Author: Della Zazzera, Elizabeth

Design and Research for Healthy Communities and Healthcare Facilities

UCHI proud to co-sponsor a virtual conference, co-organized by Françoise Dussart (Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut) and Sohyun Park (Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, University of Connecticut)

Design and Research for Healthy Communities and Healthcare Facilities

May 17, 2021, 9:00 AM-4:15 PM EDT
Registration is required.

While shifts in attitudes towards the design of community environments and healthcare facilities have been increasingly important in the last decades especially in Europe, the USA, Australia, and Canada, the new pandemic era reignites some perennial issues as well as demands for new solutions. Neighborhood environments, parks, children’s hospitals, birthing centers, aging care facilities as well as local clinics and hospitals have influenced health and behavior outcome, especially among the disadvantaged populations such as children and older adults. More than ever as Covid-19 disrupts our engagement with one another and the world at large forcing us to reflect and rethink the intersections of urban planning, architectural and landscape designs, and public health.

This Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference draws attention to the historical and contemporary contexts within which healthy communities and healthcare facilities-related projects get realized as well as how their performances and outcomes are measured. In a pandemic era, conference presenters explore how issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and age contribute intellectually and literally shaping designs and their execution. Drawing on theoretical frameworks and empirical observations, presenters explore insights and questions which arise through cross-disciplinary dialogues, and examine how social and identity politics shape the architecture of care and are working to build better healing spaces.

The day is organized around the following themes with invited keynote speakers and presenters for each session:

  • Architecture for Healthcare
  • Architecture of care during Pandemics
  • Landscapes for Health
  • Environmental Health and Human Health

This conference is supported by the Humanities Institute; the Office of the Vice President for Research; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; College of Agriculture; Health and Natural Resources Department of Anthropology; Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

See the conference website for more details.

Please register by May 16.

You Should . . . Read: Carol Adams and Virginia Messina’s Protest Kitchen (2018) (Drew Johnson, Philosophy, UConn)

Protest Kitchen book coverIn the midst of a global pandemic, with its attendant periods of isolation and restrictions on social gatherings, many have been spending more time in the kitchen than usual. In the midst of racially motivated violence, police brutality, and the push towards a public reckoning with America’s racist history, many have been seeking new and potentially transformative modes of political engagement. In the midst of an on-going climate crisis and the failure of governments to make the necessary choices to save the planet and fight environmental injustice, many of us may find it easy to feel disheartened and powerless.

A unique combination of cookbook and manifesto, Adams and Messina’s Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time (Conari Press, 2018) argues that “how you eat is a form of protest” (p. 5). Boiled down to its essentials, Adams and Messina’s main claim is that adopting a vegan diet can be a way to protest racism, patriarchy, climate change, food injustice, and to promote compassion and integrity. They make this argument by tracing the conceptual and historically rooted connections between the centrality of animal products in the “all-American diet,” on the one hand, and regressive politics, climate change, environmental racism, and misogyny, on the other. For instance, they argue that the very concept of animality, defined in contrast to and as inferior to that of humanity, provides tools for social oppression: “There has always been a human/animal binary to racist, misogynist, and ableist logic. In the political sphere, animality functions as a tool for democratic exclusion. Oppression elevates some humans as deserving equal protection and equal participation as citizens and lowers others, by making them “other” and suggesting they are more like animals” (p. 97). Adams and Messina’s provocative suggestion: challenge the underlying humanity/animality binary upon which such oppression is speciously “justified.” Thus, far from ignoring the human political and social crises of our time, as the “you-only-think-about-the-animals” vegan stereotype might suggest, Adams and Messina contend that animal oppression is essentially linked to human oppression. This is what I find most compelling about Protest Kitchen: that it provides a unifying analysis of the most pressing national and global issues of our time, through the lens of our (that is, us humans’) relations to the other animals.

