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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.

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.



Wednesday, January 24 | 6:30-8:30pm

The Business of Disaster: Colonial Shock Doctrine & the Fight for Health Justice in Post-Maria Puerto Rico

Panel Discussion with Vincanne Adams, Professor in the Joint UCSF/UC Berkeley Program in Medical Anthropology; Cathy Kennedy, Registered Nurse and a Vice President of National Nurses United, and Javier Arbona, Professor of American Studies and Design at UC Davis. 

The ongoing catastrophe following Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico in September has provided a stark reminder that disasters are never merely natural. As with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, historical inequalities have played a clear role in shaping the government’s response. The enduring colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and the market-driven nature of governmental relief efforts are both critical to understanding the current crisis. 

Gifford Room (Kroeber Hall 221)

Sponsored by The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley

Free and open to the public. RSVP here

Wednesday, January 31 | 5:00-7:00pm

Innocence and Violence: The Theology of a Gun Culture

Dominic Erdozain, Freelance Writer

Gun rights are typically identified with the Second Amendment – a legal, indeed constitutional, prerogative. This lecture argues that they are better understood as part of a culture and a belief system, centering on ideas of innocence and legitimate violence. I argue that this belief system is apparent in the contemporary gun culture’s confidence in the ‘law-abiding citizen’ as a stable and fixed category, and then I seek to explore its origins. The claim is that gun rights, while modern in form and intensity, rest upon older narratives of national righteousness and popular sovereignty, among them, Puritan concepts of salvation and judgment. Although the more sophisticated defenses of gun rights cite natural law and the notion of self-defense as a universal right, I argue that gun rights remain a set of special privileges – almost a code of entitlement. To engage this culture effectively, we need better understanding of the particular theologies from which it has emerged.

3335  Dwinelle Hall

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by The Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Berkeley Center for Right Wing Studies, and the History Department, UC Berkeley


Wednesday, February 7 | 4:00-5:30 pm

How Did US-Russian Relations Get So Bad and How Might They Be Improved?

George Breslauer, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emeritus, UC Berkeley

The current hostility in US-Russian relations goes back to the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and the formal end of the Cold War.  US International behavior in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa progressively alienated Russian leaders, leading, under Putin, to sharp reactions.  In response to those reactions, US leaders of both parties came to demonize Russia and Putin and to up the ante.  The spiral of escalation continues to this day, though gingerly, as neither side wants a direct military confrontation with the other.  In the meantime, US efforts to play its traditional leadership role in international politics has revealed both a self-serving tendency and a level of incompetence that has fueled contempt in Moscow.  The shift in power relations globally suggests that a new international order is being born, whether Washington likes it or not.  Even in this context, US-Russian relations can improve through confidence-building and confrontation-avoidance measures.  But more far-reaching rapprochement will likely require greater "modesty and devolution" in US foreign policy.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley  

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Thursday, February 8 | 5:30pm

Stephen Small Book Talk: 20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe

Stephen Small, Professor, Department of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Refreshments provided.

Sponsored by African American Studies, Center for African Studies, Ethnic Studies Dept., Center for Race and Gender, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, February 13 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm

No Ban, No Wall: Confronting the Militarization of Our Borders and Communities

Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)

Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas, Assistant Professor of Department of Chicana/o Studies at UC Davis

Pierre Labossiere, Co-Founder of the Haiti Action Committee

Abraham Vela M.D., Volunteer, Clínica Martín-Baró 

with Seth Holmes, Co-Chair of ISSI’s Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Policy & Management and Medical Anthropology as respondent

The Trump presidency has increased attacks on immigrant and marginalized communities through targeting sanctuary cities, instituting the Muslim ban, and revoking temporary protected status for thousands. But, these actions are based on a long-standing foundation of xenophobia and criminalization. Such repression manifests not only at borders, but also in our backyards in the form of militarized policing, state surveillance, and collusion between local and federal law enforcement. Please join us for a panel discussion to analyze these intersections with some of the individuals working to defend the health and rights of immigrant communities. 

Gifford Room (Kroeber Hall 221)

Sponsored by California Nurses Association & Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, February 21 | 4:00-5:30 pm

Marxism Engages Bourdieu

Michael Burawoy, Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley

The influence of Pierre Bourdieu's thought has spread across disciplines and over the world. Like all the great sociologists before him, his theory emerges from a critique of Marx. In Bourdieu’s case the critique revolves around Marx’s failure to develop a theory of cultural domination. But, like his predecessor sociologists, Bourdieu reduces Marxism to Marx and, thus, never engages such figures as Georg Lukács, members of the Frankfurt School, Simon de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci, all of whom address the question of cultural domination. In this talk, I develop the comparison of Bourdieu and Gramsci, starting out from the difference between symbolic domination and hegemony that entails further contrasts: field of power vs. civil society; classification struggle vs. class struggle; academic vs. subaltern theories of knowledge; and traditional vs. organic intellectuals. These divergent perspectives on cultural domination have implications for the critique of society and what is to be done.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley  
Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Thursday, February 22 I 7:30-9:30pm

