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Spring 2022

Wednesday, May 11 | 4 - 5:30pm PT

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

Welcome: Stephen Small, Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
2022 KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize Winner: Jordan Webb, BA, UC Berkeley, 2022, Political Science major
2022 KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize – Honorable Mention: Yadira Hernandez-Figueroa, BA, UC Berkeley, 2022, Political Science and Ethnic Studies major
Introduction of the Yamshita Prize: Bob Yamashita
2022 Thomas I. Yamashita Prize Winner: Jason Okonofua, Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley
2022 Thomas I. Yamashita Prize – Honorable Mention was awarded to Nazineen Kandahari, medical student in the UCSF/UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program, but she could not attend.



Okonofua and Kandahari were recognized for their work to transform the social landscape and serve as a bridge between the academy and the community. Webb and Hernandez-Figueroa were recognized for their work to create a better future for children and youth.

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Department of Psychology, Department of Political Science

Friday, April 29 | 5pm PT

"Black Lives at Cal" Launch Party

Caleb Dawson, Black Lives at Cal



"Black Lives at Cal" (BLAC) is a multi-year Black-led initiative to celebrate, defend, and advance the legacy of Black people at UC Berkeley. We do this by researching, preserving, and publicizing the otherwise overlooked histories of the Black campus community.

At this launch party, BLAC will debut our website, unveil our logo, and engage the community in building a shared vision for our future.

BLAC is co-sponsored by the Office of African American Student Development and the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues with additional support from the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department and its Black Studies Collaboratory, Black Recruitment and Retention Center, Big C Fund, URAP, and the Chancellor's Office.

Thursday, April 21 | 12 - 1:30pm PT

Writing Health through Black Feminist Theory: In Conversation with Nessette Falu and James Doucet-Battle

Nessette Falu, PhD, Anthropology, University of Central Florida

James Doucet-Battle, PhD, Sociology, UC Santa Cruz



At this interactive event, Nessette Falu and James Doucet-Battle discuss the role of Black feminist thought in their research toward liberatory medicine, as well as the process of turning that research into academic books. Falu’s book, Unseen Flesh: Black Lesbian Worth Making and Gynecological Trauma in Bahia (forthcoming from Duke University Press) examines Black lesbians’ negative affective experiences caused by entrenched intersectional prejudice within gynecology in Brazil. She shows how gynecological infrastructures mirror Brazil’s broader sociohistorical and social violence. Falu argues that Black lesbians pursue their well-being against intersectional intimate violence and that this pursuit of self-worth drives their resistance toward social change, self-care and communal action in overt and transformative ways. Doucet-Battle’s recently published book, Sweetness in the Blood: Race, Risk, and Type 2 Diabetes (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), threads together the historical demand for African American bodies in US scientific research within a narrative chronology of three contemporary recruitment strategies targeting this imagined population. He argues that innovation occurs not only between technology, social norms, and hierarchies. Nature itself is reinvented through new technologically-mediated interpretations of difference, hierarchies of value, and as a cultural project. Genomic research offers new metabolic narratives of race, gender, and history, in this case, a particular US history. Falu and Doucet-Battle participate in a moderated conversation, as well as engage with the audience, to illuminate their processes of writing health through Black feminist theory.

Sponsored by: ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UCSF Humanities and Social Sciences

Co-sponsored by: ISSI's Center for Ethnographic Research, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, Public Health, School of, Othering & Belonging Institute

Wednesday, April 13 | 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Sons, Daughters, and Sidewalk Psychotics: Madness and Inequality in Los Angeles

Neil Gong, Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC San Diego



This talk compares public safety net and elite private psychiatric treatment in Los Angeles to show how inequality shapes the very meanings of mental illness, recovery, client choice, and personhood. In Downtown LA, the crises of homelessness and criminalization mean public safety net providers define recovery as getting a client housed, not in jail, and not triggering emergency calls. Given insufficient treatment capacity, providers eschew discipline for a “tolerant containment” model that accepts medication refusal and drug use so long as deviant behavior remains indoors. For elite private providers serving wealthy families, on the other hand, recovery means normalization and generating a respectable identity. Far from accepting madness and addiction, providers use a “concerted constraint” model to therapeutically discipline wayward adult children. Turning theoretical expectation on its head, I show how “freedom” becomes an inferior good and disciplinary power a form of privilege.

Sponsored by: ISSI's Center for Ethnographic Research, ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, School of Social Welfare

April 6-8 | Technology and Society in the Next Generation: Growth, Security, and Well-Being

Keynote by Paul Krugman:



All 5 panels are available here on this playlist.

Technological innovation is giving rise to a future infused with the tension between progress and risk. In the coming decades, technological innovation across a range of fields could hasten important advances such as equitable economic growth and material abundance, collective and individual security, and enhanced societal well-being; on the other hand, these same technological innovations could exacerbate economic stagnation, income inequality, ecological disasters, the proliferation of violence and collective insecurity, and an overall decline in physical and psychological health.

Convening prominent experts and scholars from the sciences, social sciences, business, and policy/government, this integrative and multi-disciplinary three-day conference features a keynote address from Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman as well as sessions that focus on the effects of emerging technologies—in industrial automation, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and climate science and geoengineering—on our prospects for economic equity, shared and individual security, and overall well-being as a society.

Full conference agenda and speakers available here.

With generous support from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity.

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues & Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

Wednesday, March 16 | 12 - 1:30pm PT

Advancing a Vision of Asian America: The Role of Higher Education



The forum explores the roles of Asian American Studies and of higher education institutions in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Asian American communities. Speakers discuss how Asian American studies have seeded many grassroots organizations that have been central in building community resilience. They also discuss the revived movement to advance Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies, more generally, at the K-12 education level and on college campuses across the country.

Visit for more info and speaker bios.

Hosted by ISSI's Asian American Research Center (AARC); Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (AAADS), UC Berkeley; and AAADS Community Supporters.

Tuesday, March 1 | 12:00 - 1:00pm PT

Sport in Society: Intersectionalities, Consequences and Projections

Harry Edwards, Professor Emeritus, Sociology, UC Berkeley

Welcome: Carol T. Christ, Chancellor, UC Berkeley

Moderator: Ty-Ron Douglas, Associate Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, UC Berkeley

Hosted by:
Stephen Small, Professor of African American Studies and Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
Jim Knowlton, Director of Athletics, UC Berkeley



As the pioneer of the field of sociology of sport, Dr. Harry Edwards has been leading and trumpeting the calls for justice through sport and in society long before the racial reckoning and viral social media posts of 2020. Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and Cal Athletics, this celebratory event is an opportunity for members of the UC Berkeley community to honor the tremendous contributions of Dr. Edwards as a professor (at UC Berkeley and other institutions), thought-leader, scholar, activist and internationally-recognized voice for the power of sport in and as activism, and the power of activism in sport. This dynamic lecture by Dr. Edwards and a thoughtful moderated conversation provide us fresh access to his sage insights on contemporary realities that are grounded in histories he knows, has lived, and continues to study.

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Cal Athletics

Co-sponsored by: School of Social Welfare, Department of Sociology, African American Student Development, Othering & Belonging Institute, Department of African American Studies

Friday, February 25 | 12:00 - 1:00pm PT

Unfree: Migrant Domestic Work in Arab States

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California
Leslie Salzinger, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies Department, UC Berkeley
Rachel Silvey, Richard Charles Lee Director of the Asian Institute and Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto



This event will be a discussion of Unfree: Migrant Domestic Work in Arab States (Stanford University Press 2021) by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas. The book examines the migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates, focusing on women from the Philippines, who represent the largest domestic workforce in the country. Unfree shows how various stakeholders, including sending and receiving states, NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, employers and domestic workers, project moral standards to guide the unregulated labor of domestic work. Professor Parreñas will be joined by discussants Leslie Salzinger (UC Berkeley) and Rachel Silvey (University of Toronto) in a moderated conversation on the themes of the book.

Sponsored by: Asian American Research Center

Co-sponsored by: Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, Center for Race and Gender, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Fall 2021

Wednesday, November 17 | 4:00 - 5:30pm PT

Concentrated Trauma and the Reservation Effect: A Reconsideration of Place, Culture, and Social Ties

Blythe K. George, Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC Merced



The case of tribal reservation communities provides a unique context in which to examine and extend considerations of social organization and marginalization through the lens of settler colonialism. Drawing from the case of the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Reservations of northern California, I show how “the reservation” is the seat of deep spiritual and personal meaning in the present day, yet so too was it a place where social inequalities clustered, especially violence, health comorbidities and polysubstance use disorder epidemics including methamphetamine and OxyContin. Nonetheless, the reservation was characterized by expansive social networks and high acquaintance density. Despite the strength and efficacy of social ties on the reservation, the “thick” connections that were dense and overlapping between individuals and families could also, in turn, extrapolate the trauma and tragedy of any one node to the level of the network. Drawing from ethnographic in-depth interviews across 1,000+ exposure hours and drafted in collaboration with the Yurok Tribal Court, I theorize a “reservation effect” whereby “concentrated trauma” sits alongside the sacred such that those who seek the latter must first navigate the former.  Rather than some fundamental breakdown in a social organization or an inability to activate their social connections, it is the imposition of the settler-colonial project that has soured the rich resources of Indigenous social networks across generations and thereby produced neither strong nor weak ties, but rather ties that “cut both ways.”

Sponsored by ISSI's Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Co-sponsred by Department of Sociology

Tuesday, November 16 | 12 -1pm PT

Inflamed: Decolonizing Medicine for Better Health Outcomes

Rupa Marya, Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF



Associate Professor of Medicine, activist, composer, and co-author of the bestselling book Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice, Rupa Marya, MD, will describe how medicine is limited in its capacity to serve the health of all people by the same histories and contours of power that create and recreate the structural inequalities in society. To achieve the possibility of different health outcomes, we must re-conceptualize health with the understanding of our bodies as systems impacted by the systems we are part of – from ecological to social to microbiological. Drawing from experiences in service of communities on the frontlines struggling against police violence and petroleum pipelines and from the science of inflammatory disease, Dr. Marya will provide a compelling case to advance models of diagnosis and treatment for systems-level derangements in order to advance the possibility of health for all.

Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice is available here.

Sponsored by ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, School of Public Health

Wednesday, October 27 | 4:00 - 5:30pm PT

Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica

Jovan Scott Lewis, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley



This talk explores the possibilities for repair and reparations through a discussion of Jamaican lottery scammers who use the framework of reparations to rationalize their scamming of elderly, white North Americans. Their framework challenges the terms and mechanisms of reparation by looking beyond the commonly accepted notions of what stands as the basis of injury, namely the history of slavery and colonialism. Instead, it identifies chronic contemporary poverty as warranting more considerable attention and recognition. The result is an appreciation for a radical determination of repair and reparation through unique racial and geographic permutations of debt and blame.

Sponsored by ISSI's Center for Ethnographic Research

Co-sponsored by ISSI's Center for Research on Social Change

Afro Mexicanidad: A Symposium

Thursday, October 14

The symposium was presented in Spanish and English, with simultaneous interpretation. Videos of both panels (in English and in Spanish) and additional exhibitions can be found here.

Panel 1: AfroMexico in Context | 11am - 1pm PT

Mónica Morena Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge, UK
Emiko Saldívar, Researcher & Lecturer, UC Santa Barbara
Juliana Acevedo, Lawyer & Activist

Moderator: Tianna Paschel, Associate Professor, African American Studies, UC Berkeley

The panel provided a critical overview of race relations in México; the 2020 Mexican census which took Afro Mexicanos into account for the first time in history; and the social movements that made this unprecedented event possible. 


Panel 2: AfroMexico Through Art | 2- 4pm PT
Marco Villalobos, Filmmaker, Writer & Producer
Hugo Arellanes Antonio, Photographer & Activist

The cultural session featured a talk and documentary screening of Beyond La Bamba by Marco Villalobos, as well as a talk by photographer Hugo Arellanes Antonio, who inaugurated three photo exhibitions that depict the lives and culture of Afro Mexicanos in Oaxaca’s Costa Chica and Ciudad de México. 

Sponsored by: ISSI's Latinx Research Center
Co-sponsored by: African American & African Diaspora Studies, Art Research Center, Art History, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), Chicanx Latinx Studies Program, Ethnic Studies, Institute for Study of Societal Issues (ISSI), & Spanish and Portuguese

Honoring Michael Omi: Racial Formations

Friday, October 1 | 12:10 - 1pm PT

Welcome: Carol Christ, Chancellor, UC Berkeley

Moderator: Stephen Small, Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues; Professor, African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Speakers: Victor Rios, Professor, Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Lisa Lowe, Samuel Knight Professor of American Studies and Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, Yale University

Troy Duster, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley; Michael Omi, Professor Emeritus, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley



Michael Omi retired in June 2021 after 35 years as a beloved and inspirational faculty member at UC Berkeley. This symposium will feature his colleagues and former students discussing his work and its implications in the academy and community. Professor Omi is best known as the co-author of Racial Formation in the United States, a groundbreaking work that transformed how we understand the social and historical forces that give race its changing meaning over time and place. The 3rd edition of the book was released in 2015. At Berkeley, he is known as an outstanding instructor and thoughtful leader who has served the campus in numerous positions, including as Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change (now the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues), as Associate Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (now the Othering and Belonging Institute), and as founding chair of the Asian American Research Center. Professor Omi's primary appointment was in the Department of Ethnic Studies with affiliations in Sociology and Gender & Women's Studies. Students in these departments and many more had the pleasure of taking his classes; Michael Omi is a recipient of UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Fortunately, Professor Omi will continue to be active on campus and beyond; this symposium acknowledges the milestone of his retirement and provides an opportunity to appreciate his many contributions. This event is part of a daylong symposium - details on the in-person events are available here.

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Asian American Research Center, Asian American Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Center for Race and Gender, Othering & Belonging Institute

Saturday, September 25 | 2 - 4pm PT

Honoring the Legacy of Joseph A. Myers

Welcome: Carol Christ, Chancellor, UC Berkeley

MC: Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, Chair, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, and Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley


  • Shari Huhndorf, Class of 1938 Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Carmen Foghorn, Director Emerita, American Indian Graduate Program, UC Berkeley
  • Christina Tlatilpa Inong, Program Specialist, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, and former student of Professor Myers
  • Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director, Native American Cultural Center, Stanford University
  • Raquelle Myers, Joe's daughter and Executive Director, National Indian Justice Center
  • Nicole Myers-Lim, Joe's daughter and Director, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center



Joseph A. Myers, a Pomo Indian of northern California, was born on January 16, 1940. He served as the Executive Director of the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC), a non-profit corporation in Santa Rosa, California. In addition, Mr. Myers was a founding board member of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Mr. Myers began his career as a law enforcement officer in Oakland. He was the first known California Indian to join the California Highway Patrol as an officer. He went on to receive his J.D. from Berkeley Law. From 1976 to 1983 Mr. Myers served as associate director of the American Indian Lawyer Training Program, creating and managing its tribal court advocate training project. During this time, he collaborated with the California Indian Legal Services to bring a lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of his mother Tillie Hardwick. This case reversed the termination of 17 California Indian Rancheria communities. Mr. Myers contributed significantly to the improvement of education, justice and the quality of life in Indian country. For the past 29 years he lectured in Native American Studies at UC Berkeley, teaching courses on federal Indian law and tribal governments and working to develop course content on Native California. The Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, based at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, is named after Joe Myers to recognize his extensive service to Indian country. He served as volunteer co-chair of the center from its founding in 2010 until his death in December of 2020. 

