Catalyzing Knowledge in Dangerous Times

Thursday, Apr 14, 2011 - Thursday, Apr 14, 2011 | 9:30 am - 8:00 pm

370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Catalyzing Knowledge
in Dangerous Times

Center for Race Gender Ten Year Anniversary Conference

Thursday, April 14
9:30 am – 5:00 pm
370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196570460375105
Getting to 370 Dwinelle Hall:
http://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/Directions+to+Dwinelle+Hall

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Keynote Lecture:
From Academic Freedom to Academic Abolitionism

Prof. Andrea Smith, UC Riverside

5:30 pm: Reception
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Lecture
370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111032582310352

Catalyzing Knowledge in Dangerous Times will explore the ways in which knowledge is politicized, embodied, and imagined within a volatile political climate that targets education as a racialized and gendered battleground for defining legitimacy, visibility, and access.

Conference participants will interrogate the meaning and practice of scholarship in a time shaped by militarism, economic crisis, gender policing, and persistent racism. They will consider methodologies used inside and outside of academia to challenge what and who is known and identify transformative possiblities stemming from the transgression of traditional epistemological boundaries, academic discipline, gender, and nation.

Abstracts below…

Schedule:

9:30 am

Center for Race Gender at Ten Years
Prof. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Center for Race Gender
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10:00 am

Media, Maps, Motion
Moderated by Margaret Rhee, UC Berkeley

Speakers will map the ways in which widely-used technologies can transmit information related to survival strategies across geographic boundaries while subverting policed pathways of communication.

Reels of Resistance: Film IS Social Justice Activism for LGBTQ Communities of Color
Madeleine Lim Kebo Drew, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

net.walkingtools.Transformer.shift()
Micha Cardenas, UC San Diego

A Tale to Two and Half Investigation: Measuring Institutional Insecurities and Contestational Knowledge
Professor Ricardo Dominguez, UC San Diego

“Like Seeds”: A Cosmic Ecology of Black Feminist Education as Transformation
Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind as a project of BrokenBeautiful Press and the co-creator of the Mobilehomecoming Project

~~~

11:30 am

Women of Color Feminist Knowledge
Moderated by Prof. Paola Bacchetta, UC Berkeley

Speakers will explore the race and gender politics of accessing, teaching, and transforming knowledge.

Looking for Resistance in all the Right Places: Centering LGBTQ Youth Testimony in Times of Crisis
Prof. Cindy Cruz, UC Santa Cruz

Imperial Pedagogies: Imagining Internationalist/Feminist/Antiracist Literacies
Prof. Piya Chatterjee, UC Riverside

Pedagogy, Performance, and the Decolonial
Prof. Laura Perez, UC Berkeley

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12:50 pm: LUNCH PROVIDED

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1:40 pm

Educators Organizing Across Borders
Moderated by Erica Boas, UC Berkeley

Presenters will discuss the legacy, perils, and promise of educators organizing across prison borders and colonial projects.

Activist Scholars and the Antiprison Movement
Prof. Julia Oparah (formerly Sudbury), Mills College

Reimagining HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Within A Jail System
Isela González, MPA and Allyse Gray, Forensic AIDS Project

Academic Freedom, or Academic Responsibility? Agency within the Brain of the Monster
Prof. Nada Elia, Antioch University

Administering Palestine on Campus and Constructed “Check-Points.”
Dr. Hatem Bazian, UC Berkeley

~~~

3:00 pm

Sparking, Defending, and Envisioning
Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley

Moderated by Prof. Harvey Dong, UC Berkeley

Presenters will explore the inception and political imagination of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.