Although the core ecofeminist argument in Protest Kitchen is not new (see, for example, Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat), the book is distinctive in the way it is interspersed with no-nonsense, practical tips for engaging in activism, a variety of simple recipes for reducing meat consumption, and a primer on plant-based nutrition. While the book takes on serious topics, it is garnished with a dash of playfulness that cuts through the heaviness; for instance, with the inclusion of recipes such as the “imPeach Crumble,” and the “‘Stop the Wall’ Taco Salad Bowl with Fire and Fury Salsa.” If nothing else, the book promises to be food for thought, while sparking some thought about food.

Drew Johnson
Ph.D. Candidate

Who is Drew Johnson? Drew Johnson is a Ph.D. student (ABD) in the philosophy department at the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on metaethics and epistemology. His dissertation proposes a theory of ethical thought and discourse that explains the distinctive action-guiding, affective, and expressive dimensions of ethical claims and judgments, while also recognizing the important semantic, logical, and epistemological continuities that exist between ethics and other factual domains. In epistemology, Drew’s research focuses on the rational standing of our most firmly held commitments, i.e., our “hinge” commitments upon which all rational evaluation turns.

Announcing the 2021–22 Humanities Institute Fellows

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to announce its incoming class of humanities fellows. This year, we are excited to host two visiting fellows, four dissertation scholars, and nine UConn faculty fellows—including the Henry Luce Foundation Future of Truth fellow and the Mellon UCHI Faculty of Color Working Group Fellow. We have fellows representing a broad swath of disciplines, including History; English; Philosophy; Political Science; Sociology; Communication; Anthropology; Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; Africana Studies; Asian & Asian American Studies; Human Development & Family Sciences; and Art & Art History. Their projects span from the Renaissance to the present and cover a wide range of topics from racism in the academy to environmental justice. For more information on our fellowship program see our Become a Fellow page. More details about our 2021–22 fellows and their projects are forthcoming. Welcome fellows!

Visiting Residential fellows:

  • Sherie M. Randolph (History and Sociology – Georgia Institute of Technology)
    “‘Bad’ Black Mothers: A History of Transgression”
  • Shiloh Whitney (Philosophy – Fordham University)
    “Emotional Labor: Affective Economies and Affective Injustice”

UConn Faculty fellows:

  • Meina Cai (Political Science and Asian and Asian American Studies)
    “The Art of Negotiations: Legal Discrimination, Contention Pyramid, and Land Rights Development in China”
  • Haile Eshe Cole (Anthropology and Africana Studies)
    “Belly: Topographies of Black Reproduction”
  • Shardé M. Davis (Communication; Africana Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
    UCHI Faculty of Color Working Group Fellow
    “Being #BlackintheIvory: Contending with Racism in the American University”
  • Prakash Kashwan (Political Science)
    “Rooted Radicalism: Transformative Change for Food, Energy, Water, and Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Change.”
  • Laura Mauldin (Human Development & Family Sciences; Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; and Sociology)
    “For All We Care”
  • Micki McElya (History)
    “No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation”
  • Kathryn Blair Moore (Art & Art History)
    “The Other Space of the Arabesque: Italian Renaissance Art at the Limits of Representation”
  • Fiona Vernal (History and Africana Studies)
    “Hartford Bound: Mobility, Race, and Identity in the Post-World War II Era (1940-2020)”
  • Sarah S. Willen (Anthropology)
    Future of Truth Fellow
    “‘Chronicling the Meantime’: Creating a Book about the Pandemic Journaling Project”

Dissertation Scholars:

  • Erik Freeman (History)
    Draper Dissertation Fellow
    “The Mormon International: Communitarian Politics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,
  • Carol Gray (Political Science)
    “Law as Politics by Other Means: An Egyptian Case Study as a Template for Human Rights Reform”
  • Drew Johnson (Philosophy)
    “A Hybrid Theory of Ethical Thought and Discourse”
  • Anna Ziering (English)
    “Dirty Forms: Masochism and the Revision of Power in Multi-Ethnic U.S. Literature and Culture”

UConn Reads: Irish Travellers

Irish Travellers: The Nation State, a Marginalized Minority, and Climate Crisis. A panel discussion with Mary Burke (UConn), Malcolm Sen (UMass Amherst), and Jamie Johnson (Photographer). Live. Online. Registration reuiqred. APril 8, 2021, 4:00pm. UConn Reads. The Future of Truth. UConn Humanities Institute.