He left us with an amazing legacy of achievement and caring, which we will strive to uphold and build upon in the years to come. This event is an opportunity to come together to honor his legacy and reflect on his many contributions to campus and beyond.

Masks are required at this in-person, indoor event.

The program will be followed by a reception in the courtyard, catered by mak-'amham (Cafe Ohlone)

Sponsored by: Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, Native American Student Development, Native American Studies Program, Ethnic Studies, American Indian Graduate Program, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

"Germany's 9/11?" Neo-Nazis and Right-Wing Terrorism in Germany and Their Links to US Actors

Wednesday, September 15 | 4 - 5:30pm PT

Tanjev Schultz, Professor of Journalism, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, and Visiting Scholar, ISSI's Center for Right Wing Studies



In 2011, a right-wing terrorist cell named "NSU" was discovered in Germany. The NSU –"National Socialist Underground" – killed ten people and committed several other crimes. For more than 13 years, three neo-Nazi terrorists had been able to live undetected acting under false identity. All these years the police and intelligence forces did not stop them. Germany’s Chief Federal Prosecutor has called this "Germany’s 9/11". This may be seen as an exaggeration, nevertheless this judgement shows the importance of the NSU case. Tanjev Schultz puts it into a broader context of developments of the far right, including German Ku Klux Klan groups and ties between neo-Nazis and far right movements in Germany and the US.

Sponsored by: ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies

Co-sponsored by: Institute of European Studies

Spring 2021

Friday, May 28 | 12-1:30pm PT

Redistributing the Poor in Conversation with Bandage, Sort, and Hustle


Armando Lara-Millan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley

Josh Seim, Assistant Professor of Sociology at USC


Jennifer James, Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Aging at UCSF

Michael Burawoy, Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley





Join us for a conversation between the recently published books Redistributing the Poor: Jails, Hospitals, and the Crisis of Law and Fiscal Austerity by Armando Lara-Millan of UC Berkeley and Bandage, Sort, and Hustle: Ambulance Crews on the Front Lines of Urban Suffering by Josh Seim of USC. Both authors will make short presentations about their work followed by special discussion from Jennifer James, Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Aging at UCSF and Michael Burawoy, Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley. 

Sponsored by: Oxford University Press, University of California Press, USC Dornsife Department of Sociology, UC San Francisco, ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

2021 Joint Conference on Right-Wing Studies and Research on Male Supremacism

Monday-Friday, May 10-14

Join us for the 3rd annual Conference on Right-Wing Studies, held jointly with the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and the Conference for Research on Male Supremacism. This virtual conference brings together researchers focused on the right-wing and male supremacism for five days of panels, networking events, training sessions, and keynote speakers.

Over the course of five days, 60 presenters from the Americas, Europe, and Australia will present on their ongoing research into various aspects of right-wing and supremacist ideologies and movements. Topics under the category of right-wing studies include online mobilization, intellectuals and ideology, violence and terrorism, identity and emotion, pop culture and gaming, branding and marketing, white supremacism and its intersections, youth and campuses, funding, and more.

The conference will also include digital security training, discussion of the emotional toll of this work, social hours, and keynote panels on significant contemporary topics and threats.

For more information and registration link to purchase tickets, click here.


Anti-Trans Ideology in Male Supremacism

Emily CarianJE SumerauLaurel WestbrookHeron Greenesmith, and Blu Buchanan 




Attack on Critical Race Theory and Decolonizing Education: Maintaining Institutional Racism in the US and Europe 

Rokhaya Diallo, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Adrienne Davis, Kwame Nimako, and Stephen Small

Wednesday, April 28 | 4 - 5:30pm PT

FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas l. Yamashita Prize & KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize Award Ceremony

Please join us as we honor Phenocia Bauerle and Boun Khamnouane, recipients of the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, and Aurora Lopez and Tabitha Bell, recipients of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize. 

“Am I an American or Not? The Perils to Democracy When Racism Shouts Louder Than Facts, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution”

Keynote by Donald K. Tamaki, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP.



Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Co-sponsored by: Asian American Research Center, Center for Research on Social Change, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

Wednesday, April 21 | 2 - 3pm PT

The Politics of Racial Reparations:  Japanese American and Black American Intersections


John Tateishi, author of Redress: The Inside Story of Japanese American Reparations 

Charles Henry, Professor Emeritus of African American Studies, UC Berkeley and author of Long Overdue: The Politics of Racial Reparations

ModeratorMichael Omi, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley



In a political moment when historical and contemporary forms of structural racism are increasingly acknowledged, renewed attention is given to both addressing and compensating for the harm and long-term damage caused by racist policies and practices.  What constitutes an appropriate response and remedy to this damage, and what are effective political strategies to make substantive reparations a reality?  Join us for a conversation with John Tateishi and Charles P. Henry who will reflect on both the Japanese American and Black American efforts to secure reparations, contextualize the politics behind such efforts, and consider what may be possible going forward.

Sponsored by: Asian American Research Center

Co-sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change

Tuesday, April 13 | 5:30 - 6:30pm PT

The Future of California: People, Place, and Power

California State Senator Steven Bradford, Senate District 35

California State Senator Anna Caballero, Senate District 12

Assemblymember David Chiu, Assembly District 17

Assemblymember James C. Ramos, Assembly District 40

California State Senator Nancy Skinner, Senate District 9

Moderator: Marisa Lagos, correspondent for KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk and co-host of “Political Breakdown”

Welcome: Michael Drake, M.D, President of the University of California



As California and the world are changing, this symposium brings together California state legislators to share their visions of the future of California and the policies to achieve that future. California's large and diverse population needs education, health, housing, and secure jobs in a changing economy. California is a leader in protecting this beautiful planet that we call home, but we still have work to do in protecting the environment and planning our housing and transportation to meet the local, state, national, and global needs. While California exerts power in the national and global arenas, power is unevenly distributed, and we have to work for a more equitable future. 

Bios for the event are available here

Sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Co-sponsored by: African American and African Diaspora Studies, ISSI's Asian American Research Center, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Initiative for Health Equity & Action, California Nurses Association, California Reinvestment Coalition, East Bay Community, Goldman School of Public Policy, Institute of Governmental Studies, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, Latinx Research Center, Northern California Grantmakers, Othering & Belonging Institute, San Francisco Foundation, Southern California Grantmakers, The California Endowment, TURN — The Utility Reform Network

Wednesday, March 31 | 12 - 1:30pm PT

Epidemic Illusions: On the Coloniality of Global Public Health

Eugene Richardson, Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Troy Duster, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley

Bonnie Duran, Professor, Schools of Social Work and Public Health, University of Washington



Please join us for a talk by Eugene Richardson on his new book, Epidemic Illusions: On the Coloniality of Global Public Health, in conversation with renowned scholars Troy Duster and Bonnie Duran as they explore the impact of colonial thought, racism and patriarchy on the development of public health science and practices.

Sponsored by ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, the Othering & Belonging Institute, and the School of Public Health 

Thursday, March 18 | 4 - 6 pm PT

Panel Discussion on Report: "Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism"

Megan Kelly, PhD Student, Center for Gender Studies, University of Basel
Alex DiBranco, Executive Director, Institute for Research on Male Supremacism
Julia R. DeCook, Assistant Professor, School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago
Sian Tomkinson, PhD, Gender and Games, University of Western Australia
Tauel Harper, Lecturer, Media and Communication, UWA



"Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism," published in collaboration with New America, assesses misogynist incel ideology, critiques common and potentially harmful misconceptions, and offers recommendations to more effectively address male supremacist violence.

On Thursday, March 18th at 4pmPT/7pm ET, report co-authors Megan Kelly, Alex DiBranco, and Julia DeCook will speak on a panel with experts Sian Tomkinson and Tauel Harper, authors of "Confronting Incel: exploring possible policy responses to misogynistic violent extremism."

Co-sponsored by: the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies

Tuesday, March 16 | 12 - 1:30 PT

Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States: Diversity and Inclusion

The Honorable Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston

Introduction by: Ula Y. Taylor, Professor & H. Michael and Jeanne Williams Department Chair, Department of African American Studies & African Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley

Panel discussion moderated by Natasha Korecki, Politico National Correspondent


        Pedro Noguera, Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

        Kathleen Yang-Clayton, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago

        Dr. Gail Christopher, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity





Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Department of African American Studies (UCB), and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Co-sponsored by the Othering & Belonging Institute (for a complete list of co-sponsors, visit the event series website.

This event is part of a series on Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States; for more information on the series, click here.

Friday, March 12 | 12- 1pm PT 

Trumpism and its Discontents

Moderated by: Osagie K. Obasogie, Professor of Bioethics in the School of Public Health 


Ann C. Keller, Associate Professor, School of Public Health

Zeus Leonardo, Professor, Graduate School of Education

john a. powell, Director, Othering and Belonging Institute



Please join us for a moderated panel discussion with influential UC Berkeley scholars offering a deep and crucial examination of the political conditions that led to the rise of Donald Trump and the consequences of his presidency on US society and the world.

This timely event follows the recent publication of a new book by the same name, available for download as a PDF (Trumpism and its Discontents book website). Book chapters examine Trumpism in the context of various issues, including speech and race relations, politics of resentment, foreign policy and the existing world order, demographic shifts, and immigration policy.

The panel discussion will take place in the first 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes for audience Q&A.

Sponsored by the Othering & Belonging Institute, ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies, the Center for Race and Gender, and the Institute of Governmental Studies

Wednesday, March 10 | 2:00 - 3:00pm PT

Asian Women as Method: A Conversation with Professor Laura Hyun Yi Kang

Laura Hyun Yi Kang, Professor, Gender & Sexuality Studies, UC Irvine

Moderated by: Kandice Chuh, Professor, English, American studies, and Critical Social Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center

Introduction by: Elaine Kimis, Professor Emerita, UC Berkeley Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program





This conversation centers on Professor Laura Hyun Yi Kang’s book Traffic in Asian Women in which she shows how the figure of "Asian women" functions as an analytic to examine the permutation of U.S. power/knowledge at the nexus of capitalism, state power, and global governance. 

Co-sponsored by the Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies Program, ISSI's Asian American Research Center, Asian American & Pacific Islander Standing Committee, Center for Korean Studies, Center for Race & Gender, and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies. 


Wednesday, March 10 | 12 - 1:30 PT

Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States: The Wealth Gap

The Honorable Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark

Introduction by: Stephen Small, Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, and Professor, Department of African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Panel discussion moderated by Tracy Jan, Reporter, The Washington Post


         Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

         Paul Ong, Research Professor and Director, Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

         Elsie Harper-Anderson, Associate Professor, Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University





Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Department of African American Studies (UCB), and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Co-sponsored by the Othering & Belonging Institute (for a complete list of co-sponsors, visit the event series website.

This event is part of a series on Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States; for more information on the series, click here.

Thursday, March 4, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:30pm PT

Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States: Criminal Justice Reform

The Honorable Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago

Introduction by: Teresa Córdova, Director, Great Cities Institute, and Professor, Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Moderator: Cheryl Corley, NPR National Correspondent

Panelists: Nikki Jones, Professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley

                 Cid Martinez, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of San Diego



Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, the Department of African American Studies (UCB), and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Co-sponsored by the Othering & Belonging Institute (for a complete list of co-sponsors, visit the event series website.

This event is part of a series on Black Mayors & Leadership in the United States; for more information on the series, click here.

Friday, February 26 | 12 - 1:30pm PT

Revealed in the Wound: Iraqibacter and the Biology of History 

Omar Dewachi, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University



Building on ethnographic research on wounds and the ecologies of war and healthcare in Iraq and across the Middle East, this talk explores the rise of Iraqibacter, a moniker given to Acinetobacter baumannii — a superbug associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Tracing the histories and geographies of this “superbug” across the landscapes of war injury, I show how unravelling ethnographic and microbiological knowledge about antimicrobial resistance reveals deeper entanglements of this killer superbug in the political, biosocial, and environmental manifestations of long-term Western interventions and present-day conflict fallout across the region. Building on the notion of biology of history, the registration of human activity in bacterial life, I suggest that Iraqibacter could be understood as an archive of the changing ecologies and toxicities of war in Iraq and beyond.

Sponsored by ISSI's Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Co-sponsored by Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Fall 2020

Friday, December 4, 2020 | 12:00 - 3:00pm PT
For speaker bios and more information, visit the event webpage:
How do ethnographers engage in comparison? Do their comparative logics align with or diverge from the methodological foundations of other forms of social scientific research? And how do the current historical ruptures in the era of COVID-19 shape the present and future of ethnographic comparison? Drawing on central themes from Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography (Oxford University Press 2020), this event provides a venue for researchers from various ethnographic approaches to share their thoughts on these topics. The speakers, including many of the book’s contributors, represent a host of ethnographic traditions ranging from phenomenology, to interpretivism, to the extended case method, to various “post-positivist” forms of scientific realism. It is our hope that this discussion will reveal not only points of divergence, but also synergies with other empirical methods, and between competing approaches to ethnography. This parallels the book’s call to leverage the field’s epistemic variation in order to expand opportunities for meaningful comparisons and conversations on a broad range of substantive topics - including the convergent crises of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research
Co-sponsored by Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley; School of Sociology, University of Arizona

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 | 12-1:30pm PT
Lawrence Rosenthal, Chair, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, and author of Empire of Resentment
Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Education & Sociology, American University
Corey D. Fields, Associate Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
In this virtual discussion on the new book Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism (New Press, 2020), a panel of leading scholars of the right will engage with the book and the nature of contemporary populism and nationalism is the U.S. and Europe.

Sponsored by Center for Right-Wing Studies

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 | 12:30pm - 2:00pm PT
Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Divided By the Wall: Progressive and Conservative Immigration Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of California Press 2020) ethnographically mines the meanings of this contentious topic for people on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Set in Arizona, one of the most important points of entry for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, the book combines the insights of political sociology and race studies to shed light on why and how ordinary Americans collectively mobilize to change immigration and border policy, even when they don't necessarily believe that their actions will make a difference.
Sponsored by Center for Ethnographic Research
Co-sponsored by Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative

September 25th & October 23rd, 2020
Wide-scale U.S. higher education began in 1862 when the Morrill Act provided each state with “public” lands to sell for the establishment of university endowments. The public land-grant university movement is lauded as the first major federal funding for higher education and for making liberal and practical education accessible to Americans of average means. However hidden beneath the oft-told land-grant narrative is the land itself: the nearly 11 million acres of land sold through the Morrill Act was expropriated from tribal nations. This two-part forum examines the 150,000 acres of Indigenous land that funded the University of California, how this expropriation is intricately tied to California’s unique history of Native dispossession and genocide, and how UC continues to benefit from this wealth accumulation today. Part 2 explores current university initiatives with tribes and includes a community dialogue on actions the University of California can take to address their responsibility to California Indigenous communities.
Read more about the two-part series here, including a complete list of speakers and other resources.

