By Loren Michael Mortimer - On April 8 and 9, 2016 an interdisciplinary cohort of advanced graduate students from the social sciences and humanities ensconced themselves at the idyllic Granlibakken Resort near Lake Tahoe for 36 hours of workshops and mentoring sessions. They were participating in a dissertation retreat sponsored by ISS and the Davis Humanities Institute (DHI)—one that proved valuable and enjoyable for all.
By Rebecca Egli - On April 9 and 10, 2016, “Historians Without Borders, History Without Limits” saw students from UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, Rutgers, Colorado State and beyond present their research to university faculty and students, as well as members of the local community. From Gilded Age Detroit to the Mediterranean and Sahara of the sixteenth century, the event featured a diverse and compelling range of topics.
By Phyllis Jeffrey - Did the fact that Darwin wrote it at sea affect his theory of evolution? How will holoportation change the way we interact—and create? The Mobility-Creativity Nexus Conference, hosted by the Temporary Migration Cluster at UC Davis on April 8, 2016, convened to examine such questions.
By Rebecca Egli - How did scholars in postwar Germany portray the Holocaust? Addressing this question on April 5, 2016, Nicolas Berg presented his illuminating work on the German and German-Jewish historians writing in the 1950s and 1960s. A historian and research fellow at the Simon Dubnow Institute in Leipzig, Germany, Berg drew on his recently translated book—a "history of a historiography" entitled "The Holocaust and the West German Historians."
By Phyllis Jeffrey - What can slaying dragons and rescuing princesses in a fantasy online game teach us about virtual collaboration in the workplace and beyond? More than you might realize, says a new paper published by Assistant Professor of Communication Cuihua (Cindy) Shen and Communication doctoral student Grace Benefield. Shen, Benefield, and their co-author Alex Leavitt delve into the world of an online multiplayer game to provide lessons for optimizing collaboration in virtual teams (VTs) in the real world.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - Distinguished Professor of Law and Science and Technology Studies Mario Biagioli has been awarded a Collaborative Research Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies. The award will support a project entitled "Machine-Made Law: Mapping the Modern Patent Episteme (1790-2000)." His collaborator is Professor Alain Pottage, from the London School of Economics.
By Ben Hinshaw - On March 9, 2016, the Innovating Communication in Scholarship project (ICIS) hosted a cross-disciplinary panel entitled "Authorship and the Promises of Digital Dissemination." The discussion, which featured an array of scholars, librarians, archivists and authors, as well as representatives of Authors Alliance, explored the challenges faced by writers seeking to maximize the reach of their work—and protect it—in the digital age.
By Tory Brykalski - Why do state health policies and practices—ostensibly designed to save lives—sometimes fail certain populations? How might paying attention to these policies and practices enhance our understanding of state power? Veena Das, the Krieger–Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, explored such questions at a colloquium hosted by the UC Davis Department of Anthropology on March 7, 2016.
By Rebecca Egli - On March 9, the Environments & Societies Research Initiative hosted the final event of its Winter 2016 Colloquium Series. Celia Lowe, an associate professor of anthropology and international studies at the University of Washington, presented a paper entitled "The Viral Creep: Elephants and Herpes in Times of Extinction."
By Loren Michael Mortimer - On March 9, 2016, the Turkish Studies Research Cluster hosted a public lecture by Janet Klein, associate professor of history at the University of Akron. Entitled "Making Minorities in the Late-Ottoman Period: Armenians and Kurds," Dr. Klein’s talk argued that scholars frequently deploy the term "minority" without duly considering its evolution—particularly in the context of the Ottoman Empire.
By Ben Hinshaw - On February 25, 2016, Kristin H. Lagattuta delivered an ISS Noon Lecture entitled "Do Prior Experiences Shape Future Expectations? Children’s Developing Intuitions About How the Mind Generalizes from the Past." In her fascinating talk, Dr. Lagattuta suggested that, as they age, people grow less inclined to make the "cognitive effort" required to approach each human encounter with an open mind.
By Rebecca Egli – Why did the U.S. Forest Service adopt harmful policies of rangeland fire suppression in the American West throughout much of the twentieth century? What damage did such policies do? Those were the questions addressed by human geographer Nathan Sayre on March 2, at the third event in the Environments & Societies Research Initiative’s Winter 2016 Colloquium Series.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - At a colloquium hosted on February 29, 2016 by the Department of Anthropology's Sociocultural Wing, Talinn Grigor, professor of art history at UC Davis, presented a talk entitled "The (re)Turn of the Avant-garde to the Streets of Tehran." Dr. Grigor explained how and why the avant-garde in Iranian art shifted away from monumental architecture and into the streets and art studios of post-Revolutionary Iran.
By Tory Brykalski - On March 4 and 5, 2016, the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis hosted the third Northern California Consciousness conference. The event brought together an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students from the social sciences, humanities, and hard sciences. Ten speakers presented lectures on various aspects of human consciousness and the brain, including categorical representation and classification, alternative theories of consciousness, imagination, and self-reflection.
By Rebecca Egli - On February 24, the Environments & Societies Research Initiative hosted the second event of its Winter 2016 Colloquium Series. Diana K. Davis, professor of history at UC Davis, delivered a lecture entitled “Dispossessing the Drylands: Why Environmental Science and Critical Realism Matter for ‘History for a Sustainable Future.’”
