Page 1


Review 2015


Impact by the numbers

University of California, Irvine School of Humanities 1

Faculty Impact


President Obama Honors Vicki Ruiz

News features on faculty in 2015 Vicki Ruiz, Distinguished Professor of history and Chicano/ Latino studies and president of the American Historical Association, was awarded the 2014 National Humanities Medal by President Obama on September 10th, 2015.


Faculty Books Published ‘14-15 Academic year

50+ Faculty Awards ‘14-15 Academic year

An expert in 20th century U.S. history, Ruiz has dedicated much of her nearly 40-year academic career to reclaiming the stories of Latinas who have fought for civil and labor rights. Her first book, Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950, published in 1987. Since then, she has written or edited several more books, including Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, which she coedited in 2006. “When I was a graduate student, I could not begin to imagine all of the stories awaiting interested scholars in public archives and personal memories. That said, I am deeply honored by this once-in-a-lifetime acknowledgement of my work.” The National Humanities Medal seeks to recognize those who have deepened the country’s understanding of humanities and broadened citizens’ engagement with history and other disciplines. Ruiz is a powerful testament to the ability of the humanities to serve a common good and to continually enrich our spectrum of knowledge. Ruiz is UCI’s first National Humanities Medal recipient.



MLA Honors Jane O. Newman

Jane O. Newman, professor of comparative literature and European languages and studies, will receive the Modern Language Association of America’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study for Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach (Princeton University Press, 2014). For the past 11 years, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study has been awarded every other year for a translation into English of a book-length work of literary history, literary criticism, or literary theory. Newman will receive the award at a ceremony on January 9, 2016, during the association’s annual convention in Austin, Texas. The MLA’s selection committee had the following to say about her work: “Jane O. Newman’s Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach is a collection of twenty essays by Erich Auerbach that brings together previously untranslated texts while offering engaging retranslations of a few of his best-known and most complex ones. The essays and the introduction by James Porter provide surprising new insights into the structure and coherence of Auerbach’s groundbreaking contributions to literary theory. Splendidly rendered in limpid, readable prose by Newman, the book brings to its anglophone audience a new and illuminating view of a well-known figure writing in a number of different historical and cultural contexts.” Erich Auerbach (1892-1957) is best known for his classic literary study Mimesis and is considered a founder of comparative literature. In Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach, Newman brings Auerbach’s German-language essays to life for the English-speaking world. Twelve of the twenty essays translated for this book have never appeared in English before and one has been published for the first time. A paperback version of Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach will be available in March, 2016.


Humanities Headlines

“The ghosts of slavery” featuring Jessica Millward, associate professor of history - Aired on YouTube December 3, 2015

“Political theater in Iran” featuring Roxanne Varzi, associate professor of film & media studies - Airs in 2016

“What you can learn from young adult fiction” featuring Jonathan Alexander, professor of English, education, and gender & sexuality sudies - Airs in 2016

To watch the latest episodes, click here

Student Impact Q&A with Cheryl Flores

93 Student Awards Granted ‘14-15

Why did you decide to major in literary journalism? I originally came in as an English major because I wanted to teach English to high school students and work as a freelance writer. I met with an academic counselor and told her about my plans and she advised me to switch to LitJ. And I knew I would eventually do it because it was more directed with what I wanted to do, and so I agreed and switched to LitJ. What are your research interests?

$31,500 In undergraduate student awards ‘14-15

I am interested in Black positionality in society. Being that I am also an African American studies major, I see how Black people are positioned and how society operates on Black labor. I have other, more directed interests such as Black feminism and Black queer theory, however, I am more interested in all Black people. What types of activities are you involved in on and off campus? I am involved in the Black Student Union as the Gender and Sexuality Chair and the Demands Team, the Cross Cultural Center as the Cultural Wellness intern, and I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Who have been your mentors?

$93,150 In graduate student awards ‘14-15

There are a lot of people here who have mentored me. These people include Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Dr. Frank B. Wilderson, Sandra Johnson, Jazmyne McNeese, Faye Hayes, Mia Ogundipe-Tillman, Sally Terrefe, Kala Lacy, and Ria Johnson. I can speak about how each of these people have mentored me since being here and how the mentorship has contributed to my success at UCI. What are your post-graduation plans? I plan to take a year off to get ready for grad applications in order to put in the best application possible. I also plan on applying to Ph.D. programs in ethnic studies, American studies, or African American studies because my research will focus on Black people and these programs will allow me to do that work. For the year immediately following graduation, I plan to study abroad in the summer and complete programs or work so I have time to work until grad school. Cheryl Flores is a senior majoring in literary journalism & African American studies.



