Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster​

Global Futures: Uncertainty, Displacement, Security

Dr. Walid Afifi

Walid A. Afifi (PhD, University of Arizona) is an author on over 70 articles, chapters, and books, recently served as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa (2013-2016), occupied the role of Associate Editor for both the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Personal Relationships, and was elected as chair of the Interpersonal Division for both the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association. His program of research revolves around uncertainty and information-management decisions and has led to the development and refinement of the Theory of Motivated Information Management. That work has increasingly focused on immigrant communities and/or communities experiencing trauma. He teaches classes related to interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, relational communication, and uncertainty. He is committed to research, teaching, and service that involves and empowers all communities, and has been recognized for that commitment by UCSB’s Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity through an Esteemed Ally Award. His program of life revolves around, and the (usually) calming influence on his personal experiences of uncertainty are, his wife, Tammy, their two children (Leila and Rania), and two dogs (Maddi and Charles Jackson).

Dr. Bhaskar Sarkar

Born in Kolkata, India, Professor Sarkar completed an MA in Economics before obtaining his MA and PhD In Critical Studies from the School of the Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. The dual training makes his research intrinsically interdisciplinary. Sarkar’s first monograph, Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition (Duke University Press, 2009) tracks cinematic traces of a national trauma from the early silence and allegorical figurations to the eventual return of the repressed, mapping a complex process of cultural mourning work whose outcomes have often been volatile. He has co-edited three collections of new research work—Documentary Testimonies (Routledge, 2009); the award-winning Asian Video Cultures (Duke, 2017); and the Routledge Companion to Media and Risk (2020)—as well as two journal special issues. A co-convener of three multi-participant research projects—“The Subaltern and the Popular” (2004-09), “Risk, Uncertainty, Speculation” (2007-13), and “The Global-Popular” (2016-present)—Sarkar thrives in collaborative settings. Having just served a term as department chair (2017-20), Sarkar he is currently completing a monograph, Cosmoplastics: Bollywood’s Global Gesture, and continuing his research on media piracy.

Dr. Bishnupriya Ghosh

With a doctorate from Northwestern University, Bishnupriya Ghosh is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches postcolonial theory and global media studies. Much of her scholarly work interrogates the relations between the global and the postcolonial; area studies and transnational cultural studies; popular, mass, and elite cultures. While publishing essays on literary, cinematic, and visual culture in several collections and journals such as boundary 2, Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Public Culture and Screen, in her first two books, Ghosh focused on contemporary elite and popular cultures of globalization. When Borne Across: Literary Cosmopolitics in the Contemporary Indian Novel (Rutgers UP, 2004) addressed the dialectical relations between emerging global markets and literatures reflexively marked as “postcolonial,” and Global Icons: Apertures to the Popular (Duke UP, 2011) turned to visual popular culture as it constitutes the global. Research is underway for a future monograph, The Unhomely Sense: Spectral Cinemas of Globalization that tracks the relations between globalization and cinematic/post-cinematic images. In continuing the concerns of Global Icons, Ghosh has been engaged in theorizing the global-popular (a multi-initiative collaboration) and in writing a series of essays on the question of media populism and political affect. Apart from works that address global mediascapes, in the last decade, Ghosh turned to contemporary modes of speculative knowledge. The shift began in 2008-9 with the research collaboration, “Speculative Globalities” that met at the UCHRI (The University of California Humanities Research Institute). Drawing on this seed project, a group of faculty at University of California, Santa Barbara, convened a series of conferences, screenings, readings, and discussion groups in 2010-2012. In turn these ventures have led to several individual and collaborative projects, including a co-edited collection with Bhaskar Sarkar, The Routledge Companion to Media and Risk (forthcoming 2019) and a monograph, The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media which spans comparative epidemic media in South Asia, South Africa, and the United States. This monograph elaborates her thinking on multispecies intimacies and environmental media which is the subject of recent several essays.

Li Qi

Li is a PhD student in the Department of Communication. She received her BA in Journalism from Zhejiang University and MA in Journalism and Communication from Tsinghua University. Her research interests focus on algorithms, media psychology and media effects.

Mary Michael

Mary Michael is a PhD student in the Film and Media Studies Department at USCB. Her research focuses on histories of technology, infrastructure, and data in the Arabian Gulf. Her research interests include critical data and information studies, indigenous technology, digital and new media, Middle Eastern media, critical games studies, and biopolitics. She received a B. S. in Sociology/Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside. She received her M.A. in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Mary also works as a media practitioner. She has produced small, experimental games with Twine and Unity. In addition to teaching herself code, she experiments with praxis-based methodologies for producing media studies scholarship.