Fellows Talks

Fellow’s Talk: Hind Ahmed Zaki on Feminism, Law, and Violence

UCHI Fellow's Talks 2022–23. Gendered Sovereignty: Feminist Politics, , Law, and Violence in Egypt and Tunisia (2011-2017). Assistant Professor, Political Science & LCL Hind Ahmed Zaki. With a response by Britney Murphy. February 8, 2023, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Gendered Sovereignty: Feminist Politics, Law, and Violence in Egypt and Tunisia (2011–2017)

Hind Ahmed Zaki (Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, & Languages, UConn)

with a response by Britney Murphy (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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The few months following the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2010–2011, more widely known as the first wave of the Arab spring, were an exhilarating time for a diverse set group of feminists. New women-led groups were forming at an astonishing rate, with new feminist initiatives and collectives springing up every day. These initiatives ranged from seeking to influence post-revolutionary constitutions, negotiating women’s safety in public and at home, fighting for increased political participation, and holding state agents accountable for committing acts of gender-based violence. Despite their diversity, these groups shared an engagement with the Law as the main tool for improving the status of women. All saw the uprisings as an opportunity to negotiate laws that had produced the gendered legal categories they had to contest everywhere.

This talk situates feminist activism in the context of the Arab spring within broader political struggles over the limits of state’s authority in the aftermath of uprisings. I theorize outcomes of feminist politics through a new framework that I term gendered sovereignty: the web of attachments, procedurals, and identities that are formed in relation to histories of state sponsored legal feminism that are, in turn, closely tied with longer histories of authoritarian rule. I draw on three years (2013–2017) of multi-cited ethnographic field work, 200 in-depth interviews, archival research, NGO reports, court cases, draft by-laws, transcripts of transitional justice proceedings, to illuminate the ways in which histories of state-sponsored feminist were implicated in the production of local notions and practices of state sovereignty over the long durée, and the ways in which contemporary feminist movements challenged gendered practices of state sovereignty following the uprisings. Applying this framework comparatively to the cases of Egypt and Tunisia, I show how in Tunisia, legal reforms related to combatting gender-based violence played a major role in reinstating state power and authority; while in Egypt sovereignty and prestige were restored through the suspension of juridical and legal state powers, and the use of state-sanctioned gendered violence. Ultimately, I argue that feminist identities created through affective, procedural, and legal attachments to histories of state-sponsored feminism, not only influenced the political outcome for women’s rights, but also reshaped state sovereignty through reproducing, reinforcing, and challenging the prerogative and carceral powers of the authoritarian states. As such, this research project places feminist projects at the heart of broader struggles for democratization, human dignity and rights. It also questions common liberal assumptions about the links between gender justice and the rule of law, especially in transitional political contexts.

Hind Ahmed Zaki an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. She joined UConn in 2019 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2018. Prior to joining UConn, Dr. Ahmed Zaki was the Harold Grinspoon postdoctoral fellow at Brandies University (2018/2019), and Middle East Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her scholarly interests span feminist political theory and praxis, transnational feminist movements and politics, gender-based violence, and comparative politics of the state, with a special focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ahmed Zaki’s research is published in several languages. She has been an elected member at large of the board of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) since 2018.

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Fellow’s Talk: Stefan Kaufmann on the Language of Time and Possibility

UCHI Fellow's talks 2022–23. "Speaking of time and possibility" Associate professor of Linguistics Stefan Kaufmann, with a response by Kareem Khalifa. February 1, 2023, 3:30pm. UCHI Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Speaking of Time and Possibility

Stefan Kaufmann (Associate Professor of Linguistics, UConn)

with a response by Kareem Khalifa (Philosophy, UCLA)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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All languages provide their speakers with ways to talk about uncertainty, unrealized possibilities, expectations for the future and evaluations of the past. Conditional sentences (if-then sentences in English) are prime examples:

  1. If Biden runs in 2024, Kim will vote for him.
  2. If Biden ran in 2024, Kim would vote for him.
  3. If Biden had run in 2024, Kim would have voted for him.

