Past New Directions in Feminist Research Seminars

 

2012-13: GENDER, RACE, SEXUALITY, AND THE POLITICS OF POPULAR MUSIC

Seminar Director: Karen Tongson, Associate Professor of English & Gender Studies (Dornsife)

The 2012-2013 seminar will bring together scholars, writers, and practitioners from a range of disciplines and schools at USC—from Dornsife, Annenberg, Thornton, and Lucas, among others—to explore critically the effects and affects of popular music in transnational and trans-regional contexts.

Popular music is catchy and crass, an infectious mass idiom that makes us dance, sing along, and purportedly abandon our cares. And yet for generations, across national and regional boundaries, popular music has also functioned as a barometer of dissent; as a call to rebellion, action and revolution for the disenfranchised. Historically, popular music has not only scored, but also incited transformative movements like national revolutions, as well as feminist, civil rights, and queer rebellions.

More recently, however, popular music has also been employed by oppressive regimes to subdue and subjugate so-called “enemy combatants,” and “agitators.” Listen, for example, to the heavy metal “blasts” used by the U.S. military during operations for the Gulf wars, or to the high-decibel sound devices used by local law enforcement to disperse protesters in the Occupy movement throughout the U.S., as well as in several recent uprisings throughout the globe. This seminar hopes to explore the full range of popular music’s political, aesthetic and affective incarnations, from its dissemination as a cultural imperialist medium, to its reclamation by communities for whom it may not be intended.

Seminar Members:

Karen Tongson, Associate Professor of English & Gender Studies (Dornsife)

PROJECT: Gender, Race, Sexuality and the Politics of Popular Music

Edwin Hill, Assistant Professor of French, Italian, Comparative Literature and American Studies and Ethnicity (Dornsife)

PROJECT: La Rage: Losing it in the French Peripheries. Explores anti-colonial discourses of rage in French hip-hop culture and literature, in order to offer a timely intervention into debates about the 2005 and 2007 riots in the French banlieus, or urban peripheries, and France's "ultra-peripheries"--its colonial territories in the West Indies.

Kara Keeling, Associate Professor of Critical Studies, School of Cinematic Arts, and African American Studies in American Studies and Ethnicity (Dornsife)

PROJECT: 'Electric Feel': Transduction, Errantry and the Refrain. Ascertains what logics inherited from particular popular musics might offer ongoing efforts to renegotiate bonds, institutions and political possibilities shaped by the violences characteristic of capitalism, white supremacy, neoliberal multiculturalism and contemporary geopolitics.

Josh Kun, Associate Professor of Communication (Annenberg) and American Studies and Ethnicity (Dornsife)

PROJECT: The World Begins Here: Love and Death and Music in Tijuana. Tracks the transnational flows of culture from Tijuana's founding as a family-owned cattle ranch in the aftermath of the 19th century creation of a US-Mexico border, to its current state as a chaotic urban sprawl of well over two million people. In these histories, Kun hears what he calls the 'aural border': a bi-national territory of sonic performance and listening; of melodic convergence and dissonant clashing. 

Shana Redmond, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity (Dornsife)

PROJECT: Timing is Everything: The Feminine Antiphonies in 'We are the World.' Revisits this anthem of global "relief"--particularly its redeployment in the wake of the 2010 earthquake disaster in Haiti--in order to expose the feminized musical tropes that organize conditions of aid and aid occupation, which developed in post-disaster sites like Ethiopia in 1985, and Haiti in 2010. 

Mina Yang, Assistant Professor of Music (Thornton)

PROJECT: Dancing into Visibility: Asian-American B-Boys and the Hip-Hop Trans-Nation. Situates her extensive research on b-boying in Asia and Asian America within the context of racial discourses in the United States and hip-hop history, and against the backdrop of emergent transpacific economies and cultural geographies.

Micha Cardenas, Ph.D. student in Interdivisional Media Arts and Practice (SCA)

PROJECT: Femme Disturbance. Combines scholarship, poetry and performance components to explore how musicality and figures like Janelle Monae and Ke$ha (among others) help foster antirationalist theories of genderqueer solidarity, politics and action. 

