into a potion. Sourced from a mythological world of pleasure and predicated on a Black Queer self-reflexivity, the graphic narrative follows a young black woman from the sea of abyss to the academy where she practices epistemological magic and learns the craft of quotidian performance.

This project demonstrates a Black Femme-inist literary praxis that critiques through creative production. Beginning with Sylvia Wynter’s work on the infrascendental narrative schematic shift in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this chapbook meditates on concepts such as black girl magic, time, and excesses of the flesh. Both the missing witch in The Tempest and Venus, the dead girl that Saidiya Hartman references, are Black Femmes who always evade the historical archive even as they are present in my material reality. Leaving just an opaque silhouette, this Black woman is the (demonic) grounds upon which the ideological human is built. Yet, she exists only through absence and always manages to find pleasure amidst pain.

My positionality as a queer Black woman within the academy pulls on a thread of theorization that unravels the limits of historical time. Which Witch is an imaginative auto-technology of world-making that traces the missing witch’s ontological thread into my biological reality and Hartman’s epistemological thread within my own braid of Black Studies. It is a genealogical project of mythological proportions.

Angie Cuevas Winkle

Cultural Studies, University of Washington, Bothell

"Poetry & Persistence: Poetry Workshop"

This workshop explores the creative and generative role of poetry for minoritzed students in higher education. This work seeks to find alternative forms of creating together, sharing together, and learning together. To achieve this, participants will create their own original poetry based off of the prompt, “Where I am From”. Further this work hopes to challenge the historical relationship between the academic institution and minoritized students in higher education. To make the institution a more welcoming space, this workshop uses poetry and poetry spaces as a medium that helps students 1) make personalized and creative meaning from their own experiences and 2) integrate ideas of community-building through creating and sharing poetry.

Leah Zajac

Cultural Studies, University of Washington

"Else: Already possibilities from (un)(in)habitable spaces"

else /ˈel(t)s/ adv. 1 in addition, besides. 2 different, instead. 3 threat.

This talk speculates on specific homeless and transient based socialities as an entry point for inquiring about affective conditions of possibility. This work, theoretical and poetic, is based on the 15 years I spent as and among homeless and transient people. For want of a theoretical framework and methodology that do not overlook or trivialize unproductive or illegible affects of sociality, I’ve developed the concept of Else, which both describes specific socialities and posits a heuristic for studying those socialities. The word “Else” suggests that homeless and transient people are not only located in a geographic elsewhere, but that their being and sociality constitute alternative ways of being together and surviving that enact a reformulation of values according to internal logics differentiated from the normative order of value. This work posits two registers as conditions of possibility. The first is that, within sociality, the possibile is animated by relational values when they confuse the normative order. The second is that, within this work, I’ve attempted to convey the contours of the possible by resisting the impulse to ascribe meaning to it, solve it, or overprocess it. I intend for Else-as-heuristic to reflect, to some extent, the modes of the lives it takes as its subjects, despite the academic genre’s alienating tendency. The purpose here is to ask more and risky questions, rather than to answer or foreclose on them.