2018-19 EVC Fellows

From left to right: Marcia Ochoa, Julie Bettie, Travis Seymour, Gabriela Arredondo, Jon Ellis, Dean Mathiowetz, and Herbie Lee

 

Gabriela Arredondo

Associate Profesor, Department Chair
Latin American & Latino Studies
Professor Gabriela Arredondo's historical research project grows out of a clear need to understand and learn from the activism, experiences, and ultimate cooperation of people of different racial and ethnic identities, who united across differences to fight for civil rights advances in the United States. Focusing on ethno-racial cooperation, each chapter of her manuscript explores a specific civil rights organization, profiles the multiplicity of voices and actors, their challenges and victories, and works to understand how they ultimately came to stand together in their fights for social justice.

Julie Bettie

Associate Professor, Department Chair
Sociology
Professor Julie Bettie's current research centers on the cultural politics of sexuality with sexual commerce as the key site of analysis.  She uses the culture of erotic labor to analyze multiple, interacting social formations, describe a new historical conjuncture, and speak to larger issues of contemporary gender, sexual, race, and class politics.  Based on several years of ethnographic immersion with erotic service providers in Las Vegas, this book in progress provides a thick description of erotic labor in this segment of the service economy. Examining the cultural contestation over, and contradictory discourses on, female sexuality her research describes cultural shifts that have brought forth new categories of young womanhood and offered up new sexual subjectivities and erotic embodiments.  She explores the emergence of new femininities, new ethnicities, new forms of racialized embodiment, and new erotic dispositions produced by a range of economic and cultural transformations, including post-second-wave feminism, “postrace” culture, and the queering of domestic life.  Finally, professor Bettie's research considers how women in erotic labor and everyday life creatively negotiate this new landscape at once oppressive, and yet open with possibilities, working to describe young women’s agentic responses to the injuries of inequality within the context of neoliberalism. 

Jonathan Ellis

Associate Professor
Philosophy
Professor Jonathan Ellis will be working on his manuscript, Motivated Reasoning and Belief Polarization: Lessons from Philosophy and Cognitive Science. In recent years, research on motivated reasoning has surged. From political science to psychology, epistemology to social philosophy, researchers are probing the dynamics of confirmation bias, rationalization, self-deception, and the like. Here, Ellis calls attention to a kind of motivated reasoning that has so far been overlooked: cases in which self-interest distorts one’s thinking only slightly. According to Ellis, these micro-instances of motivated thinking are far more widespread, surreptitious, and insidious than more obvious cases — and their influence on particularly intelligent, analytical, and reflective thinkers is crucial to understand. They play a fundamental role in the gradual polarization of belief, and as such are of consequence for politics, civil discourse, and much more.

Deborah Gould

Associate Professor
Sociology
Interested in political appetite and political withdrawal, Professor Deborah Gould’s current project traverses numerous instances of collective political action, asking what generates senses of political possibility and what provokes contrary feelings of political inefficacy, cynicism, and despair. In times like now when standard characterizations of human beings as self-interested utility maximizers are particularly inadequate, and when contrary suspicions about the ostensibly irrational masses being unfit for democracy have gained renewed traction, Gould argues we need intensive exploration of the visceral, nonconscious, more-than-rational dimensions of political motivation and behavior. Her book draws from literatures that infrequently consort with one another—affect studies, social movement studies, and political theory—to explore the intertwining of political emotion and reason in a manner that unravels that hard-to-shake binary.

Stacy Kamehiro

Associate Professor, Department Chair
History of Art/Visual Culture
Professor Stacy Kamehiro's Objects of the Nation: Hawaiʻi at the World Fairs, 1867-1900, explores the complex inter-cultural and changing conceptions of the Hawaiian nation as manifest in exhibits submitted to international expositions staged in the United States, Australia, and Europe from 1867, the first documented Hawaiian exhibit submitted to an international venue, to 1893 when a political coup serving white settler and American interests dismantled the authority of the indigenous monarchy, and further to 1898, when the United States annexed the Hawaiian archipelago as a territory. Professor Kamehiro's project examines how objects played critical roles in imagining Hawaiian national and cultural identities.  

Dean Mathiowetz

Associate Professor, Department Chair
Politics
Professor Dean Mathiowetz is a democratic theorist who studies the conditions and activities that foster and impede citizenship, broadly understood as people’s active dispositions and capacities to share in the co-creation of their power and their communities. His current book project addresses anti-democratic trends around the globe by studying luxury as a response to economic insecurity. He explores how this response—as practiced by the rich, and desired by the rest—involves an embodied fantasy of safety and comfort. It further partitions the zones of pleasure and comfort throughout the body politic, in ways analogous to psychoanalytic conceptions of sexuality. Drawing from the long tradition of thinking about luxury within political theory, he argues that we must account for the embodied dimensions of anti-democratic desire (on both individual and collective levels) if we are to suggest individual and collective practices and conditions for mobilizing its opposite in the face of threats to democracy today. 

