Lecture: Roderick A. Ferguson: “Comparative Ethnic Studies: Retrieving, Redistributing, and Holding the Institution Under Erasure”

Please spread the word to anyone interested in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies!

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies presents:

Roderick A. Ferguson: “Comparative Ethnic Studies: Retrieving, Redistributing, and Holding the Institution Under Erasure”

Public lecture: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 • 4:00-5:30 PM • 210 Humanities Building 1 • Reception to follow • Free and open to the public
This talk looks at the question of comparative ethnic studies through the critique and the rearticulation of comparative projects. It goes on to ask the question of how one might institutionalize and let one’s institutional practice and project be shaped by the critique of institutionalization.
Seminar: Thursday, January 10, 2013 • 9:00-11:00 AM • Followed by a Program building discussion: 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM
Registration is free but required by contacting Courtney Mahaney, at cmahaney@ucsc.edu.  You will be then sent the readings Professor Ferguson has chosen for us.
Roderick A. Ferguson is professor of race and critical theory. He is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (2004) and The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (2012). He is also the co-editor with Grace Hong of Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (2011).
This event is organized and sponsored by the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program. Cosponsored by the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, the Division of Humanities at UCSC, and the UC Presidential Chair in Feminist Race and Ethnic Studies. Staff support provided by the Institute for Humanities Research.
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CRES Community Gathering

Come out to this student-organized gathering!
We want to have a conversation about what we need from CRES, talk about recent developments, and envision future steps.

Hope to see you there!

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Upcoming Ethnic Studies Lectures at UCSC

Don’t miss this upcoming lecture series at UCSC!

“Visual Representations of the Chinese Diasporas” is a lecture series organized by Boreth Ly (History of Art and Visual Culture) with the assistance of Hrishekesh Kashyap. It is made possible by the Arts Dean’s Research Initiative Fund and co-sponsored by the HAVC Department and Merrill College. “

On Tuesday October 25th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Humanities 1 room 210, Anthony W. Lee of Mount Holyoke College Department of Art History presents:

“In the Opium Den”:

“Photographs played a key role in sorting out the madness of cultural encounter at the beginning of the 20th century, when immigrants and migrants found themselves together in American port cities. This talk follows the tracks of one such photograph and the tense and sometimes comic encounter between Chinese and Mexicans in San Francisco. In a larger sense, it asks how the history of photography, border studies, and critical race studies might be put into productive dialogue and how photographs can be thought of as deposits of social relations.”

More information on Anthony W. Lee can be found here.

The series continues on Thursday, November 10th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Charles E. Merrill Lounge at Merrill College with a lecture from Gema R. Guevara (Department of Languages and Literature, University of Utah):

“Visual Representations of the Chinese in Cuba: Racial Subjectivity and Triangulation”

“The decade of the 1840s marks the beginning of Chinese indentured servitude in Cuba. Chinese workers joined African slaves within a trans-national work force that contained indentured servants, slaves, and Iberian free laborers.  This talk examines the process in which contemporary visual culture rendered Chinese Cubans visible, preserving the intersection of immigration, slavery, gender, trans-national labor, and the multiple hybrid cultural formations that resulted from this experience. Visual materials considered in this talk include lithographs and photographs produced by Creole Cubans and visitors from Europe and North America to record the transition from colonialism to nationhood.”

More information on Gema R. Guevara can be found here.

For more information on the lecture series, please contact Boreth Ly (bjly@ucsc.edu) or Hrishyekesh Kashyap (hkashyap@ucsc.edu).

Please support the hard work of the UCSC faculty who organised this series and support Ethnic Studies at UCSC!

-Anna

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UC Berkeley College Republicans “Increase Diversity” satirical bake sale… gone horribly wrong.

The Berkeley College Republicans have hosted a bake sale event called “Increase Diversity” set for September 27. The description of this event, as well as the campus wide response has stirred much controversy over the legitimacy of the event itself. The group proposes to host a bake sale and to satirically alter the prices according to race and ethnicity, in an attempt to “offer another view to this policy of considering race in university admissions. The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical.” (SF Gate article).
I do not wish to impose my bias upon you, so please read the screen shot facebook event description which was so conveniently taken before the group removed the original and posted a slightly less racist version of the event on their facebook page.