Ethnic Studies at Forty: Scholarship, Art, and Activism in the Formation of a Transdisciplinary Field
Prof. Nelson Maldonado-Torres, UC Berkeley/Rutgers University

Staging Hunger, Embodying Pain: Some Queer Thoughts on Campus Organizing
Prof. Sara Kaplan, UC San Diego

*Tokenized, Romanticized, and Professionalized*: Establishing the Significance and Urgency of Decolonizing the University
Ruben Elias Canedo Sanchez, UC Berkeley

From 1969 to the Present: A Brief History Outlining the Critical Role of Women of Color in the Struggle for Ethnic Studies
Ziza Delgado, UC Berkeley

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4:30 pm

Conference Synthesis

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5:30 pm

Reception

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6:00 pm

Keynote Talk:
From Academic Freedom To Academic Abolition
Prof. Andrea Smith, UC Riverside

Featuring poets performers, Luna Maia, OLO, Jezebel Delilah X, Maya Chinchilla

PLUS an exhibit of Ethnic Studies political art by
Favianna Rodriguez, Jesus Barraza, Natalia Garcia Pasmanick,
curated by Elisa Diana Huerta, Multicultural Community Center, UC Berkeley

Made possible by the generous support of the Multicultural Community Center, Department of Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, African American Studies, Center for New Racial Studies, Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Gender Women’s Studies Department, Center for the Study of Social Change, Berkeley Center for New Media, Mixed Blood: A Literary Journal, Department of Rhetoric, the Haas Diversity Research Center, the Cal Corps Public Service Center, American Cultures Engaged Scholarship, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, and the Women of Color Initiative

~~~

ABSTRACTS:
(More added soon…)

Media, Maps, Motion

“Like Seeds”: A Cosmic Ecology of Black Feminist Education as Transformation
Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind as a project of BrokenBeautiful Press and the co-creator of the Mobilehomecoming Project

“New energies of darkness/we disturbed a continent/like seeds.”
-June Jordan “Who Look at Me” (1969)

In Living for the Revolution, historian Kimberly Springer notes that by 1981 all of the explicitly black feminist political organizations in the US were defunct. For a black feminist born in 1982, the practice of black feminism in the 21st century requires time travel, a radical redefinition of space, an intentional and ritualized relationship to memory, death, distance and spirit. Informed by Katherine McKittrick’s analysis of the spaces black women inhabit as “demonic grounds” haunted and transformed by the impact of racism and sexism on social space, this presentation elaborates on two time traveling, space-making projects the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind (a multimediated black feminist community school based in Durham, NC with participants around the planet see: blackfeministmind.wordpress.com) and the Queer Black Mobilehomecoming Project (an experiential archive project instigated by two queer black womyn travelling the US in a 1988 Winnebago see: mobilehomecoming.org) as examples of an ecological approach to black feminist dispersal, growth, disruption and impact.

A Tale to Two and Half Investigation: Measuring Institutional Insecurities and Contestational Knowledge
Professor Ricardo Dominguez, UC San Diego

Between January 11th, 2010 and November 10th, 2010 Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 and b.a.n.g. lab, two collaborative artivist research groups based at CALIT2/UCSD (a transdisciplinary institute), and Professor Ricardo Dominguez one of the co-founders of both projects found themselves under two and half investigation over their work on Transborder Immigrant Tool, their Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) performances against UCOP on March 4th,2010 by both UCSD and UCOP administrations. Professor Dominguez was also under investigation by FBI Cyberdivision for potential federal violations for the ECD artivist gesture in solidarity with statewide actions on against the student fee hikes across the UC system. What can learn about the state of artivist practices and research within the UC system and its response to contestational knowledge?

net.walkingtools.Transformer.shift()
Micha Cardenas, UC San Diego

The Transborder Immigrant Tool is a polyvalent, polygendered, collectively created project, a multiplicity. On one level, it is a J2ME java based application that allows users to access the GPS receiver function of a cheap cell phone without having service. On another level, it is an attempt to create an augmented geography, placing a transreal layer of information over the treacherous desert terrain of the US/Mexico border. Our collective imagines the phone as a biopolitical gesture, an experiment in Science of the Oppressed, a form of poetic sustenance and a media virus. In this lecture/performance I will discuss how the TBT conjures spirits of mayan and queer technologies, as well as fears and realities of technology’s ability to disturb borders: national, gender, genre, disciplinary, fiction/non.

Reels of Resistance: Film IS Social Justice Activism for LGBTQ Communities of Color
Madeleine Lim Kebo Drew, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