UC Berkeley: Native American Student Development; Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues; Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology; Rausser College of Natural Resources; Berkeley Food Institute; Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program; Native American Studies; American Indian Graduate Program; The Center for Race and Gender; Native American Staff Council

UC Davis: Department of Native American Studies

UC Riverside: Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs; California Center for Native Nations; Native American Student Programs

Community Partners: Riverside-San Bernardino Native American Community Council

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020   | 5:00pm PT 
Jamila K. Taylor, PhD, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
Janene Yazzie, Co-founder and CEO of Sixth World Solutions
Mari Lopez, Organizer, National Nurses United / California Nurses Association
The Covid19 pandemic has revealed racism as the public health crisis facing the United States. Health disparities are also shaped by employment, immigration, housing, land use, and many other systemic issues and institutions. The United States government's response has largely been reactive; this event is an opportunity to focus on redefining health policy in ways that go beyond debates about testing or restaurant re-opening. Drawing on their experience of working for change at the grassroots, three visionary leaders will engage in a conversation about health policy that would encompass the social and structural changes we need to promote good health.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and National Nurses United / California Nurses Association

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020   | 3:00pm PST 
Alford Young, Jr., Edgar G. Epps Collegiate Professor of Sociology and 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.

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
Co-sponsored by Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020   | 12:00pm PST 
Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley
Carole Joffe, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UC San Francisco
Jill E. Adams, Executive Director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
The legal right to abortion is under threat, despite the recent Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v Russo, a decision that protected the rights of women in Louisiana to get abortions without an undue burden. The right wing has successfully eroded reproductive rights through a number of tactics, including framing abortion as “Black genocide,” yet people continue to have abortions, within, despite, and beyond legal limits. Khiara M. Bridges, co-author of the reproductive justice law professors' amicus brief in June Medical Services v. Russo, will examine race, class, reproductive rights, and the intersection of the three. Carole Joffe, co-author of Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America, will draw on interviews with patients, abortion providers, and clinical staff to reveal the compound indignities, inconveniences, and impossibilities posed by the patchwork of restrictions on provision and coverage. She will also discuss the determination and dedication of those both seeking and working to provide legal abortions. Jill E. Adams, Executive Director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, will focus on how people are choosing and resorting to self-directed and community-directed care to circumnavigate the structural inequities in healthcare access yet still having to contend with the systemic racism of the criminal legal system.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
Co-sponsored by Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice; Center for the Study of Law and Society; Berkeley Law's chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice


Wednesday, September 24th, 2020   | 12:00pm PST 
Tiffany King, Associate Professor, African-American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University
In her recent book The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies, Tiffany Lethabo King uses the shoal—an offshore geologic formation that is neither land nor sea—as metaphor, mode of critique, and methodology to theorize the encounter between Black studies and Native studies. King conceptualizes the shoal as a space where Black and Native literary traditions, politics, theory, critique, and art meet in productive, shifting, and contentious ways. These interactions, which often foreground Black and Native discourses of conquest and critiques of humanism, offer alternative insights into understanding how slavery, anti-Blackness, and Indigenous genocide structure white supremacy. Among texts and topics, King examines eighteenth-century British mappings of humanness, Nativeness, and Blackness; Black feminist depictions of Black and Native erotics; Black fungibility as a critique of discourses of labor exploitation; and Black art that rewrites conceptions of the human. In outlining the convergences and disjunctions between Black and Native thought and aesthetics, King identifies the potential to create new epistemologies, lines of critical inquiry, and creative practices.

Sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change
Co-sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, African American and African Diaspora Studies, Native American Studies, UC Berkeley


Wednesday, September 16th, 2020   | 4:00pm PST 
Stephen Small, Interim Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, and Professor, African American Studies, UC Berkeley
Some of the most prominent public debates on slavery in the United States at the present time revolve around Confederate monuments, related iconography and the legacies of the Civil War. But these are just one component of a far more extensive infrastructure of sites dedicated to a distorted and mythological memory of slavery, the Confederacy and Southern history. This involves a vast heritage tourism industry across the US South, comprising plantation mansions, work structures and a wide range of other buildings, including slave quarters and slave cabins.

Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues


Tuesday, August 4th, 2020   | 1:00pm PST 
Dr. Crystal Fleming, Professor of Sociology, Stony Brook University
Dr. Crystal Fleming giving keynote talk on "Revealing White Supremacy" August 4th, 2020 for the joint Conference for Research on Male Supremacism/Conference on Right-Wing Studies. Co-hosted by the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (part of ISSI) and Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, co-sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Thursday, August 6th, 2020   | 12:10pm PST 
Dr. Terri Givens, CEO and Founder of the Center for Higher Education Leadership
Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal, Chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
Dr. Terri Givens and Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal discuss present-day white and male supremacist mobilization and discourses on the far-right in the United States and Europe, from the Boogaloo Bois and anti-lockdown protests to misogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism on college campuses. The event is moderated by Alex DiBranco, Executive Director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (part of ISSI) and Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

Spring 2020 Events

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

Friday February 7 I 4:00-6:00pm

Latinx Research Center Colloquia Series:

"Tell Me Why My Children Died:" Photograph Exhibition of the Venezuelan Warao Indigenous Community Health Crisis



and conversation with Dr. Charles Briggs and Dr. Clara Mantini-Briggs



Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

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

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

Crossroads and Cyborgs: The Speculative Design of John Jennings

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



For over a decade John Jennings has been a key figure in the archiving, creating, and cultivating of black popular culture in graphic novels, illustrated fiction, and graphic design. Jennings has contributed to creating a foundation of theory, community, and mentorship that has led to what some call the Black Speculative Arts Movement; his work has helped give a visual aesthetic to what some call Afrofuturism. This presentation will be a short retrospective of Jennings' work and current research and critical making projects. 

The event was live-streamed on the ISSI channel.

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

April 15, 2020  | 4:30 - 6pm PST 

Structural Competency Innovations & Opportunities in the Era of Covid-19

Part 1 : Basic Needs and First Response



Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

April 22, 2020  | 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. PST 

Structural Competency Innovations & Opportunities in the Era of Covid-19

Part 2 : Medically Marginalized Populations


Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Thursday, April 23, 2020  | 11:00am PST 

From spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories about the World Health Organization, to refusals to respect stay-at-home orders, to amping up online harassment while people are spending more time in the virtual world, the global right-wing has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in alarming ways. This panel discussion on the state of right-wing and male supremacist responses to COVID-19 with presentations from IRMS experts Julia DeCook and Chelsea Ebin and remarks from CRWS chair Larry Rosenthal is now available for viewing

Sponsored by the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism
Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Friday, May 1 | 4-5pm 
Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology and American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor, Harvard School of Public Health 



Professor Nancy Krieger will engage in conversation with Professors Mahasin Muhajid and Corinne Ridell (UCB) about the impact of racial discrimination, social class and place on the excess disease and death rates from COVID19 among African American and other communities of color.  The session will focus on some of the thorny issues related to collecting and analyzing relevant social data on COVID19; and also on advancing a social justice agenda in addressing racial/ethnic disparities in disease rates.  The conversation will be moderated by Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch, UCB.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Othering & Belonging Institute

Wednesday, May 6, 2020  | 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. PST

Structural Competency Innovations & Opportunities in the Era of Covid-19

Part 3 : Global Responses



Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Fall 2019 Events

Tuesday, September 10 I 12:30-2:00pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law

Angela S. Garcia, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago



This book talk analyzes the ways federal, state, and local immigration laws shape the lives of undocumented Mexicans in the US. Comparing restrictive and accommodating immigration measures in various cities and states, it shows that place-based inclusion and exclusion unfold for immigrants in seemingly contradictory ways. Instead of erasing undocumented residents from the community, increased threat from restrictive localities creates conditions for immigrants to subvert the public gaze by “legal passing,” or attempting to mask the stigma of illegality to avoid police and immigration enforcement. As legal passing becomes embodied, immigrants distance themselves from their ethnic and cultural identities, resulting in coerced assimilation. In accommodating localities, undocumented Mexicans experience a sense of local membership and stability that is simultaneously undercut by federal deportation threat and complex street-level tensions with police. Combining social theory on immigration and law as well as place and race, the talk illuminates the human consequences of contemporary immigration federalism.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Latinx Research Center, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative

Tuesday, September 17 I 4:00-6:00pm 

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Colloquia Series:

Against Humanity: Why the Concept Does Violence to the Common Good

Sam Dubal, Visiting Scholar, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine



This talk is not about crimes against humanity. Rather, it is an indictment of ‘humanity’, the concept that lies at the heart of human rights and humanitarian missions. Based on fieldwork in northern Uganda with former rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an insurgent group accused of rape, forced conscription of children, and inhumane acts of violence, I examine how 'humanity' conceptualizes the LRA as a set of problems rather than a set of possibilities, as inhuman enemies needing reform. Humanity hegemonizes what counts as good in ways that are difficult to question or challenge. It relies on very specific notions of the good – shaped in ideals of modern violence, technology, modernity, and reason, among others – in ways that do violence to the common good. What emerges from this ethnography is an unorthodox question – what would it mean to be ‘against humanity’? And how can a particular form of anti-humanism foster alternative, more radical efforts at social change in the realms of humanitarianism, medicine, and politics?

223 Moses Hall, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the Center for African Studies

Tuesday, September 24 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Socioemotional Development of Dual Language Learners and Children of Immigrant Families: The Roles of Culture, Language, and Parenting

Qing Zhou, Associate Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley



One out of four children in the United States is growing up in an immigrant family. One out of five children in the U.S. are dual language learners (DLLs). Children of immigrant families and DLLs are exposed to diverse cultural values and languages in early development and face developmentally unique challenges and opportunities. In this talk, Professor Zhou will discuss the ecological model for understanding risk and protective factors for psychological adjustment in children of immigrant families and language minority homes. She will share findings from the ongoing longitudinal studies on children in Chinese American and Mexican American immigrant families in the San Francisco Bay Area conducted by her team in the Family and Culture Lab. Specific research questions are: 1) How do cultural orientations and language shape parental emotion socialization and children’s socioemotional adjustment? 2) How do English and heritage language development shape children’s executive functions and parent-child relationships in immigrant families? Implications of research findings for clinical interventions and early childhood education programs serving children of immigrant families and DLLs will also be discussed.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Department of Psychology, Institute of Human Development

Thursday, October 17 I 11:10am-12:30pm

Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues is pleased to co-sponsor:

Indigeneity and Immigration

Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, Ph.D



Dr. Rivera-Salgado will discuss the process of "Indigenization" of Mexican migration to California and the unique challenges this population faces as they incorporate as long-term migrants into the fabric of US society. He will discuss the emergence of indigenous-led organizations that sustain collective action among these immigrants both here in California and in their communities of origin in Mexico. Some of the questions he will address are: How do we as scholars engage in successful collaborations with diverse communities in California? How do we choose the right research questions and what problems to address? How can we be clear about research roles in a collaboration with organized groups or different marginalized communities? Who are producers of knowledge? Who owns the data of a participatory action research project?

Valley Life Science Building, room 2040

Co-sponsored by: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; Department of Ethnic Studies; Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society; Native American Student Development; American Indian Graduate Program, Center for Race and Gender, Latinx Center of Excellence, Center for Latin American Studies.

Tuesday, October 22 I 4:00-5:30pm

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

Governing Rosebud Reservation:  Anti-Politics, Rendering Technical, Rendering Moral

Tom Biolsi, Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley



This talk will be based on Prof. Biolsi’s recently published book, Power and Progress on the Prairie, which traces the history of “modernization,” “improvement,” or “progress” on Rosebud Reservation. The central question of the book is how ideas about making things “better” were invented and applied to the people—both Indian and white—and the land. The cases examined include plans to “civilize” Indians and “modernize” farmers; to rationally manage agricultural production and land-use; to mitigate environmental problems; to “rationalize” plans for nuclear war to increase the likelihood of “national survival”; and to extend voting rights to Lakota people. Each of these plans or programs is an example of what Biolsi calls governing. Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault on governmentality, the book aims to understand how “problems” requiring correction came into public focus, or were actively made by experts with “remedies” or “solutions” in search of problems to fix.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Native American Studies Program, Native American Student Development, American Indian Graduate Program, American Indian Graduate Student Association

Wednesday, November 6 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Exploring Plantation Worlds: Towards Ethnographic Collaboration

Tania Murray Li, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto



Plantations are huge institutions; not one field site but many. They are rigidly hierarchical, segregated by gender and ethnicity, and they have complex relations with the surrounding society.  It is difficult for a single researcher to become familiar with multiple plantation worlds, suggesting the need for a team approach.  In this talk Tania Li describes the rewards and challenges of team-based ethnographic research drawing on work she carried out in Indonesia’s oil palm plantations together with her collaborator Pujo Semedi and around 100 students from their two universities (Toronto, Gadjah Mada).

Moses Hall, Room 223

Co-sponsored by Institute of East Asian Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of International Studies

Spring 2019 Events

Friday, February 1 I 12:00-1:30pm

The Devil Really is in the Details: Understanding the Global Radical Right

Brian Porter-Szucs, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, University of Michigan



There are obvious similarities between Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, Recep Erdoğan, Jair Bolsonaro, Jarosław Kaczyński, Rodrigo Duterte, Donald Trump, and all the other politicians we have come to call ‘populists.’  Not only is that label misleading, but analyzing them as part of a single ideological movement can lead to confusion. This presentation will use the example of Poland to illustrate the necessity of local expertise in understanding seemingly global trends.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Wednesday, February 13 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Colloquia Series:

The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption

Nikki Jones, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley, with Clarence Ford, MPP as respondent



This event will feature a discussion between Nikki Jones and Clarence Ford, based on Professor Jones’ new book, The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption. In the book Professor Jones shares the compelling story of a group of Black men living in San Francisco’s historically Black neighborhood, the Fillmore. Against all odds, these men work to atone for past crimes by reaching out to other Black men, young and old, with the hope of guiding them toward a better life. Yet despite their genuine efforts, they struggle to find a new place in their old neighborhood. With a poignant yet hopeful voice, Jones illustrates how neighborhood politics, everyday interactions with the police, and conservative Black gender ideologies shape the men’s ability to make good and forgive themselves—and how the double-edged sword of community shapes the work of redemption.

