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All ISSI events are free and open to the public. (There is a fee for some workshops as noted below).

For more information, please contact us at issi(at)berkeley(dot)edu or (510) 642-0813.

For wheelchair access to the Duster Conference Room (2420 Bowditch Street) or Wildavsky Conference Room (2538 Channing Way), please call (510) 642-0813 one day before the scheduled event.


Wednesday, February 1 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Theorizing Black Europe; Strident Imperialists, Peripheral Colonial Beneficiaries and the Contemporary Politics of Immigration and Citizenship

Stephen A. Small, Associate Professor, African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Contemporary Europe is made up of at least 46 nations, with an estimated population of 657 million people (2015). Although the vast majority of nations do not keep census data on race, I estimate there are no more than 8 million Black people in Europe, with the vast majority of them (at least 80%) resident in 12 nations.  Mainstream academic knowledge production on Black people in Europe is preoccupied with recent and current immigrants, patterns of adaptation, and with the ideas of tolerance and gratitude. Most scholars typically disavow the relevance of racism in favor of ethnicity and nationality for understanding the inequality in which Black people find themselves today. It is overwhelmingly characterized by nation-specific studies that downplay colonial or imperialism involvement or their legacies, and consider Black people only as a marginal group subsumed under the far greater number of non-Black immigrants.  In opposition, a smaller number of analysts inside and outside the academy embraces a framework that advocates knowledge production based on a recognition of citizenship, an evaluation of institutional racism, and an appreciation of rights and respect. This second group of analysts highlights the historical interconnections among nations in the growth of Black Europe, as well as their legacies; and foregrounds the dynamics of citizenship shaping Black people’s experiences at present. 

Professor Small frames today’s presentation from the perspective of the second group of analysts.  Small defines Black Europe as being constituted by four overlapping, non-linear components, that have unfolded historically and are manifest today, each of which is irrepressibly gendered. These four elements are race-thinking (including racist thinking), the institutional pillars of racialization, the Black cultural presence (tangible and intangible) and the Black human presence. In this way he brings an analysis of Black people and racism to the foreground, he reveals the ideological blinders institutionalized in the taken-for-granted assumptions of academic neutrality, including its colonialist language; he highlights issues of gender, race and intersectionality; and offers suggestions for how to think about the relationship between the underlying foundations of Black Europe, and the specifics of Black people in different nations in Europe.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, February 2 | 4:00-5:30 pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

The Master Plan: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for Final Victory   

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow in the International Studies Program at New America

This talk will offer an incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020. Drawing on large troves of recently declassified documents captured from the Islamic State and its predecessors, counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman tells the story of this organization's complex and largely hidden past--and what the master plan suggests about its future. Fishman argues that only by understanding the Islamic State's full history--and the strategy that drove it--can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Institute of European Studies

Monday, February 6 | 4:30-6:00 pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Third World Studies: Theorizing Liberation

Gary Okihiro, Professor, International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

A conversation with author about his book, Third World Studies: Theorizing Liberation.  In 1968 the Third World Liberation Front at San Francisco State College demanded the creation of a Third World studies program to counter the existing curricula that ignored issues of power—notably, imperialism and oppression. The administration responded by institutionalizing an ethnic studies program; Third World studies was over before it began. Detailing the field's genesis and premature death, Gary Y. Okihiro presents an intellectual history of ethnic studies and Third World studies and shows where they converged and departed by identifying some of their core ideas, concepts, methods, and theories. In so doing, he establishes the contours of a unified field of study—Third World studies—that pursues a decolonial politics by examining the human condition broadly, especially in regard to oppression, and critically analyzing the locations and articulations of power as manifested in the social formation. Okihiro's framing of Third World studies moves away from ethnic studies' liberalism and its U.S.-centrism to emphasize the need for complex thinking and political action in the drive for self-determination. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender, Departments of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Thursday - Friday, February 9-10 

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine presents:

Circulating Health: Mediatization and the (Im)Mobilization of Medical Subjects and Objects

This interdisciplinary, international conference features scholars from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Singapore, the UK, and the USA. The conference explores intersections between health and media, including how health news shapes conceptions of the body, life, death, race, health, disease, and health care and ideas about what constitutes knowledge about health, who has it, who needs it, and what sorts of rights and obligations it engenders. 

