IAS Distinguished Speaker Lectures

The IAS Distinguished Speaker Lecture recognizes the exemplary scholarship, leadership, and mentorship of individuals who cross disciplinary and institutional boundaries in their research, teaching, and service.

Previous Lectures

Spring 2019

Living Poems
Cecilia Vicuña , Independent Artist
Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2018
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Discovery Hall Room 061

Free and open to the public.  Please Register>>

In this performance lecture Cecilia Vicuña speaks, chants and tells stories of her experience coming across the destruction of poetry in the land.

Cecilia-Headshot-Photo-Cropped.jpgCecilia Vicuña is a Chilean visual artist and poet whose work addresses ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization. She has lived in exile since the overthrow of the Allende government in the early 1970s. Vicuña’s ephemeral site-specific performance/installations, set in nature, streets, and museums, combine ritual and assemblage. She calls this practice “lo precario” (the precarious): transformative acts that bridge the gap between art and life, between the ancestral and the avant-garde. Her early paintings of revolutionary heroes and poets, depicted in the style of colonial saints, are considered pioneering examples of indigenous-led cultural decolonization. 

Fall 2018

NUCLEAR COLONIALISM and the non-sites of accumulation
​Dr. Iyko Day
, Associate Professor, English and Critical Social Thought, Mount Holyoke College
Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2018 
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Discovery Hall Room 061

Free and open to the public, please RSVP

DayHeadShot.PNGWhat are the ways in which nuclear colonialism designates Indigenous lands as peripheral sites of accumulation, making them available for “wastelanding?” Honing in on the dynamics of accumulation in uranium mining, Iyko Day examines the claim that capital accumulation relies on an
imperial relationship between capitalist and non-capitalist environments.​

Iyko Day is Associate Professor of English and Critical Social Thought at
Mount Holyoke College and Co-Chair of the Five College Asian/Pacific/
American Studies Program. Her research focuses on Asian North American
literature and visual culture; settler colonialism

Spring 2018

Landscape, Power, and Popular Education 
Laura Pulido
, Professor, Ethnic Studies and Geography, University of Oregon
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Discovery Hall Room 061

How can popular education use people’s everyday experience of landscape to illuminate historical struggles and power dynamics? In this talk, Laura Pulido discusses two projects: A People’s Guide, a radical tour guide, and Sangre en la Tierra (Blood in the Soil) a historical atlas.  Both projects aim to transform people’s experience and understanding of place as a site of racial history and struggles for social justice.

Laura Pulido is professor and head of Ethnic Studies and professor of geography at the University of Oregon. Her current teaching and research focus on white supremacy, environmental justice, landscape, and popular education. She is the author of several books, including Environmentalism and Economic Justice: Two Chicano Struggles in the Southwest (Arizona 1996),  Black, Brown, Yellow and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles (UC Press 2006), and A People’s Guide to Los Angeles (with Laura Barraclough and Wendy Cheng, UC Press, 2012).

Autumn 2017

Down, Out, and Under Arrest: How Policing Shapes Everyday Life for the Urban Poor
Forrest Stuart
, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Chicago 
Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Discovery Hall Room 061, UWB

STUART-Head-Shot.jpgSince the 1990s, American cities have embraced an intensive model of “zero-tolerance” and “broken windows” policing. This approach calls on patrol officers to continually “stop-and-frisk” pedestrians, while systematically banishing, ticketing, and arresting people and behaviors associated with “disorder.” To date, evaluations of such law enforcement practices have found little, if any measurable reductions in crime. This is not to say, however, that such constant and contentious police contact has no effect at all. Indeed, emerging research shows detrimental impacts on (potential) police targets at the individual, interpersonal, and community levels. These include negative mental health outcomes, lowered participation in financial and health institutions, and reductions in residents’ trust in neighbors, police, and other state agencies. Drawing on over 7 years of in-depth, ethnographic fieldwork alongside police and residents in Los Angeles’s Skid Row and Chicago’s south side, my research reveals several key mechanisms that are responsible for these negative outcomes. Most notably, the omnipresent threat of harmful police contact reshapes the cultural contexts of criminalized communities. In the hope of reducing such police contact, residents to adopt a particular cognitive schema—which I refer to as “cop wisdom”—that transforms the way they understand and interact with physical environments, peers, and strangers. I trace how cop wisdom leads to new and potentially troubling forms of behavior and social interaction. These findings have implications for how we understand the role of policing and punishment in society. 

Spring 2017

What Is This Thing We Call “Race” and How Does it Get into the Body?

Amani M. Nuru-Jeter PhD, MPH
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
6:00 pm
Discovery Hall Room 061

Nuru-Jeter.pngHow do social factors such as “race” serve as the foundation for the creation and preservation of health disparities? How do those differences become embodied and impact mental and physical health and well-being? In this talk, Dr. Nuru-Jeter examines racial and socio-economic inequalities, and how these social exposures determine life experiences and opportunities differently for different social groups.

