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Bright past. Brilliant future.

2016-2017 Annual Report

INSIDE Designer and editor



Student spotlight: Linette Park


Student spotlight: Deanna Kashani


Annabel Adams

Photographers Audrey Fong, Danielle McElroy and Steve Zylius

Writers Annabel Adams and Danielle McElroy



Georges Van Den Abbeele


Faculty spotlight: Daniel M. Gross




Linda Haghi, Executive Director of Advancement Doug Luebbe, Director of Development Sean Fischer, Associate Director of Development JoAnn Jamora, Development Coordinator

Alumna spotlight: Lauren Kerner


Marketing & Communications

Class Notes




School Leadership Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean Andrzej Warminski, Associate Dean for Academic Personnel Yong Chen, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Student Services Julia R. Lupton, Associate Dean for Research Penny Portillo, Assistant Dean


Annabel Adams, Director of Marketing and Communications

WELCOME Welcome to the UCI School of Humanities’ 2016-2017 annual report, which will give you a glimpse into the accomplishments of our students, faculty, alumni and community programming this past year. This is a bittersweet end of year being that it will be my last term as dean of the school. For the past five years, I’ve had the honor and privilege to lead this school, to ensure its growth and innovation, and to see its impact on making the world a better place. I have never been more sure of the value of the work we do in the scope of the university, and far beyond it. In the pages that follow, you will see a common thread: Humanities students and alumni who are actively making our world brighter. From alumna Lauren Kerner who launched into a career immediately after graduation to aid in the Santa Barbara community’s understanding of Israel and the Middle East, to Ph.D. students Deanna Kashani and Soodabeh Malekzadeh, whose research on Iran broadens our understanding of both an ancient civilization and contemporary cultural hub, our students and alumni are already making an international impact. Ph.D. candidate in culture and theory Linette Park shows us the power of critical theories to reveal and understand—and hopefully counter—oppressive power structures. Our faculty continue to win prestigious awards both domestically and internationally and to tackle research that illuminates our place in the world and opens new pathways for understanding who we may aspire to be, personally and collectively. I’d like to draw attention to our new Class Notes section, which highlights Humanities alumni in various professions. These talented professionals and creatives prove what we’ve known to be true for decades—there is no limit to what our majors can do. You will also see a few impact statements regarding Humanities Associates, our annual giving society. Humanities Associates is an incredibly important tool for rewarding and retaining our brightest faculty and students. These unrestricted funds allow us to move nimbly in our programming, and to ensure our competitive edge. I invite you to consider the type of impact your support would have on our school. To learn more, please visit: HumanitiesAssociates As we move forward into 2018, the UCI School of Humanities will continue to forge new paths while honoring worthy traditions. My heartfelt thanks to our extended Humanities family—our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters—who continuously carry the torch of the humanities in their day-to-day lives, thus brightening the world wherever they go. I look forward to continuing to serve the school as dean through the end of the school year, and in my role as professor thereafter. Wishing you all the best in the New Year,

Georges Van Den Abbeele Dean, School of Humanities

"Humanities Associates has enabled me to focus my energy on my studies and on being actively engaged across UCI and the local community." - Aya Labanieh, triple-major in comparative literature, French and philosophy



Programmatic Innovation

Undergraduate student awards

Graduate student awards

gain momentum across campus, with 50 students

$41,700 $104,250 Awarded to undergraduate students

Awarded to graduate students




First-generation college students

From low-income families

The Gateway

Our minor in medical humanities continues to within and outside of the Humanities enrolled

In 2016-17, we admitted six students to the Art History 4+1 joint B.A./M.A. program

Our 4+1 joint B.A./M.A. in Asian American studies admitted its first cohort in Fall 2017


67% Identify as American Indian/Alaskan native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black or Hispanic


The Humanities Office of Graduate Study launched "The Gateway," an online portal for both alumni and current graduate students. As a product of the National Endowment for the Humanities' “Next Generation Humanities Ph.D.” grant, The Gateway provides a variety of resources and connections for our graduate-student community, including alumni stories, helpful articles and insights written by alumni and graduate students, and career advice. Learn more here: UCIGateway

Nick Brady, Ph.D. candidate in culture and theory, was awarded the Frederick Douglass Institute Fellowship at the University of Rochester.

UCI does most for American dream

Olivia Humphrey, Ph.D. candidate in history, applied her skills as a historian, along with her interest in publicly accessible scholarship, to establish the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel.

For the second year in a row, UCI is ranked #1 on The New York Times’ College Access Index, recognizing the U.S. universities “doing the most for the American dream.” The ranking answers a vitally important question: Which of America’s colleges and universities provide the best access, opportunities and outcomes for low- and middle-income students.

Araceli Calderón, Ph.D. candidate in Spanish and Portuguese, was selected as a 2017-18 PAGE Fellow. Kyle David, Ph.D. candidate in history, was awarded a Luce/ ACLS grant and a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for dissertation research.