Please register in advance.   To read more information regrding this conference, click here

Location: Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by: Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Institute of International Studies

Co-sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Journalism, Townsend Center for the Humanities, and School of Public Health, Berkeley Media Studies Group of the Public Health Institute, and the Folklore Graduate Program

Tuesday, February 14 I 3:30-5:00pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Ambivalent Kinship and the Production of Wellbeing: the Social Dynamics of Health Among Women in Indian Slums

Claire Snell-Rood,  Assistant Professor, Health and Social Behavior, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley

Contemporary advocates for health have endorsed widespread change through attention to the social conditions of health. Yet the large scale and policy orientation of this approach are unconcerned with how women negotiate their social relationships every day. Guided by new anthropological approaches to kinship, I examine women's relationships with family, community, state, and the environment through ethnography in a North Indian slum. While relationships were necessary channels to obtain the stuff of survival, women remarked on their hidden consequences. Haphazardly played, relationships yielded disastrous effects on social reputation, piled on long-term obligation, and whittled away one’s self-respect. Women could be left with no one to depend on and no moral reserve to sustain themselves. What was in their hands, they explained, were the boundaries they drew within relationships to maintain their independence and their capacity to define their meaning. This ethnographic approach re-appraises the social scientific and health literature on patron-client relationships, social support, and family exchange, while introducing a new social lens to approach wellness.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Gender & Women's Studies, and Institute for South Asia Studies​, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, February 22 I 12:00-1:30pm

Crossing Paths: Graduate & Undergraduate Exchanges of Indigenous Research

"Liminal Objects of Settler Encounters: Metal Gorgets and Indigenous Reclamation of the Colonial Past in Australia"

Anya Montiel, PhD Candidate, American Studies, Yale University

"PostIndian Simulations: Trickster Theory in the Work of Gerald Vizenor"

Dominique Althoff, undergraduate, Native American Studies, UC Berkeley

554 Barrows Hall

Co-sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, American Indian Graduate Student Association, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, Native American Student Development, Native American Recruitment and Retention Center, Graduate Assembly, and the ASUC

Wednesday, February 22 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Schedule Instability and Unpredictability and Worker and Family Health and Wellbeing

Daniel Schneider, Assistant Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley

The American labor market is increasingly unequal, characterized by extraordinary returns to work at the top of the market but rising precarity and instability at the bottom of the market. In addition to low wages, short tenure, few benefits, and non¬standard hours, many jobs in the retail and food service industries are characterized by a great deal of instability and unpredictability in work schedules. Such workplace practices may have detrimental effects on workers. However, the lack of existing suitable data has precluded empirical investigation of how such scheduling practices affect the health and wellbeing of workers and their families. We describe an innovative approach to survey data collection from targeted samples of service¬ sector workers that allows us to collect previously unavailable data on scheduling practices and on health and wellbeing. We then use these data to show that exposure to unstable and unpredictable schedules is negatively associated with household financial security, worker health, and parenting practices.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way


Wednesday, March 1 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

Oh, God! The Religious Right to Sexual Pleasure on Christian Sexuality Websites

Kelsy Burke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

This talk examines how some conservative evangelical Christians justify a wide range of sexual practices and pleasures within the confines of religious orthodoxy and heterosexuality. Based on her 2016 book, Christians under Covers: Evangelicals and Sexual Pleasure on the Internet, Burke shows how online dialogue on Christian message boards and blogs both reinforces and reimagines religious rules about gender, marriage, and what counts as sexually normal and good.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

Friday, March 3 I 5:00-8:00pm

Center for Latino Policy Research presents:

Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética: Opening Reception

Juana Alicia, Muralist, Printmaker, Educator, Activist and Painter

Join CLPR for the opening of their first art exhibition! CLPR will be featuring the renowned muralist and artist, Juana Alicia. The event will mark the beginning of a month-long Open House featuring many visionary artists from our community. 

Shorb House (Center for Latino Policy Research), 2547 Channing Way

Tuesday, March 7 |  4:00-5:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents: 

Is ‘Decarceration’ Even a Word? The Legal Reform of Mass Incarceration in California

Anjuli Verma, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow, Jurisprudence and Social Policy, UC Berkeley

Scholarship on mass incarceration in the U.S. has surged over recent decades, for good reason. However, this talk pivots attention to prison downsizing and decarceration as emergent social facts in the 21st century. Prisoner rights litigation (Brown v. Plata 2011) in combination with state law and policy innovations in the form of Public Safety Realignment (Assembly Bill 109 2011) and the voter-initiated Proposition 47 (2014) have made California the current epicenter of prison downsizing. Realignment legislation devolved criminal justice supervision from the state to the county level, making counties responsible for the penalties they impose for a sizeable class of offenses. The present research investigates how California’s 58 counties responded to this challenge. Findings from the first in-depth analysis of the state’s prison Realignment will be presented with respect to a key question: will Realignment result in system-wide decarceration, or merely the relocation of incarceration to alternative institutional sites, such as local jails? Multiple methods are used to describe and explain different responses and identify the local conditions that appear to have made decarceration possible in some places but not others. Discussion of the theoretical and policy implications will confront foundational questions about the social organization of governmental power and conditions of institutional change and resistance, as well as urge the field to revisit deinstitutionalization as a distinct social process with consequences for stratification and inequality, community health and wellbeing, and human dignity.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Wednesday, March 8 I 4:00-7:00pm