Weaving galvanizing films with history, QWOCMAP illustrates the ways in which art has always been a source of cultural resistance and cultural renewal for communities of color, especially LGBTQ people of color.

Art has often been the only voice that marginalized communities have had to declare their humanity. Artists have documented, shaped, defined and informed movements for change, and queers artists on the cutting edge of the LGBTQ movement are one of the keys to liberation. From Ghost Dancers to revolutionary Mexican corridos to Civil Rights era SNCC Freedom Singers to queers of color filmmakers like Marlon Riggs and Pratibha Parmar, QWOCMAP show that art IS activism.

Women of Color Feminist Knowledge

Looking for Resistance in all the Right Places: Centering LGBTQ Youth Testimony in Times of Crisis
Prof. Cindy Cruz, UC Santa Cruz

Recalling Renato Rosaldo’s “The observer is neither innocent nor omniscient,” this narrative reflects
on my personal experiences compiling testimonios from a street ethnography with LGBTQ homeless youth. My work as a teacher with LGBTQ youth and my role as queer ethnographer forces a repositioning of method and pedagogy, a process of reflecting on power, space, and resistance in the classroom. Testimonio, as a storytelling genre for the dispossessed, the migrant, and the queer, offers a way of collecting and compiling narrative that makes complicit both the role of a researcher and of the subject. It is an acknowledgement of the constructiveness of personal narrative and life history and of how science, as defined by David Stoll (1999) as “hypothesis, evidence, and generalization,” implicitly positions itself in studies of the “subaltern” as a colonial project. My own attempts at reflexivity position my own testimonies in this research, not as anthropological imperialist or collaborator with power, but as “faithful witness.” It is the recognition that the production of knowledge in anthropology and education is an ideological project and despite the objections of Stoll (1999), the choice of testimonio as a methodology forces a reinvention and a radical repositioning of power for both researcher and subject.

Imperial Pedagogies: Imagining Internationalist/Feminist/Antiracist Literacies
Prof. Piya Chatterjee, UC Riverside

What does it mean to teach about women, gender and US imperialism in the “Inland Empire” of southern California, in a public university? How does a teacher “make meaningful” women’s worlds that are disconnected from the immediacy of US-based categories and politics? In this paper, I explore how the classroom arena can become a pedagogical minefield especially if a teacher is invested in calling out a collective and individual politics of location within the center of empire. I examine these geo-political, national and ethno-racial tensions “of location” by thinking about literacy in a broad sense. I parse this question by sharing stories of classrooms here (in the university) and there (in rural India.) I ask whether through our critiques, and our dialectical imagination and practice, we can imagine anti-imperialist pedagogies of connection and possibility.

Educators Organizing Across Borders

Activist Scholars and the Antiprison Movement
Prof. Julia Oparah (formerly Sudbury), Mills College

Activist scholars have played an important role in analyzing and struggling against the “prison-industrial complex” – a conglomeration of state surveillance/punishment machinery and corporate profit-making that has emerged as a response to the rising numbers of “refugees” displaced by the global economy and U.S. militarism worldwide. However, we have often overlooked the symbiotic relationship that exists between the academy and the prison-industrial complex and have therefore been slow to identify the ways we may also be profiting from mass incarceration. This presentation explores possibilities for activist scholarship to challenge the academy’s increasing complicity with penal expansion. I argue that activist scholars need to pay greater attention to the complexities and complicities posed by the rise of the “academic-prison industrial complex”. Weaving personal anecdote with critical analysis, I reflect on the challenges of producing counter-carceral scholarship and provide examples developed by activist scholars. My discussion pays particular attention to the social relations of prison research and calls on scholars to challenge the power inequalities among themselves, community activists, and people in prison.

Reimagining HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Within A Jail System
Isela González, MPA and Allyse Gray, Forensic AIDS Project

The Forensic AIDS Project, an HIV prevention and care service provider, has served adults incarcerated in the SF county jails for over 25 years. During the past decade we have emphasized and expanded our efforts to improve HIV prevention services to incarcerated women of color by establishing a community based participatory action research collaboration with Dr. Jessica Fields of the San Francisco State University’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality. In 2004 the Reach Inward for Self Empowerment (RISE) Project established a foundation of core values: trust, respect and honoring the life experiences of imprisoned women of color. Our work builds on the notion that they are the experts in their lives and together we can share, learn and expand our knowledge, approach and services to promote healthier lives and communities. Our current new media project “From the Center” centers incarcerated women’s voices by supporting them in creating their own digital stories, a tool that utilizes still images, simple technology with a specific focus on the personal narrative. Our hope is that by empowering incarcerated women of color and providing opportunities for them to have a voice, which is oftentimes silenced in the larger discourse, we can expand the notions of education, knowledge and community.