Why Humanities? “With my knowledge of history, I am able to contextualize everything happening around us in the world and focus on the things that have improved over time. Studying history gives me comfort from the past and hope for the future.” - Samantha Engler, senior majoring in history

“A humanities education, and more specifically an English degree, has taught me that language constitutes the world in which we live. An education that teaches the complexities of language through speaking, reading, and writing changed my perception and improved my understanding—not only of the world and people around me, but also of myself and the way I act in the world.” - Rachael Heinsen, junior majoring in English

“The School of Humanities uniquely invites an interdisciplinary approach to academics, welcoming a wide array of textual perspectives and arguments in order to find meaning, though any conclusion always remains open to further inquiry. The Humanities Honors Program only furthers this endeavor as it seeks to promote uninhibited student exploration and investigation. This principle has informed my own interpretive disposition and inspires my continued effort to learn and challenge myself.” - Meghan Elizabeth Taylor, junior majoring in comparative literature


Exploring the Public Humanities Misha Ponnuraju, an English major involved with the Humanities Out There program (“H.O.T.”) and Illuminations Colloqium, is one of the many students here on campus who channel the process of self-discovery in a way that, visibly, impacts our campus. By engaging in her passions, Misha makes an ongoing positive impact on elementary students in the Santa Ana community. As student participants with H.O.T., Misha and her peers provide important homework help to elementary students and assist the Bowers Museum with any needed museum tours. Misha notes that this opportunity has “challenged her from the start;” being a tutor meant having the patience and empathy to explain seemingly simple concepts and ideas that were, undoubtedly, not so simple to elementary students. “This program has helped me trust my instincts and take more initiative—traits that were previously unforeseen in me,” Misha explained. “I have learned to be more assertive in maintaining order with the students at the Kidseum, to trust myself when it gets hectic or difficult, and to ask for help when I need it.” Her enthusiasm for helping others and ongoing academic endeavors serve as a vessel for her future plans. Misha plans to get a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing to prospectively teach English and become a writer. With this in mind, she actively attends the Illuminations events that expose classical music, theater, and art to students— but for Misha, her enrichment is largely found in her self-expression through the English language. “The power of literature has shaped me to be who I am— it has taught me how to find meaning in even the most mundane of things. My passion for words drives me to learn how to become a better poet, storyteller, reader, and writer.” Misha will continue her involvement in H.O.T. through the ‘15-16 academic school year.

Alumni Impact Why do I give? “The humanities teach us to think critically and creatively, to ask questions, to analyze and to reason as we learn about the world around us. I am so lucky to have been educated by the incredible humanities faculty at UCI, and I hope that through giving I can help even more students learn about the human experience through poetry, literature, languages, history or philosophy offered through the School of Humanities.” - Mary Forbath Cappellini, B.A.s in comparative literature and history, 1982

Q&A with alumna Kirsten Dial What does your role at Fox entail? I’m responsible for advising the company on how to protect its assets through either the placement of insurance or alternative risk mitigation methods. That’s fancy risk management talk for determining whether we buy insurance for a production/business unit, we self-insure or we pass the risk on to a third party. My primary focus is on our international local language feature production division (Fox International Productions) and our television productions (TCFTV and Fox 21 Television Studios). Throughout preproduction and principal photography, I advise productions on their daily insurance needs, whether they’re shooting at a high value location or planning a huge stunt. The best part of my job is it’s never boring. Just the other day I had to ask our underwriter to cover actors shooting a scene with a black bear. What is your most proud career accomplishment to date?

“I give to UCI’s School of Humanities because I feel indebted to my alma mater. UCI provided me with an education and life experiences that shaped my career and who I’ve become. I like to give back in every way that I possibly can.” - Al Encinias, B.A. in Spanish, 1972

Before I came to Fox, I was an underwriter specializing in feature and television production insurance and my company was opening a small office in Paris. Because I’d taken French in high school, I was the lucky one who was sent to Paris to underwrite French and international productions. By the time I was ready to come back to LA, my French was much improved, and I felt like a citizen of France. It helps my job at Fox too. I studied German, Italian and Latin at UCI and it really helps when we have productions shooting all around the world and I don’t need documents translated into English. What was your experience like as a student at UCI?