Center for Latino Policy Research presents:

Radical Poster Making for Collective Liberation: A Hands On Workshop with Dignidad Rebelde

Dignidad Rebelde, a Bay Area graphic arts collaboration with Jesus Berraza and Melanie Cervantes

Join CLPR for a workshop led by Dignidad Rebelde! Dignidad Rebelde in collaboration with Jesus Berraza and Melanie Cervantes, will frame this three hour workshop by providing participants a brief history of the role of political graphics in global liberation struggles as well as sharing examples of Dignidad Rebelde’s work. This history will be illustrated with a slideshow presentation. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for participants to learn how to screenprint. Participants will then use the screen printing images to add messages and additional content to their posters.

Shorb House (Center for Latino Policy Research), 2547 Channing Way

Thursday, March 9 | 12:00-1:00pm

Graduate Fellows Program presents:

2017-18 Graduate Fellows Program Application Workshop

In its forty years of existence, the Graduate Fellows Program (GFP) has provided an interdisciplinary research and training environment as a complement to, and resource for, UC Berkeley graduate programs in the social sciences and professional schools. Over 150 UC Berkeley graduate students have completed their doctoral studies and gone on to distinguished academic careers that have significantly influenced their disciplines and fields on issues of social change and inequality.

In an expansion of the Graduate Fellows Program, the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues will provide funding for one additional Berkeley doctoral student who has completed at least three years of graduate studies and whose research focuses on Native American issues in the US today.

GFP Training Coordinators, Dr. David Minkus and Dr. Deborah Lustig, will provide an overview of the application process, the criteria applied when evaluating applicants, and the content and organization of the Graduate Fellows Program. Attending the workshop is not required.

For more information and to download an application click here.

Troy Duster Conference Room, 2420 Bowditch Street

Friday, March 10 I 4:00-7:00pm

Center for Latino Policy Research presents:

Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética: A Presentation and Conversation with Juana Alicia

Juana Alicia, Muralist, Printmaker, Educator, Activist and Painter

Muralist Juana Alicia continues to be an important voice in our community, and we are proud to be hosting her for a presentation and discussion on her artwork and activism. Join CLPR after the talk for some light refreshments.

Shorb House (Center for Latino Policy Research), 2547 Channing Way

Monday, March 13 I 4:00-5:00pm

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine​ presents: 

Fighting for Health Equity in 2017 and Beyond

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

With welcoming remarks by Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

Affordable, accessible, high-quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. Congresswoman Lee served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the drafting of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and worked to ensure strong provisions that expand health care access, address health disparities and create incentives for people to live healthy lives. As a psychiatric social worker, Congresswoman Lee is dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to affordable and high-quality healthcare, especially the most vulnerable. Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s main healthcare focus is always on health disparities and health equity, especially for racial and ethnic minorities. Congresswoman Lee is strongly opposed to any efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and will continue to fight to ensure that we all have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Free and open to the public. Please register in advance.

Chan Sun Auditorium, 2050 Valley Life Sciences Building. Please enter from the east side of the building (facing the Campanile)

Co-sponsored by the Schools of Public Health and Social Welfare, UC Berkeley, and Samuel Merritt University

View the event video here

Tuesday, March 14 I 4:00-6:00pm

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Structural Competency Event Series:

Violence, Stigma, and Health Disparities of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

A symposium featuring Paul Sterzing (UC Berkeley), Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) and Mark Hatzenbeuhler (Columbia University). 

150 University Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. 

Sponsored by: The Center for Child and Youth Policy, School of Social Welfare, School of Public Health, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Institute of Human Development

Contact with any questions

Tuesday, March 14  I 4:30-6:00pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

The Present Political Divide: What To Do Now

George Lakoff, Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society and Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, UC Berkeley

How does Trump think, how does he control public discourse, and why does he have the appeal that he has? What do the Democrats fail to understand about Trump and his followers? And what can those in the American majority that oppose Trump do now, and what should the majority and the media not do that would only help Trump?

Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Linguistics Department and Berkeley Center for Neural Mind & Society, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 15 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Seminar Series: 

Geographies of Activism: Cartographic Memory and Community Practices of Care

Juan Herrera, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University 

Chris Zepeda-Millán, Assistant Professor and Chair, Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley as a respondent

Less visible than 1960s Chicano Movement protest politics of sit-ins, marches, and boycotts are the Mexican American activists who created community-based organizations by enlisting residents in neighborhood improvement projects. Drawing from oral histories of 1960s activists from Oakland’s Fruitvale district, Professor Herrera shows how they consolidated a robust politics of place—establishing institutions that transformed the urban landscape and fashioned lasting commitments to social justice. He argues that the work of remembering 1960s activism is a cartographic process that draws attention to the social movement production of space. His concept of cartographic memory is a practice deployed by activists and an analytic to interpret how and why they defined their activities though the invocation and graphing of space. Activists’ cartographic recollections were fundamentally political claims to power that operated through space. Their memories served as a central device to bring into focus the transformative and experimental aspects of the Chicano movement, and its enduring impacts.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research, Department of Ethnic Studies, Institute of Urban and Regional Development and Center for Latino Research Policy, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 15 I 5:00-7:00pm

Center for Latino Policy Research presents:

Berkeley Leadership - A Reception with Jesse Arreguin

Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley Mayor

Featuring the exhibit "Poetic Justice/ Justicia Poética: the art of Juana Alicia"

Shorb House (Center for Latino Policy Research), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Chicanx Latinx Academic Student Development, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Latinos Unidos - City of Berkeley, Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta Commemoration Committee

Tuesday, March 21 I 4:00-7:00pm

Engaging Contradictions: Research, Action, and Justice workshop series presents:

Under the Radar: Research and Technology in an Age of Surveillance

"Engaging Contradictions" is a workshop series focused on issues of pertinence to community engaged scholars and the role of the University in the current political climate. The core of this series is the first-hand experience of individuals, organizations, and movements. We are working to create awareness, share knowledge and tools, and strengthen this community.

Surveillance presents challenges to researchers, particularly those engaged with organizations, social movements and targeted communities. Yet community-engaged research is as important as ever. How should researchers and community partners (people, movements, organizations) navigate these challenges? What legal, practical, and theoretical tools are useful? This workshop is broken up into three complementary sessions. Attend them all or just one or two. The first session (4-4:50pm) will cover digital security and policy: what has happened, what may happen, and what the organizations on the front lines are doing to protect academics; during the second session (5-5:50pm) attendees will review real life surveillance cases by academics and social movements and the tactics they used to protect themselves, and finally during the third session (6-6:50pm) attendees will learn hands on tools for protecting themselves, their subjects, and their data.

This event is free and open to the public. Dinner will be provided.  Bring your computer. Register here

Dwinelle 117, Academic Innovation Studio, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 22 - CANCELLED

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Chronic Cultural Impossibility: Ideologies that Undermine Health as a Fundamental Social Right

Clara Mantini-Briggs, Visiting Lecturer, Departments of Anthropology and Demography, UC Berkeley

This event has been cancelled. 

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Thursday, March 23 I 5:00-8:00pm

Center for Latino Policy Research presents:

Telling our stories, a talk and film screening with Ray Telles

Ray Telles, Associate Adjunct Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Berkeley

Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker Ray Telles and CLPR artist-in-residence talks about the importance of telling the stories and accomplishments of leaders and artists in our community. Join CLPR for a screening and brief discussion of Ray Telles’ film A Photographer’s Journey, a documentary film that tells the story of Pedro E. Guerrero, a Mexican-American, born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary, and often overlooked career as an international photographer. 

Shorb House (Center for Latino Policy Research), 2547 Channing Way


Tuesday, April 4 I 4:00-5:30pm

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine presents:

What Gets Inside: Violent Entanglements and Toxic Boundaries in Mexico City 

Elizabeth Roberts, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Michigan

Entanglement is a key concept in contemporary science and technology studies (STS).  By tracing all the contingent and uncertain relations that endow objects with seemingly stable boundaries, entanglement allows us to see how such boundaries restrict our ability to know the world better.  This talk deploys the concept of entanglement in an examination of contemporary life in a working-class Mexico City neighborhood, Colonia Periferico, and a longitudinal environmental health project that studies the neighborhood’s residents.  While entanglement is useful for analyzing the study (e.g., for reconnecting variables that the scientists have isolated), my examination of the entanglement of working-class bodies with NAFTA and the ongoing War on Drugs shows that the concept has its limits.  For working-class residents of Mexico City life is already deeply entangled with chronic economic and political instability shaped through the violent ravages of transnational capital.  To explore the utility and limits of entanglement, Roberts traces how residents in Col. Periferico seek stability by making boundaries to keep out the disruptive effects of police and public health surveillance. Col. Periferico’s toxic boundaries, which include a sewage-filled dam, cement dust, and freeway exhaust, are clearly entangled with residents’ health.  They get inside. These entanglements are the price paid for a remarkable stability within Col. Periferico’s boundaries, where children can play on the streets and attentive care for drug-addicted and disabled residents is part of everyday life. Additionally, residents would like to share in the privilege of inhabiting a world where objects can be experienced separate from the relations that make them; a world with reliable drinking water and accurate blood lead measurements. With the goal of knowing the world better, then, STS might complicate celebratory calls for the uncertainty of entanglement by taking into account both the practices that make boundaries, and what boundaries have to offer.   