By Loren Michael Mortimer – In the 1980s, a Maoist paramilitary organization known as the Shining Path attempted to seize control of Peru. On February 11, 2016, the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas at UC Davis hosted an international conference entitled "The Aftermath of the Shining Path: Memory, Violence, and Politics in Peru." The daylong event featured presentations in both Spanish and English, and represented diverse experiences and perspectives from a violent era in Peruvian history—one with repercussions still felt today.
By Rebecca Egli - On February 10, the Environments & Societies Research Initiative at UC Davis hosted the first meeting of its Winter 2016 Colloquium Series. Visiting scholar Adrian Howkins led a discussion of his paper entitled "Frozen Empires: An Environmental History of the Antarctic."
By Tory Brykalski - On February 8, 2016, the Jewish Studies program at UC Davis hosted a conference entitled "Culture and the Self in Global Therapeutic Encounters." Eight UC scholars working in a range of academic fields explored how different cultural processes—from public health interventions in Trinidad to spirit possessions in northern Italy—contribute to varying notions of the "self."
By Tory Brykalski - On February 4 and 5, 2016, the Innovating Communication in Scholarship project hosted a conference entitled “Gaming Metrics: Innovation and Surveillance in Academic Misconduct.” Presenters from across the U.S. and Europe—and from fields as diverse as anthropology, informatics and computing, biology, and economics—explored whether new metrics-based evaluation processes may be creating incentives for new forms of academic misconduct.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - On February 5, 2016, the Mellon Initiative in Comparative Border Studies at UC Davis held its 2015-16 keynote conference. Entitled "Human Rights, Citizenship, and Racialized Belonging," the event featured presentations from, and an informal dialogue with, two eminent scholars—Walter Mignolo and Engin Isin.
By Tory Brykalski - On January 26, 2016, the Middle East/South Asia Studies program (ME/SA) hosted a lecture by Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh of UC Irvine. Held in honor of the new Bita Daryabari Presidential Chair in Persian Language and Literature, the lecture was entitled “Modern Iranian Women Writers Shaping the Cultural Imaginary.” The event also honored Bita Daryabari’s transformational contribution to the UC Davis community by naming her a Chancellor’s Laureate.
With digital technologies proliferating, and our dependence on them growing ever more acute, a new paper co-authored by Assistant Professor of Communication Martin Hilbert suggests that understanding previous evolutionary transitions can help us get to grips with those that may be currently underway.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - The proliferation of smartphones and other personal electronics has led to a booming demand for rare earth minerals. Yet recent legal and corporate interventions designed to eliminate “conflict minerals” from high tech supply chains have proven equally violent and destructive to people on the ground. In his ISS Noon Lecture on January 20, 2016, Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the UC Davis Department of Anthropology James Smith explored the intersection of technology, globalization, social justice and indigenous practices.
By Tory Brykalski - In preparation for a new graduate-level course to be offered in Fall 2016, the UC Davis Food Science and Technology Department has launched a new speaker series. Intended to start a campus-wide conversation about the potential for using design thinking to solve challenges related to food systems, sustainability, and health, the series will feature both industry and academic experts. On Wednesday, January 13, Lauren Shimek, Ph.D., UC Davis alumna and senior portfolio director at IDEO, kicked off the series with a discussion of "human-centered design thinking."
By Tory Brykalski - From British colonial projects to U.S. combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, social scientists have often provided armed forces with strategic guidance and intelligence. This controversial complicity reverberates through contemporary social science. On October 15, 2015, at the invitation of the UC Davis Militarization Research Group, Roberto Gonzalez outlined one recent example: the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS). A professor of anthropology at San Jose State University, Gonzalez explained that, though the program was shut down last year, its legacy persists.
By Stephanie Maroney - The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded UC Davis Associate Professor of History Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor a fellowship for university teachers to pursue research and writing on what will be the first book-length history of auctions in early America.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - Legal geography continues to emerge as a burgeoning interdisciplinary approach. On December 4, 2015, at International House Davis, a colloquium entitled "Giving Law Space" furthered that emergence by exploring environmental justice, racialization of space, and contested articulations of rurality.
By Tory Brykalski - What is the relationship between hydrological sciences, agricultural development, and colonialism in the twenty-first century? On November 30, 2015, an interdisciplinary panel took up this question at a symposium entitled "Thirsting for Justice: Native Resistance to Colonization of Water & Land." Panelists examined the way social justice struggles over land and water in California and Palestine affect communities through the theft of water and destruction of indigenous agriculture.
By Ben Hinshaw - Should corporate bodies enjoy the same legal rights as individuals? That was the question addressed by Philip Pettit on October 29, 2015 in the latest Sheffrin Lecture in Public Policy. Currently Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, Pettit was introduced by Interim Dean of Social Sciences Li Zhang and by David Copp, distinguished professor of philosophy. Pettit's lecture, entitled "Giving Corporate Bodies Their Due—and Only Their Due," shed light on the potential repercussions of granting corporations too much freedom.
By Loren Michael Mortimer - On October 8, 2015, Gary King, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, presented his lecture “Explaining Systematic Bias and Nontransparency in US Social Security Administration Forecasts.” Addressing the lamentable state of the Social Security Trust Funds, he put forward his suggestions for fixing the situation before it worsens.