Where are you now? We’d love to know where your education has taken you. Email us at


UCI was my first choice and I was so excited when I got the acceptance letter. I knew college was going to be a great time before I even got there, but UCI really delivered. As a history major, I wrote more papers than I ever thought I could write. I took English and any language class I could squeeze in: sociology, anthropology, drama. I explored it all. I also spent a huge amount of time working at the New University newspaper. The New University was my 24-hour computer lab, built-in social life and all-night study hall. I still have all of the hard copies of the papers I worked on. Kirsten Dial graduated with a B.A. in history in 1991


From barista to Blizzard: A film & media studies alumnus shares how he landed his dream job

reading comics. Pulling all-nighters for 24-hour film competitions built a lot of camaraderie and close friendships. And that kind of passion and dedication carries over into my job today. We all work very hard and put everything we can into the games we make. For me, that’s all stuff I learned from my time at UCI. What is your role at Blizzard? I work on the “StarCraft II” team as a level designer. This means I help create missions and content for the game. I am part of a small team who is responsible for the layout, scripting, pacing, and difficulty of the moment-to-moment gameplay in the game. We work closely with the writers and artists and other parts of the team, but we’re responsible specifically for the design aspects of the game, much like how a movie director works with the cinematographer and set designer, but is responsible for the actors’ performances and tying the whole thing together. The most recent game I worked on is “StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void,” which just came out this past November. One of the missions I worked on heavily was called Rak’shir, which tasks the player with helping to influence a duel between two powerful characters by protecting the area around the duel and contributing his or her army’s mental power to the duel. I helped come up with that duel mechanic and implemented the layout of the map, the pacing of events, and the details of the map mechanic. What is your most proud career accomplishment to date? In my time at Blizzard, I have helped ship five games, including all three “StarCraft II” products. But my proudest accomplishment is shipping this most recent game, “Legacy of the Void,” because it’s the first game I’ve been able to do level design for. This is the job I wanted when I was 14. This is what I stayed up late doing for fun in high school and then in college. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the video games industry, and having the privilege of working for one of my favorite companies when I was growing up is a huge honor. I’m having a blast working with everyone here and I couldn’t be more proud of the game we’ve made together. What was your experience like as a student at UCI? As a film & media studies major, I learned to dissect works of literature—films, TV, books, and more—and think critically about how they work. I also learned how all works of art and media exist as a dialogue between people and times, like how French New Wave cinema grew out of a response to the previous era of films and what was going on in the world at the time. My grandfather once told my brother and me: “Go to college. Learn a lot. And, sometimes, go to class.” I definitely went to class more than “sometimes,” but his point about learning a lot outside of class was well taken. I spent a lot of time with other film students watching movies, making movies, entering competitions, and


How did you land a job at Blizzard? I knew I wanted to work in the video games industry, but at the time there weren’t really any four-year universities that offered video game design majors. I thought film studies would be a great major because I love film and because film is more closely related to content design than programming. I wanted to be a designer. Once I got to UCI, all thoughts about becoming a game designer went out the window as I got excited about the film & media studies program. I planned to finish school, move to LA and get a job in Hollywood. That changed when I started working at the coffee shop next to UCI. That coffee shop shared a parking lot with Blizzard. I have always been a big fan of Blizzard’s games, so meeting the people behind the games reminded me of why I came to UCI in the first place. As I got to know everyone who came in (and their drink order), I started asking about their stories. How did you get into the industry? What should I be working on to prepare for a job at Blizzard? Eventually, I learned about a new internship program at the company, and with a referral from one of the developers I earned a spot during the summer of 2007 in the Quality Assurance department, which tests the games that Blizzard makes. When the internship was over, I went back to school for my senior year. I finished my degree and got a full time position in the QA department the following April. I’ve been at Blizzard for almost eight years now. Did your education at UCI play any role in you securing a job at Blizzard? My education at UCI did not play a direct role the way medical school might, but the skills and lessons I learned inside and outside of class definitely helped prepare me for my job at Blizzard. UCI helped me form a critical voice, and helped develop my passion and work ethic for working in creative media. The other thing I learned from my time at UCI was how important it is to help out others around you. I am so grateful to the developers who went out of their way to tell me their stories and give me advice, and the professors who worked with me during (and outside of) office hours, and classmates who spent their own free time helping me make movies for class. That kind of service to other people is very important to me. Tim Fujieda-Feldman graduated in 2008 with a B.A. from the Department of Film & Media Studies. Blizzard Entertainment® is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software.

