“There’s no place where we are neutral. All of us are affected,” American actor and humanitarian Danny Glover urged his appreciative audience at UC Santa Barbara during last week’s conference titled “A Black Vision of Change.”
The 3-day event marked the 50th anniversary of the 1968 North Hall Takeover and honored those who participated in the protest, in which 12 students barricaded themselves in a campus building to demand equal treatment for black students, as well as a more relevant curriculum for students of color. The protest action led to the creation of the Department of Black Studies and the Center for Black Studies Research in 1969, as well as Chicano/a Studies. It also paved the way for the creation of Asian American Studies, Feminist Studies, and other minority studies on campus.
Author and psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison recently addressed UC Santa Barbara Writing Program students and community members about the commonly misunderstood topic of mood disorders.
Humanities, she said, are vital because they help people to understand one another, and when people are quiet about their struggles, those struggles may seem abnormal and frightening to the rest of society. “One of the great things that can be done is to write,” she said as she scanned the small room full of young writers who had gathered for a creative workshop.
The following evening in Campbell Hall, Jamison discussed bipolar disorder in the context of her personal experience and professional career.
Author and environmentalist T.A. Barron has $500,000 to establish endowed fund for environmental leadership in the humanities that benefits undergraduate students.
“Environmental advocacy is above all else an act of persuasion,” said John Majewski, the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. “Given all the ways in which our culture communicates about significant and important issues — including literature, music, film and the arts — the humanities have a vital role in addressing the critical environmental issues that now confront us.”
With more than 70 faculty members who teach courses that address issues in the environmental humanities, UCSB already is an international leader in the field. The campus already has a range of related programming, from the English department’s Literature and the Environment Center, to the Environmental/Climate Justice Hub based at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, among others.
Pollock Theater director Matthew Ryan introduced UC Santa Barbara to the Script to Screen series in 2010, an event that features classic or current films followed by a question and answer session with its screenwriters. That same year, he started the Pollock Internship, a program that enlists students interested in film, screenwriting, and production, to put on Pollock Theater events. Writing student Tyler Carr interviewed him for her Journalism for Web and Social Media course.
Renowned Haitian singer Emeline Michel's performed at UC Santa Barbara as part of the Center for Black Studies Research's annual Haiti Flag Week, dedicated to celebrating Haitian culture and marking the country’s independence and the creation of its flag in May, 1803.
Other events included the screening of “Charcoal,” a short film by Haitian filmmaker and photographer Francesca Andre, which captures the parallel stories of two Black women and their lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism as they find self-acceptance and ultimately redemption. And Jana Braziel, visiting from Miami University, spoke about her book “Riding with Death: Vodou Art and Urban Ecology in the Streets of Port-au-Prince.”
Commencement 2018 speaker Katy Tur of MSNBC tells UC Santa Barbara graduates in Humanities and Fine Arts and Social Sciences how studying philosophy helped her navigate the world of broadcast journalism.
“Do what you like. Do it for a cause that is bigger than you. And you will have fun,” Tur said at the Sunday, June 17, graduation ceremony. “Sometimes what makes a job fun is that it matters.”
Tur graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2005, majoring in philosophy. She is author of the 2017 bestseller Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.
Passion, innovation, and inspiring talent were on display at Campbell Hall last month at an annual student-run showcase for filmmakers, artists, musicians, and other performers. Students and the larger community applauded 12 of UC Santa Barbara’s filmmakers and other creative artists at the 27th annual Reel Loud Film and Art Festival where student-directed silent short films were accompanied by live on-stage music. Nine months of hard work and dedication from the Reel Loud organizing team paid off in an evening filled with musical performances, art features, and a room full of people ready to be inspired.
UC Santa Barbara’s master’s students in visual arts readied themselves for their next professional “moves” at a reception to exhibit their MFA thesis projects last week. The group titled its exhibition “The Chess Club” because they will apply the strategies they have learned in the program to sustain their future work and their careers.
The MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception took place at the Art, Design & Architecture museum on campus and featured the artwork of seven graduates. The free event filled up quickly, with attendees including faculty from different departments and divisions, as well as other graduate and undergraduate students.
