April 27-28, UCR Presents Powerful Migrations Conference

Conference focuses on movements and its aspects of identity, security, and fluidity

The Powerful Migrations conference will be held on April 27-28.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The University of California, Riverside, and the Culver Center of the Arts will host “Powerful Migrations: Identity, Security, Fluidity,” on Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28. This is an interdisciplinary conference that will focus on the complex challenges, the cultural fabric, and the social potential of displacement and migrations in various areas and time periods.

“The conference is an opportunity to expand the conversation beyond the doom and gloom,” said Kelechi Kalu, the vice provost of International Affairs at UCR, and one of the organizers of the conference. “It allows us to examine migration from a more positive perspective. It’s not just the movement of people, but it is also the movement of national memories, of ideas and innovation.”

Over the past several years, various forms of terrorism, wars, and the clash of different cultural and religious value-systems have caused unprecedented mass migrations. According to Jeanette Kohl, the other conference organizer and chair of art history at UCR, Western cultures have struggled with how to react. This conference tackles migration as a cultural phenomenon across time periods, geographies, and academic disciplines.

Kelechi Kalu

“We will focus on the complex cultural fabric created by displacement, the stories of migrants’ fluid identities, and the frictional yet empowering potential of cultures open to diversity and inclusion,” Kohl said.

The conference includes the unveiling of a public art project of four stereo viewers made by the artist Arnold Martin. Each is loaded with five three-dimensional images drawn from the California Museum of Photography’s archive of more than 300,000 stereograph images. The unveiling of the stereoscopes will be in Downtown Riverside, in front of the Culver Center on April 28 at 12 p.m. The project was organized by Susan Laxton, professor of art history at UCR, who curated the show along with her students.

Jack Dangermond, the CEO of Environmental Systems Research Institute (esri), will give the evening keynote speech on Thursday, April 27.

“We are honored to have Dangermond as the keynote speaker. His work in geography and spatial studies often brings to life images and data, contextually located, to enable quick decision-making in solving challenges related to infectious diseases, drought, famine, refugees and conflict-induced migrations of persons and objects,” Kalu said.

Jeanette Kohl

Dangermond was born and raised in Redlands. He completed his undergraduate work at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, studying landscape architecture and environmental science. He then earned a master of architecture degree in urban planning from the University of Minnesota, and a master of landscape architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Dangermond’s early work in the school’s Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis (LCGSA) led directly to the development of esri’s ARC/INFO geographic information system (GIS) software. Today esri the largest GIS software developer in the world.

Conference events will be held at the CHASS Interdisciplinary Building Room 1113 on April 27, and Culver Center of the Arts at 3834 Main Street, Riverside, 92521 on April 28. Complimentary parking tickets will be available for Lot 1 for main campus events, and parking is available for purchase for the downtown Riverside events at the various parking structures. The schedule of events is as follows:

Thursday, April 27, Interdisciplinary Building, INTS 1113

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration.
  • 9 a.m.Opening remarks will be given by Kelechi Kalu, vice provost of UCR International Affairs.
  • 9:15 a.m.Introduction by Jeanette Kohl, chair of art history at UCR.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Conference keynote by Nina Glick Schiller, the director at the Cosmopolitan Cultures Institute and the University of Manchester. Her lecture is titled, “Estranged Belongings, Dispossessed Futures, and Aspirations for Social Justice.”
  • 10:15 a.m. – Panel one, “Identity: Dreams and Formations,” will begin with a keynote speech by Min Zhou, sociology professor at UCLA. His talk is titled “Hyper-Selectivity and the Remaking of Culture: Understanding Asian American Achievement.”
  • 11 a.m. – Coffee break.
  • 11:15 a.m. –Leisy Abrego, Chicano/a studies professor at UCLA, whose talk is titled, “Liberation, Not Integration: Immigrants Making Claims and Making Home in Los Angeles.”
  • 12 p.m. – Worku Nida, anthropology professor at UCR, “Powerful Migrations in Africa: Entrepreneurs and Identity Formation in Ethiopia.”
  • 12:45 p.m. – Lunch break.
  • 2 p.m. – Panel two, “Fluidity: Places and Space,” will begin with a keynote speech by Avinoam Shalem, professor of history of art and archaeology at Columbia University. His talk is titled, “The Commoditization of Nature: Palestinian Landscape Zionized.”
  • 2:45 p.m. – Erith Jaffe-Berg, professor of theatre, film, and digital production at UCR. Her talk is titled, “Cross-Cultural Currents in Early Modern Italian Theatre.”
  • 3:30 p.m. – Coffee break.
  • 3:45 p.m. – Louis Massiah, director of Scribe Video Center, “Great Migration: A City Transformed (1916-1929).”
  • 4:30 pm – Wrap up discussion.
  • 6 p.m. – Evening keynote by Jack Dangermond, CEO of esri, “Creating our Future: Sustainable Solutions for Our World.”

Friday, April 28, Culver Center for the Arts, 3834 Main Street, Hammond Dance Studio

  • 9 a.m. – Registration.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Panel three, “Security: Fears and Expectations,” will begin with a keynote by Miroslava Chavez-Garcia, professor of history at UCSB, titled “‘A Toda Madre (ATM)’: Migrant Dreams and Nightmares in El Norte.”
  • 10:15 a.m. – Johannes Endres, professor of comparative literature and art history at UCR. His talk is titled, “Rethinking Security.”
  • 11 a.m. – Coffee break.
  • 11:15 a.m. – Saloni Mathur, professor of art history at UCLA, with “Islamophobia and the Security State: Lessons from the Visual Arts.”
  • 12 p.m. – The unveiling of “Stereo Viewers” will take place outside the Culver Center with Susan Laxton, professor of art history at UCR.
  • 12:30 p.m. – Lunch break.
  • 2 p.m. – Panel four, “Geopolitics: Past and Present,” will begin with a keynote by Michael Gomez, professor of history at NYU. His talk is titled, “A Different Kind of Migration: The African’s Journey into Liminality.”
  • 2:45 p.m. – Jonathan Eacott, history professor at UCR, with “Elephant Sized Murders: Indian Elephants in British and Early American Political Culture.”
  • 3:30 p.m. – Tom Wong, professor of political science at UCSD, with “U.S. Immigration Policy Under Trump.”
  • 4:15 p.m. – Break.
  • 4:30 p.m. – Film screening of three documentaries from Scribe Video Center’s Precious Community History project, and “The Bombing of Osage Avenue.”

The conference is sponsored by UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society, UCR International Affairs, the CHASS Dean’s Office, ARTSblock, the Department of Art History, and the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California. For full conference details, visit the Powerful Migrations conference page, where you can also register to attend.

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