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Spring 2022

Thursday, March 31 | 12-1:30pm PT

Migration, Trauma, and Resilience

Tsui Yee, leading immigration lawyer
Dr. Gunisha Kaur, Anesthesiologist and human rights researcher
Leah Spelman, Executive Director at the Partnerships for Trauma Recovery
Moderator: Prof. Khatharya Um of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley



Migrants face trauma before, during, and after migration. The degree of the trauma may vary depending on the type and journey undertaken to reach the final destination, but it is present. Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative presents a talk with Ms. Tsui Yee, leading immigration lawyer, Dr. Gunisha Kaur, Anesthesiologist and human rights researcher, and Ms. Leah Spelman, Executive Director at the Partnerships for Trauma Recovery to discuss with moderator Prof. Khatharya Um of Ethnic Studies, what is the extent of trauma and how it manifests itself in the lives of migrants as they navigate their new realities. The talk will spotlight the need to study,research, and alleviate trauma in social, economic, political, and legal framework.

Co-sponsored by: IRLE, Center for Study of Law and Society (CSLS), Center for Race & Gender, Institute of Governmental Studies, Social Science Matrix, Othering and Belonging Institute, Asian Pacific American Student Development, Center for Research on Social Change, The Institute for South Asian Studies

Fall 2021

Tuesday, November 2 | 5-6:30pm PT

Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable


Angela Y. Davis, Professor Emerita, UC Santa Cruz

Dean Spade, Professor, Seattle University School of Law

Eric A. Stanley, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Jules Gill-Peterson, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University

LaVelle Ridley, PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

ModeratorCourtney Desiree Morris, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley



At a time when LGBTQ rights are advancing, why are attacks against trans, queer and/or gender-nonconforming people of color increasing? Join us Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 5pm PT / 8 pm ET to hear from a panel of artists, organizers, and academics who will discuss this question and others posed by Eric A. Stanley’s new book Atmospheres of Violence.

Sponsored by: Othering & Belonging Institute, Center for Research on Social Change, Center for Race and Gender


Thursday, January 28 | 4:00 pm PT

Rituals for Grief & Love: a reading with poets Sade LaNay and Sasha Banks

Sade LaNay

Sasha Banks



Join us in celebrating two new poetry collections, I love you and I'm not dead by Sade LaNay and america, MINE by Sasha Banks. Released at the beginning of COVID-19, both poets' work cannot be any more timely. LaNay and Banks' collections each take the approach of archival resurrection to name and imagine Black life outside conditions of social death. In I love you and I'm not dead, LaNay's investment is not only their spiritual and physical healing, but the healing of Black women across time and space whose claims to freedom were loud and somewhere across the archival narrative, misread as quiet. As LaNay declares, "Disbelief does not undo the validity of an experience." In a similar poetic sensibility, america, MINE demands that readers confront America's history of racial and gender violence because "endings exist" and the end of the nation is soon approaching. In leaning on rituals of radical conjuring, LaNay and Banks draft roadmaps of fugitive escapes that make Black life in the future possible. Join us for a reading and discussion on poetics, grief, love, and celebration.

Sponsored by Center for Race and Gender
Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change

Wednesday, April 28 | 4 - 5:30pm PT

FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas l. Yamashita Prize & KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize Award Ceremony

Please join us as we honor Phenocia Bauerle and Boun Khamnouane, recipients of the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, and Aurora Lopez and Tabitha Bell, recipients of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize. 

“Am I an American or Not? The Perils to Democracy When Racism Shouts Louder Than Facts, the Rule of Law, and the Constitution”

Keynote by Donald K. Tamaki, Senior Counsel at Minami Tamaki LLP.



Sponsored by Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Co-sponsored by: Asian American Research Center, Center for Research on Social Change, Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues

FALL 2020

Wednesday, September 24th, 2020   | 12:00pm PST 
Tiffany King, Associate Professor, African-American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University
In her recent book The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies, Tiffany Lethabo King uses the shoal—an offshore geologic formation that is neither land nor sea—as metaphor, mode of critique, and methodology to theorize the encounter between Black studies and Native studies. King conceptualizes the shoal as a space where Black and Native literary traditions, politics, theory, critique, and art meet in productive, shifting, and contentious ways. These interactions, which often foreground Black and Native discourses of conquest and critiques of humanism, offer alternative insights into understanding how slavery, anti-Blackness, and Indigenous genocide structure white supremacy. Among texts and topics, King examines eighteenth-century British mappings of humanness, Nativeness, and Blackness; Black feminist depictions of Black and Native erotics; Black fungibility as a critique of discourses of labor exploitation; and Black art that rewrites conceptions of the human. In outlining the convergences and disjunctions between Black and Native thought and aesthetics, King identifies the potential to create new epistemologies, lines of critical inquiry, and creative practices.

Sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change
Co-sponsored by Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues, African American and African Diaspora Studies, Native American Studies, UC Berkeley



Online Event! Tuesday, April 14 I 4:00-5:30pm 

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Graduate Fellows Colloquia Series:

Crossroads and Cyborgs: The Speculative Design of John Jennings

John Jennings, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside



For over a decade John Jennings has been a key figure in the archiving, creating, and cultivating of black popular culture in graphic novels, illustrated fiction, and graphic design. Jennings has contributed to creating a foundation of theory, community, and mentorship that has led to what some call the Black Speculative Arts Movement; his work has helped give a visual aesthetic to what some call Afrofuturism. This presentation will be a short retrospective of Jennings' work and current research and critical making projects. 

The event was live-streamed on the ISSI channel.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change, Othering and Belonging Institute, Department of English, Townsend Center for the Humanities

Wednesday, February 5 I 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Racism, Plutocracy, and the 2020 Election  

Ian Haney López, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, UC Berkeley



Over the last half-century, the Republican Party has exploited social divisions—and racism in particular—to win power, and then has ruled primarily on behalf of the ultra-wealthy. No one better symbolizes the conjoined dynamics of racism and plutocracy than Donald Trump. In this lecture, Prof. Haney López lays out the history of dog whistle politics and Trump’s place within it. Then he suggests a clear way forward. Haney López recently co-led a national research project focused on developing the most effective political rejoinder to strategic racism as a class weapon. The research demonstrates dog whistle politics can be defeated. Drawing on these results, this lecture assesses the looming 2020 presidential election.

Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, Townsend Center

Co-sponsored by: the Townsend Center

FALL 2019

Tuesday, September 10 I 12:30-2:00pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law

Angela S. Garcia, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago



This book talk analyzes the ways federal, state, and local immigration laws shape the lives of undocumented Mexicans in the US. Comparing restrictive and accommodating immigration measures in various cities and states, it shows that place-based inclusion and exclusion unfold for immigrants in seemingly contradictory ways. Instead of erasing undocumented residents from the community, increased threat from restrictive localities creates conditions for immigrants to subvert the public gaze by “legal passing,” or attempting to mask the stigma of illegality to avoid police and immigration enforcement. As legal passing becomes embodied, immigrants distance themselves from their ethnic and cultural identities, resulting in coerced assimilation. In accommodating localities, undocumented Mexicans experience a sense of local membership and stability that is simultaneously undercut by federal deportation threat and complex street-level tensions with police. Combining social theory on immigration and law as well as place and race, the talk illuminates the human consequences of contemporary immigration federalism.

Shorb House (Latinx Research Center), 2547 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Latinx Research Center, Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative


Tuesday, April 2 I 4 -5:30pm

Cultural Capital, Systemic Exclusion and Bias in the Lives of Black Middle-Class Women: A Conversation

Dawn Marie Dow, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, and Tina K. Sacks, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley, with moderator Amani Allen, Associate Professor of Public Health, UC Berkeley



At this interactive event, Dawn Dow and Tina Sacks will discuss their new books on African American women. Dow’s book, Mothering While Black: Boundaries and Burdens of Middle-Class Parenthood (UC Press 2019), examines the complex lives of the African American middle class—in particular, black mothers and the strategies they use to raise their children to maintain class status while simultaneously defining and protecting their children’s “authentically black” identities. The book reveals the painful truth of the decisions that black mothers must make to ensure the safety, well-being, and future prospects of their children. In her book Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System (Oxford University Press 2019), Sacks challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination-particularly in healthcare settings-is a thing of the past and questions the persistent myth that discrimination only affects poor racial minorities. She argues that simply providing more cultural-competency or anti-bias training to doctors will not be enough to overcome the problem. Rather than lecture, Dow and Sacks will serve as each other’s interlocutors, as well as engage with the audience, as they center the experiences of middle class African American women.