The interpretation of these sentences depends to a large extent on the temporal expressions (tense, aspect, adverbs) in their constituents. Interestingly, conditional constructions create special environments in which temporal expressions seem to take on meanings which they don’t have elsewhere. But what exactly are those special meanings, and how (if at all) are they related to their ordinary meanings? Such questions have attracted much attention in Linguistics and Philosophy. The patterns we find, not only in English but also across languages, offer fascinating case studies on the relationship between superficial diversity and underlying uniformity in the mapping between meaning and form. In this talk I will outline some of the issues and sketch my own ongoing work.

Stefan Kaufmann is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. Prior to joining UConn in 2013, he received his PhD at Stanford in 2001, was a postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University, and taught at Northwestern University. His research revolves around the meaning and use of language: how information is encoded in linguistic expressions, the range of variability of this encoding across languages, and what linguistic patterns can reveal about the way speakers view and think about themselves and their physical and social surroundings.

Kareem Khalifa is a professor of philosophy at UCLA (2022–present). Prior to that, he was at Middlebury College in Vermont (2006–2022). His research interests include general philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology. In addition to authoring over 30 articles, he authored the book, Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge, 2017) and co-edited Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences (Routledge, 2022). He is currently extending his previous work in these areas to social-scientific conceptions of race and segregation. He is currently a Future of Truth Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. In 2025, he will be the Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science. In 2017, he received the American Council of Learned Societies’ Burkhardt Award, which funded a five-year project, Explanation as Inferential Practice.

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Fellow’s Talk: Elva Orozco Mendoza on Mothers Reclaiming Our Children

2022–23 UCHI Fellow's Talk. All Prisoners are Somebody's Children: Mothers ROC—Resisisting People of Color's Captivity Through Direct Action. Assistant Professor Political Science & WGSS, Elva Orozco Mendoza, with a response by Julia Brush. January 25, 2023, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

All Prisoners Are Somebody’s Children: Mothers ROC—Resisting People of Color’s Captivity Through Direct Action

Elva Orozco Mendoza (Assistant Professor of Political Science and WGSS, UConn)

with a response by Julia Brush (Ph.D. Candidate, English, UConn)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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Following the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles, California, several grassroots organizations emerged to protest the growing imprisonment of Black and Latino men under false or exaggerated charges. One such organization was Mothers Reclaiming our Children, Mothers ROC, formed by women whose children had been incarcerated as they sought to promote a gang truce to bring peace to their neighborhoods. This chapter draws on historical archives, films, web content, and other literary sources to discuss Mothers ROC’s grassroots mobilization against forced separation due to their children’s imprisonment. I argue that Mothers ROC’s activism helped to change the persistent association of Blackness and criminality produced at the highest levels of government by reclaiming motherhood as a political and ethical orientation. While often stigmatized and blamed for fomenting their children’s lawless behavior, Mothers ROC members worked to reclaim their children in several ways. First, by contesting their physical captivity and denouncing the institutions that deliberately fabricated the systematic imprisonment of Black and Latinx youth. Second, by invoking the mothers’ right to tell their children’s stories instead of allowing the state criminalization efforts to go unchallenged. Third, by working to change structural injustice and call public officials accountable for their actions. Lastly, by healing the harm inflicted onto their children and strengthening community ties. As a result, Mothers ROC’s initiatives contributed to longstanding struggles for Black people’s freedom in the United States.

Elva Orozco Mendoza is an assistant professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Connecticut. She joined UConn in the fall of 2021 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February of 2015. Prior to joining UConn, she taught at Texas Christian University and Drexel University. Her research interests include extreme gender violence, democratic theory and practice, protest politics and political action in Latin America, comparative political theory, and coloniality/decoloniality thought. At UConn, she teaches courses in comparative political theory, decolonial feminisms, and Latin American and Latinx feminist theory.

Julia Brush is a doctoral candidate in English with a graduate certificate in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics, queer theory, and transnational American studies, critical refugee studies, and Asian American Studies. While at UCHI, she will complete her dissertation, “State/Less Aesthetics: Queer Cartographies, Transnational Terrains, and Refugee Poetics.”