Irish Travellers: The Nation State, a Marginalized Minority, and Climate Crisis

April 8, 2021, 4:00pm. An online panel discussion. Registration required.

Join us for this panel discussion on Irish Travellers, part of the UConn Reads program, which focuses on The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (University of Chicago, 2016) by Amitav Ghosh.

The panel, organized by Mary Burke (Professor of English, University of Connecticut), considers global issues of environmental racism, environmental justice, and climate crisis with specific reference to Travellers, a racialized and historically nomadic indigenous Irish ethnic minority. Travellers’ traditional lifestyle, centered around mobile recycle and repair services offered to dominant Irish society, was an inadvertently environmentalist practice that was repressed and degraded by postwar Ireland’s coercive settlement policies, the wider implications of which will be read against the coming climate crisis and its threat to make refugees of millions with no cultural memory of the nomadic mode upon which to draw. The panel consists of UConn’s Mary Burke, author of a cultural history of Travellers with Oxford UP, UMass Amherst’s Malcolm Sen, editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of Irish Literature and the Environment, and photographer Jamie Johnson, who has just published a collection of photographs of contemporary Traveller children.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.

The Political Theory Workshop Presents: Brooks Kirchgassner


Enemies of the State: The Black Panther Party’s Phenomenological Approach to Solidarity

Brooks Kirchgassner, Ph.D. Student, Political Science, UConn
with commentary by Benjamin Stumpf, Ph.D. Student, Political Science, UConn
April 5th, 2021, 12:15–1:30pm on Zoom

What are the conditions of possibility in which those who are raced white could create and augment a political alliance based on practices of solidarity with individuals who are raced as non-white? What about individuals who identify as racially mixed, or multi-racial with people who identify as mono-racial? This paper argues that a phenomenological approach is best suited to understanding the function of race in the Black Panther Party’s organizing efforts in creating The Rainbow Coalition in Chicago, Illinois, the implications and conclusions of which could potentially be applied to efforts of interracial solidarities in other contexts in the U.S. (or other settler-colonial societies).

As a direct challenge to liberal, state-based solutions to racist institutions, Kirchgassner argues that the Panthers’ strategy was a phenomenological, and radical, one in that they did not view racial identity as innate or purely external to one’s self (Monahan 2011). Instead, the Panthers’ goal in building a Rainbow Coalition was to lay the foundations of a political solidarity that would not only have Black, white, Latinx, and Indigenous peoples work together to achieve specific goals, but transform how these individuals and groups saw themselves as political agents in creating de-centered community spaces to respond to the needs that the state (local and federal) ignored. With white participants, this involved a conscious refusal to participate in what Charles Mills calls the “civic and political responsibilities” of white members of the racial contract (1997, 14), in particular the “structured blindness and opacities” of the white racial order.

With generous support from the UConn Humanities Institute.

Questions? Email

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You Should…Watch Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Night of Counting the Years (1969, Egypt) (Hind Ahmed Zaki, Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, UConn)