Dwinelle 117, Academic Innovation Studio

Co-sponsored by Center for the Study of Law and Society, Center for Race and Gender, American Cultures Center, Berkeley Underground Scholars

Tuesday, February 26 | 3-4:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Program Colloquia:

Immigrant Sanctuary as the “Old Normal”: A Brief History of Police Federalism

Trevor Gardner, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington, with Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law, UC Berkeley as respondant



Three successive presidential administrations have opposed the practice of immigrant sanctuary, at various intervals characterizing state and local government restrictions on police participation in federal immigration enforcement as reckless, aberrant, and unpatriotic. This Article finds these claims to be ahistorical in light of the long and singular history of a field the Article identifies as “police federalism.” For nearly all of U.S. history, Americans within and outside of the political and juridical fields flatly rejected federal policies that would make state and local police subordinate to the federal executive. Drawing from Bourdieusian social theory, the Article conceptualizes the sentiment driving this longstanding opposition as the orthodoxy of police autonomy. It explains how the orthodoxy guided the field of police federalism for more than two centuries, surviving the War on Alcohol, the War on Crime, and even the opening stages of the War on Terror. In constructing a cultural and legal history of police federalism, the Article provides analytical leverage by which to assess the merits of immigrant sanctuary policy as well as the growing body of prescriptive legal scholarship tending to normalize the federal government’s contemporary use of state and local police as federal proxies. More abstractly, police federalism serves as an original theoretical framework clarifying the structure of police governance within the federalist system.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Sponsored by: ISSI Graduate Fellows Program

Co-sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change, Department of Sociology, Center for the Study of Law and Society, and the Center for Race and Gender

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

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

Hegemonies of Language and Their Discontents: The Southwest North American Region Since 1540

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, ASU Regents' Professor; Presidential Motorola Professor of Neighborhood Revitalization; Founding Director Emeritus, School of Transborder Studies; Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change; Emeritus Professor of Anthropology of the University of California, Riverside



Spanish and English have fought a centuries-long battle for dominance in the Southwest North American Region, commonly known as the U.S.-Mexico transborder region. Covering the time period of 1540 to the present, the book provides a deep and broad understanding of the contradictory methods of establishing language supremacy and details the linguistic and cultural processes used by penetrating imperial and national states. He argues that these impositions were not linear but hydra-headed, complex and contradictory, sometimes accommodating and many times forcefully imposed.  Such impositions created arcs of discontent resulting in physical and linguistic revolts, translanguage versions, and multilayered capacities of use and misuse of imposed languages—even the invention of a locally-created trilingual dictionary. These narratives are supported by multiple sources, including original Spanish colonial documents and new and original ethnographic studies of performance rituals like the matachines of New Mexico. This unique work integrates the most recent neurobiological studies of bilingualism and their implications for cognitive development and language as it spans multiple disciplines. Finally, it provides the most important models for dual language development and their integration to the Funds of Knowledge concept—each contributing  creative contemporary discontents to monolingual impositions and approaches.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: American Indian Graduate Student Association, Latinx Research Center, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, Native American Student Development

Wednesday, March 13 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Colloquia Series:

Lives, Not Metadata: Possibilites and Limits of Mapping Violence

Monica Muñoz Martinez, Andrew Carnegie Fellow and the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University



This talk will be based on a digital research project, Mapping Violence, for which Martinez is the primary investigator. The project takes the shape of a digital archive that documents cases of racial violence in Texas from 1900 to 1930. The research is stored in a database and will be displayed as an interactive map that recovers lost and obscured histories of racial violence. The project’s recovery efforts shift longtime patterns followed by historians. Mapping Violence aims to expose interconnected histories of violence, the legacies of colonization, slavery, and genocide that intersect in Texas. Although often segregated in academic studies, these histories coalesced geographically and temporally, and in some cases the same agents of violence moved across the state targeting different racial and ethnic groups. Historians have also tended to segregate studies of vigilante violence from extralegal violence at the hands of police. This project rethinks the limits of archival research, historical narrative, and methods for presenting findings to public audiences. In this talk, Martinez will explore some of the fundamental questions about the possibilities created when history and the digital humanities converge. How does one visually represent a history of loss on a digital platform? How can a digital project accommodate the needs of academic and public audiences?

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Tuesday, March 19 | 12-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia series presents:

The Uncivil Polity: Race, Poverty and Civil Legal Justice

Jamila Michener, Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University



Civil legal institutions protect crucial economic, social, and political rights. The core functions of civil law include preventing evictions, averting deportations, advocating on behalf of public assistance beneficiaries, representing borrowers in disputes with lenders, safeguarding women from domestic violence, and resolving family disputes (e.g. child support, custody). Civil legal protections are especially critical to low-income women of color. In 2016, seventy-two percent of civil legal aid beneficiaries were women and over 50 percent were people of color. To date, civil legal institutions have remained largely invisible in the discipline of political science. This paper investigates the democratic repercussions of civil legal institutions. Drawing on data from in-depth qualitative interviews, we examine how experiences with civil legal processes affect political attitudes and action among racially and economically marginal denizens.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by: Institute for Governmental Studies, the Department of Political Science, and the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans

Tuesday, April 2 I 4 -5:30pm

Cultural Capital, Systemic Exclusion and Bias in the Lives of Black Middle-Class Women: A Conversation

Dawn Marie Dow, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, and Tina K. Sacks, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley, with moderator Amani Allen, Associate Professor of Public Health, UC Berkeley



At this interactive event, Dawn Dow and Tina Sacks will discuss their new books on African American women. Dow’s book, Mothering While Black: Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood (UC Press 2019), examines the complex lives of the African American middle class—in particular, black mothers and the strategies they use to raise their children to maintain class status while simultaneously defining and protecting their children’s “authentically black” identities. The book reveals the painful truth of the decisions that black mothers must make to ensure the safety, well-being, and future prospects of their children. In her book Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford University Press 2019), Sacks challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination-particularly in healthcare settings-is a thing of the past and questions the persistent myth that discrimination only affects poor racial minorities. She argues that simply providing more cultural-competency or anti-bias training to doctors will not be enough to overcome the problem. Rather than lecture, Dow and Sacks will serve as each other’s interlocutors, as well as engage with the audience, as they center the experiences of middle class African American women.

Toll Room, Alumni House

Sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change and Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Co-sponsored by: Gender and Women's Studies, American Cultures Center, Townsend Center, Sociology, Center for Race and Gender, School of Social Welfare

Thursday, April 11 I 4-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

How to Do Ethnography When You Dislike Your Research Subjects? Fieldwork Within Right-Wing Groups in Italy

Martina Avanza, Senior Lecturer, Political Sociology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland



Ethnography does not seem to be suited for situations in which the ethnographer dislikes the group she or he studies. Some fieldworkers even think that ethnography without empathy is almost impossible to achieve. That is why scholars tend to do ethnography of left-wing or subaltern group mobilizations and to study the right from a distance, with an etic perspective.

Building on my experience as an ethnographer working on right-wing groups in Italy (the Lega Nord party and the “pro-life” movement), I will talk about the challenges of this kind of fieldwork and also about possible contributions not only to the field of right-wing studies, but also to the ethnographic literature. In particular, I will address issues of ethics and reflexivity that are particularly acute in this kind of fieldwork.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Right Wing Studies

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 18 I 4 -5:30pm

Center for Right Wing Studies Colloquia series:

The Extreme Gone Mainstream

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Education and Sociology; Director, International Training and Education Program, American University



Miller-Idriss explores how extremist ideologies have entered mainstream German culture through commercialized products and clothing laced with extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalist coded symbols and references. Drawing on a unique digital archive of thousands of historical and contemporary images, as well as scores of interviews with young people and their teachers in two German vocational schools with histories of extremist youth presence, Miller-Idriss shows how this commercialization is part of a radical transformation happening today in German far right youth subculture. She describes how these youths have gravitated away from the singular, hard-edged skinhead style in favor of sophisticated and fashionable commercial brands that deploy coded extremist symbols. Virtually indistinguishable in style from other clothing popular with youth, the new brands desensitize far right consumers to extremist ideas and dehumanize victims.

Co-sponsored by: Center for German and European Studies

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 25 | 4:00-6:00 pm 

Inaugural Conference on Right-Wing Studies Keynote Panel



A keynote panel of experts weigh in on the current state of the far right in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, opening the conference. 

The Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies is pleased to present the Inaugural Conference on Right-Wing Studies. This interdisciplinary conference will feature dozens of new and established scholars from around the world whose work deals with the Right as a social, political, and/or intellectual phenomenon from the 19th century to the present day. Participants will have the rare opportunity to join an expanding network of scholars who focus on right-wing studies, facilitating the development of this interdisciplinary field and future collaborations that emerge from these connections.

Sponsored by: Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Co-sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Department of History, Department of Sociology, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Institute of European Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Scholars Strategy Network, Southern Poverty Law Center,  Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Townsend Center for the Humanities. 

More information is available on the conference website.

Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley

Friday, May 3, I 4-6pm

FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas l. Yamashita Prize & KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize Award Ceremony

This event honored Joel Sati and Rosa M. Jiménez, recipients of the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, and Gabriel Santamaria, Alejandra León Herrera, and Nolan Pokpongkiat, recipients of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize. 


"Sanctuary & Educational Justice: Why Dismantling the Deportation Regime Must Be a Priority for All Advocates of Youth, Children & Families" 

by Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales 
Associate Professor of Education, University of San Francisco 

Co-sponsored by: Latinx Research Center, School of Public Health, Jurisprudence and Social Policy

Fall 2018 Events

Tuesday, December 4 I 5:30-7:00pm

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Colloquia Series:

Health Care Under the Knife: Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health

Howard Waitzkin, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of New Mexico



These days, our health and well-being are sorted through a profit-seeking financial complex that monitors and commodifies our lives. Our access to competent, affordable health care grows more precarious every day. We need a deeper understanding of the changing structural conditions that link capitalism, health care, and health. From a recognition that such linkages deserve closer study and that this analytic work will assist in real-world struggles for change, Howard Waitzkin, in collaboration with the medical professionals, scholars, and activists who comprise the Working Group on Health Beyond Capitalism, wrote Health Care Under the Knife: Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health. Waitzkin will discuss just what's wrong with our medical system, how it got this way, and how this book contributes to a winning strategy in moving toward a post-capitalist health-care system.

Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall

Co-sponsored by National Nurses United and the California Nurses Association

Thursday, November 15 I 4:00-5:30pm

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

On Indian Ground: California. A Return to Indigenous Knowledge: Generating Hope, Leadership, and Sovereignty Through Education

Joely Proudfit, Chair and Professor of American Indian Studies; Director of California Indian Culture & Sovereignty Center, CSU San Marcos


Nicole Lim, Executive Director, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center



Joely Proudfit and Nicole Myers-Lim, authors and editors of On Indian Ground: California will discuss issues related to Native American education reform. They will address the impacts of genocide, colonization, racism and historical bias upon curriculum and student achievement. Additionally, they will present holistic indigenous perspectives that can be integrated into systems of education to foster equity, success and social justice.

117 Dwinelle HallAcademic Innovation Studio

Co-sponsored by: American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Student Development, American Indian Graduate Student Association, Native American Studies, Indigenous Language Revitalization DE, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education.

Friday, October 26 I 12:00-1:30pm

Family Separations: Beyond Violence Histories to Build Belonging

Heide Castañeda, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of South Florida; Ericka Huggins, Human Rights Activist, Poet, Educator; Former Black Panther Party Leader and Political Prisoner; Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney, Immigration Legal Resource Center

Moderator: Seth Holmes, Co-Chair, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine



Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

Sponsored by Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

A resource guide related to this event is available for download here.

Wednesday, October 17 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

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



The virulence and pervasiveness of immigration enforcement have fueled migrants to organize in heterogeneous ways. My research about and activism in the movement during the last eight years have evolved into an engagement with a strain of anti-deportation organizing which takes up the cause of the most indefensible of immigrants and refugees -- those labeled criminal aliens. Non-citizens, who are branded with this label, are both legal permanent residents and undocumented.  Ninety-two percent of all migrants caught in the dragnet of interior enforcement in 2016 were categorized as “criminal aliens.” What activists term “crimmigration” has become the most effective tool to remove migrants from the interior.

In this talk, I examine the relationship among mobility, forced removals, and claims to space by analyzing how high school-age members of Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) in Long Beach interrogate the school to prison to deportation pipeline. They link the criminalization of Khmer refugees to the legacies of United States’ wars in southeast Asia and the failures of the US refugee resettlement program. The “refugee voice,” which youth leaders learn to use in their communities, resets the dominant frameworks deployed to advocate for immigrant justice. By naming the waves of political trauma Khmer refugees in the United States experience, the KGA youth offer strategies that weld together gender justice, refugee justice and youth justice from an anti-carceral and anti-deportation perspective.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender.

Tuesday, October 9 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil

Alvaro Jarrín, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross



Beauty is considered a basic health right in Brazil, and plastic surgery is offered to working-class patients in public hospitals in exchange for becoming experimental subjects. This talk will trace the biopolitical concern with beauty to Brazilian eugenics, and will explore the raciology of beauty that allowed plastic surgeons to gain the backing of the State. For patients, on the other hand, beauty has become affectively linked to citizenship and national belonging, and becomes a form of capital that maps onto and intensifies the race, class and gender hierarchies of Brazilian society. It is by examining the interplay between biopolitics and affect, therefore, that one can understand how beauty becomes a visceral reaction to oneself and others.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies.

Wednesday, September 26 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Moving Beyond Recruitment: Supporting and Retaining Black Male Teachers

Travis J. Bristol, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley



While policy makers and practitioners call for increasing the number of Black male teachers, researchers find that this subgroup has the highest rate of turnover. Despite ongoing local and state teacher diversity recruitment efforts, there is a paucity of research that examines Black male teachers’ school-based experiences and decisions to stay or leave their schools. To fill this gap in the literature, this talk will examine Black male teachers’ experiences in organizations.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender.

Spring 2018 Events

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

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

Honoring 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. 

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

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

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

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

with Amani Nuru-Jeter, Associate Professor, Public Health, UC Berkeley, and Nancy Peluso, Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, UC Berkeley, as respondents

and Charles Briggs, Professor, Department of Anthropology, as moderator



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 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

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

Latin American Social Medicine, Then and Now

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

Seth Holmes, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Policy & Management and of Medical Anthropology, as Moderator



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. 

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, March 22 | 6-7:30 p.m. 

Beyond Identity: Building Collective Struggles for Racial and Health Justice

George Lipsitz, Professor of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara 

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

Carlos Martinez, PhD student, 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? 

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, 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 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 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

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 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 DevelopmentDepartment of Ethnic Studies, Division of Equity and Inclusion, UC Berkeley

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 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

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 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

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

Fall 2017 Events

Wednesday, November 15 | 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues presents: 

International Scholarships in Higher Education: Pathways to Social Change

Aryn Baxter, Assistant Research Professor and Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Arizona State University

Anne Campbell, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Policy & Management, Middlebury Institute for International Studies

Joan Dassin (via Skype), Professor of International Education and Development, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

Robin Marsh, Senior Researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Discussant: Victor Okoro, UC Berkeley Senior, Development Studies and Logic, MasterCard Foundation Scholar, Nigeria

This event will be the West Coast book launch for International Scholarships in Higher Education: Pathways to Social Change (Palgrave MacMillan/Springer Nature, 2017),co-edited by Joan Dassin, Robin Marsh and Matt Mawer. The book explores the multiple pathways from international scholarships to positive social change presenting the latest research on scholarship policy and practice and outcome evaluation.  Authors include researchers, evaluators and scholarship program designers and policymakers from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Australia. Four authors will be present at the event to discuss their chapters and their current research on international scholarships and development. The following themes will be highlighted: the role of universities in fostering/inhibiting social change ambitions of scholarship fellows; tensions between scholarship conditionality and individual agency in post-graduation decisions; global migration of talent and concerns over brain drain; and a new approach to researching international scholarships and social change that prioritizes collective outcomes over individual achievement. 