The Native American Staff Council presents:

A Documentary Film Screening of "100 Years: One Woman's Fight for Justice" (Elouise Cobell's inspiring story)

Followed by Q&A with Director and Producer, Melinda Janko

For information about the film, please visit

West Pauley Ballroom, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley (2475 Bancroft Way)

Admission is FREE but attendees must RSVP to the American Indian Graduate Program - by Wednesday, February 14, 2018 or call (510) 642-3228 and provide names and emails of guests. All students, staff, faculty, alumni and the public are welcome! Reserve your space early as seating may go fast! After the talk, completed evaluations will be entered to win great raffle prizes!

Co-sponsored by: Chancellor Carol Christ, Office of the Chancellor; Jo Mackness, Human Resources; Oscar Dubon and Sidalia Reel, Equity & Inclusion; American Indian Graduate Student Association; American Indian Graduate Program; and Native American Studies, and the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, UC Berkeley

If you have questions, please contact Carmen Foghorn ( or Cindy Andallo (, 510-642-3228.

Friday, February 23 | 2:00-4:00 pm

An African American and Latinx History of the United States: An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights

Paul Ortiz, Associate Professor, Department of History and the Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida

Professor Paul Ortiz will speak about his newly published book, An African American and Latinx History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2018). Spanning more than two hundred years, this much anticipated book is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.

Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the twentieth century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers—Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth—united in resistance on the first “Day Without Immigrants.” As African American civil rights activists fought Jim Crow laws and Mexican labor organizers warred against the suffocating grip of capitalism, Black and Spanish-language newspapers, abolitionists, and Latin American revolutionaries coalesced around movements built between people from the United States and people from Central America and the Caribbean. In stark contrast to the resurgence of “America First” rhetoric, Black and Latinx intellectuals and organizers today have historically urged the United States to build bridges of solidarity with the nations of the Americas.

Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, Multicultural Community Center, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate ResearchAmerican CulturesCenter for Race and GenderDepartment of Ethnic StudiesDepartment of African American StudiesMulticultural Community Center, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, February 28 | CANCELLED

Mobility, Expulsion and Claims to Home: Migrant Organizing in an Era of Deportation and Dispossession

Monisha Das Gupta, Professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Thursday, March 1 | 4:00-5:30 pm

California Through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History

William J. Bauer, Jr.,  Wailacki and Concow of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, Professor, Department of History, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In 1935, Concow Austin McLaine, of northern California’s Round Valley Reservation, told an oral tradition about Lizard, who saw smoke wafting up from West Mountain, now known as Lassen Peak. The people in Lizard’s town planned to steal fire from Eagle, who selfishly kept the fire under his wings. The people teamed up, stole the fire, and raced with it back to town. Before they reached their roundhouse, however, Coyote grabbed the fire, dropped it and set the entire Sacramento Valley ablaze. Traditionally, scholars have treated oral traditions, such as the story of Lizard, as quaint myths. This presentation argues that California Indian oral traditions present an Indigenous version of California’s history and engaged in the political events of the Great Depression. California Indians used their oral traditions to challenge preexisting narratives of California’s past, to claim land and place in the 1930s and provide California Indians with a path to follow in the future. 

Followed by a reception.

Multicultural Community Center (MCC), 220 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by American Indian Graduate Student AssociationAmerican Indian Graduate Program, Native American Student Development, Department of Ethnic Studies, Division of Equity and Inclusion, UC Berkeley

Tuesday,  March 6 | 12:00 - 1:00pm

2018-19 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 (due April 2) visit: 

Duster Conference Room, 2420 Bowditch Street (at Haste)

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 7 | 4:00-5:30 pm

What explains the dramatic rise in autism prevalence (from one in 10,000 to 1 in 68)?: The hunt for environmental factors

Emily Diamond, Professor, The Wright Institute, Berkeley

Respondent: Troy Duster, Chancellor's Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley, and Emeritus Silver Professor, Department of Sociology, New York University

Autism prevalence and other neurodevelopmental disabilities have markedly risen in the last 2 decades. Researchers around the world are looking for environmental factors. My project - the International Autism Mapping Project - tries to answer this question through geospatial mapping. Specifically, we examine the place of conception, and its nearness to various kinds of toxins. Since autism prevalence is not equal across all regions, this and other clues help us understand environmental factors better. For example, as our closest toxic exposures are household exposures, we wondered whether the pesticide implicated in the mass bee and pollinator die-off might be significant. Results from our California data will be discussed along with findings from our national study. The talk will close by considering the role of inequity in shaping environmental factors leading to autism, and the other studies we have planned.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Thursday, March 8 | 4:00-5:30 pm

“Thank You For Your Service”: Gratitude, Silence, and the Production of Militarized Common Sense on College Campuses