Co-sponsored by Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, UC Berkeley and Medical Anthropology (UCB-UCSF)

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 6 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Seminar Series: 

How It Slips Away/We Still Here: A Blues Geography of Black Portland

Lisa K. Bates, Associate Professor, Director, Center for Urban Studies, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University

with Carolina Reid, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley, as respondent

Black Portland is often portrayed through metrics of disparity and deficiency, without reference to particular regional structures of opportunity and disenfranchisement, and without hearing the voices of Black Portlanders themselves. Professor Bates uses Clyde Woods’ framework of blues epistemology as Black ways of knowing geography in order to elucidate the place history and justice claims of Black Portland. Black Portlanders’ experience is at once highly particular and universal in its blues narrative of enclosure, displacement, and the desecration of sacred spaces, expressed through stories of what artist Sharita Towne calls “joyful hardships.” Professor Bates considers how an emancipatory planning process, the Portland People’s Plan, can shift from recognition--the blues story of what might have been but for racial oppression-- to reclamation. By asking Black Portlanders to imagine what it would look like if their city loved Black people, the planning creates a space for both a counter-narrative of community history and a collectively developed pathway towards a more just future.  

170 Wurster Hall

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, Center for Race and Gender, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, Department of City and Regional Planning, and Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Friday, April 7 I 9:30-5:30pm

The Future of Higher Education: Creating Opportunity, Assessing Value

Over the past two decades, despite increases in student demand for public higher education and steady demand from employers for higher-skilled workers, state funding has declined, forcing public universities to respond with tuition hikes and new funding mechanisms. What role should universities play in meeting society’s need for expertise and the individual’s need for socioeconomic security in the 21st century?  What value does a higher education degree hold for the individual and for society?  Should states increase funding for public universities to accommodate the increasing student demand?  If not states, who will – and who should – bear the costs of public higher education, and how can a return on this investment be measured and demonstrated to students, policy makers, and taxpayers? 

This conference will feature leading scholars who will examine these questions and the implications of recent developments in higher education for the future of American universities, students and society.  Read more about the conference and register here.

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and Institute of Governmental Studies,

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, and Cal Alumni Association

Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

Wednesday, April 12 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Does Poverty Lower Productivity? Evidence on the Cognitive Effects of Financial Constraints

Supreet Kaur, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, UC Berkeley

Recent work at the intersection of psychology and economics posits that the condition of being financially constrained induces cognitive load, leading to potentially lower cognitive function among the poor. If true, this has the potential to lower labor productivity among the poor—providing a channel through which poverty could directly reinforce itself.  We design a field experiment with Indian piece rate manufacturing workers to examine a link between financial constraints and worker productivity. We induce exogenous variation in both the extent of financial constraints as well as their salience among workers. Initial results indicate that increasing the salience of workers’ financial condition sharply lowers worker productivity and take home earnings when workers are cash poor, but not when they are cash rich. These findings support a link between poverty and productivity.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 13 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Seminar Series: 

Braiding Knowledge: Opportunities and Perils of Community-Based Research and Activist Scholarship with Indigenous Communities

Sonya Atalay, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director, UMass Anthropology

Kojun "Jun" Ueno Sunseri, Ph.D., RPA, Assistant Professor, Archaeological Research Facility, UC Berkeley as a respondent 

A commitment to decolonization requires fundamental shifts in the way we make, teach, and share new knowledge. Transforming research from an extractive or exploitative endeavor toward a practice that contributes to healing and community-well being is one of the key challenges of our time for those in the academy today.  Drawing on multiple recent archaeology and heritage-related projects carried out in partnership with Native American and Turkish communities, Professor Atalay will share the exciting possibilities of community-based research practices along with the complexities, contradictions, and impediments involved in doing engaged and activist scholarship. From complex ethical dilemmas and our need for revised IRB processes, to enhancing our skill sets in collaborative, participatory planning and knowledge mobilization strategies - Atalay will discuss both the promise and perils involved in transforming research through a community-based approach.