Academic Freedom, or Academic Responsibility? Agency within the Brain of the Monster
Prof. Nada Elia, Antioch University

As political events evolve around the world, area scholars are called upon to provide expert analysis about various developments. This expertise is understood as the capacity to better understand the socio-political context, grasp its complexities, explain them, and even make highly educated guesses about possible outcomes. The assumption is that scholars have no agency in actually making and shaping the events, they merely observe and interpret them. Elia argues that academics do shape the events they observe, analyze, and comment on. That is, scholars are truly knowledge producers, not merely interpreters. And while some scholarship, under certain circumstances, can theoretically be “neutral,” the political reality is such that, the more militarized a society, the less likely it is that its academy functions in a bubble, an Ivory Tower. Indeed, the more militarized a society, the more complicit its academy. Academic freedom, then, means freedom to resist complicity with the oppressive state. In Palestine, this translates into the boycott of institutions that research and develop the tools of occupation and apartheid.

Sparking, Defending, and Envisioning
Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley

*Tokenized, Romanticized, and Professionalized*: Establishing the Significance and Urgency of Decolonizing the University
Ruben Elias Canedo Sanchez, UC Berkeley

For this dialogue, I will combine: (a) Zeus Leonardo’s work on the neo-abolition of whiteness, (b) Gloria Anzaldua’s mestiza consciousness, (c) statistics on the representation of students of color, first-generation, and low-income students at UC Berkeley from 1996 to present, and (d) my experiences in Student Initiated Spaces and Student Support Services. Furthermore, I will critique current re-constructionist neo-liberal efforts, that are utilizing the banner of “diversity.” I will present how they have negative disproportionate effects on the spaces of underrepresented communities at UC Berkeley. By the end of this presentation, I hope to provide enough questions, alternative critical analyses, and arguments to establish the significance and urgency that decolonizing institutions of higher education through theory, pedagogy, and praxis has.

Staging Hunger, Embodying Pain: Some Queer Thoughts on Campus Organizing
Prof. Sara Kaplan, UC San Diego

This presentation revisits the 1999 student strike for Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley in the context of the widespread student-of-color protests at UC San Diego last February. This juxtaposition of two campus-based struggles around race, gender, and knowledge production serves as the point of entry for a queer reflection on campus organizing—that is, one that looks askance, rather than backwards. How might understanding such campaigns as the performance of a collective radical ‘kinesthetic imagination’ allow us to reconceive of political protest as something that, like performance itself, represents, but does not reproduce? What truisms of campus organizing must then be jettisoned or rethought? And what new political possibilities might be opened up?

From 1969 to the Present: A Brief History Outlining the Critical Role of Women of Color in the Struggle for Ethnic Studies
Ziza Delgado, UC Berkeley

In 1969, when the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) erupted at UC Berkeley, women of color organized in multifarious ways. Women of color brought to the movement their experiences as an oppressed group in their own communities, the institution, and their previous experience organizing in
other arenas such as the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements. For many of the women who participated in the TWLF, the struggle was located not only in their contentious fights against the university, but also against male chauvinism from within their organizations. Today, I can say that as a
member of multiple Ethnic Studies alliances and coalitions, women are playing key leadership roles with the fervent support of our brothers in the movement. The coalitionary politics playing out in today’s struggle to maintain and expand Ethnic Studies, is reflective of the critical spaces and knowledge production that women of color have fought to establish in the intellectual and political realms. This presentation will discuss the shift in ideology and praxis of women of color, and their male comrades, in the struggle to *create* and *sustain* Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.

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