 

2011-12: RACE, SEXUALITY, AND RESISTANT BODIES  

Seminar Director: Macarena Gomez-Barris, Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity

The 2011-2012 seminar will bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines from across USC, to discuss the humanities and social science literature on sexuality, race, and embodiment. The following questions are of particular interest:

  • What are the ways that race and sexuality have been historically organized during colonialism and after the transition to statehood?
  • How does a lens on sexuality and embodiment open up analyses of twentieth and twenty-first century discourses regarding power, culture, self, rights, and security?
  • How is the body theorized in different disciplines, and what are potential new directions for interdisciplinary approaches to the body?

Broader areas of study include historical and contemporary approaches to racialized and sexualized bodies, including: visual studies, post-colonial studies, queer theory, reconstituted area studies, performance studies, critical security studies, and religious studies.

Seminar Members:

Macarena Gomez-Barris, Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity; Seminar Director

PROJECT: Race, Sexuality, and Resistant Bodies.

María Elena Martínez, Associate Professor of History

PROJECT: Law and Religion in Colonial Latin America. Addresses the production of knowledge about the body through colonial racial and sexual classificatory systems.

David Lloyd, Professor of Comparative Literature and English

PROJECT: Four Poets: Violence and Sexuality in the Long Modernist Period. Reads decolonizing poetry to figure the conditions of the colony and the racialized self.

Jack Halberstam, Professor of English

PROJECT: The Traffic in Genders: Transgenderism in a Global Frame. An examination of the meaning of cross-gender identification within a global context.

Jih-Fei Cheng, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies & Ethnicity

PROJECT: Parallel Dislocations: Bodies of Refuse. Focuses on the visual representations and kinship networks of various queer populations within the continental U.S. and Hawaii.

Gretel Vera Rosas, Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies and Ethnicity

PROJECT: Maternal Illegalities: Screenings of Latin/a American Transnational Motherhood. Analyzes undocumented migration, sex work, and/or trafficking through film.

 

2010-11:  GENDER VIOLENCE AND ANTI-VIOLENCE

Seminar Director:  Michael Messner, Professor of Sociology & Gender Studies

The 2010-11 seminar will bring together gender studies researchers from all fields, including scholars working in the social sciences, humanities, social work, communications, medicine, public health and policy, or other fields.  Some ideas that may drive the work of next year’s New Directions Fellows might include:

  • What are the causes and consequences of gender violence? 
  • In what ways do definitions of and awareness of gender violence vary historically and cross-culturally?  By race/ethnicity, social class, or sexual orientations?
  • What is the social significance of symbolic forms of violence—in literature, film, music, video games, graffiti, or on the Internet? 
  • What roles do states or NGOs play in perpetrating, tolerating, mitigating or stopping gender violence?

To what extent are campaigns to stop gender violence (be they local, national, international; be they face-to-face or through the mass media) grounded in the research on the causes of gender violence?

Seminar Members:

Mike Messner: Professor, Sociology & Gender Studies; Seminar Director

PROJECT: A comparative study of two generations of men doing feminist anti-violence work with boys and men.

Kim Shayo Buchanan: Associate Professor, Gould School of Law

PROJECT: The racial dynamics of rape in women’s and in men’s prisons.

Annalisa Enrile: Associate Clinical Professor, School of Social Work

PROJECT: Transnational campaigns against gender violence: a case study of the Philippines.

Max Greenberg: Ph.D. student, Sociology & Gender Studies

PROJECT: Feminist anti-violence movements meet the “health program” of NGOs.

Tal Peretz: Ph.D. student, Sociology & Gender Studies

PROJECT: Intersectional analysis of men’s campus-based anti-violence programs.

Alison Renteln: Professor of Political Science

PROJECT: National efforts that achieve some success in stopping violence against women: laws prohibiting dowry death.

Noelia Saenz: Ph.D. student, School of Cinema

PROJECT: Connecting contemporary Spanish and Latin American cinematic representations of gender violence with efforts to stop domestic violence.

 

2009-10: INTERSECTIONAL SOLIDARITY

Director: Ange-Marie Hancock,
 Associate Professor, Political Science

Over the past 25 years, intersectionality has emerged as an internationally recognized approach to research on interlocking issues of gender, race, class and sexuality.  First deployed in feminist studies of women of color, intersectionality scholarship has expanded to include new categories of difference, such as (dis)ability and national status.  It also has diverged into different schools of European and North American approaches. 