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Fellow’s Talk: Kareem Khalifa on Segregation Indices

2022–23 Fellow's Talk: "How Value-Laden are Segregation Indices?" Professor of Philosophy, UCLA, Kareem Khalifa, with a response by Heather Cassano. December 14, 2022, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

How Value Laden are Segregation Indices

Kareem Khalifa (Professor of Philosophy, UCLA)

with a response by Heather Cassano (Digital Media & Design, UConn)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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Science’s objectivity is often thought to hinge on its impartiality. Roughly stated, impartiality is the requirement that only epistemic considerations, such as empirical evidence and cogent reasoning, should justify the acceptance of a scientific claim. Yet, the social sciences frequently employ thick concepts, i.e., concepts that both describe and evaluate. Examples include well-being, crime, poverty, and—central to our discussion—segregation. Given their inextricable link with values, it’s tempting to think that scientific claims that deploy thick concepts—so-called mixed claims—cannot be accepted impartially. Using the development of segregation indices and the operational definition of hypersegregation as illustrations, we argue that scientists’ use of thick concepts is compatible with impartial justification of mixed claims. This paper is co-authored with Jared Millson (Rhodes College) and Mark Risjord (Emory University).

Kareem Khalifa is a professor of philosophy at UCLA (2022–present). Prior to that, he was at Middlebury College in Vermont (2006–2022). His research interests include general philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology. In addition to authoring over 30 articles, he authored the book, Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge, 2017) and co-edited Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences (Routledge, 2022). He is currently extending his previous work in these areas to social-scientific conceptions of race and segregation. He is currently a Future of Truth Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. In 2025, he will be the Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science. In 2017, he received the American Council of Learned Societies’ Burkhardt Award, which funded a five-year project, Explanation as Inferential Practice.

Heather Cassano is a documentary filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the Digital Media & Design Department. Cassano’s first documentary film The Limits of My World (2018) followed her severely autistic brother Brian as he transitioned from the school system to adulthood. The film unpacks what it means to be a nonverbal disabled adult in today’s society. The film won several awards and is now being used as a tool for impact by organizations like Autism Canada and the National Council on Severe Autism.

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Fellow’s Talk: Joseph Darda on Race and Fantasy Sports

UCHI Fellow's Talk 2022–2023. Owning Le'veon Bell and other White Fantasies. Associate Professor of English, Texas Christian University, Joseph Darda, with a response by Sandy Grande. November 16, 2022, 3:30pm. UConn Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Owning Le’Veon Bell and Other White Fantasies

Joseph Darda (Associate Professor, English and Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies, Texas Christian University)

with a response by Sandy Grande (Political Science and Native American & Indigenous Studies, UConn)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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This talk situates the rise of fantasy sports––a now $20 billion industry––in a post–civil rights, post-feminist moment of retrenchment. Telling the stories of boardgame inventors, early fantasy leagues, moneyball statheads, billion-dollar gambling startups, and the fans who consume it all, Joseph Darda asks whose fantasy we are living when we draft, trade, and cut real-life professional athletes. While some celebrate the rise of fantasy sports and sports analytics as a “revenge of the nerds,” in which unathletic math whizzes stormed the gates of a world dominated by former prom kings, Darda shows how it has functioned as something else: a racial managerial fantasy, a fantasy inviting an audience of mostly white men to imagine themselves not as their favorite athletes but as owners of predominantly Black teams.

Joseph Darda is an associate professor of literature at Texas Christian University and the author of three books on the cultural life of race in the United States: The Strange Career of Racial Liberalism (Stanford, 2022), How White Men Won the Culture Wars (California, 2021), and Empire of Defense (Chicago, 2019). He has published articles in American Literary History, American Literature, American Quarterly, and Critical Inquiry, among other journals, and contributed essays to the Los Angeles Review of Books. With the historian Amira Rose Davis, he is coediting a forthcoming special issue of American Quarterly titled “The Body Issue: Sports and the Politics of Embodiment.”