Here is an article by the SF Gate about it: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F09%2F23%2FBATO1L8RLL.DTL

Here is the facebook event itself: 

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The “F” Word…. (Feminism)

As a person or an activist womyn or whatever daunting label I shall place on myself, I realized that I needed to learn more about feminism and what it means to be a feminist. How can I call “socially male identified feminists” out if I don’t really know what it means to be a feminist? I’m not going to lie this entry is partially about the hypocrisy within the radical activist community pertaining to the behavior that socially male identified feminists/activists perpetuate. They’re some of the smartest people I know in terms of politics; I looked up to many of them. However, what they preach and how they treat womyn are two completely different things, but this post isn’t just about them, more importantly- it is also about me. How can I grow as an activist, a womyn, a daughter, a sister, and a friend? How can I challenge society, yet continue to feel beautiful? Therefore, I decided to talk to some of the people I really look up to, because I wanted to understand how to be a feminist. I’ve realized in the past I have sometimes shaved my legs or my armpits in hopes of trying to impress someone or gain approval by society. But when I’m single and sluggin’ around, I challenge those gender norms by not giving a fuck about my hairy legs or appearance. I know feminism is beyond the physical appearance and I don’t want it to just be reduced to that, that is why I am eager to try to learn more about feminism through my friends who can teach me through their personal experience and through the authors they’ve read. I want to challenge myself, and explore the realms of feminism a bit more and figure out what it means to be a “feminist,” but not just from western points of views. For example, am I being hypocritical when I conform by dressing up and doing what society has taught us females to do? I often hear different perspectives on that point; I know many mujeres who feel alienated from certain activist cliques, because they feel criticized when they wear make up, straighten/curl their hair, and embrace their femininity.

As an activist womyn, am I being too harsh on activist men who claim to be feminists, but really just want to mess around with multiple partners? They stare you in the face and reassure that they like you, but when in actuality they are seeing other people… Should they be called out? When is calling someone out inappropriate, because after all no one is perfect including myself.  I clearly have to work on myself in so many ways! But despite our imperfections should we still continue to keep each other in check? Part of having a “consciousness,” whatever the fuck that means…(it sounded nice), but as I was saying part of being an activist is growing and challenging yourself and others. But it can be tough trying to carry this hat and role full time especially considering other exteriors conditions and forces that are working against us. Furthermore, it’s sometimes inevitable to partake in mainstream, capitalistic behavior. Therefore, can we excuse our manarchists’ friends’ behaviors or should we hold them up to higher expectations? And if we are trying to deconstruct labels, then why should we hold people accountable for being a hypocritical male feminist? Lastly, does the calling out vary on the severity of the person’s action or their race? Not that race should be a factor in this, but culturally machismo and patriarchy has historically played different roles that can be attributed to colonialism and oppression. As Gloria Anzaldúa eloquently explained in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, “His ‘machismo’ is an adaptation to oppression and poverty and low self-esteem. It is the result of hierarchical male dominance…In the Gringo world, the Chicano suffers from excessive humility and self-effacement, shame of self and self-deprecation. Around Latinos he suffers from a sense of language inadequacy and its accompanying discomfort; with Native Americans he suffers from a racial amnesia which ignores our common blood, and from guilt because the Spanish part of him took their land and oppressed them…”    

–Feminism is such an interesting topic; yet it’s surprising how little I know about it. People have many misconceptions about feminism and feminists, so here are some excerpts on how some friends described it to me:

  • “Honestly, I don’t know much about feminism…I can’t learn about my femininity through other women…I have to learn for myself…” -ED
  •  “Do you remember X & Y? The most intelligent guys, and it frustrated women so much that they couldn’t deal with them at all. Why? Because they always had an answer for one’s complaints or claims. Generally, the most intelligent and revered of the theoretical activist men are the most heartless womanizers you will ever meet. They are very comfortable talking to you about politics but try to talk to them about things beyond it… it gets awkward and then when you speak out or associate yourself with outspoken women you get shunned. X now doesn’t even look at me
    .…within the activist circle, they’re a whole new breed of men…or maybe they aren’t… maybe they’re just a more intelligent version of the typical douche bag.”- AS
  • “Feminism to me should require the end goal of liberation for all those who are oppressed, male or female. As a woman who is a daughter of moderately wealthy/middle class immigrants/intellectuals, I have suffered less than a male brought up in dire poverty in terms of material conditions, so I think it would be foolish of me to say that those men are subjugating me just because they happen to have a penis. That is not to say that men of all socioeconomic backgrounds can’t and don’t have sexist ideas, but the culture of sexism is itself a product of the capitalist system that we live in, and those who ultimately “benefit” from sexism aren’t everyday guys with machista ideas, but rather the capitalists who benefit from being able under the current system to pay women less than they do men and not have to suffer any consequences. Challenging sexism, thus, involves challenging capitalism, and the fight for women’s rights will have to arise from a fight against the system as a whole. There’s an IWW quote about an “injury to one is an injury to all.” I can’t be satisfied until ALL forms of oppression–homophobia, sexism, poverty, racism, etc–are eradicated. And I think that saying that men can’t be feminists or whatever is itself extremely problematic and confining oneself to gender norms; after all, what IS a man and what is a woman? What about intersex people or those who have a penises but consider themselves to be women? It would be very discriminatory to exclude them from the struggle from women’s emancipation. [Also, shaving your legs or wearing perfume isn't anti-feminist in my view; many men shave their faces and wear cologne. Also, I imagine that some lesbian women shave their legs, too, and straight and bisexual women who shave don't necessarily do so to be more sexually attractive to men.]” -NB