Toll Room, Alumni House

Sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change and Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Co-sponsored by: Gender and Women's Studies, American Cultures Center, Townsend Center, Sociology, Center for Race and Gender, School of Social Welfare

Tuesday, February 26 | 3-4:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Program Colloquia:

Immigrant Sanctuary as the “Old Normal”: A Brief History of Police Federalism

Trevor Gardner, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington, with Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law, UC Berkeley as respondant



Three successive presidential administrations have opposed the practice of immigrant sanctuary, at various intervals characterizing state and local government restrictions on police participation in federal immigration enforcement as reckless, aberrant, and unpatriotic. This Article finds these claims to be ahistorical in light of the long and singular history of a field the Article identifies as “police federalism.” For nearly all of U.S. history, Americans within and outside of the political and juridical fields flatly rejected federal policies that would make state and local police subordinate to the federal executive. Drawing from Bourdieusian social theory, the Article conceptualizes the sentiment driving this longstanding opposition as the orthodoxy of police autonomy. It explains how the orthodoxy guided the field of police federalism for more than two centuries, surviving the War on Alcohol, the War on Crime, and even the opening stages of the War on Terror. In constructing a cultural and legal history of police federalism, the Article provides analytical leverage by which to assess the merits of immigrant sanctuary policy as well as the growing body of prescriptive legal scholarship tending to normalize the federal government’s contemporary use of state and local police as federal proxies. More abstractly, police federalism serves as an original theoretical framework clarifying the structure of police governance within the federalist system.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Sponsored by: ISSI Graduate Fellows Program

Co-sponsored by: Center for Research on Social Change, Department of Sociology, Center for the Study of Law and Society, and the Center for Race and Gender

FALL 2018

Wednesday, September 26 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Moving Beyond Recruitment: Supporting and Retaining Black Male Teachers

Travis J. Bristol, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley



While policy makers and practitioners call for increasing the number of Black male teachers, researchers find that this subgroup has the highest rate of turnover. Despite ongoing local and state teacher diversity recruitment efforts, there is a paucity of research that examines Black male teachers’ school-based experiences and decisions to stay or leave their schools. To fill this gap in the literature, this talk will examine Black male teachers’ experiences in organizations.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender.

Wednesday, October 17 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

Mobility, Expulsion and Claims to Home: Migrant Organizing in an Era of Deportation and Dispossession

Monisha Das Gupta, Professor of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa



The virulence and pervasiveness of immigration enforcement have fueled migrants to organize in heterogeneous ways. My research about and activism in the movement during the last eight years have evolved into an engagement with a strain of anti-deportation organizing which takes up the cause of the most indefensible of immigrants and refugees -- those labeled criminal aliens. Non-citizens, who are branded with this label, are both legal permanent residents and undocumented.  Ninety-two percent of all migrants caught in the dragnet of interior enforcement in 2016 were categorized as “criminal aliens.” What activists term “crimmigration” has become the most effective tool to remove migrants from the interior.

  In this talk, I examine the relationship among mobility, forced removals, and claims to space by analyzing how high school-age members of Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) in Long Beach interrogate the school to prison to deportation pipeline. They link the criminalization of Khmer refugees to the legacies of United States’ wars in southeast Asia and the failures of the US refugee resettlement program. The “refugee voice,” which youth leaders learn to use in their communities, resets the dominant frameworks deployed to advocate for immigrant justice. By naming the waves of political trauma Khmer refugees in the United States experience, the KGA youth offer strategies that weld together gender justice, refugee justice and youth justice from an anti-carceral and anti-deportation perspective.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender.