Multicultural Community Center, MLK Jr. Student Union

Co-sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, American Indian Graduate Program, American Indian Graduate Student Association, Native American Student Development, Archeological Research Facility, and Department of Anthropology​ UC Berkeley

Friday, April 21 I 9:00am-3:30pm

Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies Symposium:

Anxious Democracy: The First Hundred Days of The Trump Presidency

This conference focuses on the first hundred days of the presidency of Donald Trump from perspectives including legal, historical, sociological, and policy analysis. Our aim is to begin academic conversations and develop analyses of how the Trump administration and the movement and ideology it represents relate to social, economic and political transformations in the United States and around the world. Scholars from UC Berkeley and other Bay Area academic institutions will speak on implications and effects of the administration's foreign and domestic policies, as well as the legal questions surrounding its agenda.

This symposium is free and open to the public.

REGISTER for the conference here

Read more about the symposium's panels and speakers here.

Blanche DuBois Room (D37), Hearst Field Annex, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the History Department, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Graduate School of Journalism, and the Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Monday, April 24 | 4:00pm-6:00pm

ISSI's Graduate Fellows Program presents:

Health, Race, and Housing: Three Perspectives on Urban Inequality

Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Melody Tulier, DrPH Candidate, School of Public Health, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Cynthia Ledesma, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Ethnic Studies, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

with Malo André Hutson, Chancellor's Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley as respondent 

Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana | "Race and Class in the News: How the Media Portrays Gentrification" 

Whether it’s affordable housing, health insurance, or crime, how a social problem is raced and classed in common discourse contributes to how problems are interpreted and reacted to by the general public and policymakers.  The media both informs and reinforces readers’ perceptions about what happens when social processes like gentrification take place, who is affected, and whether this type of change is positive or negative.  Media representations can thus influence public perception, policy framing, and local policies around urban development.  This paper uses newspaper articles from 1990 to 2014 from San Francisco, CA to document how the process of gentrification is raced and classed.  Using text analysis and qualitative coding, I find that gentrification is usually described as a process involving black and low-income neighborhoods experiencing a recent in-movement of white and middle-class residents.  While articles that discussed both race and class presented benefits and concerns about the process of gentrification, articles that discussed class alone were most likely to raise concerns about gentrification and articles that only discussed race were more likely to present benefits of gentrification.  Given the prevalence of depictions of predominately black and low-income neighborhoods, this suggests that Americans may see gentrification as a solution to social ills associated with black and poor neighborhoods such as urban disinvestment and crime, rather than a process reducing affordable housing and displacing low-income, long-term residents.    

Melody Tulier | "The Puzzle of Gentrification and Preventable Mortality: An Exploratory Study Based in Alameda County" 

Gentrification, a process of economic and demographic shifts within neighborhoods, changes a neighborhood’s economic, social, and physical resources, which are critical to resident health outcomes. While some argue gentrification improves public services, neighborhood aesthetics and community safety, others contend it catalyzes displacement of long-term residents and loss of health protective social networks. Is the rate of preventable death changing over time among long-term residents in low-income census tracts of varying stages of gentrification within Alameda County?  In the context of gentrification, preventable deaths include those where: a limited time of exposure is necessary to result in death, the illnesses are easily treatable or acuity is modifiable, and resources necessary for modification are plausible within neighborhoods experiencing gentrification. Rates of preventable mortality are quantified by census tract using individual cause of death data for all deceased individuals in Alameda County from 2005 – 2013. The association between stages of gentrification and preventable mortality in Alameda County is then examined. This research helps to illuminate current macro-level forces exacerbating or mitigating health inequities and moves beyond traditional individual level behavior measures that stymie policy change. 

Cynthia Ledesma | "Gaging the Color-line: Segregation, Space-making and the Zone of Non-being" 

Chicago served as a major port of entry for waves of migrants throughout the 20th century. After decades of European migration, the arrival of Mexicans and African-Americans in the early and mid 20th century profoundly altered the racial landscape of the burgeoning metropolis. Using the decennial census on population and housing data and archival materials, including newspaper articles and interviews, from 1960-2000, I examine two neighborhoods on Chicago’s southwest side, Gage Park and Chicago Lawn, during a period of intense racial turmoil impelled by efforts to desegregate housing and schooling. I briefly examine the historical relationship between African-American and Mexican newcomers vis-à-vis white long-term residents to contextualize the processes of differential racialization and incorporation into a local racial schema. Using a Fanonian conceptualization of racism, I argue that African-American and Mexican racialization, while displaying strikingly different overt and covert characteristics, relegated both groups to a geo-political “zone of non-being.” 