At UCHI, Darda is writing “The Sporting Public: Race, Labor, and the Miseducation of the Fan,” a book investigating what our most popular culture, sports, an industry premised on the sorting and hierarchizing of bodies, has taught the nation about race, gender, and labor since civil rights.

This is his third tour in Storrs. He attended fourth grade at Goodwin Elementary and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2015.

Sandy Grande is a Professor of Political Science and Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Connecticut with affiliations in American Studies, Philosophy, and the Race, Ethnicity and Politics program. Her research and teaching interfaces Native American and Indigenous Studies with critical theory toward the development of more nuanced analyses of the colonial present. She was recently awarded the Ford Foundation, Senior Fellowship (2019–2020) for a project on Indigenous Elders and aging. Her book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was published in a 10th anniversary edition and a Portuguese translation is anticipated to be published in Brazil in 2022. She has also published numerous book chapters and articles including: Accumulation of the Primitive: The Limits of Liberalism and the Politics of Occupy Wall Street, The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies; Refusing the University in Toward What Justice?; “American Indian Geographies of Identity and Power,” Harvard Educational Review; and, “Red-ding the Word and the World” In, Paulo Freire’s Intellectual Roots: Toward Historicity in Praxis. 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. As one of their projects, they published the Standing Rock Syllabus. In addition to her academic and organizing work, she has provided eldercare for her parents for over ten years and remains the primary caregiver for her 94-yr. old father.

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Fellow’s Talk: Yuhan Liang on Value Conflicts in the Confucian Tradition

2022–23 UCHI Fellow's Talk. Value Conflicts, Moral Diversity & Zhi 志 in Confucian Tradition, Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, Yuhan Liang. with a response by Michael Lynch. March 22, 2023, 12:15pm. UCHI Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Value Conflicts, Moral Diversity & Zhi 志 in Confucian Tradition

Yuhan Liang (Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, UConn)

with a response by Michael Lynch (Philosophy, UConn)

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 3:30pm, RESCHEDULED: Wednesday, March 22, 2022, 12:15pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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Moral diversity entails different people can legitimately adopt different practices even in similar cases. However, moral consistency requires people to treat similar cases alike (the doctrine of superveniences). I start with the problem–to what extent diverse practices are legitimate? Diverse practices entail that personal factors, like one’s value preferences, play a role in reasoning, whereas moral consistency requires different people to recognize universal values and separate personal preferences. Thus, the paper argues that taking account of personal factors will not comprise moral consistency. In this talk, I examine three views: 1) Circumstantial realtivism. Scholars (like Alan Donagan) use different circumstances to justify different judgments and thus leave no room for personal considerations. 2) Rational relativism. Rational relativists, Joesph Raz and Ruth Chang, argue that only when rational choices cannot decide the judgment in a specific situation, agents can create will-based reasons by making a commitment. Thus, they level some room for personal considerations. 3) I argue for the third position. Particular personal factors should always play a role in practical reasoning. Through reverse engineering the notion zhi 志, we can learn that zhi calls for dual correspondence. Having zhi is not merely require an intellectual response. It also calls for the cultivation of affective dispositions in everyday practices. Thus, personal considerations should always play a role in practical reasoning. But different zhi will not comprise moral consistency because it will not twist the recognization of right judgments.

Yuhan Liang is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Connecticut. Her research is interdisciplinary and involves Chinese philosophy, virtue epistemology, and moral psychology. At UCHI, she works on the dissertation “Confucian exemplars and Moral Diversity.” This dissertation aims to reconcile moral diversity and consistency via exemplarism approaches. Unlike most Anglo-American philosophies that adopt a top-down approach to studying moral questions in the frame of normative ethics and metaethics, Confucian exemplarism provides a bottom-up pragmatic approach: through reverse engineer exemplars’ everyday practices or instructions, we reconstruct the theoretical commitments based on their moral excellency.

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Fellow’s Talk: Julia Brush on Cyborgian Potentials

The Algorithm You May Never Learn: Cyborgian Potentials and Contemporary Asian American Poetry. Ph.D. Candidate, English, Julia Brush, with a response by Evla Orozco Mendoza. October 12, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room. This even will also be livestreamed.