Ellen Moore, Visiting Scholar, ISSI

In this contemporary period of prolonged undeclared wars, where lethal-force conflicts are waged not against designated nation-states but against rhetorical abstractions (Terror) in the name of other rhetorical abstractions (Freedom), speech and language are important loci of power. On contemporary college campuses, the needs of student veterans, veteran support programs and veteran identities have become instrumental in the quest to produce “military friendly” institutions and the valorization of military projects in everyday life, through mandated silence about the current wars and ritualized gratitude as expressed in the phrase "thank you for your service." This presentation draws from ethnographic research on U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as they shift from combat to community colleges and university classrooms. It traces the deployment of silence and praise in veteran support organizations, in trainings, and in college classrooms, as they become, in the words of Comeroff and Comeroff, ‘the animating vernacular around which the discursive flow is organized.’  This study finds that processes of silencing are not only produced though large-scale public displays of military prowess and patriotism; they are also produced in small, everyday classroom practices and through affiliative speech acts. Veterans have highly variable and often contradictory responses to public displays of gratitude and develop ways of using their iconic status to contest mythologies surrounding imposed veteran identities.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Graduate School of Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, March 13 | 3:30 - 5:30pm

Lives Still in Limbo: Undocumented and Navigating Uncertain Futures

Roberto Gonzalez, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Professor Gonzales's research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, and stems from theoretical interests at the intersection of race and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. Over the last decade and a half he has been engaged in critical inquiry around the question of what happens to undocumented immigrant children as they make transitions to adolescence and young adulthood. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press), has won six major book awards, including the 2016 SSSP C. Wright Mills Award, the 2017 American Education Research Association Outstanding Book Award, the 2017 Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Award, and the 2018 Society for Social Work and Research Book Award. His research is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

Followed by a reception. 

Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way, CLPR, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 14 I 12:00-1:30pm

Crossing Paths: Graduate & Undergraduate Exchanges of Indigenous Research 

Started in 2013, the Crossing Paths lecture series provides a space for Native and Indigenous graduate and undergraduate students to share their research, get feedback, and build community with other students, faculty, staff, and allies. Each Crossing Paths meeting consists of two student presenters (an undergraduate and a graduate), a moderator ( a faculty or staff person), and audience discussion.

Bayley Marquez and Skye Fierro, "No Women Involved": Native Women's Importance in Defining the Racial Discourses of Industrial Education

554 Barrows Hall

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

Wednesday, March 14 | 4:00 - 5:30pm

City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor, History and African American Studies and Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA

Respondent: Eric Henderson, Policy Associate, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. In this talk based on her new book, historian Kelly Lytle Hernández explains how the City of Angels became the capital city of the world’s leading incarcerator. Marshaling more than two centuries of evidence, she unmasks how histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles. In this telling, which spans from the Spanish colonial era to the outbreak of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, Hernández documents the persistent historical bond between the racial fantasies of conquest, namely its settler colonial form, and the eliminatory capacities of incarceration.

But City of Inmates is also a chronicle of resilience and rebellion, documenting how targeted peoples and communities have always fought back. They busted out of jail, forced Supreme Court rulings, advanced revolution across bars and borders, and, as in the summer of 1965, set fire to the belly of the city. With these acts those who fought the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles altered the course of history in the city, the borderlands, and beyond. This book recounts how the dynamics of conquest met deep reservoirs of rebellion as Los Angeles became the City of Inmates, the nation’s carceral core. View the City of Inmates book trailer here. 

Hearst Memorial Mining Building Room 290, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Department of History, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Division of Equity and Inclusion, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley

Thursday, March 15 | 4:00 - 5:30pm

Is the Alt-Right Collapsing?

George Hawley, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Alabama

In 2015 and 2016, the so-called Alt-Right – the latest iteration of the American white nationalist movement – experienced exponential growth. In 2017, it made headlines across the globe. Some feared it represented a serious threat to racial progress and even American democracy. However, the Alt-Right has also faced extraordinary setbacks, and it is not clear that it will even continue existing as a meaningful political or cultural force.  In this talk, Professor Hawley will reflect on the past, present and future of the Alt-Right in American politics. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Berkeley's Center for Right-Wing Studies, UC Berkeley 

Wednesday, March 21 - March 22 

Invisible No More: A Symposium on Police Violence Against Black Women & Women of Color

This symposium will feature  Andrea Ritchie, local organizers, and scholars: Nikki Jones, Mimi Kim, Patrisse Cullors, Robyn Maynard, Janetta Johnson, Alisa Bierria, Saira Hussain, Ashara Ekundayo, Monica Jones, Monique Morris, Romarilyn Ralston, Emi Koyama, Patricia Berne, and Mia Mingus reflecting on the urgent topics raised in this volume and possibilities for transformation.

