You are here

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), please call (510) 642-0813 one day before the scheduled event.

Many of our events are video-recorded. You can see a list of available videos on our website. If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you will be notified when new videos are available.

Spring 2020

Wednesday, February 5 I 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Racism, Plutocracy, and the 2020 Election  

Ian Haney López, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, UC Berkeley

Over the last half-century, the Republican Party has exploited social divisions—and racism in particular—to win power, and then has ruled primarily on behalf of the ultra-wealthy. No one better symbolizes the conjoined dynamics of racism and plutocracy than Donald Trump. In this lecture, Prof. Haney López lays out the history of dog whistle politics and Trump’s place within it. Then he suggests a clear way forward. Haney López recently co-led a national research project focused on developing the most effective political rejoinder to strategic racism as a class weapon. The research demonstrates dog whistle politics can be defeated. Drawing on these results, this lecture assesses the looming 2020 presidential election.

Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, Townsend Center

Co-sponsored by: the Townsend Center

Thursday February 13 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Values at the End of Life: The Logic of Palliative Care

Roi Livne, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Over the past fifty years, “the end of life” has become the center of extensive economic, policy, ethical, and medical discussions. Health economists measure and evaluate its cost; ethicists debate the morality of various approaches to “end-of-life care”; policymakers ponder alternative “end of life”-related policies; and clinicians apply a specialized approach (hospice and palliative care) to treat patients whom they diagnose as being at “the end of life.” This talk analyzes the proliferation of conversations on “the end of life” as emblematic of a peculiar moment in human history. Ours is a period where modern growth stagnates and the main challenge developed societies face becomes delineating the limits of human agency and governing populations within these limits. Drawing on a combination of historical and ethnographic analysis of the work of palliative care clinicians in three California hospitals, I analyze how the limits of what can be done, medically and financially, to prolong life are communicated to severely ill patients and families.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: Sociology; Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society; Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Tuesday, March 10 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

From the Edge of the Ghetto: The Quest of Small City African-Americans to Survive Post-Industrialism  

Alford Young, Jr., Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Departments of Sociology and Afroamerican and African Studies, and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

This talk draws from a study based on interviews with 103 working class and low-income African Americans from Ypsilanti, Michigan, a city of approximately 30,000 residents (about 6,000 of them African American). It explores how they make sense of work and work opportunity in a city that decades ago was the site of considerable industrial opportunity. That city sits on the borders of a thriving post-industrial small city as well as in the vicinity of Detroit, perhaps one of America’s strongest urban examples of declining post-industrialism. Accordingly, these residents discuss work opportunity while being uniquely situated between geographic sites of opportunity and demise. A strong gender distinction emerged in how they discuss their vision of future employment opportunities and their perceived places within them. Consequently, the talk presents a case for how configurations of race, class, and gender surface for lower-income African Americans in their struggle to come to terms with post-industrialism.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: TBA

Wednesday, March 11 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Right Wing Studies Colloquia series:

Title TBD

Jill E. Adams, JD, Executive Director, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice

and Carole Joffe, PhD, Professor, ANSIRH/Bixby Center, UCSF Dept of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Location TBD

Co-sponsored by : Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, Center for the Study of Law and Society

Tuesday, March 17 I 4:00-5:30pm

Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues Colloquia Series:

Knowing the Land: Indigenous Strategies for Revitalization and Adaptation

Clint Carroll, Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

Indigenous Nations face significant challenges when it comes to the interrelated processes of cultural knowledge revitalization/perpetuation and environmental adaptation. These challenges range from compromised local ecological health brought about by development and climate change, to limited access to land due to legal, social, and/or political barriers, and to obstacles to knowledge transmission caused by educational and economic forces. This talk views these challenges in the context of the past and ongoing mutually-constitutive structures of settler colonialism and capitalism, and discusses how Cherokee people in Oklahoma are adapting and “re-existing” through land-based education and comprehensive conservation strategies.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: Native American Studies Program, American Indian Graduate Student Association, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Student Development, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

Tuesday, April 14 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Graduate Fellows Colloquia Series:

Title TBD

John Jennings, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside

Location TBD

Co-sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change, Othering and Belonging Institute, Department of English

Thursday, April 16 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography

Corey M. Abramson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona  

and Neil Gong, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, Junior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows

How do ethnographers engage in comparison, and how do they ground their methodological and analytical choices? Do these comparative logics align with or diverge from the methodological foundations of other forms of social scientific research? Drawing on insights from Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography (Oxford University Press 2020), this talk addresses these questions by analyzing comparative ethnographies from a variety of traditions such as phenomenology, interpretivism, grounded theory, the extended case method, positivism, and “post-positivist” realism. By honing in on how ethnographers render sites, groups, or cases analytically commensurable and comparable, we offer a new lens for examining the assumptions and payoffs of various approaches to field research. We highlight not only points of divergence, but also synergy with other empirical methods, and between competing approaches to ethnography. Rather than argue for a singular vision of “ethnography,” we leverage the field’s epistemic and practical diversity to expand opportunities for meaningful comparisons on a broad range of substantive topics. We conclude by showing why these ethnographic comparisons can make crucial contributions to social science as a whole.

Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle Hall, Room 117

Co-sponsored by: TBA

Tuesday, April 21 I 4:00-5:30pm

Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues Colloquia Series:

What Drives Native American Poverty?

Beth RedbirdAssistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow, Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, Northwestern University

It has been nearly 40 years since the last large-scale comprehensive assessment of Indian economic well-being. Since that time, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 gave rise to increased tribal sovereignty and manifested in changes to tribal institutions and policies. Indian nations rewrote their constitutions, generated their own tax and business regulatory structures, set up welfare systems, remade school curricula, and gained control over their land. But, we continue to lack a basic understanding about the economic well-being of America’s first peoples. This project examines the development of new tribal institutions and seeks to disentangles the complex interwoven aspects of modern tribal economies that drive economic well-being.  Using a decomposition model, I find that changes in residence (returning to reservations), family structure, and lack of education play a small role in Native poverty, whereas the structure of employment is the most significant cause in the poverty increase. Findings suggest that the changing nature of tribal labor markets is having significant and unpredicted impacts on Native poverty and inequality. 

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Sociology, Native American Studies Program, Native American Student Development, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies Library, American Indian Graduate Student Association, Native American Law Students Association

Wednesday April 22 I 12:00-1:30 p.m. 

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Colloquia Series:

Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq

Omar Dewachi, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

Location TBD

Co-sponsored by: TBA

Thursday, April 30 I Time TBD

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Empirics of Justice: Tracking the Carceral Continuum in Urban America

Carla Shedd, Associate Professor, Urban Education, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Location TBD

Co-sponsored by: Graduate School of Education, Center for Race and Gender


Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
Copyright UC Regents and UC Berkeley
YouTube  Instagram  Twitter  FaceBook