Furthermore, this is how some scholars have described feminism:

Suzanne MacNevin: “Materialist Feminism views gender as a social construct. Women are historically viewed as mere objects for reproduction of the species and their gender role in society has that role. That role in society, depending on the circumstance, really is that of an economically impoverished slave. That state of bondage is more metaphorical because women are not always bound by shackles but simply by societal restrictions. Women are not REQUIRED to be childbearers and fulfill childbearing duties. Society forces that upon women.” (Source 1)

Patricia Hill Collins: “Black feminist thought sees these distinctive systems of oppression as being part of one overarching structure of domination. Viewing relations of domination for Black women for any given sociohistorical context as being structured via a system of interlocking race, class, and gender oppression expands the focus of analysis from merely describing the similarities and differences distinguishing these systems of oppression and focuses greater attention on how they interconnect.” (Source 2)

Bell Hooks: As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”

“It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term “feminism,” to focus on the fact that to be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.” (Source 3)

Jessica Yee: “However we’re not really equal when we’re STILL supposed to uncritically and obediently cheer when white women are praised for winning “women’s rights,” and to painfully forget the Indigenous women and women of colour who were hurt in that same process. We are not equal when in the name of “feminism”, so-called “women’s only” spaces are created and get to police and regulate who is and isn’t a “woman” based on their interpretation of your body parts and gender presentation, not your own. We are not equal when initiatives to achieve gender equity have reverted yet again to “saving” people and making decisions for them, rather than supporting their right to self-determination, whether it’s engaging in sex work, or wearing a niqab. So when feminism itself has become its own form of oppression, what do we have to say about it? (Source 4)

The following is a piece that I really love that was recently written by a comrade:

This is our coming insurrection.

People claim to be many things,
yet they fail to define who they are.
Let me clarify a few things for you.
See it as a little touch of empathy.
The only emotion I will ever invest in thee.

Activists worship no one but themselves.

Radicals make a stage upon which to perform,
and sit in the audience to watch their own show.

And the self-proclaimed anti-partriarchical, and
anti-fancy shmancy politically enticing MEN
are nothing but the words that they speak,
and the speeches that they give.
They are full of the most intellectual garbage known to wo-man.
They can spit out a rhyme that would make Karl Marx drown
in his own tears of joy.
Yet they simply cannot respect a woman.

As you men deconstruct patriarchy….for us women,
we reconstruct our faces and bodies…. for you men.
Because you see, we are genetically and socially constructed
to be flexible.
We can twist and turn upon your very whim, to entice you
and have you finally lift your eyes off of “The Coming Insurrection.”
All in the name of Feminism… right girls?

We can stop shaving, stop taming, and stop flaming
just to pretend to believe
that we are feminists.

That’s where we come to a new set of individuals.
Women… or rather womyn.
The many times where us, feminists, have fought with the
auto-correct of the monopolized and capitalistic evil called Microsoft Word,
just so we can re-teach this very pixelated world that us vagina bearing
things, are not meant to be within any distance of those grimy little men.
Unless of course they are ‘allies’.
Another word for : He can confuse me with political theory… so he must be sensitive and smart.”
They both start with s… and so does stupid.
Of course, the majority of us approach feminism from a completely western
viewpoint.
Heaven forbid we jump into that “race” and “cultures” pool.
Eeck!

I find it immensely hilarious that the most womanizing men I have ever met
are the ones who claim to be a pure form of a radical and progressive
ideological sect.

You play us and deconstruct our very bodies and souls, all in the name of
deconstructing what??
Patriarchy??