Tuesday, April 3 | 12:00 - 1:30pm

Immigrant Agency and Social Movements in the Age of Devolution

Greg Prieto, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of San Diego



Mexican immigrants who are most affected by the deportation regime are also the least available to resist it. Under what conditions are these unexpected activists moved to participate in collective mobilization? Their primary strategy to mitigate the risks of dispossession, deportation, and economic uncertainty is to avoid the unfamiliar and insulate oneself within the home and among family. This “shell,” a habituated response to the insecurities of immigrant life, functions both as a form of protection from these risks and as an encumbrance upon their availability for collective action. The experience of the shell also incubates a latent oppositional consciousness that recognizes the unfairness of their social status as necessary, but unwanted laborers. While the shell may be a deterrent to social movement participation, it also sows the seeds of resistance. Social movement scholars have recently focused on the role of threat in pressing these unlikely challengers into action. Though scholars typically conceptualize threat as an element of political opportunity, in this talk I examine the way community organizers leverage threat in the interactional process of community organizing for immigrant rights. Drawing on three years of participant observation and over 60 interviews with un/documented Mexican immigrants, I observed organizers amplify threat in the minds of immigrants by undermining their default strategy for managing risk: the shell. Stressing immigrants’ urgent responsibility to act on their own behalf, community members responded variously to the overtures of community organizers. Volunteerism at school, English language acquisition, close calls with immigration enforcement, and personal relationships to the organizers led to participation, while a more recent arrival and isolation depressed participation. Born of the quotidian experience of legal and economic precarity, the immigrant activism that emerges seeks to inhabit, rather than transform, normative institutions of work and family. 

Multicultural Community Center (MCC), 220 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Ethnic Studies and Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Center for Latino Policy Research, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 14 | 4:00 - 5:30pm

City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor, History and African American Studies and Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA

Respondent: Eric Henderson, Policy Associate, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights



Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. In this talk based on her new book, historian Kelly Lytle Hernández explains how the City of Angels became the capital city of the world’s leading incarcerator. Marshaling more than two centuries of evidence, she unmasks how histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles. In this telling, which spans from the Spanish colonial era to the outbreak of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, Hernández documents the persistent historical bond between the racial fantasies of conquest, namely its settler colonial form, and the eliminatory capacities of incarceration.

But City of Inmates is also a chronicle of resilience and rebellion, documenting how targeted peoples and communities have always fought back. They busted out of jail, forced Supreme Court rulings, advanced revolution across bars and borders, and, as in the summer of 1965, set fire to the belly of the city. With these acts those who fought the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles altered the course of history in the city, the borderlands, and beyond. This book recounts how the dynamics of conquest met deep reservoirs of rebellion as Los Angeles became the City of Inmates, the nation’s carceral core. View the City of Inmates book trailer here. 

Hearst Memorial Mining Building Room 290, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Department of History, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Division of Equity and Inclusion, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley

Friday, February 23 | 2:00-4:00 pm

An African American and Latinx History of the United States: An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights

Paul Ortiz, Associate Professor, Department of History and the Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida



Professor Paul Ortiz will speak about his newly published book, An African American and Latinx History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2018). Spanning more than two hundred years, this much anticipated book is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.

Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the twentieth century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers—Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth—united in resistance on the first “Day Without Immigrants.” As African American civil rights activists fought Jim Crow laws and Mexican labor organizers warred against the suffocating grip of capitalism, Black and Spanish-language newspapers, abolitionists, and Latin American revolutionaries coalesced around movements built between people from the United States and people from Central America and the Caribbean. In stark contrast to the resurgence of “America First” rhetoric, Black and Latinx intellectuals and organizers today have historically urged the United States to build bridges of solidarity with the nations of the Americas.

Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, Multicultural Community Center, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate ResearchAmerican CulturesCenter for Race and GenderDepartment of Ethnic StudiesDepartment of African American StudiesMulticultural Community Center, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Social Change, UC Berkeley

FALL 2017

Thursday, November 2 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents:

Return Economies: Speculation and Manila’s Investment in Durable Futures

Eric Pido, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University



Strategies of economic development, along with the changes throughout local economies in the Philippines, are often viewed solely through the lens of labor-sending and financial remittances, and the myopic interests of political elites in the country. This presentation, however, situates these political interests within the much larger global circuitry of financial speculation and rush for property investment dramatically altering the built-environment throughout cities all over the Global South. By tracing the dynamic coalescence of transnational property developers, Filipino American investors, and BPO employees in Manila, the concept of the “return economy” is introduced in order to convey the durable logic compelling and sustaining contemporary patterns of urban transformation throughout labor-sending countries. As a means of maintaining a foothold within the global market, Philippine state administrators have begun recognizing the significance of balikbayans, Filipinos visiting or returning to their homeland, in innovating the country’s economy and distinguishing itself from its neighbors. This discussion outlines the architecture of this emergent economy by describing three simultaneously working components, which together are reshaping the social fabric and landscape of Metro Manila.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, November 14 I 12:00-1:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents:

Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia

Willow Lung-Amam, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning and Director, Community Development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, University of Maryland, College Park



Over the last few decades, California’s Silicon Valley has become not only the world’s technological epicenter, but also one of the fastest growing, and most racially and ethnically diverse regions in the U.S. Spurred by the rise of tech giants like Google and Facebook, the region has attracted diverse, highly-educated immigrants from across the globe, particularly Asia, who have built their new lives among the region’s many predominately white, middle-class suburbs. Trespassers? explores the dreams and struggles of Asian Americans as they have made their homes in Silicon Valley suburbia, and the tensions that have often emerged over the region’s changing character. Join Dr. Willow Lung-Amam as she discusses her new book on the vital role of immigrants in the changing urban landscape and their fight for inclusion within the suburban American Dream. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley

Spring 2017

Thursday, April 6 I 4:00-5:30pm

ISSI Graduate Fellows Seminar Series: 

"How It Slips Away/We Still Here: A Blues Geography of Black Portland"

Lisa K. Bates, Associate Professor, Director, Center for Urban Studies, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University

with Carolina Reid, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley, as respondent

Black Portland is often portrayed through metrics of disparity and deficiency, without reference to particular regional structures of opportunity and disenfranchisement, and without hearing the voices of Black Portlanders themselves. Professor Bates uses Clyde Woods’ framework of blues epistemology as Black ways of knowing geography in order to elucidate the place history and justice claims of Black Portland. Black Portlanders’ experience is at once highly particular and universal in its blues narrative of enclosure, displacement, and the desecration of sacred spaces, expressed through stories of what artist Sharita Towne calls “joyful hardships.” Professor Bates considers how an emancipatory planning process, the Portland People’s Plan, can shift from recognition--the blues story of what might have been but for racial oppression-- to reclamation. By asking Black Portlanders to imagine what it would look like if their city loved Black people, the planning creates a space for both a counter-narrative of community history and a collectively developed pathway towards a more just future.  

170 Wurster Hall

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change, Center for Race and Gender, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, Department of City and Regional Planning, and Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, March 7 |  4:00-5:30pm

Center for Research on Social Change presents: 

"Is ‘Decarceration’ Even a Word? The Legal Reform of Mass Incarceration in California"

Anjuli Verma, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow, Jurisprudence and Social Policy, UC Berkeley

Scholarship on mass incarceration in the U.S. has surged over recent decades, for good reason. However, this talk pivots attention to prison downsizing and decarceration as emergent social facts in the 21st century. Prisoner rights litigation (Brown v. Plata 2011) in combination with state law and policy innovations in the form of Public Safety Realignment (Assembly Bill 109 2011) and the voter-initiated Proposition 47 (2014) have made California the current epicenter of prison downsizing. Realignment legislation devolved criminal justice supervision from the state to the county level, making counties responsible for the penalties they impose for a sizeable class of offenses. The present research investigates how California’s 58 counties responded to this challenge. Findings from the first in-depth analysis of the state’s prison Realignment will be presented with respect to a key question: will Realignment result in system-wide decarceration, or merely the relocation of incarceration to alternative institutional sites, such as local jails? Multiple methods are used to describe and explain different responses and identify the local conditions that appear to have made decarceration possible in some places but not others. Discussion of the theoretical and policy implications will confront foundational questions about the social organization of governmental power and conditions of institutional change and resistance, as well as urge the field to revisit deinstitutionalization as a distinct social process with consequences for stratification and inequality, community health and wellbeing, and human dignity.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Monday, February 6 | 4:30-6:00 pm

Center for Research on Social Change Colloquia Series:

"Third World Studies: Theorizing Liberation"

Gary Okihiro, Professor, International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