Duster Room, ISSI, 2420 Bowditch Street

Thursday, April 27 | 3:30pm-5:00pm

ISSI's Graduate Fellows Program presents:

North and South: Technologies of Order and Escape

Héctor Beltrán, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Jen Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Ethnic Studies, and Graduate Fellow, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, UC Berkeley

with Keith P. Feldman, Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley as respondent

Héctor Beltrán | "Staging the Hackathon: Codeworlds and Code Work in Mexico" 

Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork between 2014 and 2016, this paper investigates emerging forms of hacking and entrepreneurial development in Mexico. To understand how hackathons, tech startups, and co-working spaces have become part of the national imaginary for rethinking Mexico, I first provide political and economic context.  As research participants tease out the tensions between being-made and self-making, they learn to fill an overarching neoliberal agenda with substance, meaning, and materiality. I show how young people attend hackathons and hone their coding skills at co-working spaces in Mexico City and in Xalapa, as they hack away to build solidarity and find the “coding bliss,” the affective dimension one encounters when creating beautiful code. As participants navigate the seemingly contradictory domains of hacking and entrepreneurship, “hacking” emerges as a way to make sense of their future livelihoods in a precarious state and economy, as a way to exist in a system where things just don’t seem to work, and as a way to let the “code work” intervene in narratives that have only delivered false hopes. As hackathons continue to proliferate across the globe, promising to turn anyone into a “hacker,” I propose that the emergence of the hacker as a subject position indexes a particular mode of orienting toward the world in contemporary society.

Jen Smith | "The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899: Race, Space, and Edward Curtis' Photography" 

The Harriman Alaska Expedition (HAE) of 1899 was an academic pilgrimage of the era’s predominant intellectuals, including John Muir, Edward Curtis, and George Bird Grinnell. The team of scientists and cultural critics toured the Alaskan coast and collected over 12 volumes of data, maps, photographs and drawings. I do close readings of Curtis’s photography to demonstrate the co-emergent traditions of anthropology and natural history as they are manifested in Alaska at the turn of the century. I argue that the undecided legal status of those indigenous to Alaska precipitated unprecedented interpretations of land in American history and created the unique status of Alaska as it is produced in representation and materially. In this way, I demonstrate how colonial definitions of land and race are co-constituted.

Wildavsky Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Friday, April 28 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research  presents:

Learning and Legislating Love: Family Inequality and U.S. Marriage Education Policy

Jennifer Randles, Assistant Professor, Sociology, CSU Fresno

with Jill Duerr Berrick, Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor, School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley as respondent

The U.S. federal Healthy Marriage Initiative has spent almost $1 billion since 2002 to fund hundreds of relationship and marriage education programs across the country. Randles spent three years attending healthy marriage classes and interviewing the couples who took them to understand what marriage education policy reveals about political understandings of how romantic experiences, relationship behaviors, and marital choices are primary mechanisms of inequality. In this talk, she will take the audience inside the marriage education classroom to reveal how healthy marriage policy promotes the idea that preventing poverty depends on individuals’ abilities to learn about skilled love, a strategy that assumes individuals can learn to love in line with long-term marital commitment by developing rational romantic values, emotional competencies, and interpersonal habits. She will ultimately show how the teaching of skilled love is a misguided political strategy intended to prevent risky and financially costly relationship choices and to provide the ostensible link between marriage and financial stability. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race and Gender, Deparatment of Sociology and Gender & Women's Studies, UC Berkeley


Monday May 1 | 1:00-7:00pm

Tuesday May 2 | 11:00am-8:00pm

Anthropology on the Frontlines: Honoring the Work of Nancy Scheper-Hughes

For program, locations, and free registration, please visit:

The complete program is available here.

For any questions, please contact

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Wednesday, May 3 | 12:00-1:30pm

ISSI's Graduate Fellows Program presents:

Hidden Burdens: How Social and Educational Experiences Are Shaped by Race and Immigration Status    

Esther Cho, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Kelechi Uwaezuoke, DrPH Candidate, School of Public Health, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

with Bruce Fuller, Professor, Education and Public Policy, UC Berkeley as respondent 

Esther Cho | "Practicing Relational Security: Selective Disclosure in Friendships of Korean and Mexican Undocumented Young Adults " 

Based on 48 in-depth interviews with Korean and Mexican origin undocumented young adults, this research sheds light on the deep-seated effects of immigration status that reach beyond employment and education and extend into interpersonal relationships. Due to the precariousness of their legal situation, I find that the undocumented young adults exercise agency in strategically disclosing their status (“selective disclosure”) in order to cultivate both affective and material security (“relational security”). Regardless of ethnoracial identity, respondents have similar perceptions of the relational conditions for the disclosure of deeper personal matters including immigration status. First, shared immigrant and ethnic background provides a baseline sense of comfort and safety; they find symbolic belonging with those of immigrant descent. Along this vein, they exercise caution around anyone who is racially white, primarily due to associations with political conservatism. Within this overall pattern, however, pathways of selective disclosure diverge between Korean and Mexican respondents. Korean respondents more often create a distinction between the confidants with whom they discuss the intimate details of their legal situation and companions whom they see regularly but to whom they do not reveal their legal status. Through this study, I demonstrate that the vulnerable and stigmatized nature of undocumented status significantly circumscribes the freedom with which young undocumented immigrants navigate the most personal spheres of their social worlds. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the profoundly personal and pervasive effects of immigration status on the everyday lives of the undocumented community.