223 Moses Hall, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Institute of International Studies , UC Berkeley, Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education, Arizona State University,  Middlebury Institute of International Studies at MontereyCenter for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, November 14 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents:

Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia

Willow Lung-Amam, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning and Director, Community Development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, University of Maryland, College Park

Over the last few decades, California’s Silicon Valley has become not only the world’s technological epicenter, but also one of the fastest growing, and most racially and ethnically diverse regions in the U.S. Spurred by the rise of tech giants like Google and Facebook, the region has attracted diverse, highly-educated immigrants from across the globe, particularly Asia, who have built their new lives among the region’s many predominately white, middle-class suburbs. Trespassers? explores the dreams and struggles of Asian Americans as they have made their homes in Silicon Valley suburbia, and the tensions that have often emerged over the region’s changing character. Join Dr. Willow Lung-Amam as she discusses her new book on the vital role of immigrants in the changing urban landscape and their fight for inclusion within the suburban American Dream. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley

Thursday, November 9 | 4:00-5:30pm 

CRWS Colloquia Series:

The Views of Populists: What Trump Voters’ Perspectives and Perceptions of Trump Voters Tell Us About U.S. Democracy

Katherine Cramer, Professor, Department of Political Science, and Director, Morgridge Center for Public Service, University of Madison-Wisconsin

with Arlie Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology, UC Berkeley, as respondent

The current populist moment in U.S. democracy is an opportunity to think deeply about the flaws in our democracy, even though it is more commonly used as an opportunity to consider flaws among populist voters. Extending from the idea that populism is a political discourse that pits people versus the government, Cramer examines conceptions of the role of “the people” in democracy by looking in close at the way people view the civic competence of their political opponents. She draws on a decade of observations of conversations of people who eventually supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election in communities across Wisconsin, as well as analysis of correspondence from people reacting to their views. Her findings speak to the nature of contemporary American democratic identity, and suggest a significant barrier to improving the health of democracy is an inconsistent view of the agency of the people.

Warren Room (295 Boalt Hall), Berkeley Law

Co-sponsored by Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, UC Berkeley,  The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, November 8 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues presents: 

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

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

Even when health professionals embrace conceptions of health as a fundamental social right, health practitioners can embrace a framework that, in critical race scholar Denise Silva's terms, “produces and regulates human condition and establishes (morally and intellectually) a distinct kind of human being.” How can a professional commitment to prioritize the health of low-income racialized minority populations go hand-in-hand with efforts to justify the denial of effective and comprehensive health services? Wakahara de la Orqueta lies in the Delta Amacuro rainforest of eastern Venezuela, where indigenous Warao communities were affected by a cholera epidemic that started in August of 1992. Working there as a physician during the epidemic, I saw residents use their own hands, knowledge, and belief in new and better futures to face a preventable and treatable bacterial infection that can nonetheless kill in as little as eight hours, only to have health professionals literally crush their creative efforts. What was their logic? Paul Farmer has referred to appropriations of anthropological explanation by health professionals as "immodest claims of causality." Here I look more closely at such invocations of cultural reasoning by exploring how they emerge from what I refer to as an eternal recurrence of the syndrome of "chronic cultural impossibility."

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UC Berkeley

Thursday, November 2 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents:

Return Economies: Speculation and Manila’s Investment in Durable Futures

Eric Pido, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University

Strategies of economic development, along with the changes throughout local economies in the Philippines, are often viewed solely through the lens of labor-sending and financial remittances, and the myopic interests of political elites in the country. This presentation, however, situates these political interests within the much larger global circuitry of financial speculation and rush for property investment dramatically altering the built-environment throughout cities all over the Global South. By tracing the dynamic coalescence of transnational property developers, Filipino American investors, and BPO employees in Manila, the concept of the “return economy” is introduced in order to convey the durable logic compelling and sustaining contemporary patterns of urban transformation throughout labor-sending countries. As a means of maintaining a foothold within the global market, Philippine state administrators have begun recognizing the significance of balikbayans, Filipinos visiting or returning to their homeland, in innovating the country’s economy and distinguishing itself from its neighbors. This discussion outlines the architecture of this emergent economy by describing three simultaneously working components, which together are reshaping the social fabric and landscape of Metro Manila.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Thursday, October 26 | 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues presents: 

When Police Kill

Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law, UC Berkeley

The explosion of anger and concern that followed the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a local police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was a surprise to the mass media, to public officials, to political leaders, and not least a surprise to scholars and policy experts on criminal justice and crime. Here was a civil rights crisis that nobody had seen on the horizon: the phenomenon of killings by police in the twenty-first century as a statistical and public policy mystery. How many such killings take place annually in the United States? Who gets killed and why? Is this phenomenon a special problem in the United States or a common by-product of urban policing in modern nations? Are the police also at substantial risk of death from violent assaults in the United States? If so, why? Most of these questions have not been the subject of serious research efforts in the recent past. The pressing concern and anger generated by Ferguson was a wake-up call to scholars and policy analysts in American criminal justice. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Tuesday, October 24 I 4:00-5:30pm

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine presents:

Ways of Knowing the Ordinary in Climate Adaptation

Sarah Vaughn, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

I track the development of a Red Cross participatory climate adaptation project in a flood-prone and former urban squatter-town in Guyana in  this talk.  Based on fieldwork between 2009 and 2010, the talk focuses on one technology specific to Red Cross urban climate adaptation called the Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (VCA).  The goal of the talk is to examine the VCA as a provocation for the ethnography of climate change.  Specifically, I ask: how should we understand the work of participatory climate adaptation, which seeks to train people not to avoid but become sensitive to the ordinariness of vulnerability? I answer this question by engaging recent debates on new materialism in the social studies of science and affect theory to consider how knowledge about vulnerability is understood as an ‘ordinary’ dimension of everyday encounters with climate change. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley and Joint UCSF/UCB PhD Program in Medical Anthropology

Thursday, October 19 |  4:00-5:30pm

Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies presents: 

Respectable Radicals and The Euro-Nationalist International: Explaining Right-Wing Populist Alliances in the European Parliament

Duncan McDonnell, Senior Lecturer, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Why are right-wing populists in the European Parliament divided between three different groups? Using party position data and interviews with key figures from 11 parties, this presentation discusses how right-wing populists now adopt two main international alliance strategies: “respectable radicals” like the Danish People’s Party and the Sweden Democrats preference the domestic legitimacy gained through European-level partnerships with more moderate parties over ideological coherence. By contrast, parties like the French National Front and the Italian Northern League proudly ally with similarly radical parties as part of a long-term move towards what we refer to as the “Euro-Nationalist International.” 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Institute of Europen Studies , UC Berkeley, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, October 11 | 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research presents:

Who is Your Neighbor? Caste, Dignity, and Dalit Lives in Central Kerala 

Sharika Thiranagama, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University

The talk asks how does one live, or rather imagine, a life with others that meaningfully recognises one’s worth? Based on fieldwork with Dalit (formerly known as Untouchable castes) and non-Dalit agricultural laborers, and their landlords in communist party strongholds in Kerala, I explore the transformations of rural localities from workplaces to neighborhoods. I will discuss the rural neighbourhood as a historically emergent site and project: a “public/private” residential life emerging from work relations where caste continues to permeate interactions. I ask how does one manage neighbourly relations within continuing histories of deep caste inequities? What does this mean in an Indian state which has a long history of communist messages of emancipation, liberation and freedom from inequity? I suggest that the transformation of localities of workers and landlords into neighbourhoods under conditions of formal equality but deep structural caste inequality provides for new forms of sociality as well as a continuing reflexive conversation about those forms. How is one a neighbor in these circumstances? Based on this fieldwork in India, I hope to discuss how people live with and negotiate long histories of subordination, inequity and humiliation.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, October 4 I 4:00-5:30pm

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues presents:

The Romance and Reality of AIDS Altruism in Africa

Based on more than ten years of research in Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, I analyze global and local responses to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, looking at how the massive international AIDS effort interacts with existing African cultural and institutional patterns. Global responses to the AIDS epidemic reveal patterns common to development efforts more generally: tensions between official global models of development, which stress democratic-participatory norms, gender equality, "ownership," and "empowerment," and African institutional patterns, which rely on patron-client ties and other relationships of personal dependence. I focus especially on African brokers, the invisible intermediaries upon whom the task of reconciling incongruent world-views falls most heavily. I describe the “working misunderstandings” that ensue when a massive international aid effort, based on “romantic” notions about Africans and African societies, encounters actual Africans, in all their human, cultural, and social complexity. 

Ann Swidler, Professor Emerita, Sociology, UC Berkeley

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Spring 2017 Events

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"

Honoring Nicola McClungArturo CortézCamila Cribb FabersunneDylan 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


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


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.

View video of the symposium's panels 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


Friday, April 7, 2017

The Future of Higher Education: Creating Opportunity, Assessing Value

In the post-World War II era, higher education was expanded to meet the increasing demand for expertise in a changing American economy. American universities not only expanded to meet this need, but in the process provided a pathway to social mobility for millions of citizens.  Through government investment, public colleges and universities assumed the largest responsibility in making higher education accessible and affordable to state residents. 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. 

This one-day conference examined the implications of these developments for the future of American universities, students and society.  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? 

More details and links to the videos are available here.


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


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


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


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


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.

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


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 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


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. 

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


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 & GenderDepartments of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley


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

Fall 2016 Events 

Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, November 16 | 12:00-1:30 pm

"Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change and Societal Transformation"

Andrew Jolivette, Professor and former Chair, American Indian Studies Department, Affiliated Faculty, Race & Resistance Studies, Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, Graduate Program in Sexuality Studies and Interim Executive Director, San Francisco American Indian Community Cultural Center for the Arts, SFSU

This talk examines how we can approach research from new ways that center collective responsibility and and shared ownership over the research process. In particular Jolivette will review the thinking behind the development of his edited volume, Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change and the influential work of Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Dr. Michelle Fine who are contributors to this project. Central to the presentation and discussion will be the work of the DataCenter, a grassroots community-based organization in Oakland where the term Research Justice was coined. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group, American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, and American Indian Graduate Student Association


ISSI Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, November 9 | 4:00-5:30 pm

"The Emotional Lives of Epidemics: Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS"

Samuel Cohn, Professor, Medieval History, University of Glasgow, UK

From an interdisciplinary array of scholars, a consensus has emerged: invariably, epidemics in past times provoked class hatred, blamed the ‘other’, and victimized the victims of epidemic diseases. Such hate and violence, moreover, more readily erupted when diseases were mysterious without known cures or preventive measures. The evidence for these proclamations, however, rests on a handful of examples--the Black Death, the Great Pox at the end of the sixteenth century, cholera riots of the 1830s, and AIDS, centred almost exclusively on the U.S. experience. From investigating thousands of descriptions of epidemics reaching back to one during Pharaoh Mempses’s First Dynasty (c. 2920 BCE) to the distrust and violence that erupted with Ebola in 2014-15, I argue that the trajectory and essence of epidemics' socio-psychological consequences across time differ radically from present notions. First, historians post-AIDS have missed a fundamental ingredient of the history of Epidemics. Instead of sparking hate and blame across time, epidemics have shown a remarkable power to unify societies across class, race, ethnicity, and religion and to spur self-sacrifice and compassion. Second, instead of spurring hate and violence when diseases were mysterious, that is, almost without exception before the ‘Laboratory Revolution’ of the late nineteenth century, modernity was the great incubator of a disease-hate nexus. Third, even with those diseases that have provoked hate as with smallpox, poliomyelitis, plague, and cholera, blaming ‘the other’ or victimizing diseased victims was rare. Instead, the history of epidemics and their socio-psychological consequences is more varied and richer than historians and pundits have heretofore allowed.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine


BCSM Structural Competency Series:

Friday, November 4 I 12:00-6:00pm

"Structural Competency: New Responses to Inequity and Discrimination in Health and Welfare"

Structural competency is a new framework for understanding and addressing the inequalities that make us sick. This framework analyzes institutional and structural hierarchies and discrimination in order to respond to the ways these lead to sickness and disease. This conference, the first focused on public health and structural competency, will bring together national and local experts and community organizations to imagine paths towards a more equal and healthy future.

Keynote: Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology, New York University. “Structural Competency for Public Health.” 

For a complete program, location, and registration, please visit the conference website.


CRSC Colloquia Series:

Thursday, November 3 I 4:00-5:30pm

"23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary​ Confinement"

Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law & Society and Law, UC Irvine 

With an introduction by Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, UC Berkeley 

Francisco Casique, Lecturer, Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley 

Rebecca McLennan, Associate Professor, History, UC Berkeley  

Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor, Law, UC Berkeley 

Originally meant to be brief and exceptional, solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has become long term and common. Prisoners in solitary spend twenty three hours a day in featureless cells, with no visitors or human contact for years on end. They are held entirely at administrators’ discretion, with no judges or juries involved. In 23/7,legal scholar Keramet Reiter tells the history of an original “supermax,” California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, where extreme conditions sparked statewide hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013—the latter involving nearly 30,000 prisoners. Reiter describes how the Pelican Bay prison was created—with literally no legislative oversight—as a panicked response to the perceived rise of black radicalism in California prisons in the 1970s. Through stories of gang bosses, small-time parolees, and others, she portrays the arbitrary manner in which prisoners are chosen for solitary confinement, held for years, and routinely released directly onto the streets. Here we see the social costs and mental havoc of years in isolation. The product of fifteen years of research in and about prisons, this book is instant required reading on a topic that increasingly commands national attention.

 2240 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA

Sponsored by Center for the Study of Law and Society

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change and Human Rights Center


Monday, October 31 | 12:00-1:30pm

"2016 FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize Award Ceremony honoring Aileen Suzara"

Keynote: “Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape”
by Lauret Edith Savoy, Professor of Environmental Studies 
& Geology, Mount Holyoke College

Anna Head Alumnae Hall, 2537 Haste Street, Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Food Institute and Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Thursday, October 27 | 4:00-5:30 pm

"Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans"

Corey Fields, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Stanford University

What is it like to be black in the highly racialized context of the Republican Party? Black Elephants in the Room considers the role of race in the political experiences of African American Republicans and discusses the dynamic relationship between race and political behavior in the purported “post-racial” context of U.S. politics. Drawing on vivid first-person accounts, this talk will shed light on the different ways black identity structures African Americans’ membership in the Republican Party. Moving past rhetoric and politics, we begin to see everyday people working to reconcile their commitment to black identity with their belief in Republican principles. And in the end, we see that the identity politics of African American Republicans is shaped by the meanings they attach to race and the political contexts in which those meanings are developed and expressed.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science and Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley


CRSC Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, October 26 | 12:00-1:30 pm

"Birth Matters: Black Women and Research Justice as Transformative Praxis"

Julia Chinyere Oparah, Associate Provost and Professor and Co-Chair of Ethnic Studies, Mills College

Research justice is a strategic framework within which those directly affected by structural violence and discrimination use research tools in order to achieve self determination and lasting social change. Based on a term coined by DataCenter, an Oakland-based research collective, this movement toward community-driven research demands that academic researchers interrogate questions of power, privilege and accountability in our research praxis. Using a research justice approach, Oparah worked alongside members of Black Women Birthing Justice to document black women's experiences of childbirth, and to publish an anthology of critical essays and testimonies on black bodies and birth justice. Their research uncovered birthing as a site of disabling, trauma or even death for black women and gender non-conforming people. In this talk, Oparah explores her experience as an activist scholar in the movement to #LiberateBlackBirth and shares both the transformative power and the dilemmas of research justice.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group and Berkeley Center for Social Medicine


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Thursday, October 20 | 4:00-5:30 pm

"Political Passion and the Gun Debate: How a Small Minority Came to Dominate Gun Safety in the US"

Firmin DeBrabander, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Maryland Institute College of Art

Twenty-first century America is undergoing a radical experiment in gun rights. The number of privately-owned guns, and expansive gun laws, has ballooned in recent years. Most Americans favor stronger gun control restrictions, but the NRA’s radical agenda remains largely uncontested. Why is this? Why isn’t our gun violence epidemic, unparalleled in the developed world, sufficiently alarming to American voters, to stand up against the loud and angry gun rights minority? This presentation will examine the reasons behind the success of a small, but passionate minority able to dominate debate over gun safety in the US.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley


CRSC Colloquia Series:

Thursday, October 13 I 12:00-1:30pm

"Career Choices, Return Paths, and Social Contributions: Findings from the African Alumni Project"

Robin Marsh Ph.D., Resident Researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

This talk reports on a two and half year (2014-2016) collaborative multi-university tracer study of African alumni of partner universities (UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, McGill University, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser and EARTH in Costa Rica), supported by the MasterCard Foundation.  The abridged and full reports are just out:  This pioneering study, led by Robin Marsh, is the first of its kind to investigate the career trajectories and social contributions of African alumni of international universities.  In addition to a comprehensive survey, the in-depth interviews with sixty UC Berkeley African alumni on the continent and in the diaspora reveal fascinating life stories of return dilemmas, career choices and transformational leadership.  The findings have important policy implications for international scholarship programs and for universities interested in expanding their global impact particularly through stronger alumni networks. This talk will present the main research questions and findings of the study.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for African Studies, UC Berkeley


CRNAI Colloquia Series:

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

"The Indian maiden is not allowed to pine in loneliness”: Ruth Kellett Roberts and the Yurok Club, 1928-1934"

Victoria Haskins, Professor, History, School of Humanities & Social Science, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The remarkable story of Ruth Kellett Roberts (1885-1967) and her advocacy for the Yurok Tribe of Del Norte County on the Pacific northwest coast of California provides a fascinating insight into relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in the 1920s and 1930s, a time of rapid social change. The wife of the accountant of a salmon cannery at Requa on the lower Klamath, Ruth Roberts was befriended by local Yurok women, in particular Alice Spott, and quickly became a passionate supporter of the ongoing Yurok struggle for land and employment. Over the next two decades, until the closure of the river to commercial fishing, Roberts was a staunch advocate for the Yurok cause, utilising her connections with society women in the Bay area of San Francisco. In 1928 she formed a ‘Yurok Club,’ for the young Indian women whom she had assisted in finding domestic situations in the Bay. Her initiative would, however, bring her into direct conflict with the BIA Outing matron who oversaw the placement of other Indian girls in white homes in San Francisco and the Bay. In this paper, I reflect upon the ambivalent and complex nature of Roberts’ advocacy for the Yurok people through her involvement with Indian domestic employment, an engagement that highlights broader questions around the political significance and impact of women’s work in the home, in the modern settler colonial nation.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Program, Native American Studies, American Indian Graduate Student Association, and Center for Race and Gender


CRSC Colloquia Series:

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

"When States ‘Come Out’: The Politics of Visibility and the Diffusion of Sexual Minority Rights in Europe"

Phillip M. Ayoub, PhD, Assistant Professor, Politics, Drexel University

In the last two decades, the LGBT movement has gained momentum that is arguably unprecedented in speed and suddenness when compared to other human rights movements. This talk investigates the recent history of transnational movement in Europe, focusing on the diffusion of the norms it champions and the overarching question of why, despite similar international pressures, the trajectories of socio-legal recognition for LGBT minorities are so different across states. In this talk, I suggest new domestic preconditions and international pathways for socio-legal change. I make the case that a politics of visibility is central to norm diffusion. The exchange of ideas with other countries—which activists can broker and enable—and the extent of a state’s openness to international organizations have demonstrable effects on diffusion and social change. They have engendered the interactions between movements and states that empower marginalized people - mobilizing actors to demand change, influencing the spread of new legal standards, and weaving new ideas into the fabrics of societies. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group and the Institute of European Studies


CER Colloquie Series:

Thursday, September 29 I 4:00-5:30pm

"The Neighborhood Has Its Own Rules: Latinos and African Americans in South Los Angeles"

Cid Martinez, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of San Diego

South Los Angeles is often seen as ground zero for inter-racial conflict and violence in the United States. Since the 1940s, South LA has been predominantly a low-income African American neighborhood, and yet since the early 1990s Latino immigrants—mostly from Mexico and many undocumented—have moved in record numbers to the area. Given that more than a quarter million people live in South LA and that poverty rates exceed 30 percent, inter-racial conflict and violence surprises no one. The real question is: why hasn't there been more? Through vivid stories and interviews, The Neighborhood Has Its Own Rules provides an answer to this question.  

The talk highlights two key ideas from the book.  First, urban America can no longer be viewed in terms of black-white.   An alternative framework is introduced to begin to understand black and Latino interracial relations in urban poor neighborhoods.  Second, in the face of weak ties to the state (i.e., law enforcement and local government), alternative governance has arisen in black and Latino South Los Angeles in the response to high levels of violence.

Based on in-depth ethnographic field work collected when the author, Cid Martinez, lived and worked in schools in South Central, this study reveals the day-to-day ways in which vibrant social institutions in South LA— its churches, its local politicians, and even its gangs—have reduced conflict and kept violence to a level that is manageable for its residents. Martinez argues that inter-racial conflict has not been managed through any coalition between different groups, but rather that these institutions have allowed established African Americans and newcomer Latinos to co-exist through avoidance—an under-appreciated strategy for managing conflict that plays a crucial role in America's low-income communities. Ultimately, this book proposes a different understanding of how neighborhood institutions are able to mitigate conflict and violence through several community dimensions of informal social controls.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology 


CER Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, September 21 | 4:00-5:30 pm

"The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream"

Steve Viscelli, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Long-haul trucks have been described as sweatshops on wheels. The typical long-haul trucker works the equivalent of two full-time jobs, often for little more than minimum wage. But it wasn’t always this way. Trucking used to be one of the best working-class jobs in the United States.  Deregulation and collective action by employers transformed trucking’s labor markets--once dominated by the largest and most powerful union in US history--into an important example of the costs of contemporary labor markets for workers and the general public.

This talk will explain how this massive degradation in the quality of work occurred, and how companies achieve a compliant and dedicated workforce despite it.  It is based on more than 100 in-depth interviews and years of extensive observation, including six months spent training and working as a long-haul trucker.  

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Labor Research and Education

Spring 2016 Events

CRNAI Colloquia Series:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond"

Renya Ramirez, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz

Most Native Americans in the United States live in cities, where many find themselves caught in a bind, neither afforded the full rights granted U.S. citizens nor allowed full access to the tribal programs and resources—particularly health care services—provided to Native Americans living on reservations. A scholar and a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Renya K. Ramirez investigates how urban Native Americans negotiate what she argues is, in effect, a transnational existence. Through an ethnographic account of the Native American community in California’s Silicon Valley and beyond, Ramirez explores the ways that urban Indians have pressed their tribes, local institutions, and the federal government to expand conventional notions of citizenship

Professor Ramirez’s ethnography revolves around the Paiute American activist Laverne Roberts’s notion of the “hub,” a space that allows for the creation of a sense of belonging away from a geographic center. Professor Ramirez describes “hub-making” activities in Silicon Valley, including sweat lodge ceremonies, powwows, and American Indian Alliance meetings, gatherings at which urban Indians reinforce bonds of social belonging and forge intertribal alliances. She examines the struggle of the Muwekma Ohlone, a tribe aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay area, to maintain a sense of community without a land base and to be recognized as a tribe by the federal government. She considers the crucial role of Native women within urban indigenous communities; a 2004 meeting in which Native Americans from Mexico and the United States discussed cross-border indigenous rights activism; and the ways that young Native Americans in Silicon Valley experience race and ethnicity, especially in relation to the area’s large Chicano community. A unique and important exploration of diaspora, transnationalism, identity, belonging, and community, Native Hubs is intended for scholars and activists alike.  Professor Ramirez will discuss the theoretical frame of Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond and a meeting between U.S. Natives and Indigenous people originally from Mexico in relationship to the concept of Native Hubs.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Student Association, American Indian Graduate Program, Department of Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies and Native American Student Development


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Nostalgia and conspiracy theories in right wing ideologies – The case of New Dawn in Greece and the risks for Europe"

Yiannis Gabriel, Chair in Organizational Studies, University of Bath, School of Management

The presentation will examine conspiracy theories and nostalgia as parts of the unfolding European drama, focusing on developments in Greece. Conspiracy theories represent a quest for scapegoats, sometimes in the form of ‘parasites’, people or groups who take and give nothing back. Nostalgia, for its part, exacerbates a desire for the return of a mythical past, free of parasites and undesirables. Both conspiracy theories and nostalgia play a central part in the ideology of the New Dawn against Greece’s financial, social and existential crisis. The talk will develop the argument that the rise of conspiracy theories and xenophobic nostalgia can be viewed as warning signs of miasma, a highly contagious state of material, psychological and spiritual pollution that descends plague-like, and afflicts entire communities, organizations or nations. Miasma dissolves love bonds and leaves a community dominated by fear, guilt, hate, despair and lies. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of European Studies


Tuesday, April 7, 2016

BCSM Colloquia Series:

"Chasing the Dragon: The Malleable Addict and Shaming in a Chinese Therapeutic Community"

Sandra Teresa Hyde, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, and Visiting Scholar, ISSI

Until the late 1990s, convicted Chinese illegal drug users were considered criminals and placed in either the justice system’s drug prisons or in labor camps. Today, while the drug prison and the labor camp still exist, a small group of psychiatrists and AIDS activists who want to embrace what Foucault labeled the humanism of the asylum provides clinical residential care at "Sunlight." As such there are two competing ideologies on controlling drug epidemics in China: the dominant one is punitive and the other therapeutic; however, within these two ideological positions, there remains a massive disjuncture between the reality of everyday life and official policy. In this paper I focus on the intersection of subjectivity and the social-psychological dimensions of individual and collective lives in the onslaught of globalization and illegal drug consumption. I ask: 1) how do Chinese users of illegal street drugs learn to reform their emotions in an effort to rethink the modern Chinese healthy citizen? And 2) how does one write a clinical ethnography of the emotions in a therapeutic community in contemporary China?  Sunlight is a clinical space that rises and falls within a particular set of institutions and ideas that travel across the globe -- behavior modification, AA/Narcotics Anonymous, Mind/Body treatments, abstinence -- what do these modalities say about how ‘a complicated kindness’ travels?  I end by problematizing the conditions and practices within Sunlight therapeutic community, where we find new kinds of post-millennial citizens performing therapeutic rituals that lead to a complicated kind of care and healing.  

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"The Koch Effect: The Impact of a Cadre-Led Network on American Politics

Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University 

In Washington, DC and the states, Republicans push unpopular policies - and sometimes also oppose legislation favored by prominent business groups. Why is that? New research highlights resource shifts on the U.S. right and the growing influence of the Koch network, a coordinated set of big donors, lobbying groups, and constituency organizations that now rivals America's political parties. At this talk, Professor Skocpol will present early results from a collaborative study of "The Shifting U.S. Political Terrain" under way at Harvard University and grassroots mobilizations orchestrated by the Koch Network. 

Room 60, Evans Hall

Co-sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network and Department of Sociology


CRSC Colloquia Series:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

"The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty"

Erica Kohl-Arenas, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School

Can philanthropy alleviate inequality? Do antipoverty programs work on the ground? In this eye-opening analysis, Erica Kohl-Arenas bores deeply into how these issues play out in California’s Central Valley, which is one of the wealthiest agricultural production regions in the world and also home to the poorest people in the United States.  Through the lens of a provocative set of case studies, The Self-Help Myth reveals how philanthropy maintains systems of inequality by attracting attention to the behavior of poor people while shifting the focus away from structural inequities and relationships of power that produce poverty.  In Fresno County, for example, which has a $5.6 billion-plus agricultural industry, migrant farm workers depend heavily on food banks, religious organizations, and family networks to feed and clothe their families.  Foundation professionals espouse well-intentioned, hopeful strategies to improve the lives of the poor.  These strategies contain specific ideas—in philanthropy terminology, “theories of change”— that rely on traditional American ideals of individualism and hard work, such as self-help, civic participation, and mutual prosperity.  But when used in partnership with well-defined limits around what foundations will and will not fund, these ideals become fuzzy concepts promoting professional and institutional behaviors that leave relationships of poverty and inequality untouched.

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


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"The Rise of Far-Right Nationalism and the Russia Angle: Implications for International Security and Foreign Policy"

Alina Polyakova, Deputy Director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council 

Far-right nationalist parties are on the rise in Western and Eastern Europe. Buttressed by the financial crisis of 2008, the ongoing migration crisis, and the threat of terrorist attacks, previously fringe political parties resonate with growing numbers of Europeans who are disenchanted with the European project. Many European far-right parties are also supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. While far-right parties are not new to Europe, Russia's financial and ideological support for such parties, is. The reemergence of nationalism, as evidenced by the rise of the European far right, and the Kremlin's use of far-right groups as a tool of political influence presents short- and long-term foreign policy challenges. My book, The Dark Side of European Integration, based on dissertation research at UC Berkeley, argued that the success of far-right parties across Europe is, in part, a cultural backlash against rapid European economic and political integration. In this lecture, I will focus on how recent geo-political events have helped euroskeptic far-right parties such as the National Front and Jobbik while solidifying the relationship between such parties and Putin's Russia. While the rise of the European far right has not been a top priority for US foreign policy, these political parties, and their ties to Russia, present a growing challenge to the transatlantic partnership. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of European Studies and the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, UC Berkeley


ISSI Colloquia Series:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"The Class Pay Gap in Higher Professional and Managerial Occupations"   

Sam Friedman, Assistant Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science

The hidden barriers, or 'gender pay gap', preventing women from earning equivalent incomes to men is well documented. Yet in this talk we demonstrate that, in Britain, there is also a comparable 'class origin pay gap' in higher professional and managerial occupations. We find that even when those from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering high-status occupations, they earn sixteen percent less, on average, than those from privileged backgrounds. This class-origin pay gap translates to up to £7,350 ($11,000) lower annual earnings. This difference is partly explained by the upwardly mobile being employed in smaller firms and working outside London, but it remains substantial even net of a variety of important predictors of earnings. These findings illustrate how, even beyond occupational entry, the socially mobile often face a significant and previously undetected earnings "class ceiling" within high-status occupations. 

Anna Head Alumnae Hall, 2537 Haste Street


CRWS Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"2015: A Transformative Year in Far Right Politics?"

Cas Mudde, Associate Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia

Although 2015 did not have a central focal point, like the European elections in 2014, the alleged rise of far right and populist politics was again among the main political debates in most western democracies. Every major event in European politics was linked to a possible surge in the support of far right parties and politicians, from the terrorist attacks in France at the beginning and end of the year to the Eurozone crisis and refugee crisis in between. Politicians like Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orban, and Donald Trump dominated the news with crass nativist, authoritarian, and populist statements. Commentators argued that the far right had moved to the mainstream, while some critics alleged that the mainstream had moved to the far right. Whatever the exact direction of the movement, it is clear that distinctions between traditional far right politicians and mainstream politicians are more and more difficult to make, which calls for a reflection on both terminology and classification. In this lecture I will focus on the main developments in far right politics of the past year and assess whether 2015 was merely a freak year or constitutes a transformative year for the far right. I will discuss the fate of the usual suspects, i.e. the far right parties in Europe (e.g FN), as well as some new unusual suspects, i.e. far right politicians in the political mainstream parties (e.g. Orban and Trump), and argue that the mainstreaming of far right politics has made the distinction between far right and mainstream parties less clear and less relevant.