Dana Murphy, Ph.D. candidate in English, was awarded the John Hope Franklin Dissertation Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society. 5

The critically examined life: Ph.D. candidate Linette Park tackles history of racial violence and its impact today By Annabel Adams There is a persistent myth that critical theory and culture and theory disciplines are abstract and stuck in the past. Linette Park, UCI Ph.D. candidate in culture and theory with an emphasis in critical theory, challenges that depiction. Taking an untraditional path to academia, Park began her academic training at UCLA, where she earned a B.A. in studio art. Thereafter, she spent six years engaged in various kinds of community work, from arts education to political organizing. Feeling the need to further her intellectual understanding of how visual arts, critical theory and political practice converge, she went on to earn an M.A. in critical studies from the Aesthetics and Politics Program at the California Institute of the Arts. Now in her fourth year at UCI, Park believes she’s building a strong foundation from which to educate future generations of students on how critical theories provide a necessary language from which to confront and challenge injustices in the world. 6

UCI’s Ph.D. Program in Culture and Theory provides students with the interdisciplinary training to approach race, gender and sexuality—as social and cultural constructs and within the historical and developing structures that buttress and bind them—with a discerning point of view. The goal of this critical approach is to empower and enable positive societal change. First available to students in 2007, the program was constituted by several interdisciplinary units, including African American Studies and Asian American Studies, and works integrally with UCI’s Critical Theory Emphasis. Park’s research centers on imprisonment, formations of violence and visual representations of violence. Her art background proves useful. “I’m looking at multiple formations of violence and, for me, this poses an aesthetic question because I’m not only looking at the ways in which violence is and can be represented, but I’m also looking at those relations that underlie these formations in their material and historical appearances.” She gives

the example of analyzing Steve McQueen’s film, “Hunger” (2008), which depicted the 1981 Irish hunger strike. “McQueen uses both visual and sonic aesthetics to try and capture the gratuitous violence within the paradigm of imprisonment that I focus my research on,” Park explains. Thanks to the Michael and Stacey Koehn Endowed Fellowship in Critical Theory, Park recently had the opportunity to participate in the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University, a six-week intensive summer institute bringing together some of the most preeminent critical theorists with graduate students across the globe. There, Park studied with Carolyn Rouse, a professor of African American studies and anthropology at Princeton University, attended seminars and colloquia, presented a part of her dissertation for the first time, connected with scholars, and spent time at the Cornell Law Library where she began research on her next project: California Penal Code 405A and 405B. “Experiences like attending Cornell’s summer institute allow graduate students to go beyond their home institutions and realize the potential intellectual work and practice that critical theory can effect within the academe and beyond it,” she said. Park’s research on California Penal Code 405A and 405B examines how this code has been used over time, and how its current iteration has been used to arrest both Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter protesters, for example. Prior to 2015, when Governor Jerry Brown amended the law, the code was originally referenced as the "SelfLynching" or "Felony Lynching" code. While the use of “Lynching” dates back to the Revolutionary War, it became more prominent in the Jim Crow south when whites would hang and kill Blacks. “When we look at extra-legal violence or policing practices today, what we see is actually a continuation of the violent and horror formations of racial slavery that have yet to go away. We see this in both the political and libidinal economies that drive the expansion of prisons versus schools. We see this in the way that prisoners are going to extremes, such as hunger strikes, to contest the most inhumane conditions of imprisonment. It is also evident in visual culture, such as film and poetry, even in the ways that there’s a limitation in the visual, that

suggests that it cannot speak to this kind of gratuitous and incredible violence,” said Park. To an uninitiated eye, Park’s work may seem theoretical; but this type of work is filled with political responsibilities. Park frequently references the impact Frank Wilderson, UCI professor and director of the Ph.D. Program in Culture & Theory, and Jared Sexton, associate professor of African American studies, have had on her development as a scholar and citizen. “Through the critical Black studies lens that Wilderson and Sexton use to approach cultural studies, I see not only how to map out what a text is saying—the written word as well as cultural productions— but also what the text is not saying or cannot say. What is it that’s right in front of us that we choose to look away from? The professors I’m working with have an undergirding activist practice, throughout their tenure as graduate students and ongoing as professors. For me, that shapes a kind of model in terms of potentially having a practice-driven research focus.” Several alumni of the program have gone on to effect change in their communities via and outside of academia. For example, recent alumna of the program Patrice Douglass ’16, is now a tenure-track assistant professor for the Justice, Community, and Leadership Program at St. Mary's College. Upon graduation, Park has set her sights on teaching. “I think critical theory shows that there’s not a singular language that applies to the ways in which we’re thinking about relationships of power or notions of difference and so for me, it not only encourages a kind of breadth or critical method into the research, it’s also informing my notions of difference.” For more information on UCI’s Culture and Theory Ph.D., visit: For more information on Critical Theory at UCI, including the Critical Theory Emphasis, visit:


Undergraduate and graduate students find roots in Iran and Orange County with support from the UCI Jordan Center By Danielle McElroy When Hamid Kashani immigrated to Louisiana from Tehran, Iran, in 1965 he would unwittingly inspire his daughter Deanna Kashani to make uncovering her roots both a passion and academic pursuit. A family filled with writers, filmmakers, and visual artists, the Kashanis have a legacy of uniting the aesthetics and history of their culture to create beautiful work. Now a Ph.D. candidate in visual studies at the University of California, Irvine, Deanna Kashani is bringing her family and cultural inspirations full circle. Her dissertation, “Beyond the Framed Image: Contemporary Iranian Art from Production to Exhibition,” is the first comprehensive study of contemporary Iranian art exhibition structures inside Iran in English. "I think art history can provide students with a wonderful way to understand Iranian history through material culture,” said Kashani. “I am constantly in awe of the rich cultural and artistic traditions upon which Iranian artists of 8

today draw.” Kashani is a UCI Anteater who has expanded the reach of Iranian art and inspires other students to merge their international identities, with the help of UCI’s Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture. Since 2009, the Jordan Center has served as UCI and the local community’s hub for collaborative scholarship, workshops and events related to the study of the Iranian and Persianate landscape. The center enables students like Kashani to engage and collaborate with local and international scholars from Orange County to Tehran, to access resources to further their research, and to find a community of support. Kashani has received funding from both the Jordan Center and Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute to focus on completing her dissertation. “The Jordan Center funded much of my dissertation research in Iran and provided the resources to bring my