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Black lesbian immigrant and police-misconduct attorney, Andrea Ritchie, is a timely examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement. Placing stories of individual women—such as Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Dajerria Becton, Monica Jones, and Mya Hall—in the broader context of the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration, it documents the evolution of movements centering women’s experiences of policing and demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

Wednesday, March 21, 4:00pm – 7:30pm: SHIFTING THE PARADIGM
Andrea Ritchie and a panel of organizers and scholars will discuss why gender analyses has often been marginalized in activism, policy, and research addressing police violence and how to shift the paradigm for a more expansive and transformative politics.

Followed by a reception.

Thursday, March 22, 10:00am – 5:00pm: ORGANIZE, RESEARCH, TRANSFORM
Symposium Panels:

Policing Girls
Policing Reproduction & Sexuality
#SurvivedAndPunished: Policing Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Violence
Resistance Roundtable

Multicultural Community Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union Building | UC Berkeley

Thursday, March 22 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Beyond Identity: Building Collective Struggles for Racial and Health Justice  

George Lipsitz, Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara

Rupa Marya, Associate Professor of Medicine and Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition at UC San Francisco

Carlos Martinez, PhD student in the UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco Joint Program in Medical Anthropology 

Since the 2016 presidential elections, “identity politics” have come under acute fire by a number of liberal and left commentators who fault its proponents with dividing civil society and social movements, while creating a backlash that brought Trump to power. Yet, extensive scholarship in social science and public health has made it clear that race has been and continues to be a foundational force in structuring dramatically unequal social conditions and health outcomes. How should we interpret current critiques of identity politics in light of such racial inequalities? How can race-based politics be reconciled with broad demands for social transformation? What role should health practitioners play in challenging racial inequalities in our current moment? Please join us in discussing these and other urgent questions with the following panelists. 

Series description: This event is part of a series entitled Social Medicine for Our Times: A Series of Public Talks on Health & Social Justice organized by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine.
Decades of neoliberal policies have facilitated the resurgence of a radical right-wing, posing new challenges to advancing an agenda for health equity and social justice. The current moment requires health practitioners and activists to think and strategize in novel, structurally competent, and audacious ways. National Nurses United, which has been at the forefront of the battle to win universal health care, and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine invite you to a series of public talks to do just that. Please join us for our monthly events to explore the different sites of struggle that will be critical to forging a social medicine for our times. 

Gifford Room (Kroeber 221)

Sponsored by The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley


Tuesday, April 3 | 12:00 - 1:30pm

Immigrant Agency and Social Movements in the Age of Devolution

Greg Prieto, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of San Diego

Mexican immigrants who are most affected by the deportation regime are also the least available to resist it. Under what conditions are these unexpected activists moved to participate in collective mobilization? Their primary strategy to mitigate the risks of dispossession, deportation, and economic uncertainty is to avoid the unfamiliar and insulate oneself within the home and among family. This “shell,” a habituated response to the insecurities of immigrant life, functions both as a form of protection from these risks and as an encumbrance upon their availability for collective action. The experience of the shell also incubates a latent oppositional consciousness that recognizes the unfairness of their social status as necessary, but unwanted laborers. While the shell may be a deterrent to social movement participation, it also sows the seeds of resistance. Social movement scholars have recently focused on the role of threat in pressing these unlikely challengers into action. Though scholars typically conceptualize threat as an element of political opportunity, in this talk I examine the way community organizers leverage threat in the interactional process of community organizing for immigrant rights. Drawing on three years of participant observation and over 60 interviews with un/documented Mexican immigrants, I observed organizers amplify threat in the minds of immigrants by undermining their default strategy for managing risk: the shell. Stressing immigrants’ urgent responsibility to act on their own behalf, community members responded variously to the overtures of community organizers. Volunteerism at school, English language acquisition, close calls with immigration enforcement, and personal relationships to the organizers led to participation, while a more recent arrival and isolation depressed participation. Born of the quotidian experience of legal and economic precarity, the immigrant activism that emerges seeks to inhabit, rather than transform, normative institutions of work and family. 

Free and open to the public. Register here

Multicultural Community Center (MCC), 220 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Ethnic Studies and Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 5 | 4:00 - 5:30pm

Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Power, & Pedagogy

Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer, Graduate School of Education

Michael Singh, Graduate School of Education

Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer | "(En)Gendering Whiteness: A Historical Analysis of White Womanhood, Colonial Anxieties, and “Tender Violence” in US Schools"

Michael Singh | "The Neoliberalization of Latino Male Identity: Resistance and Complicity in a School-Based Mentorship Program"

CRG Conference Room, 691 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley 

Sponsored by Center for Race and Gender, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, April 10 | 4:00 - 5:30pm

Popular Neoliberalism: Readers' and Viewers' Reactions to Milton Friedman

Maurice Cottier, Visiting Fellow, History Department, Harvard University

Milton Friedman was not only a leading neoliberal economist in the second half of the 20th century but, due to his popular books and appearances on TV, also a well-known public intellectual. Focusing on the reactions by viewers and readers of his book Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and book and TV series Free to Choose (1980), Maurice Cottier’s paper discusses how the broader public received Friedman’s message. Cottier's analysis of letters to and from Friedman makes it possible to investigate why people outside of academics, politics and the media were attracted by neoliberal free market ideas. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way, ISSI, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Berkeley's Center for Right-Wing Studies, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, April 10 I 5:00-7:00pm