Community Impact Humanities Out There


External internships for art history and Film & Media Studies undergrads in ‘14-15

13 Students in Humanities Out There 2015


Community children tutored through H.O.T. & Th!nk ‘14-15


“For the longest time, I wanted to be a high school English teacher, but now I’m really considering elementary education,” wrote an undergraduate student about her experience participating in Humanities Out There (H.O.T.) this fall. Founded in 1997 by Julia Lupton, director of Humanities Commons, H.O.T. promotes service learning and public engagement for humanities students at UCI through partnerships with arts and culture institutions in underserved communities in Orange County. In 2015, H.O.T. was placed under the purview of Humanities Commons, the school’s faculty and graduate-student research hub. Over the years, the type of public engagement and service associated with H.O.T has taken many forms—and there have been several former directors who’ve shaped its course—but the goal has always remained the same: provide UCI students with a service-learning experience that provides tangible, realworld skills and, in return, has a positive impact on the Orange County community. For Lupton, the humanities are about “world-building”: “The humanities build the world in time (we call this history) and they build it in space (by experiencing many cultures and languages in our communities and across the globe). Through the humanities, we learn where we came from, who our neighbors are, and how we want to go forward into the future.” This fall, 12 humanities undergraduate students participated in the program with internship placements at Bowers Museum’s Kidseum. Under the leadership of Lucena Lau Valle, H.O.T. Public Fellow, and Lupton, the students worked at Kidseum’s afterschool program, which serves 40-80 k-6th-grade students per day. Valle, a Ph.D. candidate in the school’s Visual Studies Program, has experience both working for and researching

Community museums. She is currently writing her dissertation on ethnic museums in Los Angeles’ greater eastside and is studying the ways in which institutions such as the Chinese American Museum, the Japanese American Museum, and La Plaza de Cultura y Artes share histories shaped by decades of real estate development. To participate in H.O.T., both undergraduate and graduate students take a practicum led by Valle with input from Lupton. This year, Valle introduced undergraduate interns to theories of constructivist education, experiential learning, arts education, and critical pedagogy. She also asked that they set short-term and long-term goals and keep a journal of their reflections. “One of the things that has been most rewarding about our practicum is how the interns have worked hard to create a collaborative learning community where they’ve been able to discuss everything from the course readings, their experiences working with the children each week, as well as reflect on their own experiences in education,” said Valle. “As a public fellow with this program, it’s been immensely gratifying to see our UCI interns share their incredible social, cultural and educational assets with the children at the Kidseum. Additionally, my experience with this program has only enriched my own consideration of community museums as sites of informal learning.” This winter, H.O.T. will select six humanities graduate students to participate as “Public Fellows,” like Valle, and contribute to programming and communications at local arts and culture institutions. These public fellows will have the opportunity to apply and expand their humanities research and writing capacities in a non-profit setting and to teach and direct the 24 undergraduate students who have already enrolled in H.O.T. for winter 2016. Institutions that have come on board include: Orange County Parks, Heritage Division, Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association / Viet Film Festival, South Coast Repertory Theater, PBS SoCaL and the Laguna Art Museum. When it comes to the impact of the program, one H.O.T. intern wrote: “The kids were able to complete all of their homework by the end of the session on most days which was not the case in the beginning of the quarter.” Another wrote, “I was surprised how much you start to care for the children. It went from ‘let’s do your homework because you have to’ to ‘I really want you to learn this so I am going to try my hardest for you!’” It’s hard to say who benefitted more from the experience of the program—the UCI students or the children being tutored. If you would like to support H.O.T., which is currently accepting funds toward its Teaching Fellows’ summer and conference stipend, please reach out to Julia Lupton, at


3 Public Exhibitions ‘14-15


H.O.T. Partner Institutions 2015

366 Humanities community events ‘14-15


$3.5M+ extramural grants 14-15 academic year

$7.2M Philanthropic support ‘14-15 fiscal year

2 Endowed Chairs Created ‘14-15 fiscal year


Tertzakian family builds support of Armenian Studies at UCI Armenian Studies at UCI was established through the passion and guidance of forward-thinking community member Sylvie Tertzakian. Sylvie and her husband, Garo, have spent nearly thirty years mobilizing support for Armenian heritage. Together with Touraj Daryaee, director of the Jordan Center, Sylvie worked with fellow community programs to enlist supporters for the Armenian studies within the UCI School of Humanities. What started as a campaign for awareness grew into a community group that helped support Armenian history classes, events and eventually an endowed lecture series and endowed chair from the Meghrouni family. The School of Humanities is truly grateful for the partnership with Sylvie Tertzakian and her family. Her dedication and energy toward the Armenian Studies program has helped elevate it to new heights of academic excellence.

Marilyn Sutton supports the humanities, year after year For the past twenty years, Marilyn Sutton, M.A., Ph.D., has donated to the School of Humanities’ most critical areas of need, every year. She was a professor of English at California State University Dominguez Hills for nearly thirty years and is the author of An Annotated Bibliography of Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale (University of Toronto Press, 2002) and co-editor of the reader, Understanding Death and Dying (Mayfield’s, 1977, 1981, 1985). Sutton attends many of the school’s salon events and is engaged with additional areas of interest on the UCI campus. She is an avid supporter of the humanities and arts & culture institutions across the nation.


