Orfalea Center Fellowship Opportunities

We at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies are proud to announce that we will be awarding 12 graduate fellowships. This fellowship offers a period of paid employment as a student assistant for our new thematic research clusters. Each Orfalea Grad Fellow will be tasked with providing ten hours of support per week, for approximately 8 weeks, for $30 per hour, starting June 1st, 2020, through Sept 30th, 2020, with the possibility of extension through the school year after that. During their time as student assistants, Grad Fellows will be responsible for creating archives and data bases, coordinating events and conference logistics, generating web-site content, supporting editing and publishing initiatives for one of the new Orfalea thematic research clusters. Relating to the theme of the Orfalea cluster to which they are attached, Grad Fellow will also be encouraged to produce original content for the Orfalea Center websitein their own PhD topics of interest, and generate archives, web content, and publications reflecting their own research productivity.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 25 May 2020: 1pm. To apply upload application materials here


*Global Genders and Sexualities*

Faculty Involved: Dasgupta Debanuj (Feminist Studies), Sabine Frühstück (East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies), Xiaorong Li (East Asian LCS), Raquel Pacheco (Anthropology)

Cluster Description: This cluster aims to (1) globalize scholarship on genders and sexualities and discourses of gender that facilitate settler colonialism, colonialism, and white supremacy; (2) bring area-studies research into transregional dialogues; (3) employ the methodologies of literary studies, cultural studies, history, and anthropology; and (4) disrupt the Global North/Global South order directing attention to locales that are in historically and/or presently ambiguous positions with regards to the politics of genders and sexualities. Historically, the concepts “queer” or “transgender” are not particularly novel. The ways different generations in different parts of the world think about and practice sexuality has remained in flux, including both forward-leaps and reactionary backlashes. We also see how normative ideas of what is considered gender progress are deployed to delimit the bounds of the liberal, demarcating those who are open to progress and those who are considered enemies. Also, these metrics of gender progress serve to police racialized, indigenous bodies who are rendered inherently queer and deviant; unworthy of political self-determination;


*Future Infrastructures: Water, Energy and Justice*

Faculty: Charmaine Chua (Global Studies), Mona Damluji (Film & Media Studies), Melody Jue (English), Stephan Miescher (History), Satyajit Singh (Political Science/Global Studies)

Cluster Description: This cluster will develop new critical and creative research practices in the social and environmental impacts of water infrastructure (such as sanitation services, container shipping, hydroelectric dams, and “green infrastructure” that uses plants to mitigate stormwater, or other waterways), and energy infrastructure (such as oil/gas extraction sites, mineral mining, pipelines, solar grids, etc.). We will pursue these questions by organizing our collaboration around three distinct yet interconnected themes: (1) the scales of largely invisible water and energy systems and substances, from cells to oceans and cities; (2) the mediations of infrastructure, negotiating elements, multispecies life forms, technology, and culture; and (3) the participation of impacted communities and citizens in the deliberations on and implementation of decisions about water and energy infrastructure.


*Social Data and the Archive: Rethinking the Politics of Knowledge Production*

Faculty: Emiko Saldivar Tanaka (Anthropology), Sherene Seikaly (History), Utathya Chattopadhyaya (History)

Cluster Description: This cluster ties two related sites of knowledge, social data and archives, in one frame of analysis. We are interested in bringing together different kinds of knowledge producers to explore the promises and potential of democracy through archives and data. Additionally, this research cluster studies how archives and social data are sites for globally informed anti-racist scholarship and critical writing. Probing the relationship between information and freedom, we aim to interrogate how digitization, accessibility, and empowered political organizing can advance popular sovereignty. The socialization of research data through democratic and collaborative practices are crucial to recognizing activists and organizers as knowledge producers. Both processes can also be implicated in regimes of information and surveillance. Such double edges only highlight the importance of the contexts and politics of counter-reading and data democracy. What challenges have these new modes of making and distributing information posed for activists, scholars, journalists, and others producing knowledge?