How to Sing with Syriac Christians (and Why): Kinship, Politics, Liturgy and Sound in the Dutch-Syriac Diaspora

Sarah Bakker Kellogg, Ph.D., Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Religion, UC Berkeley

To the extent that Middle Eastern Christians register in Euro-American public discourse at all, they are usually invoked either to justify military intervention in the Middle East for the sake of their “religious freedom,” or they are cited as potential exemptions to policies intended to restrict asylum-seekers from Muslim-majority countries. This binary frame rests on a wide-spread assumption that their Christianity makes them easily assimilable to the so-called “Judeo-Christian" West, an assumption that many Christians from the Middle East reject. In this talk I draw from ongoing ethnographic research with diasporic Syriac Orthodox Christians in the Netherlands to show that it is this very binary framing which poses an existential threat to their 1800 year old tradition. In my fieldwork, I document how second- and third-generation Dutch-Syriac Christians intertwine political activism with liturgical performance to “save” Syriac Christianity from the twin threats of political violence in the Middle East and cultural assimilation in Europe. Through their activism, I argue, they innovate a defiantly immodern convergence of kinship, liturgical sound, and religious ethics in open repudiation of the ethical failures of Western Christianity and European secularism.

3401 Dwinelle, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethnographic Research

Wednesday, April 11 | 4:30-6pm

Habits of Power: Science Politics in Anti-Science Times, Race Politics in Anti-Racist Times

Duana Fullwiley, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

In contemporary race politics, as in discussions around science in the US today, two dynamics characterize the present moment. The first is that the concepts of both race and science are up for fierce debate about the degree to which specific identity politics power them. On this front, racial identification as a social construct – and perhaps political necessity – is often contested as a biological reality. Yet scholars in fields from history to public health to medical anthropology often show that racialized bodies incur biological consequences. Activists agree, with death being the most extreme. In this, race is necessary as an index of documentation and lived experience. The second dynamic is that the continued edification of race may beget further belief in its immutability and physical reality at the genetic level.  Certain scientific domains have become deeply implicated in these questions, opening themselves up to contests of truth and power to defend one position or the other.

Wildavsky Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way 

Sponsored by Joint Berkeley-UCSF Program in Medical Anthropology

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Thursday, April 12 | 12-1:30pm

Hard Work Is Not Enough: Gender and Racial Inequality in an Urban Workspace

Katrinell Davis, Associate Professor of Sociology, Florida State University

with Catherine Fisk, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law, UC Berkeley, as respondent 

In this talk, professor Davis will discuss African American women’s experiences as bus operators in a San Francisco Bay Area transit firm from 1974-1989, during the height of affirmative action hiring. Through a series of interviews with these transit operators alongside correspondence between management and union leaders, grievance and arbitration data, as well as litigation against the firm, she traces the gradual demise of job security within this SF Bay Area transit company that once led the nation in offering its transit operators good wages and benefits. The findings suggest that transit operating became increasingly stressful throughout the period of study due to declining work conditions and the arbitrary implementation of institutional strategies designed to discipline and eliminate workers deemed undesirable.

Register here for a FREE lunch.  

Warren Room, 295 Boalt Hall

Sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, Department of Sociology, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Division of Equity and Inclusion, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 12 | 4:00- 7:00 pm

Puro Corazon: The Art of Melanie Cervantes

Please join us at the opening reception on Thursday, April 12th from 4-7pm.

The Chicano/a Studies Program, Latinx Artist-in-residence and The Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR) at the University of California, Berkeley presents celebrated artist Melanie Cervantes' first solo exhibition. This exhibition will be presented on the third floor of the Shorb House from Thursday, April 5th through Friday, May 11th. This exhibition continues Chicano/a Studies Program commitment to the integration of the arts to its programming and welcomes UC Berkeley alumni Melanie Cervantes to help close out the academic year with a powerful selection of over 40 prints.

Please note the exhibited work is on the third floor of CLRP. Only the first floor of CLRP, where the reception will be, is wheelchair accessible.

Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way, Berkeley, California 94720

Sponsored by Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, April 17 | 3:30 - 5:00pm

Boundary Infrastructures: Sovereignty and the Politics of Classification

Eunice Lee, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

'Entry,' Borders, and the Detention of Asylum Seekers.