A conversation with author about his book, Third World Studies: Theorizing Liberation.  In 1968 the Third World Liberation Front at San Francisco State College demanded the creation of a Third World studies program to counter the existing curricula that ignored issues of power—notably, imperialism and oppression. The administration responded by institutionalizing an ethnic studies program; Third World studies was over before it began. Detailing the field's genesis and premature death, Gary Y. Okihiro presents an intellectual history of ethnic studies and Third World studies and shows where they converged and departed by identifying some of their core ideas, concepts, methods, and theories. In so doing, he establishes the contours of a unified field of study—Third World studies—that pursues a decolonial politics by examining the human condition broadly, especially in regard to oppression, and critically analyzing the locations and articulations of power as manifested in the social formation. Okihiro's framing of Third World studies moves away from ethnic studies' liberalism and its U.S.-centrism to emphasize the need for complex thinking and political action in the drive for self-determination. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & GenderDepartments of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

Fall 2016

Thursday, October 6 I 4:00-5:30pm

"When States ‘Come Out’: The Politics of Visibility and the Diffusion of Sexual Minority Rights in Europe"

Phillip M. Ayoub, PhD, Assistant Professor, Politics, Drexel University

In the last two decades, the LGBT movement has gained momentum that is arguably unprecedented in speed and suddenness when compared to other human rights movements. This talk investigates the recent history of transnational movement in Europe, focusing on the diffusion of the norms it champions and the overarching question of why, despite similar international pressures, the trajectories of socio-legal recognition for LGBT minorities are so different across states. In this talk, I suggest new domestic preconditions and international pathways for socio-legal change. I make the case that a politics of visibility is central to norm diffusion. The exchange of ideas with other countries—which activists can broker and enable—and the extent of a state’s openness to international organizations have demonstrable effects on diffusion and social change. They have engendered the interactions between movements and states that empower marginalized people - mobilizing actors to demand change, influencing the spread of new legal standards, and weaving new ideas into the fabrics of societies. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group and the Institute of European Studies

Thursday, October 13 I 12:00-1:30pm

"Career Choices, Return Paths, and Social Contributions: Findings from the African Alumni Project"

Robin Marsh Ph.D., Resident Researcher, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

This talk reports on a two and half year (2014-2016) collaborative multi-university tracer study of African alumni of partner universities (UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, McGill University, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser and EARTH in Costa Rica), supported by the MasterCard Foundation.  The abridged and full reports are just out:  This pioneering study, led by Robin Marsh, is the first of its kind to investigate the career trajectories and social contributions of African alumni of international universities.  In addition to a comprehensive survey, the in-depth interviews with sixty UC Berkeley African alumni on the continent and in the diaspora reveal fascinating life stories of return dilemmas, career choices and transformational leadership.  The findings have important policy implications for international scholarship programs and for universities interested in expanding their global impact particularly through stronger alumni networks. This talk will present the main research questions and findings of the study.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for African Studies, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, October 26 | 12:00-1:30 pm

"Birth Matters: Black Women and Research Justice as Transformative Praxis"

Julia Chinyere Oparah, Associate Provost and Professor and Co-Chair of Ethnic Studies, Mills College

Research justice is a strategic framework within which those directly affected by structural violence and discrimination use research tools in order to achieve self determination and lasting social change. Based on a term coined by DataCenter, an Oakland-based research collective, this movement toward community-driven research demands that academic researchers interrogate questions of power, privilege and accountability in our research praxis. Using a research justice approach, Oparah worked alongside members of Black Women Birthing Justice to document black women's experiences of childbirth, and to publish an anthology of critical essays and testimonies on black bodies and birth justice. Their research uncovered birthing as a site of disabling, trauma or even death for black women and gender non-conforming people. In this talk, Oparah explores her experience as an activist scholar in the movement to #LiberateBlackBirth and shares both the transformative power and the dilemmas of research justice.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group and Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Thursday, November 3 I 4:00-5:30pm

"23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary​ Confinement"

Keramet Reiter, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law & Society and Law, UC Irvine 

With an introduction by Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, UC Berkeley 

Francisco Casique, Lecturer, Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley 

Rebecca McLennan, Associate Professor, History, UC Berkeley  

Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor, Law, UC Berkeley 

Originally meant to be brief and exceptional, solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has become long term and common. Prisoners in solitary spend twenty three hours a day in featureless cells, with no visitors or human contact for years on end. They are held entirely at administrators’ discretion, with no judges or juries involved. In 23/7,legal scholar Keramet Reiter tells the history of an original “supermax,” California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, where extreme conditions sparked statewide hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013—the latter involving nearly 30,000 prisoners. Reiter describes how the Pelican Bay prison was created—with literally no legislative oversight—as a panicked response to the perceived rise of black radicalism in California prisons in the 1970s. Through stories of gang bosses, small-time parolees, and others, she portrays the arbitrary manner in which prisoners are chosen for solitary confinement, held for years, and routinely released directly onto the streets. Here we see the social costs and mental havoc of years in isolation. The product of fifteen years of research in and about prisons, this book is instant required reading on a topic that increasingly commands national attention.