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

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change and Institute of European Studies

Fall 2015 Events

CRWS Colloquia Series:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State"

William McCants, Director, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution

The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaida. How has it attracted so many followers and conquered so much land in its relatively brief existence? On December 9, Will McCants will discuss the Islamic State’s history, tactics, and goals, and the many ways in which it is more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than any of its predecessors or current competitors. McCants' recently-published book, The ISIS Apocalypse, is based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic—including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaida and Islamic State letters that few have seen—and explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Institute of European Studies 


CRNAI Colloquia Series:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, and International Bodies"

Robert T. Coulter, Executive Director, Indian Law Resource Center

For almost 40 years, American Indian nations and other indigenous peoples have organized, worked, and advocated inside the United Nations and other international forums to defend themselves and their cultures and to win recognition of their rights as distinct peoples.  Indigenous peoples fought and negotiated for more than 30 years to win adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly, making historic changes in international law. Indigenous leaders also initiated on-going campaigns in many other international forms dealing with climate change, biodiversity and environmental protection, intellectual property rights, the rights of women, and many other crucial topics. Barely a year ago, they won major commitments from the United Nations to take actions to implement the UN Declaration at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. They are working today to put those commitments into action in the UN. In the Organization of American States as well, indigenous peoples are negotiating and winning an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is expected to be completed in 2016. In the view of some experts, advocacy in international fora may be one of the most productive means for defending and asserting the rights of Indian nations and tribes. The talk will survey what has been accomplished, what is being done now, and how Indian and Alaska Native nations can participate in this work.  Attorney Robert T. Coulter of the Indian Law Resource Center has been working in the United Nations and other international bodies since 1976, when he wrote the first draft of what would become the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


CRNAI Colloquia Series:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Native American Justice System: Incarceration/Rehabilitation on the Rosebud Reservation"

Miskoo Petite Sr., Facility Administrator at Rosebud Sioux Tribe Corrections 

Miskoo Petite Sr. has played an integral role in development of innovative cultural based programs and services for the youth detained in the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Juvenile Detention Center. At this talk he will provide a historical overview of federal policies and events that have helped to shape Native American justice systems, highlight the challenges facing these systems, and outline current practices that seek to restore and repair Native American communities by integrating cultural programs.


BCSM Colloquia Series:

Friday, October 232015

Theory in Action: Violence in the Margins

Javier Auyero, Professor of Latin American Sociology, University of Texas, Austin

Philippe Bourgois, Professor of Anthropology and Family and Community Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Professor of Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley

James Quesada, Professor of Anthropology, San Francisco State University, as moderator and discussant

Violence at the Urban Margins (Oxford University Press, 2015) brings together scholars across disciplines working on a perplexing question. How did Latin America emerge from decades of extreme violence - revolutionary, counter-insurgency, and military state - at the end of the 20th century only to plunge into a cauldron of delinquent, criminal, interpersonal, and political state/para-state violence under democratic regimes? Violence in the inner-cities of North America is another matter, though linked through the drug trade and forced migrations, as well as to US militancy and wars abroad that have come home to roost. Our purpose is to ignite a North-South hemispheric dialogue and debate on "theory in action" - the creative uses of diverse theoretical, analytical and ethnographic/methodological tools applied to the study of the networks of trans-national, state, paramilitary, criminal, global and local perpetrators, collaborators, victims, and bystanders of urban terror in the Americas.

Co-sponsored by: Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley-UCSF Critical Social Medicine Working Group, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, and Center for Latin American Studies


Youth, Jobs and The Future: Responses to Youth Unemployment

Youth joblessness, and the future prospects of young people, is a major public issue that has received little attention in the United States. This timely conference will featured a diverse group of speakers who will share new analyses with a solutions-oriented approach.

A Two-Day Academic Conference sponsored by ISSI, Hunter College's Department of Sociology, and the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.

October 22-23, 2016

Welcome remarks, Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director, Roosevelt House; and Lynn Chancer, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Hunter College, City University of New York

Panel 1: A "Macro' Overview of the Problem

Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology, Director, Center for Advanced Social Science Research, NYU

Arne Kalleberg, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Panel 2: Youth Un/employment: Diverse Effects on Working Class/Poor Young People

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Shawn Bushway, Professor of Public Administration and Policy, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York

Andy Stern, former President, Service Employees International Union

(The Keynote and other panels were not videorecorded.)


CRSC Colloquia Series

Thursday, October 20, 2015

"Biotechnologies and Immigration: Biological Citizenship and the Use of DNA Testing for Family Reunification"

Torsten Heinemann, Professor of Sociology, Institute of Sociology, Universität Hamburg

Since the 1990s, many countries around the world have begun to use DNA analysis to establish biological relatedness in family reunification cases. To be reunited, family members have to prove their family status by official documents. Even if applicants possess the required documents, immigration authorities often reject the information as they question the authenticity of the documents. In this context, many countries resort to DNA tests to resolve cases in which they consider the information presented on family relations to be incomplete or unsatisfactory. In this talk, I present the results of an international research project on the use of DNA testing for family reunification in Europe and will compare them with the situation in the USA. I outline general trends of DNA analysis for family reunification and analyze the societal and political implications of parental testing in this context. I argue that DNA analyses for family reunification establish and strengthen a biological family model which is in contrast to the more pluralistic and social concepts of family in many societies in Europe and North America. I will then relate my findings to the ongoing debate on biological citizenship and show that biological criteria play an important role in decision-making on citizenship rights in nation-states. I argue that the use of parental testing for immigration endorses a biological concept of the family that is mobilized to diminish citizenship rights.The argument is based on an extensive document analysis as well as interviews with representatives of international governmental organizations, international and national NGOs and immigration authorities, lawyers specializing in immigration law, geneticists and those applying for family reunification.

Co-Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine


CER Colloquia Series

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Motel Ethnography Revisited"

Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley

The usual ideal for ethnographers is deep immersion for a long period in one place – a village, neighborhood, or street corner. In stories and pictures, I describe the advantages of a more fluid, accidental set of encounters, following deepening ties over years of shorter interludes, staying in motels, not villages. Motels in rural Malawi were an ideal location for understanding the encounters of AIDS NGOs with those they sought to transform through workshops and trainings. But the “motel” is also a metaphor for a certain way of doing ethnography, revisiting people and places over many years, seeing lives unfold in surprising ways. I also highlight what one learns when one is more than a neutral observer. Analysis focuses on the aid industry, local experiences of the AIDS epidemic, the role of malice and mistrust (as well as “miracles”) in Africans’ lives, and the pervasive role of patron-client ties in sub-Saharan African societies.


ISSI Colloquia Series

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

“The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years”

Corey Abramson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona 

Growing old presents physical problems for everyone. However, when these problems occur and how people confront them are mediated by inequalities that reflect persistent socioeconomic, racial, and gender divides. The End Game (Harvard University Press 2015) shows how inequality structures social life in old age - and what examining old age can tell us about the mechanisms of inequality more generally. This talk explains how and why health disparities, unequal material resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies that may or may not enable people to persevere.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethnographic Research


CER Images from the Field Series

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Using Visual Methods to Learn about Human Rights Violations under Dictatorship"

Jacqueline Adams, Senior Researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Researchers can use a number of visual methods, in conjunction with other qualitative methods, to yield fruitful data and findings about human rights violations under dictatorship. This paper employs a case study to demonstrate how this may be done, focusing on research that formed the basis of two books on shantytown mothers’ experiences of state violence, exacerbated poverty, human rights activism, and collective, income-earning strategies during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (Surviving Dictatorship: A Work of Visual Sociology, Routledge, 2012, and Art against Dictatorship, University of Texas Press, 2013). The methods discussed include the analysis of drawings and text in ephemera produced by shantytown inhabitants (flyers dropped in the street, posters advertising resistance-oriented cultural events, and the bulletins produced by groups formed to cope with poverty); the collection and analysis of photographs from human rights organization bulletins, exile organization newsletters, left-leaning magazines, memoirs, and academic books and articles; the photographing and analysis of dissident art works produced by shantytown women, relatives of the disappeared, political prisoners, and Chilean exiles; photo elicitation (interviews based on photographs); and “art elicitation” (asking research subjects to talk about art works). These five visual methods, together with semi-structured interviews and participant observation, produced rich data about shantytown experiences of state violence, impoverishment, human rights activism, and collective income-earning, as well as about transnational activism involving refugees and sympathizers abroad.


CRWS Colloquia Series

Thursday, September 29, 2015

“The Art of Recruitment: How the 'Islamic State' Trains its Community Organizers"

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow, New America Foundation and Research Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

In early 2009 a new document appeared on jihadi web forums. It was designed to empower a small group of very radical, and very dedicated, people to take over the world. This document, titled “A Course in the Art of Recruitment,” aimed to resolve a deep tension in the global jihadi movement: the Internet was the connective tissue holding together radicalized jihadis from across the globe, but recruiters still found that an on-the-ground, personal touch was necessary to mobilize would-be recruits. The 51-page document, attributed to pseudonymous Abu 'Amr al-Qa'idi, aimed to resolve that conundrum not by directly recruiting individuals to al-Qa'ida's cause, but rather by empowering already radicalized, but inadequately trained, individuals to more effectively select, recruit, and organize on their own.

Abu `Amr’s handbook prescribes a highly structured recruitment process with multiple stages and clear, simple metrics to assess a recruit’s suitability and progress—essentially, the bureaucratization of decentralized jihadist recruitment. Abu `Amr argues that structuring recruitment and providing simple quantitative assessment tools will allow recruiters with less education and knowledge of Shari`a to recruit safely and effectively.

Abu 'Amr's methods have gained new currency as social media has enabled jihadis recruiters, often in Syria or Iraq, to apply an individualized touch to the recruitment process from thousands of miles away. But the concepts these digital recruiters utilize are not new, they are not ill-defined, and, for many, they are not always intuitive. Abu 'Amr's acolytes, for example, will explicitly avoid recruiting devout Muslims out of fear that they will understand the particulars of Islamic doctrine better than the recruiters themselves. Regardless, Abu 'Amr's manual provides insight into the movement that has become the 'Islamic State' and offers a glimpse into how a wide-range of radical movements, not just jihadis, are likely to organize in the future.  

Co-sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Institute of European Studies.


CRSC Colloquia Series

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Moments of Refusal: Thinking through Antiblackness and Black Futurity in Research on Urban Communities and Schooling"

Michael Dumas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education and African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Hegemonic notions of race, multiculturalism and diversity proffer an understanding of social progress that is generally linear, gradual, steady and earnest. The story we tell ourselves is that we are becoming ever more democratic and tolerant, that we are more sophisticated in our ability to synthesize and analyze information about race and racism, and that we are more committed to racial equity, justice and opportunity than ever before. However, in this historical moment, we also witness increasing economic inequality along racial lines, nearly weekly stories of anti-Black violence and death, massive urban deterritorialization and dispersal, erasing Black homeplaces and priming these spaces for white accumulation. Through it all, the discourse in the public sphere suggests an increasing sense of justification of economic and social inequality, a sense of corporate and white entitlement to (dis)possession of land, and a seething disgust and disregard for the lives of Black people. In this talk, Professor Dumas wants to briefly explore what it means to research and document contradictory historical moment(s) of official anti-racist progress and white innocence, on the one hand, and on the other hand, enduring white defensiveness and racial fragility in the face of material and psychic Black suffering. Most importantly, how do we refuse hegemonic constructions of historical racial memory in our own work, and how do we acknowledge and honor attempts by insurgent Black subjects to refuse antiblackness and put forward alternative notions of Black historicity and futurity?

Spring 2015 Events

CRSC Co-sponsored Event

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Racialized Punitive Social Control: The Criminalization of Black and Latino Boys"

Victor Rios, Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Professor Rios will discuss his findings from 10 years of ethnography in Northern and Southern California with "juvenile delinquent" and gang associated boys.  He will also discuss findings from his latest research project on social movements in Ferguson, Missouri. Rios' work analyzes the role of social control in determining the well-being of young people living in urban marginality, tracks the social consequences of the punitive state and punitive social control-across institutional settings, and examines young people’s resilience and responses to social marginalization.

Sponsored by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Co-sponsored by the School of Social Welfare and Center for Research on Social Change


ISSI Colloquia Series

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The Triumph of the Corporate Rich and Why They Succeeded"

William DomhoffDistinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz

A new liberal-labor alliance slowly came together between 1932 and late 1934. It had some real successes in 1935 and 1936, and unions made major breakthroughs in 1937. But things went down hill for liberal legislation and for the union movement from 1938 onwards, despite appearances to the contrary that are based on greater income equality from 1939 to 1953 and the increase in union density until 1945.

So what happened? This talk addresses that question. The answer involves the reuniting of the temporarily divided Northern and Southern segments of the ownership class, the fracturing of the temporarily united union movement, the rise of the conservative voting coalition in Congress, the rollback of the New Deal during World War II, racial divisions in the working class, and conservative appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Supreme Court by Republican presidents.  


CRNAI Colloquia Series

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Education, Ethnic Studies and Justice in Arizona"

Bryan BrayboyBorderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University

In Arizona and elsewhere, justice is a systematic struggle for recognition. Ethnic Studies programs were created, in Arizona, to provide a sounding board for youth and peoples whose voices are too often marginalized in classroom discussions and materials. Despite the high academic success rates of Tucson students enrolled in ethnic studies, these programs have been framed as dangerous and unproductive. Eventually, the courses were banned from the Tucson Unified School District. In this talk, I will reflect on the role of justice in creating, and later marginalizing, ethnic studies programs in Arizona, while contemplating the importance of youth, structures and social engagement.

Co-sponsored by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education 


ISSI Colloquia Series

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Shadow Transnationalism: Cross-Border Networks and Planning Challenges of Transnational Unauthorized Immigrant Communities"

Gerardo SandovalAssistant Professor of Planning, Public Policy & Management, University of Oregon; Associate Director, Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

Informal transnational networks support unauthorized communities, in what I call Shadow Transnationalism. I trace the intertwined fortunes of Postville, Iowa, and El Rosario, Guatemala. I identify shadow network flows through employment recruitment networks, lending networks, remittance transfers, and smuggling networks. I further investigate efforts of transnationalism from “below” scholars by building on the idea of a “shadow place.” I then analyze the transnational networks that are supported by employers, the state, and immigrants, and that create exploitative transnational spaces dependent on unauthorized communities. The study offers planners a better understanding of the vulnerability, risks, and interdependence of shadow transnational networks.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Social Change


Friday, February 20, 2015

Perspectives on Native Representations Symposium:

"Native Appropriations: representations, pop culture, and cultural resistance in cyber space"

Dr. Adrienne Keene

"Bullets in the Front, Arrows in the Back: A Look at Humor and Imagery in Indigenous Media” 

Migizi Penseneau

"Changing the Way We See Native America"

Matika Wilbur

Keynote Speaker Panel 

Dr. Adrienne Keene, Migizi Penseneau & Matika Wilbur 

While the history between Native peoples and representations of identity projected upon them (having been replicated and reinforced in popular culture) is layered and complex, the rise of technology and social media has ushered in an era of accessible activism that pushes against this history. Native peoples across the world now have practicable, highly visible modes to express unique voices that challenge and redefine how Natives are represented both internal and external of their communities. "Perspectives on Native Representations" seeks to highlight the multiple contexts through which representations of Native communities, culture and individuals are being shifted and re-imagined.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley's Native American Student Development. Co-sponsored by the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues.