In recent years, the deprivation of liberty of immigrants and asylum seekers has expanded at a massive scale. Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States, including tens of thousands of asylum seekers, are locked away in remote detention centers indistinguishable from jails. Some of these individuals first cross the border and encounter an immigration officer shortly after, and are deemed to have “entered without inspection.” Others, however, present themselves at a border patrol station and are deemed “arriving aliens.” Paradoxically, those who first cross the border without authorization receive greater protections against arbitrary and unnecessary detention than those who orderly present themselves at a port of entry. Under a decades-old legal doctrine known as the entry fiction, “arriving” individuals are treated under our laws as not technically present, even while physically here. As a result, these individuals—unlike those who first cross the border—have no right to contest the government’s detention decision before an immigration judge. This paper examines the operation of the entry fiction as applied to asylum seekers at our border. It analyzes empirical data on detention and release to demonstrate the increasingly expansive detention of “arriving” individuals. Drawing upon both empirical research and theoretical analysis, the paper concludes that courts should recognize the due process rights of incarcerated immigrants who are undeniably present and here.

Ryan Rhadigan, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Rhetoric with a concentration in Critical Theory, and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Surveying the Reservoir: Public Records and the Archival Logics of the Oroville Dam. 

Heavy flooding and forced emergency evacuations of over 180,000 local residents in February 2017 drew national attention to California’s aging and structurally damaged Oroville Dam. As a centerpiece of California’s six-hundred-mile State Water Project, the Oroville Dam plays a significant role in water allocation throughout the state. While recent media coverage highlights how infrastructural damage and bureaucratic delays to the dam’s federal relicensing process have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the dam’s future, considerably less has been said about the controversies surrounding the Oroville Dam’s planning and construction, and how that history continues to shape and impact the present. A particularly neglected aspect is the dam’s continued role in disrupting the lifeways of California’s indigenous Konkow Maidu communities and displacing Maidu people from a significant portion of their ancestral territory. By engaging in a historical analysis of the Oroville Dam’s construction and present-day operation through the heuristic use of the concept “archive,” this paper explores how the modified hydrology enacted by the Oroville Dam not only reconfigures indigenous material and political space, but also consolidates, reorders, and displaces local forms of knowledge. Through close readings of ethnological and archeological surveys produced in compliance with state and federal laws during the construction and relicensing of the Oroville Dam in the mid-2000’s, this paper demonstrates how the continued operation of the Oroville Dam both necessitates and mediates public archival practices that enroll, reroute, and intervene in Maidu acts of political and epistemological sovereignty.

Leti Volpp as respondent, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law, UC Berkeley

Duster Room, 2420 Bowditch Street, UC Berkeley 

Tuesday, April 17 | 5:30-7:30pm

Changing the Way We See Native America

Matika Wilbur, Photographer

Join us for an evening of discussion as Wilbur presents "Changing the Way We See Native America," providing remarkable insights into contemporary Native American life, driving the conversation forward to encourage U.S. citizens to evolve beyond the appropriation and neglect of indigenous images and traditions through a new model of awareness, with honest photographic representation and direct narratives of America's first people.

Multicultural Community Center (MCC), 220 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Native American Staff Council, American Indian Graduate Program, American Indian Graduate Student Association, Native American Studies, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, Division of Equity & Inclusion, Chancellor's Office, Human Resources

Wednesday, April 18 | 6:00-8:00pm

Latin American Social Medicine, Then and Now

Lecture by Jaime Breilh, Rector of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador

Dorothy Porter, Department of Anthropology, History & Social Medicine, UC San Francisco

Clara Mantini-Briggs, Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Fernando Losada, NNU and Global Nurses United

Luther Castillo, Founder, First Popular Garifuna Hospital in Honduras

More information about this talk to be announced. For other information visit

Archaeological Research Facility, Room 101, 2251 College Ave., Berkeley

Sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 19 | 12:00-1:30pm

On the Edge of Things: The Vietnam War in Mexican America 

Tomás Summers Sandoval, Associate Professor of History and Chicanx-Latinx Studies, Pomona College

Approximately 200,000 Mexican Americans served in the military as part of the US war in Vietnam.  For this generation of “brown baby boomers”—as well as their families and barrio communities—the war altered the course of their lives, reshaping their economic and educational trajectories as well as their notions of identity, nation, and world.  Using oral histories conducted with Chicano Vietnam veterans and their families, Summers Sandoval explores the ways Vietnam serves as a window into mid-20th century life for this generation, as well as a formidable force reshaping Mexican American communities in the four decades since the war’s end.

Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way, CLPR, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 19 | 4:00-5:30pm

The Contested Logistics of Racial Capitalism: How Global Commodity Chains Transformed Southern California’s Spatial Politics

Juan De Lara, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

The subprime crash of 2008 revealed a fragile, unjust, and unsustainable economy built on retail consumption, low-wage jobs, and fictitious capital. Economic crisis, global commodity chains and finance capital transformed Southern California just as Latinxs and immigrants were turning California into a majority-nonwhite state. In Inland Shift, Juan D. De Lara uses the growth of Southern California’s logistics economy, which controls the movement of goods, to examine how modern capitalism was shaped by and helped to transform the region’s geographies of race and class. The book uses logistics and commodity chains to unpack the black box of globalization by showing how the scientific management of bodies, space, and time produced new labor regimes that facilitated a more complex and extended system of global production, distribution, and consumption. While logistics provided a roadmap for capital and the state to transform Southern California, it also created pockets of resistance among labor, community, and environmental groups who argued that commodity distribution exposed them to economic and ecological precarity. 

