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RESEARCH CLUSTERS


Our research clusters provide a critical space for the interdisciplinary research and collaboration not easily accomplished in a single department program. Clusters are meant to facilitate exchange among faculty and graduate students in workshops, symposia or mini-conferences to encourage experimentation with new forms of collaboration within and beyond UC Davis and to broaden the aims of faculty research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. In addition to programming, we encourage clusters to view this as seed funding and to think about ways the cluster can serve as an incubator for larger projects in the future.


In 2014-2015, we sponsored eight research clusters that received awards of up to


$5,000. This year our clusters focused on a variety of topics, including researching Indian Ocean cultures, transnational perspectives for scholarship and teaching on women and gender, and the idea of rhetoric as a field of study.


Cluster on Language Research Faculty Coordinator: Robert Blake (Spanish & Portuguese) The cluster on Language Research expanded its local sympo- sium to host a second annual UC Davis Symposium on Language Research in spring 2015, drawing participants and presenters from four UC campuses and five other California universities. The symposium was also diverse in terms of disciplines with panelists representing seven different academic departments (Linguistics, Spanish, French, Education, TESOL/ English, Psychology, and Modern Languages and Literatures) that made for a very interdisciplinary conversation around language acquisition and interdisciplinary methods. Aside from expanding their research networks across California and across campus, the cluster participants, faculty and graduate students, used their bi-weekly meetings to prepare a proposal for a special issue of the interdisciplinary journal L2, published by the Berkeley Language Center.


The Digital Premodern: From Codex to Code Faculty Coordinators: Claire Waters (English) and Matthew Vernon (English) The goal of this research cluster was to explore the spaces of productive interaction between medieval studies and digital humanities. By putting fields that ostensibly are at opposite poles of research methodologies and objects of inquiry, they hoped to stimulate discussions about the potential and limits of digital work, develop skills for creating field-specific research tools, and initiate conversations across the university and across the country about new directions in humanistic work. The cluster supported three major events in 2014-2015 with a capstone two-day symposium, co-organized with the UC Davis IMMERSe group. Its investigation of new directions in medieval studies has progressed from media and posthuman- ism to performance and archival studies and into digital humanities. Each of these topics has afforded the cluster perspectives on topics that are allied with medieval studies, but which lend themselves to styles of presentation and research that are uncommon within traditional modes of doing medieval studies. In this way, they have accumulated an archive of ideas for future projects on campus and for wider profes- sional and popular audiences. Participants have begun to plan future digital work and to lay the groundwork for more cross-temporal and interdisciplinary work.


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Indian Ocean Imaginaries: Place-Making, Practices, and Networks Faculty Coordinators: Smriti Srivinas (Anthropology) and Bettina Ng’weno (African American and African Studies) The Indian Ocean Imaginaries cluster brought together 14 members from anthropology, African American and African Studies, music, geography, cultural studies, English and religious studies to create an explicit community focused on the Indian Ocean world. Indian Ocean Studies has emerged in the last decade as a growing interdisciplinary field and has offered a response to the compartmentalization of specific area studies as well as a way of thinking about mixtures, globaliza- tion and movement that does not necessarily privilege the West. Meeting bi-monthly to collate and share a set of key texts on the Indian Ocean, the cluster developed a successful proposal for the Mellon Research Initiatives in the Humanities. For that reason, it postponed a planned conference to fall 2015 that would additionally serve as the launch of the Mellon Research Initiative Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds. That will also allow for the participation of the Mellon visiting professor as well as international and national scholars work- ing in this emerging field.


Multidisciplinary Psychoanalytic Research Cluster Faculty Coordinators: James Smith (Anthropology) and Li Zhang (Anthropology)


This cluster was a workhorse of the Humanities Institute cluster program, sponsoring 17 discrete events across the academic year, including four film screenings, nine faculty talks, two socials, a collaborative writing event, and a UC-wide psychoanalytic retreat organized by UCLA that members were able to attend. Among the most significant outcomes was the ability of UC Davis faculty to share works in progress with a community of like-minded scholars. Those forums and other events allowed participants to build an intellectual and pedagogical network both on and off campus that will contrib- ute to individual research projects as well as seed future collaborative work.


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