Kelechi Uwaezuoke | "The Case of the Leaky Pipeline: Exploring the Experiences of Under-Represented Minority Premed Students in the UC System" 

The lack of representation in the physician workforce poses a complex problem for the US healthcare system. This issue is particularly evident in California where underrepresented minorities (URM) - African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans- make up 47% of the population but only 9% of physicians. Studies have shown an association between having providers of similar race/ethnicity and greater patient satisfaction and a decreased likelihood of unmet health needs. Additionally, URM physicians are more likely to practice in health physician shortage areas thereby filling a critical workforce need. There is therefore a need to invest in research, programs and policies that increase access and facilitate entry into health professions for URMs as a means of increasing diversity in the physician workforce. While premedical post-baccalaureate (post-bac) programs have shown promise as a strategy to increase URM matriculation into medical school, there is a dearth of literature on the reasons why students must enroll in them in the first place. Post-bacs often serve as an alternate, lengthier and costlier pathway to medicine for URM students who face challenges during undergrad and are unable to apply directly to medical school after graduation. In this presentation, I argue that post-bacs, while playing a critical role in the pipeline to medical school for URMs, serve as a “band-aid” to larger institutional issues. Based on data from semi-structured interviews with URM graduates of the University of California system, I discuss their undergraduate premed experiences and illuminate factors shaping their pathway to a post-bac program as a means of continuing their pursuit of a career in medicine.

Duster Room, ISSI, 2420 Bowditch Street

Tuesday, May 9 | 3:30-5:00pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues presents:

KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize and FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize 2017 Award Ceremony

Please join us as we honor Nicola McClung, Arturo Cortéz, Camila Cribb Fabersunne, Dylan Bush, and Ankita Joshi

Writing, Resisting and Research: The Role of Scholarship During the Trump Presidency
by Pedro Noguera, Distinguished Professor of Education, UC Los Angeles

The FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding young social change activist in California. The award of $2,500 honors a person whose work transforms the existing social landscape - often in subtle and previously unappreciated ways - and serves as a bridge between the academy and the community. 

The KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize rewards students engaged in new or ongoing work that demonstrates a commitment, whether in education or other domains, to creating a better future for children and youth. The award of $2,500 is given to one or more UC Berkeley undergraduates each year. 

Reception to follow.


Heyns Room, Faculty Club, UC Berkeley

June 14-16 

Global Social Movements: Left and Right

Wednesday, June 14 | 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Thursday, June 15 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday, June 16 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Featured Keynote Speakers:

Carl Boggs, Grace Chang, Eve Darian-Smith,  Barbara Epstein, George Katsiaficas, Doug Kellner ,Carlos Munoz, Ruth Needleman

Entire conference (3 days) includes all panels, keynotes, film screenings (if any), receptions (if any), and "Crossing Borders: People, Capital, Culture," the new GSA book containing papers from the 2016 conference held at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas.

Clark Kerr Campus

Sponsored by Global Studies Association North America

Co-sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Center for Right-Wing Studies, Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

For more Information, click here

To register, click here

Center for Ethnographic Research  presents:

June 23 - 24 | 9:00am - 5:00pm

Practical Qualitative Data Analysis in ATLAS.ti [PC Version 8]

This workshop is full. 

Corey Abramson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona

This workshop will provide both a conceptual background and practical experience in computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) using ATLAS.ti. The workshop begins by examining the core elements common to all CAQDA, regardless of methodological orientation, discipline/profession, or platform. After instruction in the fundamental aspects of CAQDA, the course turns to the logic of the ATLAS.ti program, and how it functions as a tool for CAQDA. The workshop consists of both instruction and hands-on exercises in ATLAS.ti. By the end of the course, participants will have all the conceptual and practical tools necessary to employ ATLAS.ti in their current or future projects involving qualitative data. The workshop will be limited to 15 participants so that everyone receives individual attention.

The cost to attend the two-day course is $400 for UC Berkeley students, $450 for other students, $550 for those in the academic/non-profit sector, and $700 for all other participants. Register by May 15 to save $50.

Register here. Space is limited, so please register early. You may cancel your registration up to one month in advance for a refund, less a $20 cancellation fee. Beginning May 23, you may cancel but will only receive a refund if we are able to fill your slot. 

Details about course content, participant testimonials, lodging information, and more are available here. Still have questions? Contact or (510) 643-7238. 


Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
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