The Media Arts and Technology Program (MAT) at UC Santa Barbara presents its End of Year Show 2018, a celebration of the year's research in electronic music, emergent media, computer science, engineering, and art. The theme for this year is Invisible Machine, which represents the way that transformation is jumpstarted through the Media Arts.
The MAT conducts research in the art of the “invisible becoming visible,” a process that can range from revealing the abstract processes between the input and output of a machine, to turning complicated scientific data into shapes and colors. Its technologists and artists seek to create new works that transcend the way that we currently view the world.
For many U.S. college students, hearing mention of Iraq evokes images of soldiers, oil, refugees, and destruction. In 2003, the United States invaded the country and American soldiers remained there for roughly eight years. Those soldiers and the combat that surrounded them dominated U.S. media coverage, leaving little room for the stories of Iraqi civilians and the hardships they endured during and after the occupation.
Now, 15 years after the invasion, several departments at UC Santa Barbara came together for a symposium to flip the script and reframe U.S. perspectives on Iraq. “[The goal is to] re-orient us towards Iraq in order to overturn these reductive and insufficient representations of human beings,” said organizer Mona Damluji, a professor in the Film and Media Studies Department.
The two-day event, called “Iraq Front and Center” was held earlier this month to create a space for interdisciplinary conversations, bringing together guest speakers from the diverse perspectives of novelist, journalist, filmmaker, and doctor.
At a time when tensions are high over police violence against African Americans and sexual violence against women, hundreds of UC Santa Barbara students lined up to hear race theory and civil rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw advise marginalized groups to go beyond marching under one banner.
“People are so convinced we are moving forward, they don’t realize we are passing the same terrain we’ve seen before,” Crenshaw said at Campbell Hall in a talk hosted by the Multi Cultural Center.
The Spanish and Portuguese Department earlier this month presented “Verbal Kaleidoscope” the first interdisciplinary conference at UC Santa Barbara dedicated to Indigenous literatures. Several poets of the Zapotec, Mazatec, Spanish, Basque, and other language groups recited their work in what organizer Osiris Gómez described as a display of diversity.
“Verbal Kaleidoscope is a metaphor for cultural and linguistic plurality, said Gómez, a Spanish and Portuguese Ph.D. candidate. “The world, even at a community level is immensely diverse…With every swirl, movement, transition, we face new challenges and promising forms.”
The UC Santa Barbara Writing Program is pleased to announce the creation of the Charles Bazerman Endowed Faculty Fellowship for Professional Development in Writing. This endowed fund supports an annual, competitive, two-course fellowship for a Continuing Lecturer in the Writing Program.
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Dexter Filkins spoke recently at Corwin Pavilion about the modern refugee crisis and why he calls it “the great apocalypse of our time.” The talk was sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Crossings + Boundaries series.
The New Yorker staff writer drew attention to the dire situations of 200 million migrants, coming mainly from South Sudan, Syria, and Afghanistan, who are living in refugee camps for an average stay of 10 years or internally displaced within their home countries.
“The story of American Jews is one of Americanization in linear and progressive terms…I want to present another way of understanding it, through the prism of revolution, of conflict and utopianism,” said Tony Michaels, PhD., a religious studies professor from University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a recent address in UC Santa Barbara.
Michaels has dedicated his career to researching the Jewish story in America and was presenting his new research for the first time as a guest of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Taubman symposia in Jewish Studies.
Bestselling author Sarah Vowell credited Lincoln’s “magnanimous” personality and “reason” for his ultimate success in passing the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery, and said his respect for democratic institutions was crucial.
“If we die, we die by suicide, because we stop adhering to our constitution and the rule of law,” said Vowell, summarizing Lincoln’s message in his 1838 address in Springfield Illinois. Vowell wrote 2005’s Assassination Vacation, in which she traveled the country visiting site related to assassinated presidents.