‘The Algorithm You May Never Learn:’ Cyborgian Potentials and Contemporary Asian American Poetry

Julia Brush (Ph.D. Candidate, English, UConn)

with a response by Elva Orozco Mendoza (Political Science & WGSS, UConn)

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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This talk draws upon the work of queer cartographies, transnational terrains, and refugee poetics to argue that the the digital space, although borderless physically, represents paradoxical spaces of erasure and possibility for marginalized people. Considering contemporary LGBTQ+ Asian American poetry, this talk questions whether the cyborg figure can offer alternative claims for citizenship and subjectivity while centering the exploration of what it means to be human in a digital age in the United States. This inquiry focuses on the work of queer Korean-American poet Margaret Rhee, feminist new media artist, and scholar of ethnic literature, whose poetry employs the perspective of and in the form of cyborg subjects. Acknowledging that “the digital” serves as a globalized site and capitalist-driven enterprise that is both alienating and disenfranchising, this argument nevertheless counters these dystopian visions via the cyborgian potentials envisioned in Rhee’s collection, Love, Robot (The Operating System: 2017). Given that digital and machinated writing can be mimicked to suggest collaborations between AI technology and artists, cyborgian potentials suggest that subjectivities marked through the vectors of race, gender, and sexuality are capable of overwriting the dominant machines of hegemony. I argue that the cyborg figure offers a critical response to the conception of digital subjects as “neutral” or otherwise essentialized and becomes a liberatory figure within recent Asian American poetry.

Julia Brush is a doctoral candidate in English with a graduate certificate in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics, queer theory, and transnational American studies, critical refugee studies, and Asian American Studies. While at UCHI, she will complete her dissertation, “State/Less Aesthetics: Queer Cartographies, Transnational Terrains, and Refugee Poetics.”

Elva Orozco Mendoza is an assistant professor, jointly appointed in the Department of Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with affiliations in El Instituto and the Graduate Certificate in Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. Her research draws on decolonial feminist thought, critical contract theory, comparative political theory, and feminist analyses on maternal activism in Latin America to examine maternal collective action launched in response to extreme violence—forced disappearance, feminicide, targeted killings, and mass incarceration—in the Americas. Her monograph, tentatively titled The Maternal Contract, examines bottom-up agreements between the victims’ mothers to defend their children against state-led and state-enabled violence and criminalization. It argues that mothers’ collectives in the Americas constitute powerful political actors seeking to problematize and counter the normalization of disposable life. By theorizing the maternal contract, this current research contributes to ongoing initiatives to decolonize Western political theory by attending to subaltern actors’ actions and political ideas. Her research addresses major concerns of humanist scholarship, namely how marginalized political actors resist top-down attempts to expel them from the realm of citizenship and humanity.

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Fellow’s Talk: Britney Murphy on VISTA and the Boundaries of Citizenship

2022-23 fellow's talk. Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship 1962–1971. PhD Candidate History, Britney Murphy, with a response by Hind Ahmed Zaki. September 28, 2022, 3:30 pm, in the humanities institute conference room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship 1962–1971

Britney Murphy (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

with a response by Hind Ahmed Zaki (Political Science, UConn)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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This talk asks the question, why, despite enjoying broad public and bipartisan support, national community service programs have not become institutionalized in the United States. Britney’s dissertation evaluates the relationship among civic engagement, citizenship, and socioeconomic identities through the lens of one national community service program, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Volunteers’ activism—in the rural areas of Appalachia, urban slums, migrant labor camps, and among Native American communities—tested the nation’s commitment to addressing socioeconomic inequality and political exclusion. The early history of VISTA (1962–1971) suggests that race, class, and gender hierarchies contributed to conflicting ideas about the causes of national problems and the role of government volunteers in finding solutions.

Britney Murphy is a doctoral candidate in the History Department. Her research interests include modern U.S. history, urban history, environmental justice, food access, and volunteerism. While at UCHI, Britney will complete her dissertation, “Outsiders Within: Volunteers in Service to America and the Boundaries of Citizenship, 1962–1971.”

