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Merced Seminar in the Humanities

Global Perspectives on Early Modern Empires

This series explores the interactions of early modern empires as complex systems of power, offering innovative interdisciplinary frameworks and methodologies for studying inter- and intra-imperial interactions within and outside Europe before 1800.








Spring 2018 Organizers:

Susan Amussen, Professor, History,

Humberto Garcia, Associate Professor, English,


Merced Seminar in the Humanities 2017-2018:


Bernadette Andrea, UCSB Professor of English, will be giving a talk titled, "A Persian Woman’s Carmelite Relic and Its Travels from Madrid to Isfahan to Rome."

March 19, 2018 - 2:00pm in COB2 392

Allyson Poska, Professor of History and American Studies at University of Mary Washington, will be giving a talk titled, "A Woman's Touch: Spanish Women, Work, and the Atlantic Economy."

March 5, 2018 - 2:00pm in COB2 392

Kathleen Wilson, Distinguished Professor from Stony Brook University, will be giving a talk titled, "Performing The Wonder in Sumatra:  East India Company Peripheries and the History of Modernity."

February 26, 2018 - 2:00pm in SSM 317

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Distinguished Professor & Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences at UCLA, will be giving a talk titled, “1683 and All That: The Ottomans Seen By their Foes.”

January 29, 2018 - 2:00 pm in COB2 290

FALL 2017

"Supporting the Liberation of Palestine Through Local Grassroots Activism," Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)

Nov. 9, 2017 COB II 290

 "What the History of the Castro Can Tell Us About Pinkwashing: Israel, Palestine, and Queer Market Politics," Tallie Ben-Daniel, Ph.D., Cultural Studies, UC Davis, Academic Advisory Council Coordinator, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP),

Oct. 19, 2017 COB II 392

"100 Years After Balfour:  Putting Palestine on the Map," Hatem Bazian, Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern and Asian Studies, UC Berkeley,

Oct. 3, 2017 COB II 390

"Palestine: 100 Years of Colonialism, 100 Years of Resistance," Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies, San Francisco State University, 

Sept. 13, 2017 COB II 290

Merced Seminar in the Humanities 2016-2017:


““Canoes, Estuaries and Islands: Reimaginging Malolos (Bulacan, Philipines) in the Context of Nationalism, Climate Change and Ubanization,” Kale Fajardo, Associate Professor of American Studies and Asian American Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, May 5, 2017 COB II 290

“Water, War, and Empire: Refugee Bodies at Sea” Violet Barton,   Graduate Fellow, UC Merced
Apr. 21, 2017,  COB II 290


“Epitaph for a River: Re-Imagining the Stanislaus” Christopher Caskey, Graduate Fellow, UC Merced Center for the Humanities,
Mar. 17, 2017, COB II 290

“The Indus Basin as a Garden: Further Explorations in the Punjab,” James Westcoat, Aga Khan Professor, Department of Architecture, Massachusets Institute of Technology, March 3, 2017

“Human Responses to Climatic Stress,” Holley Moyes, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Merced 
Feb. 3, 2017, COB II 290 

“The Surf Zone in West Africa and Hawaii: Site of Sport, Biracial Romance and Cultural Exchange,” Kevin Dawson, Assistant Professor of History, UC Merced, Feb 3, 2017, COB II 290 

FALL 2016 


“Pearls, Slavery, and Fashion: Enslaved African Pearl Divers in the Persian Gulf in the Age of Empire,” Matthew Hopper, Associate Professor of History, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, November 18, 2016, COB II 290



“Watery Capital, City of Flows: Osaka in the Japanese Imagination,” Michael Cronin, Associate Professor of Japanese, The College of William & Mary, November 4, 2016, COB II 290   
“Land, Food Security and Water Rights in the Central Valley: Farmworkers, the Westlands and National Land for the People,” Mario Sifuentez, Assistant Professor of History, UC Merced, October 7, 2016, COB II 290  Blog
“'Salamouka Hula': Native Hawaiian Dance at Sea in the 19th   Century,” Revel Carr, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of North Carolina,  Greensboro, September 23, 2016,  COB II 290  Blog
“Engineering Empire: The Theory and Practice of Yellow River Flood Management in Late Imperial China,” Ruth Mostern, Associate Professor of History, UC Merced, August 26, 2016, COB II 290