D. Nuru-Jeter is Associate Professor of Public Health at UC Berkeley, Principal Investigator of the African American Women's Heart and Health Study and Co-Principal Investigator of the Bay Area Heart Health Study. 

Co-sponsored by School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Autumn 2016

Ricardo Dominguez
Associate Professor, Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego

Thursday, November 3, 2016
6 pm
Discovery 061

Ricardo Dominguez photoRicardo Dominguez is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Visual Arts Department, a Hellman Fellow, and Principal Investigator at CALIT2 and the Performative Nano-Robotics Lab at SME, UCSD. Dominguez co-founded The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998.

His recent Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab project with Brett Stalbaum, micha cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand, developed the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a GPS cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/US border.  The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the 2010 California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), and The Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), as well as other national and international venues, and received “Transnational Communities Award” (2008). The project was investigated by the US Congress in 2009-2010 and was reviewed by Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S. border with its poetry.

He also is co-founder of *particle group*, with artists Diane Ludin, Nina Waisman, Amy Sara Carroll, whose art project about nano-toxicology entitled *Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market* has been presented at the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2007), the San Diego Museum of Art (2008), Oi Futuro, Brazil (2008), CAL NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (2009), Medialab-Prado, Madrid (2009), E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, Spain (2009), Nanosférica, NYU (2010), and SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico (2012).Henry G. Lee Professor of English
Pomona College.

Spring 2016

Claudia Rankine

The Situation:
A Poetics Talk, Screening and Q&A with Claudia Rankine

Thursday, May 12, 2016

These poems do the work of art of the highest order—
teaching, chastening, changing, astounding, and humanizing the reader

The author of five books of poems and a play, Claudia Rankine has been working to document what she calls the “American lyric.” Her books weave together a tapestry of voices, drawing attention to issues of race and class in American identity. Rankine incorporates essay and image into her texts, expanding our notion of the lyric beyond a poem of individual experience to encompass a position of critique and a choral structure.

Rankine’s most recent book, Citizen: An American Lyric, received Poets and Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

She has also co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language; and co-founded The Open Letter Project: Race and the Creative Imagination, a website devoted to poetics statements responding to questions of race in contemporary poetry.

Rankine’s visit was also sponsored by Seattle Arts & Lectures, and the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics.

Nominated by Amaranth Borsuk and Sarah Dowling


Autumn 2015

Alicia Schmidt Camacho
Sarai Ribicoff Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, Race, and Migration
Yale University

Defending Human Mobility:
Lessons from the North American Migratory Circuit

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hardening national borders has had far-reaching social and political consequences across North America. Despite the vital importance of migrants to the regional economy and social order, current labor markets and political regimes deprive migrants of basic human rights and deny their social integration.  Camacho examines the efforts of communities and migrants to protect themselves against state and criminal violence, through social movements that deploy alternate languages of belonging and value.

Camacho is one of the foremost scholars of contemporary culture and politics on the U.S.-Mexico border, and is an influential figure in a wide-range of fields, including Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, critical ethnic studies, and gender studies.  Her scholarship concerns the femicide in Ciudad Juárez, transnational migration, border governance, and social movements in the Americas. She is the author of Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the Mexico–U.S. Borderlands (2008). She is currently at work on a book entitled, The Carceral Border: Social Violence and Governmentality on the Frontiers of Our America which examines state security and social violence along the North American migratory circuit. She serves on the board of Junta for Progressive Action, a community agency serving the Latina/o community of Fair Haven, and is a contributor to local and transnational projects for immigrant and human rights.

Nominated by Yolanda Padilla, with support from Julie Shayne and Dan Berger

Spring 2015

Danielle Egan
Gender, Sexuality, and Culture
St. Lawrence University

Disgust, Desire and Discomfort: Sexualization and Feminist Discourse 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hosted by Lauren Berliner, Sarah Dowling, Kari Lerum, and Lauren Lichty

In this talk, Danielle Egan explores a trenchant feature of white, second-wave feminist writing on sexuality: the false dichotomy that pits activism around sexual violence against demands for expanded sexual rights and expression in the so-called “sex wars.” Egan argues that these recurring debates mark a core conflict within the feminist family narrative.  To resolve it, feminists must engage more fruitfully with a range of affects and the concept of ambivalence. While feminists have a long history of valorizing anger and love, and have mined feelings of depression, willfulness, and failure in theoretically fertile ways, affects like disgust, aggression, envy, and ambivalence remain suppressed. Egan seeks to reconceptualize disgust, envy and desire as at once a site of confusion, occlusion and misdirection in feminist theory, and also a deeply important sphere for feminist insight and knowledge.