research to life in Irvine by enabling me to invite artists to campus for talks and art exhibitions,” said Kashani. Kashani and Ph.D. candidate in history Soodabeh Malekzadeh are the center’s first Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellows. Founded in 2000 by Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, Ph.D., Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is a private foundation that promotes the preservation, transmission and instruction of Persian language and culture. The Institute has provided grants and established numerous endowments at some of the most prestigious universities in the United States - including UCI - and abroad, to support and expand Persian Studies programs, faculty positions, and academic programming activities. Dr. Mir-Djalali is also recognized for her pioneering efforts in nurturing the next generation of Persian studies specialists. Under her leadership, the Institute has awarded hundreds of Fellowships and Scholarships for Excellence in Persian Studies for innovative research, publications, digitalization, translations, doctoral dissertations and other scholarly activities. With Director and historian Touraj Daryaee at the helm, the Jordan Center began a new role as a publication house earlier this year, with a series including books, music and poetry. Recently, the center published two volumes of poetry from the 1970’s, originally read by the author, Ahmad Shamlou, at the Iran-America Society. The art went missing 35 years ago, but members of the center were able to resurrect and republish the works. Additionally, the latest edition of the center’s online peer-reviewed journal, Dabir, boasted international scholarship from Tajikistan, Italy, New York, London, Bologna, and Berlin. In the 2016-17 academic year, the Jordan Center hosted 35 public events, including the Mehregan Conference. In partnership with the Farhang Foundation, the goal of this conference was to provide motivating and relatable examples of spirituality in literature and the powerful voices of women authors.

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, Ph.D., founder of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute

majoring in religious studies, found encouragement from the center’s events and programs to pursue a minor in Persian studies. “I began to keep up with the Jordan Center’s events and was very excited to see that the theme of this year’s Mehregan Conference was Persian poetry and literature. My parents are ethnically Iranian and although they were raised in America, they exposed me early on to Persian literature and history, just as their parents had, so that I would not lose a connection with my heritage,” she said. This generational effect is a part of the inspiring programs at UCI, encompassing all historical empires of the Iranian landscape. The center is also focused on illuminating the minds of the children in the Orange County community. Classes on Persian painting and history are currently being held every Sunday at the center. While each student’s story is unique, their messages are universal. Kashani, Malekzadeh and Taghiei are continuing their family legacies by discovering new landscapes for the art, literature, and history of their culture. The art and history an individual is exposed to is pinnacle to the thesis of their lives. These students are creating the content themselves with the help of the Jordan Center along the way. For more information on the UCI Jordan Center, visit: Pictured on the left: Deanna Kashani and Soodabeh Malekzadeh

It is events like these that give UCI students the opportunity to connect with an international community of scholars, writers and artists. Atiyeh Taghiei, a junior 9

"Humanities Associates allows us to reward and retain our brightest faculty." - Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele

OUR FACULTY Funding Spotlight


Books published '16-'17 school year


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies granted the school $300,000 to support a new faculty position in Buddhist studies to be housed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures in cooperation with the Program in Religious Studies.

Innovation Spotlight

News features '16-'17 school year

Jonathan Alexander (English), Jim Herbert (Art History) and Julia Lupton (English) designed a 3-day Communications Bootcamp in the summer for UCI students. 23 students underwent the project-based MBA model on how design and communications strategies can spark action.

AWARD SPOTLIGHTS Aglaya Glebova, assistant professor of art history, visual studies and film and media studies, received a highly competitive BERLIN PRIZE from the American Academy in Berlin. The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from America who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields.

Jane O. Newman, professor of comparative literature, was elected to the NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES. The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of comparative literature and English, received an honorary degree from YALE UNIVERSITY. Bestowed by Yale President Peter Salovey, the honorary degree celebrates those with distinction in their respective fields. Ngugi was one of eight recipients, including Marin Alsop, Jessie Little Doe Baird, Cornelia Bargmann, Irwin Jacobs, John Kerry, John R. Lewis, and Stevie Wonder.

2016-2017 HIGHLIGHTS In 2017, the ENGLISH INSTITUTE held its 76th meeting at UCI, which was its first time at a public institution and on the west coast. Since its founding, the English Institute has been a major resource for developments in criticism, theory, and interdisciplinary scholarship. The Irvine meeting, on the topic of “Scale,” with 200 attendees from across the country ranging from undergraduates to senior professors, featured seven wide-ranging talks by noted scholars and lively, engaged discussion. Luis Avilés, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, received the SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES TEACHING AWARD, an annual award given to exceptional School of Humanities faculty. As part of the campus-wide 2017 Celebration of Teaching Awards, Emily Baum (pictured left), assistant professor of history, received the DEAN’S HONOREE FOR EXCELLENCE IN UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING award and Maryse Mijalski, lecturer in the Department of European Languages and Studies, was one of two lecturers across campus to receive LECTURER OF THE YEAR. John H. Smith, professor of German, received a NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER FELLOWSHIP to complete his book, How Infinity Came to Be at Home in the World: Metaphors and Paradoxes of Mathematics in Modern German Thought, 1675-1830. 11

Creating global citizens: reflections on Dean Van Den Abbeele's meaningful impact on the UCI Humanities By Annabel Adams Georges Van Den Abbeele is a tireless advocate for the humanities’ ability to create global citizens—people in the world who are emotionally intelligent, culturally fluent, and active in creating connections and solutions that bridge borders and differences. As dean of the UCI Humanities, he has been dedicated to increasing curricular and extracurricular opportunities for students that grow their citizen-of-the-world mindset. With fluency in six languages and a heavily stamped passport, Van Den Abbeele’s own global citizenship is a product of his disciplinary focus— the humanities, yes—but also of his upbringing. At age three, Van Den Abbeele moved with his ethnically Flemish but French-speaking parents from Antwerp, Belgium to Calgary, Canada. As a child, he was a voracious reader who fed his hunger for knowledge with a steady diet of his architect father’s discarded blue prints, secondhand books from his mother and public access TV, which he used to learn English. Blue prints provided him with a spatial and visual education that would become a passion. And his grade school—filled with students just like him, transplants from immigrant families from around the globe—fueled his empathy and desire to understand and connect with other cultures.