Night of Counting the Years movie posterBased on the true story of an early discovery in the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor, the burial site of successive ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, The Night of Counting the Years, is set in 1881. It chronicles the conflict that occurs when the head of a local tribe that steals ancient artifacts and sells them to smugglers on the black-market dies, and his two sons are being told the secret truth about what their father and uncles have been doing to feed the tribe. When the older son refuses to be part of the smuggling, he is killed by his own uncles and it is up to the younger son “Wanees” to decide whether he wants to break away with family traditions or face the consequences with his life. Through chronicling one night of Wanees’ inner struggle to do the right thing, questions of modernity versus tradition, what history is and what it means to modern Egyptians who are forging new modern identities in nineteenth-century Egypt are explored. The film is a cinematic work of genius that offers stunning cinematography, art direction, and an eerie almost dreamlike quality. Originally released in 1969, the film had been recently restored by the Martin Scorsese foundation retaining even more of its magic. The Night of Counting the Years is a hidden gem of cinematic beauty that grapples with issues of identity, integrity, national heritage, and the hefty weight of the past on the present.

Hind Ahmed Zaki
Assistant Professor
Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages

Hind Ahmed Zaki headshotWho is Hind Ahmed Zaki? Hind Ahmed Zaki is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, with a joint appointment in the department of Language, Culture, and Literature. She is specialist in comparative politics with a special emphasis in gender and politics and the Middle East and North Africa. Her research focuses on theories of state feminism, feminist movements, gender-based violence, and qualitative research methods. Her current book project focuses on the politics of women’s rights in Egypt and Tunisia in the period following the Arab spring.

Fellow’s Talk: Scott Wallace on the Fight to Save the Amazon

2020–21 UCHI Fellow's Talk. The Genocide–Ecocide Nexus: The Case of Brazil. Associate Professor of Journalism, UConn, Scott Wallace, with a response by Erica Holberg. Live. Online. Registration required. April 7, 2021, 4:00pm.

The Genocide–Ecocide Nexus: The Case of Brazil

Scott Wallace (Associate Professor of Journalism, UConn)

with a response by Erica Holberg

Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

In what could prove to be a paradigmatic case, Brazilian human rights lawyers and indigenous federations are urging the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for genocide and incitement to crimes against humanity, as well as possible charges of ecocide for willful destruction of the Amazon rainforest. UCHI Fellow and UConn Associate Professor of Journalism Scott Wallace will discuss the implications of the case and provide a firsthand look from the frontlines of the fight to save the Amazon today.

Scott Wallace is an award-winning writer and photojournalist who covers the environment and endangered cultures. He is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Connecticut since 2017 and an Affiliate Faculty member at El Instituto. Wallace is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, Grand Street, Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly and many others. Notable Publications: The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (Crown, 2011); “Threatened by the Outside World,” National Geographic, November 2018; “The last stand of the Amazon’s Arrow People,” The New York Times, September 27, 2017.

Erica A. Holberg is a virtue ethicist who uses the historical, ethical theories of Aristotle and Kant to examine our own virtues, vices, conception of pleasure, and account of how pleasure matters for good living. Her research sets aside the question of what pleasure is to focus instead on how pleasure functions in our lives, for better or for worse. She is the 2016 recipient of the North American Kant Society’s Wilfrid Sellars Essay Prize for the best paper on Kant by an untenured scholar, and her work has appeared in The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Kantian Review, and Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought. Her UCHI Fellowship project is a book about the pleasures of anger, and how the phenomenology and practical considerations differ for anger done as an individual or anger done as a group

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The UConn Humanities Institute, the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences present: Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Workshop. Win Moscardelli & LuAnn Saunders-Kanaby (UConn Office of National Scholarships). Live. Online. Registration required. April 7, 2021, 1:00pm.

Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences: An Online Workshop

April 7, 2021, 1:00pm. Registration is required.

Vin Moscardelli & LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay (UConn Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships)

Organized by the UConn Humanities Institute, the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This workshop will introduce UConn’s Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships, its staff, and the various things the office does. In particular, Vin Moscardelli and LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay will go over why applying for fellowships is valuable in and of itself, why they encourage students to work with the Office to discuss specific opportunities, and how to approach several prestigious fellowships (for example, Fulbright, ACLS, and Mellon fellowships).

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.

