MIGRATION FESTIVAL Envisioned as a migration through place, genre and discipline, the Worlds of Discovery and Loss: The Art of Migration brought together faculty and students in the departments of Music, Art and Theatre & Dance in Winter 2013 for a five-day multi-faceted music and arts festival, headquartered at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Spearheaded and organized by the UC Davis Arts Initiative, the festival opened with an art exhibition entitled “Draw- ings on Migrations” in the lobby of the Mondavi Center, curated by Professor of Art Robin Hill and featuring large-scale works on paper as well as small objects that remained on display for the duration of the festival.
The festival’s musical performances opened with a p’ansori by Chan Park, a professor of Korean language, literature and perfor- mance studies at Ohio State University who is well known for her transnational stagings of p’ansori that blend Korean and English into a unique, bilingual performance practice. Park also participated in a panel discussion, alongside moderator Associate Professor of Sociology David Kyle, musicologist Anthony Sheppard, Cuban-American sculptor Maria Elena González, playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, and Aboriginal studies scholar Peter Kulchyski. For many on the panel, migration was presented as both a personal and an artistic theme.
The theatrical components of the festival included “Migration and Other Projects,” a three-part evening of theatre and dance pieces that explored the topic of migration. “Le Projet Migration,” choreographed and performed by Christine Germain and her partner Slater Penney, took the audience on a poignant journey in five sequences, each sequence featuring a different movement experiment. The disempowerment of the immigrant body was cen- tralized in Iu-Hui Chua and Bobby August’s piece “Crawl,” which closed the show. The only truly non-narrative piece of the evening, “Crawl” offered a series of associated segments that embody the experience of living a contemporary Asian-American identity.
The UC Davis Symphony Orchestra’s concluding concert featured a vibrant program of music that shifted across stylistic, political and national boundaries. The world premiere of Associate Professor of Music Laurie San Martin’s double marimba concerto featured virtuosic performances by marimba players Mayumi Hama and Chris Froh. Both performers studied with renowned Japanese vir- tuoso and composer Keiko Abe, a marimbist who helped expand the transnational appeal of the instrument. Both the orchestra and soloist Nikki Einfeld shone in Mysteries of The Macabre, a work for orchestra and soprano adapted from György Ligeti’s opera Le grand macabre. Mixing bird calls, rapid coloratura passages and avant-garde compositional techniques, the eclectic piece was warmly received and offered a fitting conclusion to the festival’s surplus of musical offerings.
RADICAL ROuNDTABLE The need to make the humanities more “interdisciplinary” may sound familiar to academics, but what is less clear is what this type of research involves on a practical level. The Humanities Institute, in a spring quarter roundtable titled “Radical Interdisciplinarity,” brought together UC Davis faculty who have begun to work in expanding the borders of the humanities into quantitative and sci- entific disciplines and asked them to consider this issue head-on.
“It’s easy to champion the virtues of interdisciplinarity at an abstract level,” said DHI Interim Director Seeta Chaganti, an associate professor of English, “but surely interdisciplinarity of this kind also creates challenges, unexpected developments, tough questions about methodologies or even ethics, and perhaps even tougher questions about the impact of this kind of work on humanist endeavor.”
The event’s moderator, Professor of English John Marx, is currently at work re-evaluating the institutionalization of humanities as a discipline in the 20th century. In addition, the roundtable featured Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor, an associate professor of history whose work investigates the social economy of the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries; Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli, an associate professor of Cinema and Technocultural Studies and co-director of the Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures who studies violence across a wide array of texts and media; and Mike Ziser, an associate professor of English and co-director of the Mellon Group in Environments and Societies whose research similarly pushes the scope of literary studies to include nonhuman nature in North American texts.
The panelists considered the question of interdisciplinary research from all angles, asking such questions as: what impact these kinds of research initiatives have on the identity and goals of the humanities and how these new collaborations reshape labor and professional outcomes for both faculty and graduate students. “Radical Interdisciplinarity” brought into view a picture of how this type of research plays out in the university today.
INTERDISCIPLINARITY: A FACULTY ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
MODERATED BY JOHN MARX (ENGLISH)
FEATURING: ELLEN HARTIGAN-O’CONNOR (HISTORY) KRISS RAVETTO (CINEMA/TCS, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE MELLON GROUP IN DIGITAL CULTURES) MIKE ZISER (ENGLISH, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE MELLON GROUP IN ENVIRONMENTS AND SOCIETIES)
THURSDAY, MAY 16, 3:10-5:00 PM VOORHIES 126
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