Honor Roll This list represents generous gifts and pledge payments made between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 at $500 and above.

Mr. & Mrs. Garabed K. Agopian Mr. Hamid R. Khamneipur and Ms. Nastaran Akhavan Mr. Richard D. Alexander American Council of Learned Societies American Land Liquidators, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Anderson The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Professor Vartkess Ara Apkarian and Dr. Alice B. Apkarian Mr. Graham Arader Mr. and Mrs. Nemo Azamian Mr. and Mrs. Charles Barsam Professor Emeritus George C. Bauer and Professor Emerita Linda F. Bauer Professor Emerita Luci Berkowitz Bright Properties LLC Mr. Justin McCrary and Ms. Emily Bruce Mr. Lewis Anthony Cabrera Mr. and Mrs. Cesar Cappellini Cheng Family Foundation Ms. Jennifer Y. Cheng Mr. Kelvin Dean Chuang Cornell University Mr. Kirk E. Davis, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. James A. DeDeo Ms. Jeanne Marie Doig Deamco Corporation Dharma Civilization Foundation Mr. Paul Lawrence DuNard, Jr. Edison International


Mr. and Mrs. Albert A. Encinias Farhang Foundation Professor Emeritus and Mrs. Raul Fernandez Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund Mr. Jack Felipe Garate Mr. and Mrs. George K. Gemayel Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gideon Mr. William Joseph Gillespie Mr. and Mrs. Armen Golnazarians Professor Emerita Anna Gonosova Mr. and Mrs. Alishan Halebian Mr. and Mrs. William R. Hansen Mr. Bryan Hung Ho Mr. Roland Ho Dr. Margaret P. Battin and Mr. Roger B. Hopkins Hosan Foundation Mr. David B. Israelsky Mr. Emilio Jacobo Mr. and Mrs. Herair H. Jermakian Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Orange County Mr. and Mrs. Garbis Karamardian Mr. Mark Karatas Dr. and Mrs. Assad J. Kazeminy Mr. Gholamali Khamneipur Mr. Sevak Khatchadourian Mr. and Mrs. Rafik

Khatchaturian Mr. James Kim Knights of Vartan Inc. Mr. David Eric Kuehn Ms. Virginia H. Laddey Dr. Jason Bok Lee Mr. and Mrs. Krikor Mahdessian Professor Emeritus Alex and Mrs. Peggy Maradudin Mr. and Mrs. Anton M. Markarian Drs. Vahe and Armine Meghrouni Drs. Viken and Arpi Melkonian Mr. Reza A. Meshgin and Ms. Shabnam Noory Professor John Russiano Miles and Mrs. Jacqueline Anne Miles Ms. Catlin Fallon Moore National Humanities Center Professor Emeritus Keith Nelson Professor John H. Smith and Professor Jane O. Newman O.C. Armenian Professional Society Mr. and Mrs. David Ochi Mr. Robert B. Cullinan and Ms. Birte Britta Pfleger Mr. and Mrs. Michael D. Pincus Mr. and Mrs. Michael L. Pinkerton Dr. and Mrs. Charles John Quilter Mr. Ali C. Razi Reinhard Foundation, Frank

and Rosalind Professor Emeritus Thomas Price Saine Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. Seitz Mr. and Mrs. Khosrow B. Semnani Semnani Family Foundation Mr. Amritpal Singh Mr. and Mrs. Ewart B. Smith The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Sutton Mr. Leon B. Tateossian Technomatic, Inc. Dr. and Mrs. Garo Tertzakian Drs. Ushakant and Irma Harriman Thakkar Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Tierney The Tomassian Family Professor Steven Topik and Mrs. Martha Topik Dr. Mary M. Watson Professor Gregory Alan Weiss and Kim Morrison Weiss, Ph.D. Westcoast Rotor, Inc. Mr. Michael White William Gillespie Foundation Williams College Ms. Jennifer Joanne Zaragoza Mr. and Mrs. Majid Zarrinkelk Mr. and Mrs. Puzant Zorayan

Advancement 4100 Humanities Gateway Building Irvine, CA 92696-3376

Connect with us School of Humanities at UC Irvine 11


School of Humanities at UCI, Year in Review - 2015  

The latest faculty, student and alumni developments at the School of Humanities, UC Irvine

School of Humanities at UCI, Year in Review - 2015  

The latest faculty, student and alumni developments at the School of Humanities, UC Irvine