So go on and feminize your closet full of women.
Sort through the various colors and depths of the women who are hanging in there,
but remember this:

No matter how many times you have read every feminist book out there,
you will forever be a dummy to relationships and women.

We will start the coming insurrection.
And it will be coming right at you.

-AS

I hope you all learned something, I know I did. I may not understand the complexness and depth of feminism yet, but I am growing to understand myself. I am constantly changing, but I am at a point where I am learning to love myself so I can love others. I want to change myself, so I can grow to change the world. All I know is that I want to be a happy young mujer. Independence is what I want, equality among many other things. Freedom from oppression for all peoples and things. I’m not sure if what I just described would be considered feminism, but shit who cares? To me: its happiness, its growth!I may be naive and oblivious to many things, but I can’t imagine living without writing, learning, growing, and changing.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou

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Perspectives from 1968

In our fight for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, we of course have to be aware of the origins of this particular fight, and other struggles on this campus in the past.

Below, a few newspaper clippings from 1968-69 reveal a few of the responses to the Black Liberation Movement’s proposal to make the seventh college at UCSC a black college, Malcolm X College.

(note: if the images are too small, click to zoom in. Transcripts are available, click here.)

Please click to view larger

Image: a newspaper clipping from 1968, with the title "Black College Proponents Ask Public Learn About Malcolm X"

After Bill Moore’s proposal, a politician campaigning for Senate, Max Rafferty, claimed “Only a racist would support such a thing.”

please click on image to zoom in

Image: a newspaper clipping with title "Rafferty Opposes Black College At UCSC"

The San Francisco chronicle followed up on the situation with a clear attempt to portray Moore as irrational, or as an “angry black man.” (Note: these two images are the same article, read down the left column then up to the top portion)

click on image to zoom in

Image: a newspaper clipping from 1968 titled "Black College Backer Answers Critics"

click to zoom in

Image: a newspaper clipping continuing article "Black College Backer Answers Critics"

In the last article, the San Francisco Chronicle reports on various weak efforts by the UCSC administration to respond to the proposal, revealing in the process that “there is now only one course in the four existing colleges “which could be said to be clearly “Afro – American Studies.”” 

click to zoom in

Image: a newspaper clipping from 1969 titled "Minority Studies At Santa Cruz"

“In addition,” the Senate warned,  “we feel it is imperative that we avoid the panic with which some institutions have reacted to (such) requests or demands…”

That “panic” was happening simultaneously at UC Berkeley as the Third World Liberation Front entered into its eighth day on strike for an autonomous Third World College!

Thanks to M for allowing us to use these clippings that he took the time to research at the Santa Cruz Public Library, where these records are available to the public.

-co

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Mujer Con Poder

Please step out of your body and try to understand mine

Because when I walk at night I feel so alone and blind.

I look to my left and I look to my right, and I see men like you staring at me with your beady little eyes looking down my spine.

And I walk in fear and live in fear not just for myself but for my daughter, my sister, my mother, and my grandmother.

Because as womyn we have two heads to hold and two things to carry: our body and dignity.

And even though I’m covered from head to toe, because it is cold, you still know I’m a womin.

Is it because I have two things popping out of me? Or is it the innocence in my eyes and the hesitance I have when a male walks by?

So listen up little fucker.

You only think with your two inch thing

and

You may try to succeed and steal that one thing that keeps me- me.

My virginity, my pride, my womanhood but you will never forget this voice, because as long as I got my soul, I will continue to shout, write, and shame you to hell. Because my body, and her body, and their body is one thing you shall never take.

Of course, you can take my body literally and take it physically.

But you cannot take something that I control and respect so dearly.

My body, my temple, my home, my space.

Un lugar de cambio, un lugar de dolar, y un lugar de felicidad.

So step back you piece of shit, because when you invade my space, you are colonizing my freedom.

My freedom to exist as a mujer con poder.

This is not an attempt to fetishize womyn and their virginity. This is not a poem to put down womyn who are sexually active nor to demean ones who are virgins. Often, as mujeres we are stuck in a dichotomy. We are taught different things by different people. If you’re Latina and grew up in a Catholic family like me, you might’ve been taught by your church and relatives to stay a virgin until the day you wed. Or you might’ve been taught through social mediums like television that staying a virgin is prudish and uptight. I’m not trying to argue for one or the other, but rather I’m trying to demonstrate how frustrating it can be to be a womyn walking alone on the streets. I’m not talking about the hood right now. Just being a plain ole simple person- una mujer- who rarely wears make up or clothing that is revealing. The first portion of this poem was written a while back and from the tone I can tell that it must’ve been right as I got home after walking alone one evening in the simple average de-average streets of a good ole’ suburban town [Santa Cruz]. The place is not the issue, because this is something that occurs everywhere.