Scholars from different disciplines have used various terms to identify shared concerns about the interactions between categories of difference. The term “intersectionality” emerged from critical race feminist legal scholars who sought to make U.S. jurisprudence more inclusive.  By comparison, visual and performance artists often interrogate issues of hybridity, following the European approach to intersectionality.  Humanities scholars often speak of multiplicative identities as synonymous with multicultural feminism, while public policy and social work scholars talk about intersectional public policy designs and the material impact on real people’s lives. Gender and ethnic studies scholarship have emphasized the social constructivist aspects of these analytical categories, while public health and medical researchers have sought to incorporate the logic of intersectionality into studies of healthcare access, early diagnosis predictions, and community-based health care solutions.

Beyond the academy, developing world feminists have sought to incorporate intersectional norms and concerns into international institutions such as the UN Conference against Racism and each of the UN Conferences on Women.  Marriage Equality activists have sought to incorporate intersectionality to address ongoing justice issues within LGBT and straight communities.  Most of these feminist approaches to intersectionality share a vision of feminist empowerment that is fully inclusive across all relevant categories of difference.

Relative to the focus on feminist visions of empowerment, however, the role of solidarity has received less attention from non-academic interpreters. For example, although feminists have long discussed the role of men in women’s movements, they have paid less attention to the real-life practices of solidarity that undergird such successful feminist coalitions.  

Our seminar will tackle the problems involved in defining and theorizing intersectional solidarity.  In our attempt to delineate dimensions of intersectional solidarity, we may consider such questions as:

  • How intersectional solidarity might inflect discussions of privilege…
  • or discussions about transgressing and troubling boundaries (whether they are seemingly drawn by necessity or not).
  • How intersectional solidarity might shape ideas about distributive or restorative justice.
  • How we all may perform intersectional solidarity in multiple domains of public spaces and lived experiences, both material…
  • and virtual.
  • How technology and social networking may transform the potential of intersectional solidarity…
  •  even as these challenge our own places in the ecological world.
  • The possible psychic, political, and physical risks that intersectional solidarity might pose in the face of social control mechanisms.

Fellows may submit empirical, humanist, artistic, and/or activist projects that blend academic and community orientations in keeping with the mission of CFR and USC.

Seminar Members:

Ange-Marie Hancock: Associate Professor, Political Science; Seminar Director

PROJECT: Completion of a political theory book project that together intersectionality theory and the concept of political solidarity.

Shafiqa Ahmadi: 
Lecturer, Rossier School of Education & Gould School of Law

PROJECT: Perspectives and Experiences of Transgender Students in American Higher Education Institutions 

Araceli Esparza: Ph.D. student, American Studies and Ethnicity

PROJECT: The ways Chicana creative writers imagined solidarity with Central Americans during the civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s and the limitations to such representations.  

Macarena Gómez-Barris:
Assistant Professor, Sociology & American Studies and Ethnicity

PROJECT: Visual Feminisms and Cultural Politics in the Americas

 

2008-09: MEDIATED IDENTITIES

Director: Alice Gambrell, Professor, English

This seminar will bring together researchers in all areas of gender studies and/or media studies with scholars of gendered topics who publish their work in non-traditional forms. We will explore--in historical, cultural, activist, aesthetic, and other terms--how media and consumerism help to form such “identity” categories as gender, nation, sexuality, race, or class. We will also consider how the medium through which research is made public helps shape its messages: Why, for example, have feminist scholars played such active roles in interrogating and extending the appropriate vehicles for scholarly publication? Seminar discussions will also be shaped by the specific projects of seminar participants.

Because non-print publication is such an important part of this subject, suitable projects may include—along with familiar academic forms of publication and creative work--innovative mixtures of these forms.  Media under consideration (or put into play) by fellowship recipients during the course of the seminar could include sound-based, visual, print, electronic, theatrical, or other forms.

Seminar Members:

Alice Gambrell: Professor, English

PROJECT:

Velina Hasu Houston: Theatre

PROJECT: Writing a Woman’s Life: The Impact of Theatre on Identity Formation

Anikó Imre: Critical Studies

PROJECT: Transnational Feminism and the Mediated European Public Sphere

Tara McPherson: Critical Studies

PROJECT: Re-coding the Self: Transformation in the Era of Late Capitalism

D. Travers Scott: Annenberg

PROJECT: Electro-Sensitives: Health Discourse, Technological Subjectivity, and the Diseased Feminine



  • Center for Feminist Research
  • University of Southern California
  • Mark Taper Hall of Humanities
  • Room 422
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, California
  • 90089-4352 USA