Mellon Workshop


Medieval Cultures and Postmodern Legacies

  • John Ganim, Faculty Coordinator
  • Tom Schnieder, Graduate Student Coordinator

This group will continue the highly successful Mellon workshop on the subject of the legacy of the Middle Ages as it has been redefined in the past two decades. This legacy has an unstable political valence, as for instance, in the condemnation of Islamic societies as "medieval" in terms of their legal systems and gender restrictions, or the location of the origin of particular forms of patriotism in "medieval" histories, such as in the Balkans. Political theorists referred to the entropy following the end of the Cold War as "The New Medievalism." They will also be investigating the degree to which the Middle Ages themselves engage in the production of the modernities, both in terms of what French Annales historians call the longue duree and in terms of the awareness of difference by medieval subjects, experiences and works themselves.

Viral Ports, Virtual Currents – Interconnections between Media, the Arts, and the Everyday in Southeast Asia and its Diasporas

  • Hendrik Maier, Faculty Coordinator
  • Mike Atienza, Graduate Student Coordinator

Media spreads and replicates "virally" and there is a dynamic relationship between media and cultural production/consumption, though, as Henry Jenkins argues "reuse, reworking and redistribution." Media content spreads and along the way "gains greater resonance in the culture, taking on new meanings, finding new audiences, attracting new markets, and generating new values" (Jenkins, as quoted in Burgess 2008, 3). Media outputs then become ports of contact and inspiration for other members of the social network.

In this project, this group is concerned with how people in Southeast Asia live their lives on a day-to-day basis, and what role do the arts and media (e.g. YouTube videos, films, music, sermons, paintings, and the Internet) play in their interactions with each other locally and transnationally? Their collaboration seeks to create a much-needed space for broader critical discussions in addressing everyday life in Southeast Asia rather than traditional questions circling around socio-politics and economies.

Medical Narratives: Telling an Interdisciplinary Story of Suffering and Hope

  • Juliet McMullin, Faculty Coordinator
  • Chikako Takeshita, Faculty Coordinator
  • Nicholas Welcome, Graduate Student Coordinator

Broadly conceived to include fiction and non-fiction, and a range of media (written, visual, auditory, digital, and performance), medical narratives give order to the chaos and vacuous spaces that are created by disease and illness experiences. Biomedical technologies further the complexity of medical narratives through their nuanced details related to potential benefits and harms. Workshop participants' interest in medical narratives range from members who create narratives, others who collect and analyze narratives and others who use medical narratives, thus creating a dynamic source of interdisciplinary dialogue on contemporary conditions of health and medicine. Their goals are to use medical narratives to ask and respond to questions about 1) definitions and expectations of medicine, 2) the role of medicine and medical technologies in the production of social inequality, and 3) how medical narratives reflect or shape the rapidly changing and multiplying roles biomedicine plays in the construction of humanity.

Critical Digital Humanities Research Collective

  • James Tobias, Faculty Coordinator
  • Kimberly Hall, Graduate Student Coordinator

The Critical Digital Humanities Collective (CDHC) research group at UCR is an interdisciplinary group of emerging scholars working in the field of digital humanities with a critical focus. Their work with CDH engages the specificities of networked computation as well as the material and theoretical concerns central to the humanities. Scholarship in the humanities has been affected by the digitization of materials and evolving search methods, resulting in new practices of scholarship that continue to develop along with the technology. CDH is designed to support and blend emerging digital modalities of scholarship with critical engagement. The group's primary ongoing goal is to support and disseminate the research of scholars from all UCR humanities disciplines who are interested in developing knowledge about digital humanities, while also establishing UCR as an important site of digital humanities scholarship.

Unauthorized but not Silent: The Social and Political Dynamics of Undocumented Immigration in the United States and Abroad

  • Todd Sorensen, Faculty Coordinator
  • Vanesa Estrada, Faculty Coordinator
  • Andrea Silva, Graduate Student Coordinator
  • Chris Haynes, Graduate Student Coordinator

In the past two decades, undocumented immigrants have risen in prominence-both as objects of national and local policies, as well as important social actors who contest their marginal status and portrayal as "policy problems." This is true not only in various parts of the United States, but also in a range of European countries from Spain to Poland. Despite the central importance of these issues, scholarship is still limited by various factors including the lack of reliable data and insufficient cross-disciplinary dialogue on immigration research.

UC Riverside has scholars in several disciplines working on issues related to immigrants and immigration, and they see this Mellon Workshop as an opportunity to advance the research agenda on the study of immigration by: a) building a network of local scholars doing qualitative, quantitative, interpretive, and critical research focusing on undocumented and irregular migration, and b) providing important linkages to local organizations trying to counter nativist sentiment and policies.

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