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A P U B L IC A T IO N O F uC i r v in e s c h ool of h u m aniti e s Sp r ing 2 0 0 8

Students hone writing and critical thinking skills in growing literary journalism major he literary journalism program at UCI was little more than a handful of courses offered within the English department

but also are afforded the opportunity to express themselves creatively. Siegel says, “Our students’ enthusiasm for nonfiction literature is

six years ago. But when the department

deeply satisfying, as is the quality of their

noticed increasing interest in their

own writing in our workshops.”

journalism classes, a more formalized

Literary journalism students study

program began to take shape. The new

and write everything from narratives,

Director Barry Siegel (center) with supporters Michael McFadden and Bill Pereira.

major, which started enrolling students in

memoirs and profiles to histories and

enter graduate programs in journalism—

2003, was propelled to new heights with

personal essays, in subjects as varied

former students have been accepted to

the arrival of prize-winning journalist

as science, politics, justice, travel,

Columbia, Northwestern, Berkeley and

Barry Siegel to spearhead the program—

sports, food and popular culture. “This

USC—as well as for those interested in the

now the 4th largest in the School of

approach to nonfiction writing,” says

myriad careers requiring sophisticated

Humanities. Siegel says, “It’s exciting to watch literary journalism grow and evolve, earning the program a national reputation and the appreciation of so many students.”

Patricia Pierson, assistant director

It’s exciting to watch literary journalism grow and evolve, earning the program a national reputation and the appreciation of so many students.

Since he was

writing skills. In the last two years, amid growing

of the program,

interest in the major by students, literary

“Allows students to

journalism has added full-time professors

spend as much time

Amy Wilentz and Miles Corwin. Both are

on the story or its

seasoned journalists and award-winning,

characters as they

best-selling authors of nonfiction works.

do on reporting of

Students also benefit from access to

the facts.”

professors in the School’s highly regarded

The program is unique and the

English department. The program has grown with help

only one of its kind

from benefactors Susan and William

in the UC system.

Pereira, who support the visiting

Different from an

writers program. According to Pierson,

hired, the program has enrolled an ever-

applied journalism major that focuses

“Our ability to bring visiting writers

increasing number of students who are

primarily on newspaper writing, the

to campus really enhances the student

looking for a major in which they learn

major in literary journalism is excellent

experience, providing students the

to be good writers and critical thinkers,

preparation for students planning to

opportunity to work with local editors continued inside…

fac u lt y no t e s

Vicki L. Ruiz, a UC Irvine historian

History professor Mike Davis was

specializing in Chicano/Latino studies,

awarded the 2007 Lannan Literary

has been named dean of the UCI School of Humanities, effective

Award for Nonfiction. The Lannan

immediately. As dean, Ruiz hopes to strengthen interdisciplinary

Literary Awards and Fellowships

activities across academic units and to foster cross-school

honor both established and emerging

initiatives involving multiethnic community engagement.

writers whose work is of exceptional quality. From his first book, Prisoners

A professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies, Ruiz joined the UCI faculty in 2001. She has served as chair of the

of the American Dream about unionism in the United States, to his

history department and as director of K-12 outreach programs

most recent, Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb, Davis takes

Humanities Out There and the UCI History Project.

a close look at economic, social, environmental and political

Ruiz’s research encompasses 20th century U.S. history,

injustice. His other books include City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear,

Chicano/Latino history, oral narratives, gender studies,

Magical Urbanism, Planet of Slums, Dead Cities, In Praise of Barbarians and

labor and immigration. She is best known for her two

No One is Illegal.

monographs Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth Century America. She was

Philosophy professor Aaron James was awarded

president of both the Organization of American Historians

the American Council of Learned Societies

and the American Studies Association. She currently is a

(ACLS) Burkardt Residential Fellowship for

fellow of the Society of American Historians and a member

Recently Tenured Scholars. James will spend

of the national advisory board for the Smithsonian’s

a year at the Center for Advanced Behavioral

National Museum of American History.

Sciences at Stanford University while writing a

Growing up in Florida, Ruiz earned her bachelor’s degree

book about fairness in the global economy.

in social sciences from Florida State University in 1977 and her doctorate in history from Stanford University in 1982.

English Professors Julia Reinhard

Ruiz held teaching and research positions at Arizona State

Lupton and Elisa Tamarkin have

University, Claremont Graduate University, UC Davis and the

been awarded the title of Chancellor’s

University of Texas at El Paso before coming to UCI.

