January 10, 2005
Eight UCSC professors to participate in Jan.
13 public forum on the Bush presidency
By Scott Rappaport
UCSCs Center for Cultural Studies will present a public
forum on the Bush presidency, neoconservatism, and opposition
on Thursday, January 13, at 7 p.m. in Classroom Unit 2.
Its a response
to the widespread feeling that there have been important
changes in politics as a result of the election,
-- moderator Chris
Featuring presentations by eight faculty plus town hall-style
audience participation, the event will focus on the consequences
of the last presidential election, as well as the current political
atmosphere in the country.
Its a response to the widespread feeling that there
have been important changes in politics as a result of the election,
noted associate professor of literature Christopher Connery,
codirector of the Center for Cultural Studies and moderator
of the forum. We want to take stock of these changes and
of what we can do as citizens and as members of the university
The forum is designed to stimulate analysis and fresh thinking
about such issues as the nature of political power, the new
political role of evangelical Christianity, the meaning of the
term "values," culture wars, the contestation over
the Hispanic vote, the mounting assault on women's rights, the
accelerated push toward privatization, the anti-gay/lesbian
mobilization, and the political character of popular culture
and the media.
The main thing were hoping for is broad student,
faculty, and community participation, said Connery. Things
are at stake in a way that they havent been in years.
The future of Social Security, for example, will have enormous
We also wanted to have an event that wasnt just
preaching to the converted, Connery added. Wed
like to come up with new analysis and new thinking. In Santa
Cruz, the political spectrum is not wide; there is a lot of
agreement. The will of the community is strong but its
not clear what we all can do.
The event will explore new elements in the political arena
brought about by the rise of neoconservatism, such as the recent
push by the party in power to teach Creationism in the schools
and to brand dissenting academics as unpatriotic.
Discussion that universities are not to be trusted, that
their independence and communications should be monitored, and
that they should be defunded, says something about the attitude
of this administration, said Connery. Cuts to the
National Science Foundation which funds science research--mostly
at universities--are of great concern to many in our community.
Connery noted that when neoconservatives look to problem
areas where liberalism runs deep, they tend to look at
universities, popular culture, and the entertainment industry.
But a key distinction is that universities are dependent on
federal and state support.
People in universities have a sense of unease about what
may be coming, said Connery. If Americas commitment
to public education falters, it could silence areas of dissent
We all recognize that slogans, repetition of familiar
truths, and affirmations of our political virtues will not be
enough, he added. We need serious discussion about
mobilization and politics, and new thinking. I think our campus
and town have a lot to offer to national politics, and we hope
this event can help inspire them.
The eight professors at the forum will give short presentations,
followed by a panel discussion and audience participation. The
speakers will include:
Angela Davis, professor of history of consciousness
and one of the country's foremost activist-intellectuals. Trained
as a philosopher, she has written on African American culture,
politics, feminism, and music. Her latest book is Are Prisons
Susan Harding, professor of anthropology. She has done
extensive fieldwork on evangelical Christianity. Her research,
long referenced by a range of authors working in the field,
culminated in the 2000 publication of The Book of Jerry Falwell:
Fundamentalist Language and Politics.
Ronnie Lipschutz, professor of politics. He is the author
of many books on environmental and ethnic politics, and on political
conflict. He also writes a weekly newspaper column on national
George Lipsitz, professor of American studies. He is
an activist and scholar who has written on popular culture,
oppositional cultural movements, race, and urban culture. In
1998 he published The Possessive Investment in Whiteness:
How White People Profit from Identity Politics.
Robert Meister, professor of politics. He is a prominent
political theorist. Since the 1990 publication of the groundbreaking
Political Identity: Thinking Through Marx, he has written
and spoken widely on human rights, victimization, and on the
U.S. global posture since September 11.
Helene Moglen, professor of literature. In addition
to authoring many publications on English and American Literatures,
she has for many years been a feminist activist and organizer.
Currently, she is director of UCSC's Institute for Advanced
Manuel Pastor, professor of Latina/o and Latin American
studies. He is a community activist and a scholar of political
economy and community. He recently published Regions that
Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together.
Alan Richards, professor of environmental studies. He
has published widely on environmental politics and economics,
with particular expertise in the Middle East. Recently, he has
been invited by the U.S. Army to share with its officers his
dissenting views on the U.S. role in the region.
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