 2240 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA

Sponsored by Center for the Study of Law and Society

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change and Human Rights Center

Spring 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

"The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty"

Erica Kohl-Arenas, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management, The New School

Can philanthropy alleviate inequality? Do antipoverty programs work on the ground? In this eye-opening analysis, Erica Kohl-Arenas bores deeply into how these issues play out in California’s Central Valley, which is one of the wealthiest agricultural production regions in the world and also home to the poorest people in the United States.  Through the lens of a provocative set of case studies, The Self-Help Myth reveals how philanthropy maintains systems of inequality by attracting attention to the behavior of poor people while shifting the focus away from structural inequities and relationships of power that produce poverty.  In Fresno County, for example, which has a $5.6 billion-plus agricultural industry, migrant farm workers depend heavily on food banks, religious organizations, and family networks to feed and clothe their families.  Foundation professionals espouse well-intentioned, hopeful strategies to improve the lives of the poor.  These strategies contain specific ideas—in philanthropy terminology, “theories of change”— that rely on traditional American ideals of individualism and hard work, such as self-help, civic participation, and mutual prosperity.  But when used in partnership with well-defined limits around what foundations will and will not fund, these ideals become fuzzy concepts promoting professional and institutional behaviors that leave relationships of poverty and inequality untouched.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, UC Berkeley

Fall 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Moments of Refusal: Thinking through Antiblackness and Black Futurity in Research on Urban Communities and Schooling"

Michael Dumas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education and African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Hegemonic notions of race, multiculturalism and diversity proffer an understanding of social progress that is generally linear, gradual, steady and earnest. The story we tell ourselves is that we are becoming ever more democratic and tolerant, that we are more sophisticated in our ability to synthesize and analyze information about race and racism, and that we are more committed to racial equity, justice and opportunity than ever before. However, in this historical moment, we also witness increasing economic inequality along racial lines, nearly weekly stories of anti-Black violence and death, massive urban deterritorialization and dispersal, erasing Black homeplaces and priming these spaces for white accumulation. Through it all, the discourse in the public sphere suggests an increasing sense of justification of economic and social inequality, a sense of corporate and white entitlement to (dis)possession of land, and a seething disgust and disregard for the lives of Black people. In this talk, Professor Dumas wants to briefly explore what it means to research and document contradictory historical moment(s) of official anti-racist progress and white innocence, on the one hand, and on the other hand, enduring white defensiveness and racial fragility in the face of material and psychic Black suffering. Most importantly, how do we refuse hegemonic constructions of historical racial memory in our own work, and how do we acknowledge and honor attempts by insurgent Black subjects to refuse antiblackness and put forward alternative notions of Black historicity and futurity?

Thursday, October 20, 2015

"Biotechnologies and Immigration: Biological Citizenship and the Use of DNA Testing for Family Reunification"

Torsten Heinemann, Professor of Sociology, Institute of Sociology, Universität Hamburg

Since the 1990s, many countries around the world have begun to use DNA analysis to establish biological relatedness in family reunification cases. To be reunited, family members have to prove their family status by official documents. Even if applicants possess the required documents, immigration authorities often reject the information as they question the authenticity of the documents. In this context, many countries resort to DNA tests to resolve cases in which they consider the information presented on family relations to be incomplete or unsatisfactory. In this talk, I present the results of an international research project on the use of DNA testing for family reunification in Europe and will compare them with the situation in the USA. I outline general trends of DNA analysis for family reunification and analyze the societal and political implications of parental testing in this context. I argue that DNA analyses for family reunification establish and strengthen a biological family model which is in contrast to the more pluralistic and social concepts of family in many societies in Europe and North America. I will then relate my findings to the ongoing debate on biological citizenship and show that biological criteria play an important role in decision-making on citizenship rights in nation-states. I argue that the use of parental testing for immigration endorses a biological concept of the family that is mobilized to diminish citizenship rights.The argument is based on an extensive document analysis as well as interviews with representatives of international governmental organizations, international and national NGOs and immigration authorities, lawyers specializing in immigration law, geneticists and those applying for family reunification.