575 McCone Hall

Sponsored by the ISSI's Graduate Fellows Program, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Center for Latino Policy Research, Department of Ethnic Studies, Center for Race and Gender, Department of Geography, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 19 | 6:00-8:00pm

Towards a Public Health for Liberation: New Insights from Latin American  Critical Epidemiology  

Lecture by Jaime Breilh, Rector of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador

with Amani Nuru-Jeter, Associate Professor, Public Health, UC Berkeley as respondent

Gifford Room (Kroeber 221)

Sponsored by The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) and the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley

Thursday, April 26 | 12:00 - 1:30pm

The Political Economy of Intervention: Education and Biomedicine in the Neoliberal Era

René Espinoza Kissell, Ph.D. Candidate in Education Policy and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

The Enduring Financial “Crisis” of Urban School Districts: A Case Study of the Political Evolution of the Portfolio Strategy 

Urban school districts, like their broader city contexts, are defined by their diversity of people and ideas, as well as the struggle to confront race and class inequality with shrinking funds for public services. Many large districts negotiate the financial and political pressures through a policy approach called the portfolio strategy, which attempts to unify charter and traditional public schools under one district umbrella. Since 2001, more than 35 districts have diversified their governance by opening the enrollment system to oversee more charter schools and closing schools that do not meet accountability measures. The portfolio strategy is based on school choice with select governmental regulation of charter schools and other private contracts, thus positioning school districts as 'managers' of a portfolio of educational options, analogous to an investment portfolio. The rise in educational partnerships with non-profit and business sectors is occurring as cities transform through gentrification, leaving district leaders to figure out how to attract the influx of middle class and white families to their public schools as a means of increasing revenue. Concepts from urban studies and education politics frame the development of the portfolio district within a trajectory of “manufactured debt crisis” in racialized urban spaces that are rapidly gentrifying, such as Oakland, California. Drawing on interviews, district policy documents, and news media, this paper investigates the historical and political factors shaped the emergence and implementation of the portfolio strategy in the Oakland Unified School District and how democratic engagement was (re)defined in this emerging district governance model. Findings include that the state receivership was key in reorganizing district governance by increasing private contracts without the oversight of an elected school board. Further, the architects of the portfolio district in Oakland advanced specific initiatives as a means to improve school district funding and educational outcomes while redefining democratic participation. This case of urban governance illuminates the implications of the portfolio strategy in redefining democratic engagement for low-income families and families of color, and in particular, the limitations of “equity” strategies in school districts that rely on private contracting.

Anthony Wright, Ph.D. Candidate in Medical Anthropology at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Black Families, Cancer, and the Existential Weight of Racism

This paper is based on an ethnographic case study drawn from 14 months of fieldwork with families and young people going through cancer diagnosis and treatment at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. The paper develops a concept of existential heritage to emphasize how embodied persons enter into streams of existence that are fundamentally shaped by the sociohistorical process of racial formation. Drawing on African American Studies and the anthropology and sociology of racialization, I interpret anti-black racism as an antagonistic and destructive form of heritage that exists in relation to the more constructive and affirming heritage of resistance to anti-black racism. In this paper, I use ethnographic descriptions and interview excerpts to demonstrate how the heritage of racial formation intersects with processes of cancer treatment, both inside and outside the hospital setting. I emphasize three points of intersection: 1) the racialized criminalization of prophylactically masked bodies; 2) the racialization of attempts to raise cancer awareness; and 3) the racialization of the expression of negative emotions in healthcare interactions.

Sandra Smith as respondent, Professor of Sociology and the Interim Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley

Duster Room, 2420 Bowditch Street, UC Berkeley 

Friday, April 27 | 12:00-1:30pm

ISSI Social Change Awards: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize & KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize Award Ceremony

Please join us as we honor Lauren Heidbrink, Elizabeth Clark-Rubio, Rassidatou Konate, Marisa L. Ahmed, Alankrita Dayal, and Yvonne Dorantes

Keynote: "Our Voice/Our Mobilization:The 21-foot Ladder for Life's 20-foot Borders"
by Dr. César A. Cruz, Co-Founder of Homies Empowerment and Bridge Fellow-TNTP

From marching 76-straight miles, to hunger striking for 26 days, Dr. César Cruz has dedicated his life to fighting for justice. Born in México, he migrated to the U.S. with a single mother. César grew up in South Central L.A. and attended UC Berkeley, earning a B.A. in History.  He was the first Mexican immigrant male to received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.L.D.) from Harvard University. An educator for 23-years, he is the author of two books: Revenge of The Illegal Alien and Bang for Freedom and is co-founder of the Homies Empowerment Program in Oakland, California. Currently, he is designing his own high school, for youth who have been previously incarcerated, and he is building it based on gang-assets. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Dr. Cruz is considered one of America’s 30 education thought leaders. Amidst all the accolades, he is proudest to be a husband, and father of three children: Olin, Amaru and Quetzali. 