Hind Ahmed Zaki is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. Her scholarly interests span feminist political theory and practice, transnational feminist movements and politics, gender-based violence, and comparative politics of the state, with a special focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Ahmed Zaki’s research is published in several languages. Her doctoral dissertation, completed at the University of Washington in 2018, was the winner of the 2019 American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics section award for best dissertation on gender and politics and the democracy and autocracy section’s best field work award in the same year. She is an elected member at large of the board of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) since 2018.

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Fellow’s Talk: Shihan Zheng on Opium Addiction in 19th-Century China

2022–23 Fellow's Talk. Opium Addiction in Nineteenth-Century China. Ph.D. Candidate History, Shihan Zheng, with a response by Stefan Kaufmann. September 21, 2022, 3:30pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room. This event will also be livestreamed.

Opium Addiction in Nineteenth-Century China

Shihan Zheng (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UConn)

with a response by Stefan Kaufmann (Linguistics, UConn)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 3:30pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room (HBL 4-209)

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Compared to Euro-American experience with opium, the story of opium smoking in nineteenth-century China appears strikingly peculiar. Western observers at the time believed that opium smoking was a symbol of incompetence, backwardness, and immorality—all the ills of traditional Chinese civilization. Thus, the discussion of opium was always incorporated in a broader criticism of Chinese customs that were viewed as archaic, uncivilized, and barbaric. Historians have highlighted the political and economic influence of opium in late-imperial China, but a thorough study of the dynamic and complicated history of the ideas related to opium addiction has not yet been done. This study seeks to trace the origins and development of discourse on opium addiction in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century China. Shihan Zheng hopes to suggest that the creation of languages and ideas of opium addiction was part of the knowledge productions at the turn of the twentieth century, and the efforts to find the “cure” for the drug addiction had direct relevance to China’s experience with “modernity.”

Shihan Zheng is a History doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include conceptual history, medical history, drug and addiction studies, and history of science. At UCHI, he will work on his dissertation project, “The Opium Discourse in China, 1830–1910.” This study will bring out nuances of the story of opium in China that have been neglected in historical literature, highlight the role of opium discourse in the construction of Chinese modernity, and help us better understand contemporary China.

Stefan Kaufmann is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. His research revolves around the meaning and use of language: how information is encoded in linguistic expressions, the range of variability of this encoding across languages, and what linguistic patterns can reveal about the way speakers view and think about themselves and their physical and social surroundings. Kaufmann’s current project focuses on the the language of time and possibility, in relation to notions like uncertainty, causality, and hypothetical reasoning. Kaufmann has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics. He will be working on a book manuscript at UCHI.

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Fellow’s Talk: Fiona Vernal on Race and Identity in Hartford

Hartford Bound: How African Became and African American and Caribbean City. Associates Professor of History and Africana Studies Fiona Vernal, with a response by Carol Gray. April 27, 2022, 4:00pm. Humanities Institute Conference Room.

Hartford Bound: How Hartford became an African American and Caribbean City

Fiona Vernal (Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, UConn)

with a response by Carol Gray

Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 4:00pm, Humanities Institute Conference Room, HBL 4-209

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This talk explores Fiona Vernal’s current book and digital humanities project, Housing Hartford: Mobility, Race, and Identity in Post-World War II Hartford, which examines the convergence of three great migrations of African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and West Indians in the Greater Hartford region. The book project integrates oral history, archival research, and GIS methodologies to reframe the history of how Hartford became an African American and a Caribbean city. This narrative of community formation told through the lens of housing, migration, and mobility, offers counter narratives to hardened scripts of slum clearance, white suburban flight, redlining, urban renewal, and gentrification. By exploring the intersections of space, place, mobility, and identity, Hartford Bound offers new visual and spatial histories of race, ethnic belonging, and community succession.

Fiona Vernal is the director of Engaged, Public, Oral, and Community Histories (EPOCH) and Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut. The project she will present today is part of a suite public humanities projects recently awarded the University of Connecticut’s Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship, a UConn Humanities Institute fellowship, and the Sustainable Global Cities Initiative (SCGI) Faculty Research Grant.

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