Fellow. This campus title is used to honor and recognize scholars of

Miles Corwin joins the faculty as associate professor of English in the literary journalism program. Corwin is a former award-winning feature writer for the Los Angeles Times

exceptional value to the university Julia Reinhard Lupton

whose recent achievements in scholarship evidence extraordinary

and author of three nonfiction books. His first book, The

promise for world-class contributions to knowledge. This

Killing Season, was a national bestseller and Homicide Special was

prestigious three-year honor is accompanied by $25,000 per

a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He was named one of “the best

year in support of their research efforts.

newspaper writers in the business” by the media magazine Praise continues to pour in for Wizard of the Crow, the 2006 novel

Brill’s Content.

by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature and International Center for Awards and Honors

Writing and Translation director. The novel was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the

Professor Linda Trinh Vo was tabbed

largest international prize of its kind that recognizes fiction

as one of 20 “Women to Watch” by

published in English. Nominations for Wizard of the Crow came

OC Metro. The list recognizes Orange

from libraries in Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Gambia and

County women making a difference.

Kenya. Ngugi’s book also won the

Vo, associate professor of Asian

California Book Awards Gold Medal

American studies, works to educate

for fiction earlier this year.

and mobilize the Asian American community in Orange County.

More than 40 years ago, the School of Humanities

I prize the diversity in excellence

that characterizes

started out as a division with four departments—

our School and share with colleagues an unflagging commitment

English and comparative literature, history,

to promoting dynamic, imaginative collaborations within

philosophy and foreign languages and literature.

departments, across units and across schools. I am deeply committed

Under the leadership of founding dean Samuel

to community access and partnerships. The International Center

McCulloch and with superb senior appointments

for Writing and Translation, Humanities Out There, the UCI

like Murray Krieger and junior stars like Spencer

History Project, Humanities Center and the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan

Olin and James McMichael, UC Irvine very quickly

Center for Persian Studies and Culture represent a sampling of our

became a flagship for Humanities in the University of

capacity for multiethnic community engagement, initiatives that

California system. Maintaining that critical edge and looking into the future has been the charge of everyone who has occupied the dean’s office. I am honored and humbled by this charge. In 2008, with 16 departments and programs, eight centers

reinforce the vitality of the humanities to public life. Former UCI faculty member and now president of the American Council of Learned Societies, Pauline Yu has a wonderful sound bite on why the humanities matter. “They

and six interdisciplinary programs, the School of Humanities

help make sense of a world where cultures, economies and value

continues to provide the best of a liberal arts education within

systems brush up with increasing frequency and speed against each

a premier research university. As an example, the School offers

other and are transformed in the process.” Always innovative,

instruction in more than 15 languages, integrating linguistic

Humanities at UC Irvine has a distinguished reputation for both

proficiency with cultural literacy. Members of the Task Force on

its global reach and community connections.

Language Instruction in the School of Humanities are hard at work making concrete recommendations to improve, bolster and expand this core mission of the School.

and journalists from publications such as the LA Times and Los Angeles Magazine.” The Pereiras also underwrite the Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings celebrated writers—among them Gay Talese, Susan Orlean and Calvin Trillin—to campus every spring. Recently, the program launched KIOSK: A Magazine of Literary Journalism, which is the first of its kind and features the finest articles from literary journalism students.

Patricia Pierson (center right) with literary journalism students

The directors hope the online journal will bring greater exposure to the talented writers in their program. Siegel says, “We have many plans for the future, including continuing with KIOSK, to improve the excellent quality of education, to challenge our students intellectually,

Pierson adds, “Outreach in the community is important to our program. Our students draw on real-life experience and their work in the community is as fundamental as their work in the classroom.” For more information about the literary journalism

interpersonally and academically and to continue to think about

program at UC Irvine, please contact Patricia Pierson at

ways to expand our profile in the community.”

