At the Center for Information Technology & Society on Monday, University of Duisburg-Essen professor Nicole Krämer addressed the psychology of online opinion formation and its dangers. Krämer discussed fake news, filter bubbles, micro-targeting, and other side effects of online communication.
Linguistics professor Marianne Mithun was recently elected as the 95th President of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), the latest in a string of high profile UC Santa Barbara Linguistics achievements on the national level. As president, she will lead the meetings of the society, serve as the chair of the Executive Committee and appoint honorary members and non-elective committees. Meanwhile, linguistics professor Anne Charity Hudley received the LSA’s Linguistics, Language and Public award.
Decades before Colin Kaepernick played for the National Football League, world champion boxer Muhammad Ali publicly opposed the Vietnam War and was stripped of his heavyweight title and banned from boxing for years. Recently, Kaepernick has followed in his footsteps and knelt in silence during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, hoping to garner support and promote change as Ali did in 1971.
To Brown University professor Bonnie Honig, Kaepernick and Ali’s actions that demonstrated their refusal to comply to society’s expectations reflects a “long tradition of American citizenship.”
“The societal changes of the Late Roman Republic’s aristocratic class has implications for how historians compare the past to our current political landscape,” scholar Noah Segal said in a recent talk to faculty and students of the Classics department. A decline in military background among those who serve in office is one trend in ancient Rome that echoes today.
Segal, who specializes in populism in democratic societies, will represent UC Santa Barbara at an international Classics convention in early January.
President Trump’s policies have stirred a lot of criticism from both the public and government officials. Many disagreed with his so-called “travel-ban” policy, his “zero tolerance” immigration policy and his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. Visiting Yale legal scholar and former advisor to the Dept. of State Harold Koh offered some legal grounds for optimism, explaining why these policies won’t last for long.
Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, two PhD students from Brown University, are on a mission to share and perform their musical multimedia project “No-No Boy.” The piece consists of a slideshow and performance of folk songs to tell about Asian-American experiences during WWII and to confront prevailing narratives of that era that are found in textbooks. Saporiti and Aoyama presented their project to a UC Santa Barbara audience.
UC Santa Barbara launched a Journalism Certificate Program this fall, the first time the university has offered a credential in that field. The new program grants certification through a combination of courses from the Writing Program and Professional & Continuing Education, formerly known of as UCSB Extension. The program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain hands-on journalism experience. Currently, Berkeley is the only UC campus with a journalism school, and it is primarily a graduate school.
The application for the International Reporting course, which includes a trip to Berlin, is due December 5, 2018.
“Museums need to cater to all people,” says Selections from the Permanent Collection at UCSB’s Art Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A) collections manager Susan Lucke.
Approaching its Dec. 2 close, this show makes for a perfect opportunity to learn about art history and how the value of art differs based on the context in which it is shown. It displays art from all reaches of the fine arts collection normally held underground in the archives at UC Santa Barbara. Of the roughly 900 items usually held in storage, the exhibition shows us pieces ranging from Belgian Congo headdresses to modern abstract paintings by UC Santa Barbara alum Richard Serra. This juxtaposition of art across different places and time periods allows visitors to see a Pre-Colombian era sculpture and a still-life painting by Northern Europe’s Cornelis Mahu in the same room.
“It is very necessary to talk about race, and black girls are often left out of the conversation,” said Amoni Jones, who recently facilitated the MultiCultural Center’s first Race and Literature event at UC Santa Barbara. The monthly event explores race using various literary works.
Jones is a Feminist Studies doctoral student, who has worked with underprivileged African-American girls in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She used the novel Shapeshifters, by Aimee Cox, to talk about the struggles young black women face growing up, and to show that society often stereotypes girls of color and forces them into roles they don’t want to be in.
Last weekend, UC Santa Barbara’s Ethics Bowl team secured a first-place victory at the regional championship in Salt Lake City. The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl engages students in competitive debate of relevant ethical issues, from science to business to media. The UCSB team, composed mainly of undergraduate Philosophy students, will travel to Baltimore in March to compete nationally.
The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and the Center for Cold War Studies screened the documentary, 1968: The Year That Changed a Generation, last week, highlighting parallels between the politics of that time and the politics of today. 1968 was a year filled with major events and protests, such as the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and the protests against the Vietnam War. “We wanted to do something that marked the 50-year anniversary of the year 1968,” said history professor Salim Yaqub, who organized the event.
The introduction of computers in the linguistics field have made it easier for researchers to verify their research and data. “It allows linguistic researchers to off-load the tedious part of verifying analyses to a computer,” said linguistics scholar Emily Bender in a recent talk at UC Santa Barbara.
Bender currently teaches at the University of Washington. Her main area of research is multilingual grammar engineering, computational semantics and the relationship between linguistics and computational linguistics.
Art and technology have often been thought of as separate domains. But in recent years, artists have been integrating more technology in their work. “Computation shapes the way people make things,” said Stanford Computer Science researcher Jennifer Jacobs to a crowded room in Elings Hall during a Media and Art Technology seminar last week.
Although computational tools and computer programs are used more now than ever it can be difficult to fully integrate technology into art and design because of how different each artist is. “Developers of computational tools struggle to provide appropriate constraints and degrees of freedom to match the needs of diverse practitioners,” Jacobs said.
Los Angeles multidisciplinary artist Rafa Esparza spoke about the progression of his creative identity during an installment of the Fall 2018 Arts Colloquium last week. Esparza’s performance art, often involving adobe bricks and Aztec dance, engages with topics like indigeneity and colonialism as he critiques harmful power structures.
To kick off the History of Art and Architecture's Digital Image Lab series, UC Santa Barbara Geography professor Keith Clarke led a Wednesday afternoon mapmaking workshop. "Anybody can sit down in front of a computer and make a map," he said. Though the process initially seemed complex, Clarke showed how digital programs have made it easier to create and access maps.
Speaking at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s Taubman Symposium in Jewish Studies, Middle East expert and former diplomat Dennis Ross Ross said that President Trump has “a policy — but not a strategy” for the Middle East.
He pointed out that Trump’s actions show a pattern – a tendency to favor counter-terrorism and counter-Iranian policies, as well as a desire to resolve to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But, he said, there are flaws in the Trump administrations approach to all three of these Middle East policy areas, and those shortcomings prevent long-term progress.
“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.