Please register here.

Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Room 290, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Friday, April 27 | 2:00-4:00pm

INSURGENT KNOWLEDGES: A conversation with Damien Sojoyner and Sabina Vaught

Damien M. Sojoyner, Assistant Professor, Department of Anothropology, UC Irvine

Sabina E. Vaught, Associate Professor, Department of Education, Tufts University

The authors will discuss their new books and engage the audience in critical questions about race, power, discipline, and the prison and education­al institutions in the United States.

Damien M. Sojoyner is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. He researches the relationship among the public education system, prisons, and the construction of Black masculinity in Southern California. In addition to his work appearing in many popular media forms, he has written articles in scholarly journals such as Transforming Anthropology, Race, Education, and Ethnicity, and the Berkeley Review of Education. His book entitled First Strike: Prison and Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles was released in 2016 by the University of Minnesota Press. 

Sabina E. Vaught is an associate professor in the Department of Education at Tufts University, where she has affiliations in Africana American, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She researches state institutional contexts and dynamics of discipline, schooling, and power. Her articles have appeared in scholarly journals such as International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Harvard Educational Review, Race, Ethnicity, and Education, and Equity, & Excellence in Education. Her book, Compulsory Education and the dispossession of youth in a prison school, was released in 2017 by the University of Minnesota Press.

Academic Innovation Studio, 117 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the American Cultures Center, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, May 1 | 12:00 - 1:30pm

Crossing Institutional Boundaries: Health, Agency, and Constraint

Vicky Gomez, Dr.P.H. candidate in the School of Public Health and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Digital Storytelling and Colorectal Cancer Screening Intention in a Latino Church Community Setting

Introduction: Although colorectal cancer-screening rates have improved for all racial groups due to wider availability of screening, Latinos continue to have lower screening rates compared to non-Latino whites. Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with later stages of colorectal cancer (CRC), which can lead to higher rates of morbidity and mortality. More culturally sensitive interventions are needed to reach this population. Most existing colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) interventions are based in primary health care settings, only targeting a fraction of the Latino population. This pilot study explores the feasibility of introducing a digital storytelling (DS) intervention in a community church setting and its potential to influence CRCS intention among Latinos.

Methods: Participants between the ages of 50-75 who were not up-to-date with CRCS per United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations were recruited. They completed surveys assessing their intention to complete colorectal screening before and after viewing digital stories developed by fellow church members with previous CRCS experience. Participants were then asked to participate in focus groups to understand, qualitatively, how the digital stories influenced their intention to complete CRCS.

Results: Preliminary findings highlight that men and women with previous screening experience were motivated to consider different screening methods for future screening. Those who had never completed CRCS reported increased willingness to complete CRCS as a result of viewing the intervention. The DS intervention has the potential to influence participants' intention to complete first-time screening as well as the type of screening for those with previous screening experience.

Discussion: The introduction of a community-based digital storytelling intervention within a church setting is a novel strategy with the potential to influence more members of the Latino church population to complete CRCS.

Renee Mack, Ph.D. Candidate in School of Social Welfare and Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Patient Satisfaction with Mandated Psychiatric Treatment: Commitment, Care, and the Intersection of Criminal Justice and Mental Health

Introduction: This paper reports a study of psychiatric inpatient satisfaction with care in one state hospital and explores the factors associated with satisfaction and commitment type.

Methods: This cross sectional study examined two waves of patient satisfaction survey data collected 16 months apart within one state hospital that included patients committed to treatment for: risk violence mitigation, provided to defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI); competency restoration, provided to defendants found incompetent to stand trial (IST); and psychiatric recovery treatment, provided to civilly committed patients.  Data were collected in an inpatient setting using a self-rating patient satisfaction questionnaire. A total of 1169 patients were surveyed. The response rate was 47.10%.

Findings: In general, patients were satisfied with their care across all domains. Pairwise correlation and one way analysis of variance was used to identify the main predictor variables associated with satisfaction with the services provided.  Overall, all three commitment types had generally positive views of services. However, patients receiving treatment for competency restoration and civil commitment scored significantly lower than patients committed to treatment for violence risk mitigation.

Conclusion: The findings revealed that although most patients are satisfied with treatment provided at the state hospital, patients have significantly different assessments of satisfaction based on their commitment type.  These findings suggest that future research on perceptions of patient satisfaction in psychiatric hospitals should include an analysis of criminal and civil commitment types.  In addition, more research is needed to investigate how treatment varies by commitment type.   

Troy Duster as respondent, Chancellor's Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley, and Emeritus Silver Professor, Department of Sociology, New York University


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