The Boar Hunter b y Travis Lau

It takes a certain kind of man to kill another animal, to

in mountain ranges and filled with ridges, giving it weather

look into its eyes, without attachment, and with the slightest

patterns that are unique to this region. We exit and head

movement of a finger to watch it bleed to death in front of

west. Fifteen miles ahead is Harris Ranch, one of the largest

you. The thing is, you never really know how you’re going to

slaughterhouses in the state, a place that bears the distinct

feel until that moment before the kill, when the adrenaline

and isolated smell of raw manure that those familiar with

courses through your veins, your heart beating fast, breath

Highway 5 know well. It’s the place where you close your

and time slowing. This is what I prepared myself for as I

vents, roll up your windows, and hold your breath as you

ventured from the comfort of Orange County suburbia,

pass by hundreds and possibly thousands of cows and their

along the Golden State Freeway, through the industrial

dung, festering in the sun. But we don’t get this far, and we

reaches of Los Angeles, and up into the gritty landscape of

don’t smell anything, not this trip.

California’s elbow. Was I that kind of man? It took mental

At this point the road becomes empty. There are no

preparation, hours of practice, the right guide, and a weekend

streetlights. The only light comes from the blaring beams

in March hunting wild California boar to find out.

of our truck. Around us is nothing but a grid of barren

It’s late, nearly 11 p.m., and we’re a little over halfway

fields and eerie roads. We charge on for a little bit, through

through our 270-mile journey up to our hunting grounds,

a small town, and finally wind up surrounded by a string of

a private 9,000-acre ranch in the middle of California. At

oilfields, populated by an army of derricks, and still more

this hour, the highway is nearly empty, save the occasional

emptiness. Brock cruises through as if it were a matter of

beam of headlights whizzing past, cutting through the

habit. The route has been programmed in his memory by

darkness, and illuminating the vast nothingness around

weekend trips and summers spent at the ranch as a boy. To

us. In the driver’s seat is Brock Hill, my friend, and now my guide. At only five-foot-six, he is unhesitant in his command of the beast of a truck we are in, a lifted GMC Yukon with mud tires bearing treads so deep you could stick half your finger in them. The exhaust produces the guzzling sound of an M-1 Abrams. If a regular

a stranger, however, the dark vastness of the land is intimidating and disquieting.

The only light comes from the blaring beams of our truck. Around us is nothing but a grid of barren fields and eerie roads.

car hums, then this one most certainly roars. It’s the only real sign of life for miles. On the dashboard lies a neatly folded American flag fastened with masking tape, an outward symbol of Brock’s perception of himself as the quintessential American: a patriot, a soon-

It takes a concerted effort to remember that we are still in California because, by the looks alone, we could easily be in the back country of Texas or Oklahoma. Our trudge through the monotonous land ends abruptly as we reach a small, narrow road at the northeast corner of the grid. It’s called Old Coalinga Road, and it barely looks drivable. Up to this point the terrain has

been rather flat, but standing right before us is the entrance to a steep mountain pass. As we head upward, leaving the last remnants of familiarity behind, I am now completely out of my element.

to-be Marine, the president of the College Republicans, an NRA member (confirmed by a sticker on the back windshield), a fraternity gentleman (another sticker), a fan of the metal band Slayer (yes, another sticker), and, of course, a hunter. There is no sticker for that. As the night wears on and the road becomes emptier,

To read the rest of this article and other literary journalism student work, visit Travis Lau graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2007 with a bachelor’s in literary journalism and currently lives in San Francisco, where he was born and raised. A declared bio-medical major for his first two

we know we are getting closer to the ranch, which is situated

years, Lau switched to literary journalism in his third year because he was drawn

somewhere between King City and Coalinga. It is encased

to the freedom and creativity of the program.

events Dates, times and locations listed below are subject to change. Please visit our Web site for up-to-date information about humanities events. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Film and media studies and African American studies professor Victoria Johnson’s



new book

Latin American Film Festival Screenings from April 16-26, 2008 Lucille Kuehn Auditorium (HIB 100), UC Irvine The UCI Latin American Film Festival returns to campus for three consecutive weeks of movie screenings. The UCI LAFF will show independent films that reflect recent trends in Latin American cinematic expression. For more information, e-mail

Event Webs: Constructs, Connections, Causalities Friday, May 9, 2008 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Calit 2 Auditorium, UC Irvine This one-day event of panels, roundtables and demonstrations show the exciting potential of Web 3.0, or the EventWeb, which will be event rather than object focused. Co-sponsored by HumaniTech, Network and Academic Computing Services, the International Center for Writing and Translation and the Humanities Center.