*Resistance, Autonomy, Liberation*

Faculty: Mhoze Chikowero (History), Ricado Jacobs (Global Studies),

Cluster Description: The members of this research cluster are fully cognizant of the fact that enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism are global pathologies of power and exploitation that transformed the world as they traveled. As such, this cluster seeks a broad and deep time accounting of histories of resistance, quests for autonomy and struggles for self-liberation by formerly (and still, in some cases) enslaved, colonized or otherwise oppressed peoples of the world. We ask: What are the key philosophies of resistance, autonomy, decolonization and self-liberation? What are some of the most crucial sites, itineraries, landscapes and models of self-liberation? What is the nature and location of the archive of self-liberation? What is the unfinished business of self-liberation? What are the legacies and lessons of self-liberation? What are the key institutions and partnerships do we need to engage with or build to effectively research and teach liberation studies?


*Global Futures: Uncertainty, Displacement, Security*

Faculty: Walid Afifi (Communication, CMES), Bhaskar Sarkar (Film & Media Studies), Bishnupriya Ghosh (Global Studies/English)

Cluster Description: Engaging the increasing worries about our futurity, this research cluster will focus on the interactions between the following categories: Uncertainty regarding what the future holds, Risk as the basis of managing futures, Displacement as a condition fundamentally connected to uncertainty, Security as the antidote to uncertain futures, as protection against coming harm, and Speculation as a mode of engaging uncertainty, of filling in the gaps. While speculation is generally associated with the predatory capture and monetization of futures, it is also possible to speculate otherwise, in ways that proliferate potentialities rather than closing off futures. Whereas much of risk discourse locks us into specific pathways, and approaches to security espouse exclusionary, combative, or carceral techniques, more playful, open-ended speculative approaches inspire imaginative insights about virtual states and generate as-yet-unthought possibilities. Instead of surveilling, disciplining, and controlling, such an affirmative speculative mode liberates the future from the tyranny of the past and the present.


*Structural Violence, Police/Prison Abolition, and Decoloniality*

Faculty: Jean Beaman (Sociology), Felice Blake (English), Kai Thaler (Global Studies)

Cluster Description: This cluster is interested in how the state and sociopolitically dominant groups or organizations, both implicitly and explicitly, enact violence on marginalized populations globally. The scholars do not center any particular region or country, but rather, interrogate how structural violence is simultaneously realized locally, nationally, and globally. Research topics include: Antiblackness and abolition in a global context, Queer and Transgender abolitionist thought and practice, Abolitionist thought and practice: Domestic workers, gender, and im-/migration, and Abolition and Ecocriticism. The terms ‘abolition’ and ‘abolition democracy’ have increasingly come into usage in the broadening field of Prison Studies and in decarceral and decrim organizing as well. These efforts require the analyses of structural oppression and the development of radical imaginaries in order to dismantle systems of policing and to posit life-affirming alternatives. How do we attune our analyses of the structural to the epistemologies developed through radical practices?


*Transnationalizing the Study of the United States*

Faculty: Lisa Hajjar (Sociology), Terrence Wooten (Black Studies), Cecilia Méndez (History, LAIS)

Cluster Description: The overarching objective of this cluster is to engage global, transregional, and interdisciplinary perspectives for the study of the United States. The concept of “transnational” in this context aims to elevate and integrate views of the United States from other parts of the world, and to probe what can be learned about the United States itself by employing transnational, transregional, and comparative perspectives. This hub would invite scholarly approaches and interventions that decenter the North America-focused conventions of American Studies and the national interest-prioritizing discourses of US policy studies. The emphasis(at least initially) would be transnational relations with the Middle East and Latin America, and on how the US “war on terror” has affected global politics, international law, and human security.


*Environmental Justice/Climate Justice*

Faculty: John Foran (Sociology), ann-elise lewallen (East Asian Languages & Cultures), Alenda Chang (Film & Media), Ken Hiltner (English), David Pellow (Environmental Studies), Elana Resnick (Anthropology), Liz Carlisle (Environmental Studies), Summer Gray (Environmental Studies)

Cluster Description: This cluster works to advance scholar-activism across the horizon of globalization, in defense of vulnerable human communities, fragile environments and a just climate future. EJ/CJ brings together scholars to engage with these global drivers of environmental and climate crisis and investigate their deep structures and histories. We produce critical knowledges at the intersection of the Humanities and Social Sciences, build transformative knowledge networks that bridge academic, social movement, and policy domains, and actively intervene publicly in each of these crucial zones of conflict.

Page Editor

Graduate Student Researcher at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies
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