After losing his job, Van Den Abbeele’s father moved the family to Denver, Colorado where Van Den Abbeele spent his adolescence. A college brochure would inspire him to attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He was the first generation in his family to attend a four-year university. Just a year into his studies, he would be drafted to serve in Vietnam. As serendipity would have it, the Paris Peace Accords was signed the day before he was to report for duty. Taking advantage of his civilian standing and time off from school, Van Den Abbeele spent a year traveling and working in Europe. There, he connected with his extended family and learned about the artists, poets and writers who make up his family tree (all the way back to the Roman historian, Sallust, by way of the Venetian dukes of Naxos and the Archipelago). His grandfather, who had set aside his passion for writing in favor of running a failed stationery business, inspired Van Den Abbeele to pursue his passion. When he returned to Reed College, Van Den Abbeele declared French as his major with a minor in classics. Van Den Abbeele earned a Ph.D. in romance studies from Cornell University where he blended his passion for travel,

art and language by studying travel narratives, fables, Renaissance literature, and critical theory. He was hired right out of graduate school by UC Santa Cruz as a visiting professor, though he would eventually lead the French program there before becoming dean. Before joining UCI, he held leadership positions at UC Davis and Northeastern University, where he was the founding dean of the College of Social Sciences & Humanities. As dean of the UCI School of Humanities, Van Den Abbeele has been both an innovator and supporter, building a strong foundation for the core humanities and leading and fostering the launch of several interdisciplinary and cross-cultural initiatives, including the Medical Humanities Initiative, Illuminations, and the Spanishlanguage-immersion student residence, La Casa Nuestra. Ensuring that students have permanent access to international perspectives, history and culture, Van Den Abbeele worked to secure several endowed faculty positions in Armenian, Jain, Buddhist, and Persian studies. African American studies went from a longstanding program to official department designation. “Georges has had a vision to make the UCI Humanities a cultural and international hub that bridges the university and the community,” said Touraj Daryaee, UCI historian and director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture. “When I look around, I see that vision has come to life in the form of new programs, academic offerings and centers in Middle Eastern studies, Armenian studies, Jewish studies, critical Korean studies, and Persian studies.” To increase faculty and graduate student research funding, collaboration and engagement with the public, Van Den Abbeele established the Humanities Commons, which serves as a centralized resource for UCI Humanities faculty and graduate students to secure funding for their research and initiatives. “Georges made supporting faculty research and building a vibrant culture of research exchange a priority of his deanship. We now have a growing suite of research clusters and research centers, which reflect the dynamic ideas of our colleagues and graduate students and intersect with other programs across the campus and in the region,” said Julia Reinhard Lupton, UCI associate dean for humanities research and director of the Commons. “Our growth in funding for faculty research is a direct result of Georges’ vision.”

Creating opportunities for UCI students, staff and faculty to discuss and address timely and meaningful political issues, Van Den Abbeele launched and supported forums and lectures that brought community leaders, politicians and thought leaders to campus. “Georges has been an active supporter of the Forum for the Academy and the Public, an exciting venture directed by Amy Wilentz that holds lively events that engage with major issues of the day,” said Jeff Wasserstrom, UCI Chancellor’s Professor of history and co-founder of the Forum. “From small-scale panels to large-scale workshops, the Forum has made use of local talent in many fields and brought exciting visitors to campus ranging from political cartoonists to acclaimed novelists and prize-winning journalists. The role Georges has played in backing these activities, and others that strive to break down the walls between varied areas of expertise, has been crucial and is deeply appreciated.” Giving UCI students the same spatial and visual education that fed his imagination and soul as a child, Van Den Abbeele led the acquisition of more than $5 million worth of historical maps, botanical illustrations, watercolors and prints from New York gallery owner Graham Arader and other donors. On display in the school and incorporated into art history, comparative literature and Humanities Core curriculum, the art provides students with access to the past through the very works of paper that guided statesmen, diplomats, and educators in earlier periods. “As a younger university, UCI lacks the holdings of more historic institutions. It is important that UCI acquire resources in this area and act as a 'teaching museum' for our majority first-generation students. Art plays an important role in students’ ability to see literally how past representations of the world have shaped our current perceptions,” Van Den Abbeele said. He also teaches a freshman-level course in this area, "Picturing the World." While he reflects on his time as dean, Van Den Abbeele is quick to shift gears to the future. “It is vital that the School of Humanities continues to grow within the university—in resources, funding, faculty, students and staff—and that its extraordinary successes in innovative, highly-ranked programming and initiatives, alumni and academic prestige—in short, SOH's historic and ongoing centrality in the development of the Irvine campus—continue to be supported within and outside the university.” A new dean of the UCI School of Humanities is expected June 2018. 13

Found in translation: Daniel M. Gross & the art of listening Daniel M. Gross, professor of English and director of composition at the University of California, Irvine, was living in an optimistic Californian bubble until he discovered a different kind of emotional terrain. During his adolescence, he was fascinated by Berlin painters Gerhard Richter and Rainer Fetting, and devoured literature by Claude Brown and James Carr. As Gross says, this sparked “a deep conviction about the variability of emotional life, not just from person to person, but from environment to environment.” The result is his recent book Uncomfortable Situations: Emotion between Science and the Humanities. Professor Gross is the ideal example of a teacher who challenges his audience with personal questions, connecting the inner monologues of his students to the outside world. Now, he’s tackling the other side of language – listening. Danielle McElroy: In your book Uncomfortable Situations you reference Darwin and the limits of the sciences for providing means of understanding human emotion. Do you still feel this is the case? 14