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

Spring 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Racialized Punitive Social Control: The Criminalization of Black and Latino Boys"

Victor Rios, Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara 

Professor Rios will discuss his findings from 10 years of ethnography in Northern and Southern California with "juvenile delinquent" and gang associated boys.  He will also discuss findings from his latest research project on social movements in Ferguson, Missouri. Rios' work analyzes the role of social control in determining the well-being of young people living in urban marginality, tracks the social consequences of the punitive state and punitive social control-across institutional settings, and examines young people’s resilience and responses to social marginalization.

Sponsored by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Co-sponsored by the School of Social Welfare and Center for Research on Social Change

Spring 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Breaking Barriers, Building Community: 35 Years of Training Social Change Scholars"

2014 marks the 35th anniversary of graduate training at the Institute for the Study of Social Change (now the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues). For more than three decades, ISSC/I has provided mentorship, training and support to numerous doctoral students, who have gone on to produce social change scholarship that transforms the world and the academy. In recognition of this anniversary, this conference features presentations by alumni of the graduate training program, now distinguished academics, whose groundbreaking work on stratification and social change in US cities challenges the presumptions of power and the powerful. Panelists draw on research that 1) examines the erasure of history and memory that occurs around race and gender; 2) explores the processes and contexts in which the definitions and enforcement of (il)legality are undergoing change in schools and community settings, on the streets and in workplaces, and around the use and design of the built environment; and 3) engages with the efforts of community organizations and activists to challenge the policies and control of dominant interests.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Not Imprisonment in a Legal Sense": The Invention of Immigration Detention, 1892-1896"

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor of History, UCLA 

with Leti Volpp, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law in Access to Justice, Berkeley Law School, as respondent

Immigrant detention is, today, the single-largest dimension of human confinement operated by the U.S. Federal government. Yet immigrant detention is often forgotten as a pillar of the nation's carceral regime. This strange omission is rooted in a decision made one century ago by the United States Supreme Court, which determined that human confinement in the pursuit of deportation is "not imprisonment in a legal sense." This paper excavates the origins of immigrant detention as a practice of human confinement that operates, in a legal sense, separate and apart from imprisonment but everyday fills the nation's jails, prisons, and detention facilities.

Fall 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Net Time Negotiations Within the Family"

Laura Robinson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Santa Clara University

Based on interviews with high school students living in agricultural California, this research examines how American families negotiate access to digital information resources or "net time." Attention is paid to how socioeconomically disadvantaged families attempt to cope with resource scarcities-especially internet access necessary for schoolwork and college applications. The analysis reveals how intra-familial bargaining is guided by implicit social contracts between family members. These social contracts imply particular rights and responsibilities, depending on the families' level of material resources. Different social contracts are evident across the economic spectrum. Some social contracts frame net time as an individualized good while others frame it as a communal good. The findings illuminate the logics underpinning familial negotiations over each kind of net time. Ultimately, familial social contracts over net time have the power to encourage or hinder use of net time for capital-enhancing activities.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"My People, My People: How Competing Ideas about 'Black People' Shape African-American Republicans' Political Behavior"

Corey Fields, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Stanford University

with Laura Stoker, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, as respondent

This research explores how race animates the politics of African-American Republicans. I depart from existing approaches that treat race as an axis of identity. Instead, I argue for the necessity of treating race as a set of ideas about black people. Interviews and ethnographic observations reveal that strong expressions of racial identity are common among African-American Republicans. However, there are very different ideas about who constitutes the group being identified with. Divergent ideas about black people divide African-American Republicans. These ideas impact 3 aspects of their political behavior: (1) interpretation of conservative social policy, (2) their ability to organize themselves, and (3) their capacity to build alliances with white Republicans. To fully understand black political behavior, analysts must move from only considering race as a marker of identity for black people, to also thinking about race as a set of ideas black people have about black people.

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