CLA Speaks 2016-17: Without Borders

CLA Speaks 2016-17 Hero

Founded in 2015, CLA Speaks is the annual speaker series for Cal Poly's College of Liberal Arts. Organized around an annual theme, this interdisciplinary series showcases the ways that disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts shape important and meaningful conversations about our world, our cultures, and our imagination. 


October 13, 2016

Elephants Without Borders: Conservatives in the Academy

Jon Shields

6 p.m.
Baker Center (Bldg. 180), Rm. 107

Few seem to think conservatives should become professors. While the left fears an invasion of their citadel by conservatives marching to orders from the Koch brothers, the right steers young conservatives away from a professorial vocation by lampooning its leftism. In this talk, Jon Shields will discuss what has been described as the “first reliable study of academic conservatives.”

Shields is an associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna University. His commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the Weekly Standard.

October 25, 2016

Privileges: Phallogocentrism Revisited

Steven Miller

4:30 p.m.
Science Building (No. 52), Rm. E27

Professor Steven Miller is the current director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture (SUNY, University at Buffalo). In his presentation, Miller will examine the difficult and contentious psychoanalytic concept of the phallus through a careful re-reading of some of the most significant critiques of psychoanalytic phallogocentrism – from philosophers Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler, to contemporary queer writers Maggie Nelson and Alison Bechdel. In the course of his talk, Miller will be interested in the way philosophical critiques of phallogocentrism resort to object relations theory (Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott) – a gesture that contemporary queer writing repeats.  

November 14, 2016

The Roads Most Traveled 

Don Bartletti

5:00-6:30 p.m.

Chumash Auditorium

Don Bartletti, a photojournalist with the Los Angeles Times was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for a photo essay, and was a 2015 Pulitzer finalist for “Product of Mexico", a yearlong investigation about the abuse of migrant workers on Mexican farms that grow and export fresh produce to the United States.

His work on immigration stories has also been recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Grand Prize, the Polk Award, Scripps-Howard Award, Loeb Financial Award, Pictures of the Year International National Press Photographers Association, World Press Photo and the Overseas Press Club. The photojournalist is an occasional guest lecturer and teacher at universities, high schools and civic organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. His photographs have been exhibited in museums across the U.S. and Mexico and are published in scores of books and scholarly studies.


January 25, 2017

Mutiny, Plunder, and Desertion as Direct Action:
The Case of the British Occupation of Manila 1762-1764

Megan Thomas

8:10 p.m.

Baker Science (Bldg. 180), Room 114


January 26, 2017

Boys and Their Toys: Prosthetics, Disability, and the Brave New World of Queer Masculinity

David Serlin

6:10-8:00 p.m.

Graphic Arts (Bldg. 26), Room 103

Organized by the Women's & Gender Studies Department and co-sponsored by the Cross Cultural Centers, the Disability Resource Center, the Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts Program, the Political Science Department, the Pride Center, and the Science, Technology & Society Minors Program.


January 27, 2017

Barbies, Pacemakers, and Everything In Between: Building a More Ethical Internet of Things

Irina Raicu

2:00 p.m.

Fisher Science Hall (Bldg. 33), Room 286

“Only connect,” wrote the novelist E. M. Forster. But he was not a science fiction writer, and he was talking about people. These days, his quote is more likely to make us think about things. Engineers and business people are enthusiastically connecting more and more to the internet. Should they? What are some questions that we should want people who design and connected things to ask—and answer—before connecting, in order to ensure that the “Internet of Things” promotes, rather than endangers, the good life?

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, at Santa Clara University. She is an attorney and a Certified Information Privacy Professional. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including U.S.A. Today, MarketWatch, Slate, Re/code, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Jose Mercury News. Raicu is a graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law and holds a bachelor's degree in English from U.C. Berkeley, as well as a master's degree in English and American Literature from San 
Jose State University. She tweets at @IEthics and is the primary contributor to the blog Internet Ethics: Views from Silicon Valley.

April 10, 2017

Life on Third: Blood For Oil, Justice For Ethics

Jenny Reardon 

4:00 p.m.

Advanced Technology Labs (Bldg. 7)

Venture capitalists and governments worldwide invest in the possibility that biodata and its networks will lead to more rational, inclusive and thus more valued approaches to caring for and governing life. However, the experiences of people asked to participate in creating new biodata reveal that questions of inequity and worth remain endemic. Efforts to resuscitate liberal dreams of open societies via informatic networks, and efforts to make data meaningful falter as more fundamental questions of justice demand attention: What are the things in this world that people should gather around to help to create because of their broad public import? What is the place of big data, genomics, and biomedicine in constituting these things? How can we know and decide? Who are ‘we’? In this talk Reardon will bring these questions about justice and knowledge on a depleted but data-rich planet richly into focus through an examination of the transformation of 3rd Street in San Francisco over the last decade.

April 18, 2017

Rights and Wrongs of Incarceration 


6:00 p.m.

Baker Center (Bldg. 180), Room 0114

Although the penalty of incarceration is one of the most serious that can be inflicted on a human being, most Americans are unfamiliar with the basics of what happens before, during, and after one is sentenced to being imprisoned. The objective of this panel is not only to transcend partisan rhetoric about the issue but also to appreciate its complexity and offer suggestions about reform. Each panelist will speak about a particular aspect of the process of incarceration, from his or her perspective, to give audience members a better sense of what government does when it locks up someone and under what circumstances, if any, such a penalty might be justified.

April 27, 2017

An Animated Life

Floyd Norman

Floyd Norman is the first African-American artist to find a career position in animation at the Disney Studio. Starting in 1956, he worked on Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, among other films. Beyond Disney, he worked as an animator for multiple TV series, including Sesame Street and Fat Albert.. For Pixar, he worked as a story artist on Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. In 2016, he became the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life.

May 1, 2017

Virtual Life

Jeffrey Pruchnic

Jeff Pruchnic will discuss the cultural implications of the vast expansion over the last few decades of “virtual worlds,” computer-generated environments that simulate elements of the natural world for work and leisure. More specifically, he will argue that virtual worlds and the “virtual life” populating them may provide novel strategies for thinking through an urgent concern of contemporary biological life: environmental crises and how to promote more sustainable uses of natural resources.

May 23, 2017

Historical Tourism and the Problem of Empathy

Dr. Shevaun Watson

Dr. Watson’s work considers one of America’s most popular and vexed heritage destinations—Charleston, South Carolina—in terms of empathy. Whose history and pain are visitors encouraged to identify with? How is empathy evoked on tours and to what end? Does slavery tourism, even if fully imbued with empathy, make a difference in understanding America’s past or fostering much-needed change? Dr. Watson argues that the limits of empathy in relation to Charleston’s “tourism imaginary” are profound and deleterious, allowing visitors the voyeuristic pleasure of passive empathy, and ultimately, the abdication of responsibility for enduring racial inequalities.


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