Daniel Gross: I am more convinced than ever that this is an important project for people to work on, and I'm thinking of it in the following ways. Let's take rhetoric, my home discipline in the humanities, as a kind of field guide to human environments. That gives us in the humanities something to share with folks who work in the social and natural sciences – we all share research interests in "human environments" – what they are, and how they can be lived. To give you an example from my work in emotion studies, the natural sciences, biology, cognitive psychology talk about basic emotions – joy or happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust – and the way that those emotions are understood in biological terms connecting us to our ancient ancestors. From this perspective, the relevant "human environment" is something that we share with our ancient ancestors who had similar brains, going back to the Pleistocene 10,000+ years ago. So fear is understood as a response, let's say to a coiled snake, disgust to a food that is bad for us or poisonous, and joy, let's say to honey, something that tastes good and is highly caloric. That must be right in some basic way, but you'll

see they leave off the list of basic emotions something like love, or jealousy, which seems counterintuitive to anyone, and especially for people working in humanities where we have spent so much time writing about and thinking about love, including romantic love. What do we all do with that? How do we understand the human environment if it only, in serious scientific terms, treats a biological environment where survival and adaptation are the factors that produce basic emotions? How do we think about something like romantic love, or jealousy, in a way that takes seriously in this case a human environment that isn't reducible to procreation strategies? It turns out Darwin was really sophisticated in this way. DM: When will your book The Art of Listening be released and what can your readers expect? DG: Four and a half out of five chapters are written. The connection here to my fundamental research interest is what we call in rhetoric “being moved.” There’s a lot of academic work going back millennia on how things are done from the perspective of the agent in rhetoric, the art of speaking well, writing well, affecting, moving, persuading others. There is also a kind of subterranean history of being moved, and emotion is clearly relevant. Namely, what are the mechanisms by which people are moved? That's the whole emotion studies project. It's also the art of listening project because these are questions about susceptibility, about learning, changing one's mind, vulnerability, the ability to become someone else – issues that are undertheorized in the humanities. The place where there has been work is around “sacred rhetoric.” So, listening to the Word of God, susceptibility and openness to logos, the “word,” is a deep part of religious traditions. Judeo-Christian, and otherwise – religious traditions are always going to be about subsuming oneself to God’s law, to the will of the gods – there are different ways of thinking about it but it's always from the perspective of susceptibility and making oneself vulnerable, open to transformation. One dramatic form would be Born-Again Christianity, for example – a radical renewing of one’s life, one’s nature: second nature. All of the senses are renewed: taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing. But there are these other moments, let’s say the psychoanalyst is supposed to be a good listener. The art of listening is distributed into popular culture in certain ways. The pop-psychology

of “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” has some of that, so it comes out in these reduced forms, but there’s this wonderful story to be told about arts of listening and ways of being moved that I think we could do through the literary humanities, including through rhetoric. That's the project, to focus on what it is to listen differently. The work in Exodus on Moses as a kind of vulnerable character is part of that story; the "Parable of the Sower;" Psalm 5; and Augustine on sacred rhetoric – these are some of the building blocks for the story, which dissipate in contemporary secular history, without disappearing. I'm doing a kind of archaeological project to rediscover what some of that long history is, and the way in which we are still shaped by it. DM: I am a student in your class, “The Art of Listening." Do your students reaffirm things you have learned about the field, do they ever bring up inspiration? Do they ever change what you might want to put in your book? DG: Absolutely. That’s part of the joy of teaching – it’s really productive for research as well because you just can’t think the same way by yourself. Our class the other day on dactylic tetrameter, right, which runs in this case from the Iliad to Public Enemy, only really became meaningful to me hearing it in class. So there’s a way in which the vocalization and the sound with other people, hearing together, is essential to the experience. One of the students asked "did Chuck D. know he was working in a heroic meter?" In a way, it doesn't matter; it is manifest as a heroic meter but what does that mean? It’s something that’s felt and heard, and it has to be in public, right? Hearing is, amongst other things, not just a personal experience, it's not something that just happens by way of the physiology of the ear. Sacred rhetoricians and preachers in the 17th century were deeply aware of this. There was an injunction in treatises on arts of listening, not just to stay at home and read the Bible, but also to go to church, because the “public ear,” as it was put at the time, hears distinctly. In certain cases, you have to hear with others. Every time I go to class, I come out different. Extended interview: Danielle McElroy is a UCI English major, writer & photographer Illustration by Shannon Downer, UCI English major 15

"It’s been amazing to share my research with people who had never been interested in Antarctic history and watch them come away with a whole new appreciation. I am very grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation and private donors for this opportunity." - Daniella McCahey, Ph.D. candidate in history and Humanities Out There Public Fellow at the Bowers Museum

OUR COMMUNITY The UCI School of Humanities is a bridge between disciplines as well as between the university and the community at large. Through the public humanities, we learn about where we came from, who our community is, and how we might best go into the future together.

The UCI Shakespeare Center


Through performance, research and teaching across the university and

Community events '16-17 school year

$4.08 M Philanthropic support '16-17 fiscal year

Humanities Associates Humanities Associates serves as our community-driven annual giving society for the School of Humanities. Funding supports promising undergraduate and graduate students through merit awards, talented faculty through annual awards, innovative programming, and more. Membership is just $1,000 a year. Learn more here: HumanitiesAssociates

community, the UCI Shakespeare Center builds spaces to discover and reimagine what it means to be human today. In April 2017, UCI hosted 250 students from Segerstrom High School for Shakespeare Day. In January, the Kirk Davis, Jr. Public Lecture featured William Germano on Shakespeare and Opera, with performances by UCI voice students.