When English professor Jeremy Douglass was first asked by Humanities and Fine Arts Dean John Majewski to head up a new wall-less collaborative space on campus, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
“The vision was that the former arts library space (Music 1410) would become a campus center for public experiments in innovative research and teaching,” Douglass explained. “The initial focus on digital humanities expanded to embrace the arts as well, with Prof. Laurel Beckman proposing the name ‘DAHC’ – Digital Arts & Humanities Commons.”
Art therapy is not intended to train artists, but to instead make them happy, says Suzanne Hudson, an art history scholar at University of Southern California.
Hudson discussed the advent of art therapy and the role of television’s Bob Ross at UC Santa Barbara’s History of Art and Architecture winter lecture series. She is currently completing the research for her next book, Better For the Making: Art Therapy Process.
UC Santa Barbara students were met with standing ovations and enthusiastic cheers of appreciation when they performed Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The comedic opera showcased the talents of many of the Voice Program’s top graduate students.
Award-winning author and freelance journalist Sam Quinones told a packed UCSB McCune Conference room exactly what needs to happen for America to overcome the effects of a 20-years opioid epidemic:
“We have to question the drugs that are marketed to us, demand that the government stop allowing [drug] advertisements on television, depend less on pills as solutions and depend on our grocers to stock better food,” he said.
Novelist and filmmaker David Bezmozgis said his novel The Betrayers (2014) oﬀers one “provocative” answer to the moral dilemma. “If we accept that there are sociopaths and psychopaths in this world, why would we not also accept that the opposite exists,” he asked. “That some people are good, because they are born that way? That there is a limit to how good anyone can actually be? The only way you will know is when you are tested.”
Students heard from social entrepreneur Jessica Jackley, author Reza Aslan, and producer Tim Kring about finding a career that “fits your passions,” as Jackley put it. A leader in international microlending, she said the humanities gave her the perspective that allowed her to navigate the world of non-profit global entrepreneurism. Jackley, who founded the non-profit microlending firm Kiva, had studied philosophy, poetry and political science.
Each year, the Music Department at UC Santa Barbara hosts "Montage," a concert open to the public highlighting the diverse musical talents on our campus. The 2017 showcase was held on Sunday, November 12 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara. HFA intern Giovanna Vicini spoke to Petra Peršolja, a graduate pianist, and Scott Marcus, chair of the Music Department, about their roles in the unique concert.
Syrian clarinetist-composer Kinan Azmeh captivated a Santa Barbara audience with a composition about a lover’s resilience in a war-torn Syrian village, which he dedicated to the Islamic philosopher Ibn ‘Arabi.
“I was totally inspired by what I read,” Azmeh said, telling the audience how discovering Ibn ‘Arabi’s poetry led him to compose the music. “The piece ended up being a depiction of Ibn ‘Arabi’s journey, of love and fate intersecting.”
“We tried to define the parameters [of the event] around not vilifying religion as the culprit of xenophobia,” said Kathleen Moore, a UC Santa Barbara Religious Studies professor and co-organizer of the “Thank G@d We’re Not Like Them: The Global Dimensions of Religious Othering" workshop. “We wanted to isolate religion enough to understand why it’s instrumental in the way that people construct the archetypal enemy and use religion as a negative mirror to reflect the values that are positive about oneself.
On the third floor of the UCSB Library, I stop by a new exhibition put on by the Special Research Collections. Its sign has a fancy name —something complicated about botany and science—and I’m wondering what this could possibly have to do with me, an Art and English student...
As a humanities major, the idea of attending a seminar comparing the economies of South Korea and Taiwan was a bit daunting. I feared I would be confused by business terminology and complex governmental models...
Gasps, yells, and laughter rocked the auditorium as Werner Herzog’s 1979 film Nosferatu the Vampyre screened at the Pollock Theater last week. The legendary German-born director was there to watch the film alongside nearly 250 enthusiastic UCSB students and community members.
Their spirited reaction was a fitting welcome to a director who is known for his originality and feistiness. But Herzog also displayed the humility of an artist who puts his work above all else. “I am just a quiet soldier of cinema,” Herzog told the crowd at one point, prompting applause.