Grad Students Present on the History of the U.S. Base at Guantánamo Bay

Three graduate students in public history — Karen Raines, Jennifer Thornton and Jennifer Weed — presented at an international conference in New York about the history of the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.  The mid-December conference — Global Memory, Local Ethics, Justice: The Politics of Historical Dialogue in Contemporary Society — was organized by Columbia University’s Alliance for Dialogue and Accountability.

Karen Raines (left) and Jennifer Weed stand beside the panel curated by UCR public history students at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life Windows Gallery “Why Remember Guantánamo?” traveling exhibit. The exhibit explores the history of the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from American occupation in 1898 to the present day. Photo by Jennifer Thornton.

The UCR team represented one of 10 universities invited to participate. Their multimedia presentation examined how the base has been used since Sept. 11, 2001.

The conference coincided with the opening of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project’s (GPMP) National Dialogue and Traveling Exhibit, “Why Remember Guantánamo?” Organized by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the GPMP works to build public awareness of the long and contentious history of the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay through a traveling exhibit, Web platforms and an international symposium, said Molly McGarry, associate professor of history.

The UCR students took part in this collaboration as part of a museum studies practicum, which began with a course Catherine Gudis, associate professor of history, taught in the spring and culminated in the exhibit through a class that McGarry taught last fall. The Public History Program was invited as a founding partner of the consortium by Liz Sevcenko, director of the project at the Columbia Center for Human Rights, McGarry said.

UCR is the only West Coast public history program in the GPMP university consortium, which includes Brown, NYU, Rutgers and Minnesota. This consortium collectively curated the exhibition that opened in New York on Dec. 13, 2012.

The GPMP traveling show will be part of an exhibition curated by McGarry and Gudis at UCR/CMP —“Geographies of Detention: From Guantánamo to the Golden Gulag” — which will open June 1. McGarry said the exhibition will use contemporary art, media, installations, and public programming to ask: How might debating the unique history of Guantánamo shed light on the ubiquity of mass incarceration in our own prison nation?

 UCR Venue for the West Coast LHC Theory Meeting

UCR was the venue for the “West Coast LHC Theory Meeting” on Dec. 7.  The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a powerful particle accelerator at the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland.

The meeting attracted researchers in the area of high-energy theoretical physics, but mainly those on the West Coast.  Several UCR faculty members, postdoctoral scientists and graduate students are involved in the LHC’s Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, a large particle-capturing detector.

The one-day meeting, held only once before at UCR in 2009, served as an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn about the latest research their peers in the field are doing, and to initiate collaborations.   It also allowed UCR physicists to meet students interested in postdoctoral positions on campus.

Physicist Howard Haber from UC Santa Cruz gave the keynote speech. UCR’s Jose Wudka and Ernest Ma, both professors of physics and astronomy, organized the meeting.  The meeting, which took place in Winston Chung Hall, ended with dinner at the nearby Alumni and Visitors Center.

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