Humanities Out There Public Fellows Nine doctoral students participated this summer in UCI’s Humanities Out There Public Fellows Program, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and private donors. The fellowships are designed to increase public access to the humanities through community internships like McCahey’s (pictured left), while introducing humanities scholars to careers outside of tenure-track teaching.

Forum for the Academy & the Public The Forum for the Academy and the Public held its annual symposium with the theme, "The Future of the Truth." Topics ranged from fiction and memoir to data journalism, and the need for filters, editors, and media literacy. Next year, on February 9 and 10, the Forum will host "Who Do We Think We Are? American Identity in the 21st Century" with author Jill Lepore as keynote.

UCI Humanities Commons explores the scope of human experience by supporting faculty and graduate student scholarship, engaging in collaborative projects, and providing opportunities for campus-public partnerships. The Commons provides administrative support for the Humanities' ten centers and eight research clusters.

Event Highlights

$890k Extramural grants to the UCI School of Humanities


10 Partner schools & institutions

Extramural grants to faculty Learn more about Humanities Commons by visiting:

In March 2017, UCI M.F.A. alumni Andrew Tonkovich and Lisa Alvarez published the anthology, Orange County: A Literary Field Guide. The community celebrated the book launch with featured guest readers including Steve Wasserman, new director of Heyday, and contributors Mitsuye Yamada, Lorene DelanyUlman and Grant Hier. "Documenting War" was a year-long research center for cross-disciplinary, intensive study of how war is represented, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which included a public art exhibition. 17

Alumna Lauren Kerner '17 takes passion for Jewish history and culture out into community By Annabel Adams It was a Sunday night when University of California, Irvine alumna Lauren Kerner ’17 walked across the graduation platform; the next morning she was on a flight to Tel Aviv, taking 40 UC Santa Barbara students to Israel.

connection to Judaism comes out of gratitude for what the community has given me and me feeling this natural need to both pursue my own depth of education and also give back to the community,” said Kerner.

Kerner’s first job out of college is an important one. As Santa Barbara Hillel’s IACT Israel Engagement Coordinator, she is tasked with taking local university students, community members and leaders on educational trips to Israel, developing relationships with the community, managing donor relationships for Hillel, and serving as a resource to the Santa Barbara community on issues related to Jewish life and culture.

While at UCI, Kerner decided to take a course on the history of anti-Semitism taught by Matthias Lehmann, Teller Family Chair in Jewish History, and director of UCI’s recently established Center for Jewish Studies. The course would have a lasting impact on her and cement her desire to deepen her understanding and appreciation of Jewish history and culture, expanding on it from a personal level to a scholarly and empathetic one. As a history major, Kerner added a minor in Jewish studies and chose to focus her senior thesis, as part of the Humanities Honors Program, on sacred spaces in Jerusalem.

Raised in Orange County in the Jewish faith, it was tragedy that deepened Kerner’s commitment to her community. At fourteen, her younger brother passed away and her family went through Shiva, a weeklong mourning period in Judaism. “I think that experience really had a lot to do with inspiring me to give back further down the line. My 18

While a student, she took Hebrew, interned at the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County, and interned abroad in Tel Aviv through Onward Israel at YaLa

Young Leaders, the largest and fastest-growing peace organization in the Middle East under the leadership of Uri Savir, the chief negotiator of the Oslo Accords. It was her internship in Tel Aviv that inspired her to make “compassionate scholarship”—that is scholarship with the goal of giving a platform to marginalized voices in political conflicts—her focus. She often references two people she met in Tel Aviv, Manar, a young mother from Ramallah, and Ahmed, a young architecture student from Gaza. “They were committed to sharing their hopes for the region, their personal stories, and their dedication to peace,” she said. “There is power in giving a voice to marginalized communities.” Kerner was back on campus recently to celebrate the launch of the UCI Center for Jewish Studies. The center aims to build on the strengths of UCI’s Jewish Studies Program, which includes an undergraduate minor and public events, and leverage faculty expertise in Jewish studies and culture from several units across the university. Led by Lehmann, a steering committee of cross-disciplinary UCI faculty and an advisory board of community members, the center’s mission is to serve as the hub for the interdisciplinary and comparative study of Jewish and Israeli culture and society at UCI and in Orange County; to engage the wider community through public programs and lectures; to support cutting-edge research and to inspire undergraduate scholarship in Jewish and Israel studies; and to promote tolerance and appreciation of cultural and religious pluralism on the UCI campus. To a room filled with the supporters and donors who first made Jewish studies at UCI a possibility, including Bob Teller and his family, Kerner said, “It is because of the generosity of many people within the Orange County and local Jewish community that we're able to launch an ambitious center for meaningful and compassionate scholarship focused on the Jewish experience and Jewish history. Seeing everyone here—I think this support really speaks to the impact this program has and the impact it will continue to have now as a center. I'm really proud of this program, grateful to be an alumna and thankful to everyone who has made Jewish studies at UCI what it is and what it will become.”