CFA: 2021 Faculty of Color Working Group Symposium

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC), and the University of Connecticut, the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) invites applications for a virtual symposium hosted by Tufts University scheduled for Wednesday May 26 – Friday May 28, 2021 themed “Politics, Pedagogy, and the Public Humanities.” This community and support-building event for FOC, continues the enthusiasm generated during the first regional FOCWG gathering, on May 10, 2019. The symposium includes a keynote by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Princeton), workshops by Dr. Noliwe Rooks (Cornell), Dr. Gabrielle Foreman (Penn State), Dr. Kyla Wazana Tompkins (Pomona), and Dr. Nicole Aljoe (Northeastern), social hours, and opportunities for one-on-one meetings with publishers.

Please note that space will be limited to ensure a high level of interaction among all participants, and the application deadline has been extended to April 23, 2021. Please see the full call for applications for details.

UConn Reads: Native Scholars and Artists on Climate Justice

Good Relations: Native Scholars and Artists on Climate Justice. UConn Reads. UConn Humanities Institute. The Future of Truth. A panel discussion with Emily Johnson, dancer, choreographer and performance artists; Anne Spice, Geography and Environmental Studies, Ryerson University; and Melanie Yazzie, Native American Studies and American Studies, University of New Mexico. Moderated by Sandy Grande, Political Science and Native American and Indigenous Studies, UConn. Live. Online. Registration required. April 1, 2021, 1:00pm.

Good Relations: Native Scholars and Artists on Climate Justice

April 1, 2021, 1:00pm. An online panel discussion. Registration required.

Join this panel discussion by Native scholars and artists on climate justice, part of the UConn Reads program which focuses on The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (University of Chicago, 2016) by Amitav Ghosh.

We don’t have a climate crisis. We are experiencing the centuries long consequences of settler colonialism and racial capitalism. Indigenous scholars and artists on this panel discuss the impact of climate change on Indigenous communities, their experiences on the front lines of struggle, and the ways in which their work aims to heighten awareness of the issues. Also, in a time when the dominant patterns of belief and practice are being widely recognized as integrally related to the interconnected crises of our time, they center Indigenous knowledges as competing, legitimate and vital ways of living in good relation.

The panel is organized by Sandy Grande (Professor of Political Science and Native American and Indigenous Studies, University of Connecticut), who’ll be moderating. Also affiliated with American Studies, Philosophy, and the Race, Ethnicity and Politics program, Grande is the author of Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought and numerous book chapters and articles. She is also a founding member of New York Stands for Standing Rock, a group of scholars and activists that forwards the aims of Native American and Indigenous sovereignty and resurgence.

The Panelists

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. She is a land and water protector and an activist for justice, sovereignty, and well-being. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, she is based in Lenapehoking / New York City. Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation, and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as portals and care processions, they engage audienceship within and through space, time, and environment- interacting with a place’s architecture, peoples, history and role in building futures. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present and future. Emily hosts monthly ceremonial fires on Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Karyn Recollet. She was a co-compiler of the document, Creating New Futures: Guidelines for Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts and is part of an advisory group, with Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Lori Pourier, Ronee Penoi, and Vallejo Gantner developing a First Nations Performing Arts Network.

Anne Spice is Acting Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University. Spice is a Tlingit member of Kwanlin Dun First Nation, a queer Indigenous feminist and anti-colonial organizer, and a PhD candidate in anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work is in the tradition of feminist activist ethnography, and supports Indigenous land defense against settler state and extractive industry invasion. Her writing has been published in Environment and Society, Jacobin, The New Inquiry, and Asparagus Magazine.

Melanie K. Yazzie (Diné), Assistant Professor of Native American Studies & American Studies at the University of New Mexico, is bilagaana born for Ma’iideeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan). She has published articles and book reviews in Environment & Society, Wicazo Sa Review, Studies in American Indian Literature, American Indian Quarterly, Social Text, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society (DIES), and American Quarterly.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at or by phone (860) 486-9057.