Danielle Egan's research examines the social construction of sexual “problems.” She is author of Dancing for Dollars and Paying for Love: The Relationships Between Exotic Dancers and their Regular Customers (2006), co-author of Theorizing the Sexual Child in Modernity (2010), and, most recently, author of Becoming Sexual: A Critical Appraisal of Girls and Sexualization (2013),  which was named the book of the week by the Times Higher Education Supplement. Her research has also been discussed on BBC Radio 4 and NPRs Good Parenting Radio.  


Autumn 2014

Jodi Melamed - November 20 & 21
(Hosted by Dan Berger)

Lecture: "What are the Stakes of What Diversity Means? Capitalism, Collective Existence, the University, and Beyond" 
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6:00 pm, Northcreek Events Center

In this talk, Jodi Melamed argues that today’s discussions of diversity bear within them two conflicting tendencies, one inclining towards hyperindividualism and deeper economic and political inequality, the other inclining towards more care for collective existence and social justice.

“Universities have a crucial role to play in separating out these tendencies. Yet the realization of a better diversity is beyond the university.”

Jodi Melamed is associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Marquette University. She is the author of Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and a contributor to Strange Affinities: The Sexual and Gender Politics of Comparative Racialization (Duke University Press, 2011) and Keywords for American Cultural Studies (NYU Press, forthcoming). Her areas of interest include critical race and ethnic studies, woman of color feminism and queer of color critique, political economy, and culture and globalization.

Spring 2014

Curtis Marez - April 24 & 25
(Hosted by Yolanda Padilla)

Schooling Debt: Critical University Studies Today

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What are the effects of higher education’s growing reliance on student debt as a revenue source? The trend has contributed to the privatization of contemporary universities and catalyzed cultural, social, and political struggles over their future.  Students often lead those struggles, shaping local and global cultures of debt and dissent.

In "Schooling Debt," Curtis Marez discusses creative and collective actions against higher tuition and regimes of debt, including public protests, the organization of mass debt refusal or default, conferences, websites, and journals.  He links activism targeting the institutional activities debt finances and calls for institutional divestment from companies complicit in human rights abuses and exploitation.

Curtis Marez is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of California, San Diego.  His research and teaching focus is on race and political economy in popular culture and media, with a particular emphasis on U.S. Latinos. His first book, Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics (University of Minnesota Press, 2004) compares official uses of the media to represent drug use and traffic among immigrants and minorities with popular media produced by and for such communities. More recently Dr. Marez has focused on the historical role of technology, especially media technology, in the lives of Mexican migrants in the United States. He is currently completing a new book called Speculative Technologies: Farm Workers and the Secret Histories of New Media, which will be published by Duke University Press. He has also been the editor of American Quarterly (2006-10), the journal of the American Studies Association, and ex officio member of the Association's Executive Committee. He is the 2013-2014 President of the American Studies Association.

Autumn 2013

Roopali Phadke - November 18 & 19
(Hosted by Gwen Ottinger)

Landscapes of Power: Modeling Community Deliberations about Wind Energy Development

November 18

Growing concerns about national energy independence, global climate change, and local economic development have put wind energy on the agenda of many communities.  But local reaction to proposed developments has been mixed. Some welcome wind energy for the potential economic benefits and the possibility of low-carbon electricity production. Others strongly oppose these developments, especially the building of wind turbines, citing impacts on local landscapes, community identity and character, wildlife, and health. .

What is driving the opposition to wind energy? Is it simply another case of NIMBYism — the “not in my backyard” syndrome? Or are there other factors at play?

In order to better understand these land use debates, Roopali Phadke's research group designed and led intensive workshops in four diverse communities across the United States. In this talk, Professor Phadke shares their findings and the model they have created that can be used by other communities.

Roopali Phadke (Environmental Studies, Macalester College) works at the environmental studies, international development, and science and technology studies. Her current research focuses on private and public development of water and energy resources, and asks how science and technology decision-making processes can be democratized and informed by both technical expertise and local knowledge.

Spring 2013

Daniel HoSang - April 25 & 26
(Co-hosted by Camille Walsh and Dan Berger)

Strange Brew:The Making (and Unmaking?) of Contemporary Nativism

April 25

Daniel Martinez HoSang is an associate professor of Ethnic Studies and Political Science and an affiliate in the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management and the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon. He received his PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity from USC and his book “Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California (UC Press, 2010) won the James A. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the history of U.S. race relations in 2011. He has published on racial formation, white racial innocence and colorblindness as a language of racial politics, and his research interests include 20th Century US history, racial politics, cultural studies and political identity.

Attending a Lecture

These events are free and open to the public. Directions to the UW Bothell campus and parking information are available online.