UCI Center for Jewish Studies steering committee

With support from the community, the UCI Center for Jewish Studies is poised to make an even greater impact on UCI students like Kerner. “At UCI, we already teach hundreds of students each year in a wide range of classes on Jewish history and culture,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the School of Humanities. “A center allows us to more fully leverage and publicize the university’s faculty expertise in the wealth of Jewish studies scholarship, connect more students to the resources we have now and will continue to build, and invite further interschool and interdisciplinary partnership both at UCI and internationally.” The center has launched a graduate-student essay competition, travel and research grants for graduate students, and a stunning line-up of public events. To students who are considering minoring in Jewish studies, Kerner says, “Jewish studies at UCI is an amazing laboratory for the things that you’re learning because there’s a lot of contemporary issues that affect the Jewish community that happen on this campus. I think it creates a really unique experience for students, no matter what their background is.” While Kerner loves her current position at Hillel in Santa Barbara, she is eager to get back to work as a compassionate scholar. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Middle East or Jewish studies. For more information on the UCI Center for Jewish Studies, visit 19

CLASS NOTES Paul Carr '72 History

Alumnus Paul Carr will be quick to tell you that sometimes life gives you a window of opportunity and you have the choice to jump through it, or risk it closing forever. That window opened for Carr early in his retail career and he jumped right through it. He got his start at Wild West Stores in Orange County, where he rose through the ranks from assistant store manager to buyer and finally to vice president and merchandise manager within the company, growing the business from a single store to twenty-two. He sold the business to multinational manufacturer General Mills in 1981. Branching off on his own, Carr established C & C Companies. Under this umbrella, he began apparel manufacturing as a licensee for the surf brand Gotcha, acquired Rusty Surf Boards Apparel and Redsand Apparel licenses, and acquired Sanuk Sandals, which he sold along with C & C to Deckers Outdoor (known for Ugg Boots). Currently, he serves as CEO and partner of L-Space America LTD, a women’s contemporary swimwear brand located in Irvine, Calif.

T. Jefferson Parker '76 English

A prolific mystery and crime novelist who tackles real-world issues, T. Jefferson Parker wrote his first novel, Laguna Heat, on evenings and weekends while he worked as a reporter. Since then, the New York Times bestselling author has published 23 novels to rave reviews. Only three authors have won the top prize for mystery writing, the Edgar Award, for best novel more than once; Parker has won it twice. One of his novels was adapted into an HBO movie and another has been purchased by Lionsgate to bring to the big screen. Set in San Diego County, Parker's latest novel, The Room of White Fire (2017), centers on a private investigator hired to locate an Air Force veteran who escaped from a mental health facility.

Tracy Keys '89

Comparative Literature Tracy Keys currently serves as executive director of the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation. In 1996, she was the organization's first employee. Prior to this role, Keys held the position of membership director at Newport Harbor Art Museum, now the Orange County Museum of Art. As executive director, Keys manages all aspects of the Library Foundation: programming, development and fundraising, public relations and administration. Keys lives with her husband in Laguna Beach, Calif. 20

Did you know? 5 Alumni facts


Taryn Rose '89 (B.A. philosophy) is an orthopedic surgeon and shoe designer whose eponymous shoe collection is available online.


David Benioff '99 (M.F.A. in fiction) is co-creator of HBO's "Game of Thrones," which has won 38 Emmys.

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Former "Survivor" winner Aras Baskauskas '02 (B.A. philosophy) launched a new clothing line with his wife called Christy Dawn.

Joslyn Davis '05 (B.A. English, minor in Spanish) is a YouTube star who has hosted and reported for the "Project Runway" website, "Designing Spaces: Think Green" on HGTV,, California Adventure TV and on Australia's top national morning show, Sunrise. Roxy Shih '10 (B.A. film and media studies) was the festival director for the first annual Taiwanese American Film Festival. She recently had her directorial debut of "The Tribe," acquired by Empress Road Pictures.

Mona Baset '93 English

Mona Baset took a leap of faith in 2003, moving from Orange County, Calif. to Charlotte, North Carolina to work at Bank of America where she spent nine years in various communications, marketing and relationship management roles. Now at Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the largest public, notfor-profit healthcare systems in the nation, Baset serves as assistant vice president of information and analytics services. In this role, she leads consumer and patient engagement strategy, and the technologies that help enable those experiences. She credits her humanities education for her ability to adapt to change and build relationships.

Kendra Bean '06

Film & Media Studies Kendra Bean is an author, historian, and museum curator. Her most recent book, Ava: A Life in Movies (Running Press, 2017) is a lavishly illustrated biography that takes readers on the exciting journey of a life lived to the fullest and through four decades of film history with iconic star Ava Gardner. Bean combines her passion for film studies and museum studies by lecturing at museums on topics such as "Vivien Leigh: Stardom and Screen Image," and "How the Glamour Shot Changed Hollywood" (Walt Disney Family Museum). She also runs the Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier fan site, When she is not writing or discussing iconic film stars, she serves as the collections assistant at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, England.

Nasir Malim '13

African American Studies Frustrated at an early age with inequitable healthcare and lack of doctors' knowledge about the intersection between social conditions and medicine, Nasir Malim knew he’d pursue medicine in college. After graduating from UCI with a degree in African American studies and minor in biological sciences, he pursued an M.P.H. at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Now a third-year medical student at TouroCOM-Middletown in New York, Malim recently participated in the University of Chicago’s Islamic Bioethics summer internship where he examined the bioethical concerns of the medical treatment of intersex patients from the lens of Islamic theology, philosophy, and legal thought. Upon completing his studies, Malim hopes to practice both clinical and academic medicine.

Robert Nealy ’68 (B.A. history) was honored posthumously with the UCI Alumni Association's 2017 “Distinguished Alumni” award during its annual Lauds & Laurels event. The Distinguished Alumni award recognizes UCI alumni whose personal or professional achievements bring honor and distinction to a particular school or discipline, UCI and/or the UCI Alumni Association. Nealy was an innovator who transformed the surf leash. At UCI, he was one of the first two student athletes to earn All-American honors, sharing that distinction with Pat Glasgow in water polo in 1965, the inaugural year of the University.

