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Humanities Institute


Research Clusters

The UC Davis Humanities Institute currently sponsors five research clusters for 2017-18. The research clusters provide a critical space for interdisciplinary research and collaboration not easily accomplished in a single department or program. Clusters are meant to facilitate exchange among faculty and graduate students in workshops, symposia, or mini-conferences, to encourage experimentation with new forms of collaboration within and beyond UC Davis, and to broaden the aims of faculty research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Clusters are awarded up to $5,000 annually.

Cluster on Language Research

Faculty Contact:Claudia Sánchez-Gutiérrez (Spanish)

Website: http://languageresearch.ucdavis.edu/


Initially founded in 2013 through the joint effort of UC Davis faculty and graduate students and with the support of the DHI, the cluster encourages investigation, exploration, and dialogue between researchers involved in diverse fields such as theoretical and applied linguistics, cognitive psychology, foreign language teaching and education, language policy, sociology of language, language preservation, and philosophy of language.  In essence, our mission is to create a space where students and faculty of diverse linguistic training can share their insights and expertise in the pursuit of a more modern and unified vision of language.  We are pleased to report that during the last two years we have accomplished this goal and have set the stage for further progress. We are expanding on this interdisciplinary focus by attracting more participation from students and scholars in psychology, computer science, and education, in addition to the active contributions from its core members of the last two years drawn from the Linguistics, Spanish, and French departments.

Cultures, Politics, and Economics of the Nonhuman

Faculty Contact: Ted Geier (American Studies)

The cluster is concerned both with international research fields variously called “Animal Studies” and with the broad set of practices and beliefs inflecting nonhuman relations across the Davis campus animal use fields. The group includes members from nearly every College at Davis. Key aims include negotiating the deep animal care, concern, fascination, and experience motivating students’ major and career choices yet immediately forced into imperfect ‘compartments’ by disciplinary and professionalization demands.

The group will engage in a series of dialogues on the cultural absences and enforced silences of the field, such as the notion that a problematic “Western” anthropocentrism is convincingly resolved via theoretical frames that have not included other ways of knowing such as indigenous and postcolonial critique. We will also consider cultural attitudes toward animal use in relation to food practices that are abusive by some American ethical and legal frameworks but part of the distinct cultural identities of multiple American communities. Other areas of interest include the use of animals within carceral frameworks and the professional outcomes that mobilize PR work for animal concern as part of community development and policy.

Early Science Workshop

Faculty Contacts: Daniel Stolzenberg (History), Claire Goldstein (French & Italian), John Slater (Spanish & Portuguese)
Website: http://earlyscience.ucdavis.edu/

The Early Science Workshop brings together faculty and graduate students from various disciplines who share an interest in the study of science, medicine, and technology from ancient times through the eighteenth century. In keeping with premodern categories and recent theoretical trends, we take “science” to include not only the study of nature, but also other branches of learning. We are interested in the history of knowledge, expansively construed—technologies as well as texts, practices as well as ideas, artisanal traditions as well as learned systems, Western as well as non-Western traditions, and topics that transcend such dichotomies. The Workshop holds a regular seminar for the discussion of works-in-progress by cluster members and organizes special events with scholars from outside UCD.

The Performative Camera

Faculty Contact: Lynette Hunter (Theatre and Dance) 

This research group focuses on the research, development and presentation of essays addressing ‘co-presence with the camera’ as outlined below. The aim is to generate a collection for publication in the field of practice as research.

Film practice in the past 10 years or so has opened up to new methods of working because of several factors, including increased access to the means of production and the still nascent emergence of practice as research (PAR) in the discipline. We argue that PAR is key to new ways of working in film and new ways of articulating film practice, because unlike studies in a number of other media such as dance, music or theatre, the history of making films has rarely involved academic research, and the history of studying films in the academy has rarely involved creative practice.

Each contributor to this collection is working from a specific practice as the site for the conversation. And each is trying to articulate ways of working with the camera that help to bring them into co-presence with it. Through various approaches that touch on site specific, collaborative, and technological practices, the collection aims to develop awareness of the possibilities in the relationships between filmmakers and materials, to refine those possibilities and develop different ways of working.

Queer, Feminist, and Transgender Studies Research Cluster

Faculty Contact: Elizabeth Constable (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies) 

The Queer, Feminist, and Transgender Studies Research Cluster, initially founded in 2004 as the Queer Research Cluster (QRC), was subsequently renamed the QFT. Between 2007 and 2014, it served as a lively and dynamic forum for critical dialogues among graduate students and faculty on current activist scholarship in these three related fields. It also hosted the annual graduate student conference entitled Queer Symposium from 2007 through 2014. Now, in 2017, as political figures have taken up explicit stances against inclusion for a range of bodies and groups marked as other according to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, dis/ability, immigration or citizenship status, and class, the cultural analyses developed in queer, feminist and trans studies become even more urgent. For 2017-2018, the Cluster will center discussions on contemporary critiques of the de-humanizing and de-subjectifying violences productive of social death, and simultaneously on queer, feminist and trans studies’ re-assessments of care, health, sharing, and intimacy, re-framings that enable forms of survival, embodiment, and cultural production.

The QFT cluster will host reading groups, film screenings, professionalizing workshops, symposia, and a graduate student and faculty conference during the 2017-2018 school-year to foster exchange between graduate students and faculty across the university, and between UC Davis and other institutions.

 Women and Gender in the World

Faculty Contact: Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor (History), Lisa Materson (History), Corrie Decker (History), Rachel Jean-Baptiste(History), and Jenny Kaminer (Russian)Website: http://uswomenandgenderhistory.wordpress.com/In the early 1990s, feminist scholars developed gender as an analytical tool for deconstructing relationships of power and sent a shock wave through the field of history.  Some historians celebrated the prospect that gender history would replace women’s history with a more nuanced understanding of the interlocking historical categories of race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.  Others asserted that gender history would refocus attention away from women and back onto men.  A tension between women’s history and gender history fueled vibrant debates in the pages of scholarly journals and in the classroom that are still transforming our understanding of the past.  In the 2000s, transnational and global history transformed the field again, challenging frameworks that had situated identities and institutions within national boundaries.  The debates surrounding these new challenges are still in their formative stages and have lively iterations in other disciplines beyond history.  Active since 2013, the cluster has provided a variety of forums during the last two years to explore implications of these debates.  The cluster community—which includes faculty and graduate students in History, German & Russian, Women & Gender Studies, American Studies, English, Sociology, and Film Studies, among other departments—is a vital part of campus initiatives to integrate scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality with humanistic and scientific inquiry.

This page was last updated: October 17, 2017



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