Articles From : ihcucsb
Research Focus Group Symposium: Ancient Archives and Public History: Dispatches from the Papyrological Lost and Found
From the poetry of Sappho to the New Testament, texts written on papyrus have been preserved for millennia by arid conditions in Egypt, excavated, and collected in archives. This timely colloquium examines the legal and ethical problems surrounding these papyrological archives. Roberta Mazza will tell the story of how ancient papyri of unknown provenance were acquired by the Museum of the Bible and are now at the center of a scandal and police investigation.
Humanities Decanted: Queering Black Atlantic Religions: Transcorporeality in Candomblé, Santería, and Vodou
In Queering Black Atlantic Religions, Roberto Strongman examines Haitian Vodou, Cuban Lucumí/Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé to demonstrate how religious rituals of trance possession allow humans to understand themselves as embodiments of the divine. In these rituals, the commingling of humans and the divine produces gender identities that are independent of biological sex. As opposed to the Cartesian view of the spirit as locked within the body, the body in Afro-diasporic religions is an open receptacle.
Jullien’s latest book follows the renunciation story in Borges and beyond, arguing for its centrality as a Borgesian compositional trope and as a Borgesian prism for reading a global constellation of texts. The renunciation story at the heart of Buddhism, that of a king who leaves his palace to become an ascetic, fascinated Borges because of its cross-cultural adaptability and metamorphic nature, and because it resonated so powerfully across philosophy, politics and aesthetics.
Migrant Longing draws upon Miroslava Chávez-García’s personal collection of 300 letters exchanged by family members across the U.S.-Mexico border, illuminating what migrants experienced in their everyday lives both “here” and “there” (aqui y alla). Chávez-García uses these private, firsthand accounts to demonstrate not only how migrants struggled to maintain their sense of humanity in el norte but also how those remaining at home made sense of their changing identities in response to the loss of loved ones.
Nations that successfully navigate crises do so by making selective changes to their identities and actions. When individuals experience crises—mid-life, financial, health, relationship—they may also adopt selective changes to overcome the situation. But some individuals, like some nations, are better at navigating upheaval than others.
SURVIVING HOME is an intimate documentary that follows four U.S. military veterans from different generations over an eight year period as they rebuild their lives after war. Interwoven with veterans’ voices from across the country, their unique paths of healing and transformation shed light on longterm consequences of war and raise questions about the roots of war and societal cycles of violence.
Sitting in that hotel armchair, I realized that my deadly disease was giving me newfound power at the very moment it was depriving me of so much strength. My voice was growing softer, but I was being heard by more people than ever before. My legs were disintegrating, but more and more people were following in my footsteps. Precisely because my days were numbered, people drew inspiration from my decision to spend them in resistance. Precisely because I faced such obstacles, my comrades were moved by my message that struggle is never futile.
Plastic production, use, and pollution have been growing steadily for decades, without much public comment or concern. But suddenly, and very recently, there has been strong and widespread backlash against the pervasiveness of plastic. What prompted this sudden change in public opinion? Did plastic pollution itself reach a tipping point? Or did public attitudes toward this pollutant undergo a radical shift? Roland Geyer will discuss the history of global plastic production and disposal and will consider the future of both plastic and public outrage against its environmental impact.
CHIMERA is a science fiction play set in 2050 that centers around a love triangle and an artificially intelligent firefighting cyborg named AICH#805. Entertaining the fate of human existence in an era of climate change, the play discusses technological innovations that move us closer to “the singularity”—the moment when super-intelligent machines evolve without human assistance—as we simultaneously grapple with the more immediate threat of environmental collapse. Our main characters must reconcile the past and save humanity before being expelled from planet Earth.
For many of us today, the artifice of legal personhood — the corporate person in particular — provokes outrage. Focusing on the legal fiction of slave personhood, this paper argues that in the 19th-century U.S. the greater danger came from naturalizing this artifice by attaching it to actual African American people, regardless of condition. This reconsideration of legal personhood contributes to current efforts by political theorists, legal historians, classicists, and philosophers to historicize the concept of dignity prior to the 20th-century human rights regime.
LAUNCHING NEW RESEARCH IN THE HUMANITIES: PRESENTATIONS BY THE IHC’S 2018-19 FACULTY FELLOWS – Elena Aronova, Karen Lunsford, Amit Shilo, Martha Sprigge
Please join us in celebrating our 2018-19 Faculty Fellows, whose works-in-progress are supported this year by IHC release-time awards. Fellows will give a short presentation of their work. A reception will follow.
Elena Aronova, History
“Making Science History: The Forgotten Socialist Roots of Big History and Big Data”
Karen Lunsford, Writing Program
“The Effects of Intellectual Property Law in Writing Studies: Ethics, Gatekeepers, and Academic Knowledge-Making”