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DONOR HONOR ROLL This list represents generous gifts made between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 at $500 and above. Anonymous

Bijan and Paricher Farhad

Peggy and Alexei Maradudin

ADK Bancorp Inc

Farhang Foundation

Marc Sanders Foundation

Richard D. Alexander

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

Vahe and Armine Meghrouni

American Cncl of Learned Societies

The J. Paul Getty Trust

Viken and Arpi Melkonian

Artistic Dental

William Joseph Gillespie

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Association for Asian Studies, Inc.

William and Jinx Hansen

Azin Meshkinpour and Farjad Sarafian

Azin Meshkinpour

Roland Ho

Kendra Mirasol

Charles and Peggy Barsam

Elma and Seboo Hovanessian

Kris Mirzayan and Pamela Ascher Mirzayan

George and Linda Bauer

The Huntington

Jasvant and Meera Modi

Paul Beck and Huong Thi Thu Duong

IBM International Foundation

Hassan Movahedi and Marjohn

Patrick Seaver and Sonja Berggren

David Israelsky and Jan Zahn


Luci Berkowitz

Jain Center of Southern California

Nguoi Viet News, Inc.

The Boeing Company

Mehdi Jalili and Sevin Ataie

Bich-Lien and Than V. Nguyen

Joan and Clayton Brandt

Frank and Catherine Jao and the Jao

Thao Hoang and Kyra Trang Nguyen

Michele Mitsui Brewster


Thai-Van X. Nguyen and Nicholas Ta

Justin McCrary and Emily Bruce

Audrey Beth Kavka

OCVA Foundation

Nicholas P. Bruno

Jack Kayajanian

O.C. Armenian Professional Society

Lewis Cabrera

Assad and Feri Kazeminy

Noubar and Tracy Ouzounian

California Pain Center

Tracy and Christopher Keys

Lorne and Ilona Parker

Paul Carr

Iraj Khalkhali

Pension Kinetics, Inc.

Chuck Truc Le

Knights of Vartan Inc.

Persian Culture & Studies Foundation

Houshang and Yassaman Dadgostar

Fred and Diana Kong

Pho Saigon Pearl

Thomas Dao

Korea Foundation

Scott Pollard

Kirk and Norabell Davis, Jr.

David Kuehn and Laura Gottesman

Postigo Property Management LLC

The Honorable Andrew H. Do

Jason Bok Lee

Pricon Inc.

Trung Kien Doan

Jeffery M. Leving

Charles and Ann Quilter

Jeanne Marie Doig

The Henry Luce Foundation

Careese Raquel Quon

Paul DuNard, Jr.

Julia R. Lupton and Kenneth M.

Ali C. Razi

Albert and Anne Encinias


Frank and Rosalind Reinhard Foundation

Bahman and Niloofar Fakhimi

Napoleon Almodal Lustre

Schwab Charitable Fund

Ghobad and Mehrangiz Fakhimi

Victor Mankovsky

Semnani Family Foundation


Khosrow and Ghazaleh Semnani

Arek and Hanriette Tatevossian

Van Huy Vu

Bindesh and Sejal Shah

TDP Trading Inc.

Mary Watson-Bruce

Chunilal and Ila Shah

Garo and Sylvie Tertzakian

Wells Fargo Bank

Rajesh and Neeta Shah

Jack and Maribel Toan

West Lake Food Corporation

Jawahar and Smita Shah

Serge Tomassian

Christina Woo

Tushar and Purvi Shah

Kinh-Luan and Van Tran

Reza and Malea Zafari

Homan Yamini Sharif

Orange County Triple X Fraternity

Zarrinkelk, Kashefipour & Co.

Kevin and Connie Simonsen

Georges Van Den Abbeele and Beryl

Majid and Sohaila Zarrinkelk

LaVonne and Brian Smith


Puzant and Talar Zorayan

Thomas and Marilyn Sutton

Linda Trinh Vo and John Kamei

2018 Public Events Preview Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender January 16, 2018 | 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Location: Winifred Smith Hall

Author Alice Sebold '98, Lucky and The Lovely Bones Public reading with Q&A followed by a book signing February 1, 2018 | 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Location: Crystal Cove Auditorium

"Who Do We Think We Are? American Identity and the Democratic Ideal in the 21st Century" February 9 & 10, 2018 | Various times Location: Crystal Cove Auditorium & EDU 111

Visionary theatre artist Lisa Wolpe’s new solo show "Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender" offers a unique celebration of the power of the eloquence of Shakespeare to build empathy and understanding in a world where the unspeakable seems to happen again and again. Wolpe has played more of the Bard's male roles than any woman in history, always to superlative reviews. Rarely has an author had such an impact on international literature with her first novel, especially when it focuses on the dark subjects of rape, child murder, and the dissolution of families. Yet with The Lovely Bones, alumna Alice Sebold seemed to manage the impossible. Sebold is the second author to come to campus as part of UCI Illuminations' Authors Series. All events can be found here: IlluminationsAuthorsSeries Presented by the Forum for the Academy and the Public, this two-day event, featuring a keynote address by author Jill Lepore, a talk by Mark Trahant, professor of journalism at North Dakota and member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, and workshops on the global future of human rights and press freedom, and democracy and technology.

All UCI Humanities events for the year can be found at 23

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UCI Humanities Annual Report '16-17  

From faculty and student research to alumni profiles, our annual report will give you a peek into the UCI School of Humanities' stunning acc...

UCI Humanities Annual Report '16-17  

From faculty and student research to alumni profiles, our annual report will give you a peek into the UCI School of Humanities' stunning acc...