Past Events

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Creativity and Black Feminist Knowledge at the End of the World

April 27, 2022

This talk attempts to illuminate the ongoing impact of the works of Barbara Christian, VèVè Clark and June Jordan. In keeping with Barbara Christian’s assurance that the ancestor is the foundation, I discuss their selected works for the foundational principles upon which we might find inspiration in these times of mounting challenges on a local and global scale.

Matt Richardson, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Introduced by: Courtney Desiree Morris, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

Professor Matt Richardson on "Creativity and Black Feminist Knowledge at the End of the World".

After Atlanta: A Roundtable on Race, Gender, and Anti-Asian Violence (October 27, 2021)

The Atlanta spa shootings that took place in March and left eight people dead, horrified the nation yet they speak to a much longer history of racial terror and anti-Asian racism that has long marked Asian/Asian American communities as foreign, vulnerable and disposable. After Atlanta will bring together 3 scholars to reflect on how the historical legacies of US imperial intervention, militarism, white supremacy, nativism, and heteropatriachy inform contemporary forms of violence against Asian/Asian Americans, particularly women and queer people.

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California
Laura Hyun Yi Kang, Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of California, Irvine
Mimi Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor and Chair, Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Moderated by:Laura C. Nelson, Associate Professor and Chair, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

Introduced by:Courtney Desiree Morris, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

After Atlanta Roundtable - Gender and Women's Studies at UC Berkeley

Social Reproduction in/under Crisis – Bringing it all Together (April 23, 2021)

COVID has thrown capitalism’s impact on social reproduction into sharp relief, making it devastatingly clear that an economy organized around profit rather than sustenance endangers human wellbeing. Access to food, shelter and care have all become increasingly precarious, and the feminized, racialized people responsible for providing them are stretched to the breaking point. Working parents are between a rock and a hard place, and waged “essential workers” – from nurses to grocery cashiers – are paid in applause, appreciation, and minimum wage. The scholars in these closing discussions respond to our unstable, indefensible times.

Cinzia Arruzza, Associate Professor of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research
Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley
Dean Spade, Associate Professor of Law, Seattle University

Tithi Bhattacharya, Associate Professor of History, Purdue University
Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, CUNY
Mignon Duffy, Associate Professor in Sociology, UMass Lowell
Nancy Fraser, Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, The New School for Social Research

Social Reproduction in/Under Crisis - Bringing it all Together

Feminist Movements in a Pandemic World (April 12, 2021)

Speaker: Cinzia Arruzza

Since the massive feminist strikes of 2016 in Poland and Argentina, the transnational feminist movement has been at the forefront of anticapitalist struggles and of the resistance against the rise of authoritarian rightwing governments. By organizing productive and reproductive strikes, recent feminist movements have drawn the attention to the centrality of social reproduction and of social reproductive work, both waged and unwaged. In this talk I will discuss some key features of the new feminist movements and will, then, focus on their response to the current pandemic crisis.

Cinzia Arruzza is Associate Professor of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Rome Tor Vergata and subsequently studied at the universities of Fribourg (Switzerland), and Bonn (Germany), where she was the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship. Her research interests include ancient metaphysics and political thought, Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, feminist theory and Marxism. She is currently working on two projects: (1) a monograph on tyranny and the tyrant in Plato’s Republic and (2) a research project on gender, capitalism, social reproduction, and Marx’s critique of political economy.

Feminist Movements in a Pandemic World - Cinzia Arruzza - April 12, 2021 at UC Berkeley.

Privatizing Care, Socializing Death: Social Reproduction under Covid and Austerity (March 15, 2021)

Speaker: Tithi Bhattacharya

The Coronavirus Pandemic by socializing death demonstrates clearly and tragically that our coming political struggles cannot limit themselves to being struggles for better infrastructure alone. We must demand something more foundational—to organize society differently, where we value lifemaking over thingmaking.

Tithi Bhattacharya is Associate Professor of History at Purdue University. She specializes in Feminism, South Asian History, Class Formation and Colonialism, and Marxist Theory. Professor Bhattacharya received her Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) in 2000. Her dissertation on the English-educated middle class of nineteenth-century Calcutta became the basis of her first book, ‘The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal’ (Oxford, 2005). In this she focused on a very specific aspect of the middle class’s social history: their obsessive preoccupation with culture and education. The book starts from a rooted definition of education and demonstrates how education and culture were frequently aligned to social and economic power. Bhattacharya uses class as an analytic category to argue that the commentaries about education and being educated in colonial Bengal ought to be seen as key arguments in staking out the territory of a new emergent middle class.

Privatizing Care, Socializing Death: Social Reproduction under Covid and Austerity

Reproducing Hunger in the Pandemic Era (February 22, 2021)

Speaker: Maggie Dickinson

The COVID 19 pandemic has precipitated a significant rise in hunger in the United States, especially among caretakers of children, people who are unemployed or insecurely employed, undocumented immigrants and other racialized groups. The gaping holes in the public response to growing hunger are the inevitable result of decades of welfare state transformation in which policy makers have withdrawn assistance for caregivers and reframed public benefits as a subsidy to low wage jobs. In the face of mass unemployment and life-threatening risks for frontline food workers, hunger is once again being used as a tool used to push people into unsafe jobs that prop up a racist and ecologically destructive food system.

Holding a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center, Prof. Maggie Dickinson’s expertise is in the quintessentially interdisciplinary field of food studies. She was “thrilled” to have her first book published in November 2019, exploring “the expansion of the SNAP or food stamp program over the last 20 years [and] the growth of emergency food providers, like soup kitchens, food pantries, and food banks.” By examining stagnating wages, worker insecurity, and other factors in a profoundly “insecure labor market,” ‘Feeding the Crisis: Care and Abandonment in America’s Food Safety Net’ demonstrates how “food has become the answer, even though it doesn’t really solve the problem of poverty.”

Reproducing Hunger in the Pandemic Era - by Maggie Dickinson

Essential Work, Disposable Workers: What the COVID-19 Crisis has Taught us about Care and Social Reproduction (February 8, 2021)

Speaker: Mignon Duffy

Scholars of care and social reproduction have highlighted for many years the centrality of care to our society, and the ways in which our current social organization of care is both inadequate and entrenched in inequalities. The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic is like the dye that doctors use to see pathways in CAT scans and MRIs, lighting up in fluorescent color this previously invisible crisis in care. In this talk I will focus on how to leverage this new visibility to advocate for long-term investment in a care infrastructure that supports social reproduction in both the paid and unpaid spheres.

Mignon Duffy is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at UMass Lowell. Duffy’s primary research interests center around care work – the work of taking care of others, including children and those who are elderly, ill or disabled. She is particularly interested in how the social organization of care intersects with gender, race, class and other systems of inequality.

Mignon Duffy on Essential Work, Disposable Workers

Social Reproduction in Public: The Role of Mutual Aid in Protest Occupations and Encampments (January 25, 2021)

Speaker: Dean Spade

How do care, horizontality, and solidarity bring people into movements and how do public practices at occupations and encampments put into action the social relations those movements seek to build? What role might occupations and encampments in public spaces have in the coming crises? In this lecture, Dean Spade will talk about the significance of mutual aid, political education, and open decision-making processes for occupations and encampments in the context of his prior work regarding the role of mutual aid in building transformative social movements.

Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Gender and Law, Policing and Imprisonment, and Law and Social Movements.

Social Reproduction in Public: The Role of Mutual Aid in Protest Occupations and Encampments