Marcia Ochoa

Associate Professor
Feminist Studies
Professor Marcia Ochoa's current research project focuses on transgender Latina (translatina) citizenship in the US and Venezuela, examining the problems of transgender Latina migrants to the United States and Europe, based in ethnographic research with translatina migrants in Barcelona, Spain, Caracas, Venezuela, and San Francisco, California. Professor Ochoa has longstanding engagements with these communities around human rights and HIV prevention, particularly in San Francisco. Her second book, Ungrateful Citizenship: Translatina Politics, proposes an analytical framework for citizenship based on the exclusions and refusals of both gender and migratory status. These exclusions - double- and triple- negations of political subjectivity - are the basis of a number of forms of perverse citizenship. Within and outside the Bolivarian Revolution and the City and County of San Francisco, Ochoa details - through triumphs, the everyday, and heartbreak - how we create the bases for collective vision, political imaginaries and social transformation in these contexts.

Catherine Ramírez

Associate Professor
Latin American & Latino Studies
Assimilation is the lens through which the American experience, especially the immigrant experience, is often narrated and understood. In the United States, assimilation has been defined against racialization, the process whereby racial categories are produced and understood as part of a social hierarchy. Assimilation results in homogeneity, scholars argue, while racialization conserves difference. Bridging and expanding the assimilation and racialization paradigms, Professor Catherine Ramírez’s book project, Assimilation: An Alternative History, offers a broader theory of assimilation, one that reckons with racialization by looking to legacies of settler colonialism, slavery, and an immigration apparatus that produces illegality. By examining how groups who are not considered legitimate immigrants, such as Native Americans, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and unauthorized migrants, are incorporated into a stratified society as racialized subjects, she shows that assimilation is a process whereby the boundary between mainstream and margin blurs, disappears, or, paradoxically, is reinforced. 

Felicity Schaeffer

Associate Professor, Department Chair
Feminist Studies
Professor Felicity Amaya Schaeffer’s second book manuscript, “The Empire of Surveillance: BioSecurity across Secular and Sacred Borders” excavates the science and technological development of surveillance that began during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s to the present security regime at the U.S.-Mexico border. By turning to state and militarized surveillance, she examines the “biosecurity industrial complex,” or the intellectual, military, and corporate technologies of empire that govern life through the containment and eradication of threat. The project brings together materialist debates in Feminist Science and Technology Studies, de-colonial methods in Chicanx-Latinx theory and concerns over land sovereignty in Native Studies to question how surveillance technologies render life secular, and automated with grave consequences for people and territories rendered continually suspect.

Travis Seymour

Associate Professor
Psychology
Professor Travis Seymour and his students have been investigating how various task parameters interact with individual learner differences to influence performance, learning, engagement, and persistence. For example, they have been examining how task factors such as task difficulty, pacing, instructions, and feedback interact with task experience and stereotype-threat, personality, mindset, and task-related motivation. We have been showing that models at the intersections of these dimensions predict performance better than more simplistic ones. Their goal is to continue to build and test theoretical models that combine mindset and motivational dynamics, as well as to propose ways to incorporate our findings into applied settings.

Megan Thomas 

Associate Professor
Politics
Professor Megan Thomas's Making and Unmaking Sovereignty reconsiders sovereignty's composition and practice in the early modern colonial world, by treating the British occupation of Manila during the Seven Years’ War and related provincial revolts as exemplars of broader patterns of sovereignty’s making and unmaking at the beginning of an age of global empires and revolutions.   In the 1762-3 occupation, Britain sent Indian troops to Manila Bay, in hopes of capturing Spain's American silver treasure and establishing a base nearer Canton’s lucrative trade.  In Philippine provinces, locals heard of sovereignty’s unsettling in Manila and rose up against local Spanish authorities.  Despite Britain’s quick victory in Manila, its effort was riven with everyday failures that reveal the precarity and contingency of sovereign power, as well as the way people imagined themselves outside of it.

Alice Yang

Associate Professor, Collge Provost
History
Professor Alice Yang’s manuscript on Japanese American women’s activism examines the history of women’s protest against mass incarceration and detention between World War II and 2018. The study provides an intersectional analysis of historical memories of Japanese American women’s resistance that spans the wartime camps, antiwar protests in the 1970s, redress in the 1980s, and recent protests against Donald Trump’s travel ban and family separation policies. It analyzes women’s collective memories of trauma, protests against a wartime loyalty questionnaire and the draft, petitions, strikes, demonstrations, research, government testimony, court battles, grassroots campaigns, and political lobbying. The study contributes to interdisciplinary scholarship on gender, critical race theory, memory construction, trauma narratives, commemorative rituals, performativity, and transnational restorative justice.