The Future of the 60s: Radicalism, Reform, Reaction April 25-26, 2008 Humanities Instructional Building 135, UC Irvine This conference will address the institutional and intellectual aftershocks and reforms that came out of responses to 1960s radicalism. Sponsored by the UCI Humanities Center and the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture. E-mail for more information. Pereira Distinguished Lecture presents Calvin Trillin Wednesday, April 30, 2008 – 7 p.m. Crystal Cove Auditorium, UC Irvine “An Evening with Calvin Trillin” From the food markets of Singapore to the bedroom communities of Long Island, Calvin Trillin chronicles the delicious, the humorous, the domestic and the tragic with unparalleled precision and a distinct voice. A staff writer for the New Yorker, Trillin is the author of celebrated books on topics as varied as family life, restaurants and crime, including About Alice; Alice, Let’s Eat; and Killings. Book signing to follow. Sponsored by Susan and William Pereira and the literary journalism program. E-mail for more information.

Orange Goes Green presents Michael Shellenberger Wednesday, May 28, 2008 – 3 p.m. Humanities Instructional Building 135, UC Irvine Orange Goes Green is a new series, which will provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussions of environmentalism and sustainability. In this inaugural event, Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute will be speaking about his book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. Sponsored by the Humanities Center, HumaniTech and the UCI Design Alliance.

TV Heartland depictions of the Midwest in television programming from the 1950s to the present. She argues that the image of the Midwest is that of a timeless, pastoral heartland representing America’s ideals of race, sexuality and citizenship. Seemingly secular modern artifacts are often haunted by forms associated with the divine, according to a recently published book, Our Distance from God: Studies of the Divine and the Mundane in Western Art and Music, by James D. Herbert, department chair and professor of art history. Using five case studies spanning four centuries, ranging from Louis XIV’s Versailles to Robert Wilson’s contemporary set designs, Herbert explores how specific works of art establish a relationship, or lack thereof, between the divine and the mundane.

The Film and Video Center is UCI and Orange County’s premiere art house cinema, screening new, independent, experimental and groundbreaking films and videos. For screenings, visit or call (949) 824-7418. Ticket prices: $5 general, $4 staff/seniors and $3 students. Unless otherwise noted, all screenings begin at 7 p.m. each Thursday in HIB 100 Lucille Kuehn Auditorium.

Literary journalism visiting professor Mike Sager profiles celebrities, including Emmy winner Roseanne Barr about her multiple personality disorder, and other interesting characters in his book Revenge of the Donut Boys: True Stories of Lust, Fame, Survival and Multiple Personality. The book includes 17 previously published magazine articles “rich in novelistic detail.”

there was very little landscaping and consequently rivers of mud running between the few buildings,” recalls David Goggin, ’69. “We had no choice but to go to class barefoot.” Goggin graduated with a degree in English and an unofficial minor in the areas of art and film. He studied German, philosophy, creative writing, biology, Shakespeare and history of drama and took art classes with renowned artists David Hockney and Vija Celmins and sculptors Tony DeLap and John McCracken. “It was a new school and the very shape of the courses and disciplines was open to creative sculpting,” Goggin says, adding that many of his experiences at UCI influenced his life and career as the award winning photographer, journalist and author known as Mr. Bonzai. Most incredibly, while on his junior year abroad, Goggin used his knowledge of hypnosis, meditation

alumni spotlight

“When I entered college at UCI in the rainy Fall of 1965,

and bio-feedback gathered from a work study job in UCI’s psychology department to meet his idol, John Lennon. He showed up on the doorstep of Lennon’s Weybridge mansion armed with information about meditation – a topic he knew Lennon held a keen interest in. After a brief conversation with the housekeeper at the front door, Goggin was invited to wait for the Beatle in his garage next to the flowerpainted Rolls Royce and ended up spending the rest of the day with the band, including time in the recording studio during a mix of “I Am the Walrus.” Goggin says that because of his experience with Lennon, he was influenced to interview, photograph and learn about musicians for the rest of his life. “I have lived a charmed life!” To learn more about what David Goggin is up to today, please visit his Web site,

To give to the School or for other ways you can support students, faculty and programs, contact Jennifer Smith at or (949) 824-2923. Between the Lines is published semi-annually by the UC Irvine School of Humanities Office of Development and Alumni Relations – Vol. 2, Issue 2 272 Humanities Instructional Building , Irvine, CA 92697-3376 Contact Kristie Williams at or (949) 824-1342 to be added to the mailing list or to update your address.

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Between the Lines Spring 08  

Between the Lines - Spring 2008 issue

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