CRWS Colloquia Series

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution"

Amanda Hollis-BruskyAssistant Professor of Politics, Pomona College 

Fred Smith, Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law, as respondent 

There are few intellectual movements in modern American political history more successful than the Federalist Society. Created in 1982 to counterbalance what its founders considered a liberal legal establishment, the organization gradually evolved into the conservative legal establishment, and membership is all but required for any conservative lawyer who hopes to enter politics or the judiciary. It claims 40,000 members, including four Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general since its inception. But its power goes even deeper.

In Ideas with Consequences, Amanda Hollis-Brusky provides the first comprehensive account of how the Federalist Society exerts its influence. Drawing from a huge trove of documents, transcripts, and interviews, she explains how the Federalist Society managed to revolutionize the jurisprudence for a wide variety of important legal issues. Many of these issues-including the extent of federal government power, the scope of the right to bear arms, and the parameters of corporate political speech-had long been considered settled. But the Federalist Society was able to upend the existing conventional wisdom, promoting constitutional theories that had previously been dismissed as ludicrously radical. As Hollis-Brusky shows, the Federalist Society provided several of the crucial ingredients needed to accomplish this constitutional revolution. It serves as a credentialing institution for conservative lawyers and judges and legitimizes novel interpretations of the constitution that employ a conservative framework. It also provides a judicial audience of like-minded peers, which prevents the well-documented phenomenon of conservative judges turning moderate after years on the bench. As a consequence, it is able to exercise enormous influence on important cases at every level.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Society, the Center for Research on Social Change, and the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science


CRNAI Colloquia Series

Tuesday, February 5, 2015

"This Is a Story about History: American Indians and U.S. Citizenship"

K. Tsianina LomawaimaProfessor of Justice and Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University; Distinguished Scholar in Indigenous Education, Center for Indian Education, Arizona State University

Many people understand that U.S. citizenship is a fraught and complicated status, one that raises many questions: Who is? Who isn’t? Who might be? Who shouldn’t be? Who’s scary? Who’s safe? Where shall we begin in order to talk about the status of American Indians? Not in 1492; or in 1620 – that’s much too long. We’ll start in 1924 (I am a historian, after all) because that’s the year Congress passed the American Indian Citizenship Act. And we’ll end, not with a date and not with answers, either, but with Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins visiting Zuni Pueblo.

Sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Social and Cultural Studies Program and Graduate School of Education

Fall 2014 Events

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Children at the Border, Children at the Margins: Health, Responsibility, and Immigration"

Stefano M. Bertozzi, Dean and Professor of Health Policy & Management, Public Health, UC Berkeley

Lariza Dugan-CuadraExecutive Director, CARECEN Central American Resource Center

Seth HolmesAssistant Professor, Public Health and Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Rubén MartínezJournalist and Author of Desert America, Crossing Over, and The New Americans

Casey Peek, Producer of “New World Border”

Adrienne PineAssistant Professor, Anthropology, American University

Patricia Baquedano-LópezChair, Center for Latino Policy Research, and Associate Professor, Education, UC Berkeley, as moderator

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Co-sponsored by Center for Latino Policy Research, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and School of Public Health


Friday, October 23, 2014

"Rising Tide; Sinking Ships: Climate Change and Inequality"

Jon KrosnickFrederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Stanford: "Inequality and Public Opinion on Global Warming"

Blas Pérez HenríquezDirector, Center for Environmental Public Policy, UC Berkeley

"Climate-Smart Policy: Carbon Pricing, Investment and Marginalized Communities"

Sponsorsed by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley, and Stanford's Center on Poverty and Inequality


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Hungary's Conservative Revolution: Sui Generis or Future Pattern?"

Jason Wittenberg, Associate Professor, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Since the landslide victory of Fidesz in the 2010 Hungarian national parliamentary election, Hungary has undergone nothing short of a conservative revolution. With its parliamentary supermajority, Fidesz can rule without regard for opposition views, and has used that power with vigor. Since taking power Fidesz has drafted and passed a new conservative constitution, weakened the separation of powers, restricted freedom of speech, squeezed its socialist and liberal rivals out of positions of influence, and gerrymandered the electoral system in its favor. My comments will examine the roots of these changes and whether they are harbingers of future developments in post-communist Eastern Europe.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Political Therapeutics in Italy"

Cristiana Giordano, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Davis

In this paper, I discuss the experience of Italian clinical ethno-psychiatry as an emerging technique that provides culturally appropriate therapeutic services exclusively to foreigners, political refugees, and victims of torture and trafficking. This clinical practice has a political impact on other Italian institutions (such as the Catholic Church, the police, and social services) involved in aid programs for foreigners that increasingly turn to ethno-psychiatrists to consult on how to shape culturally and psychologically appropriate interventions for foreigners. The specificity of Italian ethno-psychiatry, though, can only be understood against the backdrop of the debates around the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill and the radical critique of public institutions initiated by Franco Basaglia and the de-institutionalization movement in the early 1970s. Crucial to the Italian context is also the work of Antonio Gramsci and his reflections on the relationships between hegemony and subaltern cultures, in addition to the role of the organic intellectual in creating a field of political action that could involve subalterns in defining what counts as politics. Through an ethnography of clinical cases and interactions between ethno-psychiatrists and local communities, I show how these legacies intersect in the practice of Italian ethno-psychiatry in ways that are broadly relevant not only for the politics of alterity within clinical settings, but also for critiquing psychiatric, legal, and moral categories of inclusion. This clinical practice allows for a re-thinking of the political and phenomenological grounds of existence, while also offering a critical frame to issues of "global mental health."


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American"

Cristina Mora, Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley

How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as "Hispanics" and "Latinos" in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics (University of Chicago Press 2014). She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and '80s created a new identity category-and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.

Spring 2014 Events

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Breaking Barriers, Building Community: 35 Years of Training Social Change Scholars"

2014 marks the 35th anniversary of graduate training at the Institute for the Study of Social Change (now the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues). For more than three decades, ISSC/I has provided mentorship, training and support to numerous doctoral students, who have gone on to produce social change scholarship that transforms the world and the academy. In recognition of this anniversary, this conference features presentations by alumni of the graduate training program, now distinguished academics, whose groundbreaking work on stratification and social change in US cities challenges the presumptions of power and the powerful. Panelists draw on research that 1) examines the erasure of history and memory that occurs around race and gender; 2) explores the processes and contexts in which the definitions and enforcement of (il)legality are undergoing change in schools and community settings, on the streets and in workplaces, and around the use and design of the built environment; and 3) engages with the efforts of community organizations and activists to challenge the policies and control of dominant interests.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Fourth City: The American Prison Writer as Witness"

Doran Larson, Professor of English, Hamilton College

with responses from Jonathan SimonAdrian A. Kragen, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Society, UC Berkeley

and Patricia Penn HildenProfessor Emerita, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Mass incarceration in the United States is the largest, most lucrative, most racialized, and most destructive social experiment in recent history.  Only the men and women who live behind bars are fully invested in the truth, are willing and able to bear witness to the state of our prisons, and are subjects of sufficient public fascination to be heard by a broad public.

This talk will present Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, a collection of 71 essays from writers incarcerated in 27 American states. Fourth City is the largest collection to date of first-person witness to how the American prison is experienced by those living inside it. Fourth Citypresents the prison population as it sees itself: not as a regrettable abstraction or liability of the neoliberal state, but as an extant community of 2.26 million living under hostile supervision, and for this reason experiencing a life more cohesive, across an archipelago of facilities, than that experienced by residents of New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago.  Fourth City presents incarcerated Americans as a national constituency, and as the constituency best positioned to witness what is wrong with current prison practice in the U.S., its real effects on its wards, and how the prison in America fails the mission of correction so badly. The talk will also discuss a Digital Humanities project now in progress, The American Prison Writing Archive.  The APWA is planned as an open-source, digital archive of non-fiction, American prison writing, including the work of incarcerated people, prison staff, administrators, and volunteers.  Fourth City and the APWA are efforts to relocate those directly affected by the prison complex from the periphery to the center of the conversation about mass incarceration in the U.S. today.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Not Imprisonment in the Legal Sense: The Invention of Immigrant Detention"

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor of History, UCLA

with Leti Volpp, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven, Professor of Law and Access to Justice, Berkeley Law School

Immigrant detention is, today, the single-largest dimension of human confinement operated by the U.S. Federal government. Yet immigrant detention is often forgotten as a pillar of the nation's carceral regime. This strange omission is rooted in a decision made one century ago by the United States Supreme Court, which determined that human confinement in the pursuit of deportation is "not imprisonment in a legal sense." This paper excavates the origins of immigrant detention as a practice of human confinement that operates, in a legal sense, separate and apart from imprisonment but everyday fills the nation's jails, prisons, and detention facilities.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?"

Steven Raphael, Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

Between 1975 and 2007, the American incarceration rate increased nearly fivefold, a historic increase that puts the United States in a league of its own among advanced economies. We incarcerate more people today than we ever have, and we stand out as the nation that most frequently uses incarceration to punish those who break the law. What factors explain the dramatic rise in incarceration rates in such a short period of time? Professor Raphael will speak about his new book, Why Are So Many Americans in Prison? (co-authored with Michael A. Stoll),  which analyzes the shocking expansion of America's prison system and illustrates the pressing need to rethink mass incarceration in this country.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"A New Movement Era? Reflections by Frances Fox Piven"

Frances Fox Piven ,Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate Center

Moderated by Catherine Albiston, Professor of Law, Berkeley School of Law

As the global economy experienced one of the worst downturns in recent memory, ordinary people around the world poured into the streets to protest the daily injustices they faced. Income inequality, debt, dispossession, exploitation, and state repression were among the many concerns that propelled mass disruption from below. In a fireside chat format, Professor Frances Pox Piven will reflect on the potential for change in the current historical moment. Does this mass refusal of cooperation constitute a new movement era? If so, to what extent will it trigger reforms that moderate capitalist excesses? And how do and how should students, scholars, and academia figure into this era?

Fall 2013 Events

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"The Marketization of Good Works? Rival Dispositions of Caring in Egypt and Turkey"

Cihan Tugal, Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley

Why do people give? Sociologists have provided two basic answers to this question (which I call the solidaristic and domination accounts). We can't, however, understand giving except in its very broad context. The tension between the solidaristic and domination aspects of giving (both of which we have to integrate into an analytical framework for a comprehensive understanding) play out very differently in contrasting contexts due to histories of sociopolitical mobilization; state-society links; and patterns of distinction and giving techniques.  Islamic giving provides a unique lens into these problems due to the centrality of benevolence in Islam. Yet, Islamic giving is not made of one cloth, as the distinctions between Egyptian and Turkish charities and philanthropies demonstrate. In Turkish philanthropy, there is a relatively smoother marriage of the Islamic and the market mission. In Egypt, marketization of giving is uneven and communitarian philanthropists predominate. Moreover, in Turkey, the communitarian associations (which are in the minority) have started to shift from an emphasis on Islam to an emphasis on redistribution.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

"My People, My People: How Competing Ideas about 'Black People' Shape African-American Republicans' Political Behavior"

Corey Fields, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Stanford University

with Laura Stoker, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, as respondent

This research explores how race animates the politics of African-American Republicans. I depart from existing approaches that treat race as an axis of identity. Instead, I argue for the necessity of treating race as a set of ideas about black people. Interviews and ethnographic observations reveal that strong expressions of racial identity are common among African-American Republicans. However, there are very different ideas about who constitutes the group being identified with. Divergent ideas about black people divide African-American Republicans. These ideas impact 3 aspects of their political behavior: (1) interpretation of conservative social policy, (2) their ability to organize themselves, and (3) their capacity to build alliances with white Republicans. To fully understand black political behavior, analysts must move from only considering race as a marker of identity for black people, to also thinking about race as a set of ideas black people have about black people.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Neurocratic Futures in the Disability Economy: Pregnancy, Addiction, and Mental Illness in the US Welfare State"

Kelly Knight, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine

Drawing on four years of ethnographic research, I will address a collision of politics, science, and social policy with historic roots in 1990s neoliberal welfare reform and current consequences in the everyday lives of addicted pregnant women.  In 1997, the disallowance of substance use dependence as a qualifying, disabling health condition for Social Security Income (SSI) benefits spurned the development of a new disability economy.   Despite widely accepted scientific evidence demonstrating the high frequency of mental illness and substance use disorder comorbidity, a new social actor, "the neurocrat," was constructed to document mental health disorders in exception of substance use disorder for SSI applicants. Today, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar Disorder are diagnosed at very high frequency and the prescription of broad spectrum atypical antipsychotic medications is routine among homeless women.  Clinically speaking, PTSD and Bipolar Disorder are difficult conditions to diagnose and treat in the presence of active substance use.  Yet the symptoms of these conditions - trauma, despair, rage and mania - are viewed as appropriate responses on the part of pregnant addicts to experiences of structural violence, social suffering, and housing instability.   It is also well understood that accessing SSI welfare benefits through successful neurocratic disability claims enables the safety-net health care system while also ensuring access to subsidized housing, case management, and other social benefits.  In this way, neurocrats make the madness of poverty socially legible.  Neurocratic futures for pregnant addicts are now necessary and entrenched on both institutional and personal levels. They can ensure social recognition and material viability for pregnant addicts, as long as women can agree to be mentally disabled, rather than merely addicted and just poor.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

"The Interface Between Native American Culture, Economic Growth and Institutions"

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology, American Indian Studies, and Law, UC Los Angeles

Economic development, and social change in general, is a multidimensional and institutional process. An argument is offered that the patterns of indigenous institutional autonomy, the presence or absence of market values and institutions, access to markets, and the constraints of external bureaucratic control play key roles in understanding the possibilities of sustained and beneficial market participation among American Indian nations. In the way of introduction, the arguments are traced through the literature and examples given from history and policy. A case study is provided which traces economic, cultural, and political change among the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.


Wednesday, November 19, 2013

"Understanding Ethnic Cooperation: Evidence from Experiments in East Africa"

Edward Miguel, Oxfam Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics and Faculty Director of the Center for Effective Global Action, UC Berkeley

We employ lab experiment data from Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to document the extent of ethnic divisions, and to test whether - and how - ethnic divisions can be rendered less salient. The study employs both standard and novel lab measures, develops new ways to prime both ethnic and national identity, uses implicit association tests to clarify the mechanisms underlying behavior, and employs a pre-analysis plan that specifies hypotheses to generate more credible estimates. 

Fall 2012

"Cuba and California: Prospects for US-Cuban Relations"

In Fall 2012 ISSI co-sponsored (with the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Center for Latino Policy Research, and the Center for Latin American Studies) a conference entitled "Cuba and California: Prospects for US-Cuban Relations."  The conference featured leading Cuban, American, and Canadian experts who spoke about the evolving relationship and emerging opportunities between Cuba and the United States. Conference speakers (including Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA], Julia Sweigand Carlos Alzugaray Tretoamong others) provided analysis of the economic, social, and political developments taking place in Cuba and the role Californians, especially, might play in advancing U.S.-Cuba business and cultural exchanges and intiatives.  Video of the conference is now available on UCTV.  To view video of the conference, click here.

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