Programs

Book Chats


A lunchtime talk series, the DHI Brown Bag Book Chats provide a forum for UC Davis faculty to share their new publications, performances, or recordings with the Davis community. Our Brown Bag Book Chats celebrate the artistic and intellectual ventures of our UC Davis faculty. Through this series the Humanities Institute promotes the range and culmination of UC Davis’ collective work. (all events are in Voorhies 228 from 12-1 PM)

 

February 20, 2019

Civil Obedience: Complicity and Complacency in Chile since Pinochet
by Michael Lazzara

Since the fall of General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1990, Chilean society has shied away from the subject of civilian complicity, preferring to pursue convictions of military perpetrators. But the torture, murders, deportations, and disappearances of tens of thousands of people in Chile were not carried out by the military alone; they required a vast civilian network. Some citizens actively participated in the regime’s massive violations of human rights for personal gain or out of a sense of patriotic duty. Others supported Pinochet’s neoliberal economic program while turning a blind eye to the crimes of that era.

Michael J. Lazzara boldly argues that today’s Chile is a product of both complicity and complacency. Combining historical analysis with deft literary, political, and cultural critique, he scrutinizes the post-Pinochet rationalizations made by politicians, artists, intellectuals, bystanders, former revolutionaries-turned-neoliberals, and common citizens. He looks beyond victims and perpetrators to unveil the ambiguous, ethically vexed realms of memory and experience that authoritarian regimes inevitably generate.

 

Beyond the Vanguard: Everyday Revolutionaries in Allende’s Chile
by Marian E. Schlotterbeck

For a thousand days in the early 1970s, Chileans experienced revolution not as a dream but as daily life. Alongside Salvador Allende’s attempt to democratically bring about a socialist regime, new understandings of the meaning of revolutionary change emerged. In her groundbreaking book Beyond the Vanguard, Marian E. Schlotterbeck explores popular politics in Chile in the decade before Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship and provides an in-depth account of how working-class people transformed the existing social order by embracing radical politics. Schlotterbeck eloquently examines the lost opportunities for creating a democratic revolution and the ways that the legacy of this period continues to resonate in Chile and beyond.

March 5, 2019

Transformative Schooling: Towards Racial Equity in Education                                                                                                                                    by Vajra M. Watson

Discussions of achievement gaps are commonplace in education reform, but they are rarely interrogated as a symptom of white supremacy. As an act of disruption, award-winning scholar Vajra Watson pierces through the rhetoric and provides a provocative analysis of the ways schools can become more racially inclusive. Her research is grounded in Oakland where longitudinal data demonstrated that Black families were sending their children to school, but the ideals of an oasis of learning were being met with the realities of racism, low expectations, and marginalization. As a response to this intergenerational crisis of miseducation, in 2010, the school district joined forces with community organizers, religious leaders, neighborhood elders, teachers, parents, and students to address institutionalized racism.

Seven years later, Watson shares findings from her investigation into the school district’s journey towards justice. What she creates is a wholly original work, filled with penetrating portraits that illuminate the intense and intimate complexities of working towards racial equity in education. As a formidable case study, this research scrutinizes how to reconfigure organizational ecosystems as spaces that humanize, heal, and harmonize. Emerging from her scholarship is a bold, timely, and hopeful vision that paves the way for transformative schooling.

April 9, 2019

Turkestan and the Rise of Eurasian Empires: A Study of Politics and Invented Traditions                                                                                          by Ali Anooshahr

It has long been known that the origins of the early modern dynasties of the Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals, Mongols, and Shibanids in the sixteenth century go back to “Turco-Mongol” or “Turcophone” war bands. However, too often has this connection been taken at face value, usually along the lines of ethno-linguistic continuity. Turkestan and the Rise of Eurasian Empires argues that the connection between a mythologized “Turkestani” or “Turco-Mongol” origin and these dynasties was not simply and objectively present as fact. Rather, much creative energy was unleashed by courtiers and leaders from Bosnia to Bihar (with Bukhara and Badakhshan along the way) in order to manipulate and invent the ancestry of the founders of these dynasties. 

Through constructed genealogies, nascent empires founded on disorganized military and political events were reduced to clear and stable categories. With proper family trees in place and their power legitimized, leaders became far removed from their true identities as bands of armed men and transformed into warrior kings. This created a longstanding pattern of false histories created by the intellectuals of the day. Essentially, one can even say that Turco-Mongol progenitors did not beget the Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal, Mongol, and Shibanid states. Quite the contrary, one can instead say that historians writing in these empires were the ancestors of the “Turco-Mongol” lineage of their founders. Using one or more specimens of Persian historiography, in a series of five case studies, each focusing on one of these early polities, Ali Anooshahr shows how “Turkestan”, “Central Asia”, or “Turco-Mongol” functioned as literary tropes in the political discourse of the time.

May 7, 2019

5:30pm

International House, Davis

NEW LOCATION AND TIME:

The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice                                                                                        by Heghnar Watenpaugh

In 2010, the world’s wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people exterminated during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty.

The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Its tale mirrors the story of its scattered community as Armenians have struggled to redefine themselves after genocide and in the absence of a homeland. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript’s footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom.

Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.

 

This page was last updated: March 14, 2019

 

 


 All content © 2019 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

Address


227 Voorhies Hall
One Shields Ave
Davis CA 95616
P: (530) 752-1254

Subscribe to our mailing list


Humanities Institute