This fear- this fear of being raped and molested has been instilled in me since I was a young little girl. I remember my mother being so strict and never letting me sleepover at my friends’ houses. I was young and didn’t understand. I just wanted to have fun and do silly little activities at peoples’ houses. I felt my mother was being unjust, but she was only trying to protect me. My two older sisters were molested at a really young age, and my mother wanted to protect me from the pain and trauma they will forever carry. And this worry, this fear, this pain continues. I see it in my mother’s face that she feels partially responsible, but who could ever predict that this would happen to their child? You want to believe in people and trust them…But you can’t even trust your family. I know it’s disheartening, right? Fathers’ touching their own daughters…Uncles getting too close to their nieces… I know this isn’t only a female issue, but all I can speak on is from what I’ve experienced as a womyn, a person who once was a little girl.

My mother used to explain to me as little kid to never let anyone touch me inappropriately. She told me if anyone ever started touching me to run away and yell. I can vividly remember her reiterating and reiterating that no one should ever touch me in the no-no areas. When we had guests sleep over at the house, she would force me to sleep in her room by her side, in fear of the worse. She would rather have me in her room, than unprotected in the company of others.  No matter who the guests were, she felt you could never be too cautious. This fear, this worry, that pain…It still lives. I’ve babysat my nephew in my spare time for the past six years and I do not trust him with others. I have internalized this fear of him being molested. I do not trust him with other people but especially men. People say I baby my nephew- & perhaps I do. But part of spoiling him and babying him is really my fear and my way of not having him alone with other people. I’d rather have him by side where I know he will be protected.

…A poem about walking alone at night…has suddenly turned into a little article about a piece of my life. I know this may sound ridiculous, but it’s just when I’m alone at night and I see a man walk by, I don’t notice his race or even his face. I just notice his gender, and my body and mind automatically make conclusions. I honestly begin to fear the worse, I watch my back, quicken my pace, and keep my phone by my side.

Four years ago: I was once crossing the bridge on Soquel after watching Architecture in Helsinki play at the Rio. I was with my friend, and we were both first years. She was on the phone with her boyfriend, and she was immersed in the conversation. Yards ahead I noticed this older looking male walking our way. I automatically got into my cautious zone, and kept my eyes on him. There is a cement divider on the bridge on Soquel, so I crossed over the divider. As my friend happened to hang up the phone, the man was approaching her while mumbling and sticking his hand down his pants. She froze, and I was able to lift her over the cement divider and we ran all the way to the metro station without looking back. Although, we were fortunate enough to escape the situation, there are many people who are victims to unwanted sexual attention. From physical touching to unwanted cat calls, it is so frustrating and annoying being a mujer sometimes, it doesn’t matter the neighborhood you are in. You are still at risk in my opinion. Call me paranoid, call me what you want, I can’t help how I feel. I don’t understand how people can commit sexual abuse. It pains me to hear stories of womyn being hurt. Rape is horrible, but it is a tool that has been used in war. It is something that people use to delegitimize a womyn. Hopefully, someday we will live in a society, when a mujer does not have to constantly worry about being raped. Hopefully, someday in the future I can have children and not worry about them being molested. Where is my perfect utopian society where everyone is equal? Relationships are respected and isms do not exist. People are happy and murder does not exist. Unfortunately, we are human and we make mistakes, I’ll probably have to wait for death [and hopefully a heaven exists] to live that fantasy life, but until then I’ll keep striving and fighting for social justice.

“Fighting Unconditionally Beyond All Repair/Recognition”

Follow up: Discussing sexual abuse can be so taboo and uncomforable for people to talk about. There is so much trauma that stays with the victim. Then there’s the offender- which poses difficult unanswered questions such as: why do they commit the action? Were they sexually abused as a child or did they suffer from some sort of traumatic or neglected childhood? Or do they suffer from a mental illness? Therefore, are sexual abusers socially created by their environment or is it something that some people are genetically created to do? These questions are difficult, because no one is really sure why people rape or molest, and the uncertainty in life causes us to become anxious and afraid. Just take a look around our society; that is why we lock people away. Obviously, imprisonment and isolation does not properly rehabilitae people who’ve broken laws, but we continue to incarcerate people anyway. Is it because it is much easier to dispose of these people by putting them away, so we don’t have to actually face them?

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