"Waterscapes and Identities: South Asia’s Colonial Legacy in Cinema," Aditi Chandra, Asst. Prof. of Art History, UC Merced
Apr. 14, 2016, Wawona Room



"Ecological Aesthetics in the Little Ice Age: Water as Limited Commodity in Early Modern North India," Sugata Ray, Asst. Prof. of South Asian Art and Architecture, UC Berkeley
Mar. 31, 2016, Wawona Room

"Plastic Currents: Science, Circulation and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," Kim De Wolff, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Merced
Mar. 17, 2016, Wawona Room

"Agwe, Captain of the Immamou: The Patron Spirit of Haitian Fishermen," Patrick Wilkinson, Graduate Fellow, UC Merced
Mar. 3, 2016, Wawona Room

"'The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities," Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative and Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Feb. 22, 2016, California Room
"Formulating a Field: The Role of the Indian Ocean in Asian-African Studies and East Africa," Anneeth Kaur Hundle, Asst. Prof. of Anthropology, UC Merced
Feb. 18, 2016, Wawona Room
"'Violence and Coloniality: Racialization and Viscerality in Latin America's New Indigenous Narrative," Arturo Arias, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Professor in the Humanities, UC Merced
Feb. 16, 2016, COB 120

"Writing in Water," Angela Zito, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology and Religious Studies, New York University
Feb. 4, 2016, Wawona Room

"The Ocean’s People in the Desert: A Consideration of Travelers in the pre-Columbian Atacama," Christina Torres-Rouff, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology, UC Merced
Jan. 21, 2016, Wawona Room

FALL 2015



"The River of Sorrows Flows Through a Land of Famine," Tristram R. Kidder, Prof. of Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
Dec. 3, 2015, Wawona Room



"Islands in the Stream: Conceptualizing the Role of Water in the Prehistoric Caribbean," William Pestle, Asst. Prof. of Anthropology, University of Miami
Nov. 12, 2015, Wawona Room

"'Encounters at Sea: Piracy and Protection in the Western Indian Ocean," Jatin Dua, Asst. Prof. of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Oct. 29, 2015, Wawona Room
"Ways of Water: Lives of Those Who Depend on it," Maya Khosla, Senior Wildlife Biologist, California Environmental Services
Oct. 15, 2015, Wawona Room
"'al-Karaji’s Hidden Waters: Underground Channels and Global Connections," Abigail E. Owen, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in World History of Science, University of Pittsburgh
Oct. 1, 2015, Wawona Room

"Following the Tracks of Yu: The Eleventh Century Origins of the Yellow River Disaster Regime," Ruth Mostern, Assoc. Prof. of History, UC Merced
Sept. 17, 2015, Wawona Room

"Climate Feedback: Bringing the Scientific Community to Provide Direct Feedback on the Credibility of Climate Media Coverage," Emmanuel Vincent, Project Scientist, Center for Climate Communication, UC Merced
Sept. 3, 2015, Wawona Room

Merced Seminar in the Humanities 2014-2015:

"They Have Become Turks! Anti-Habsburg Resistance and Turkification in Seventeenth-Century Hungary," Georg Michels, Prof. of History, UC Riverside
Apr. 29, 2015, Willow Room
"The World Turned Upside Down: Changes in Representations of the World in Medieval Eurasian Maps," Hyunhee Park, Assoc. Prof. of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Apr. 15, 2015, Willow Room
"God's Wounds! Blasphemy in Early Modern Anglo-America," Susan Juster, Prof. of History, University of Michigan
Apr. 1, 2015, Willow Room
"Public Anthropology and the Upside-Down Economy,"
Angelique Haugerud, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology, Rutgers University
Mar. 18, 2015, Willow Room
"A Bag of Tricks: Tricksters and Humor in Early Modern English Literature," Rhea Riegel, Graduate Fellow, UC Merced
Mar. 4, 2015, Willow Room
"No Horsemen Necessary, Walkers Will do: New Monsters for a Good Old Fashioned Apocalypse," David Castillo, Prof. of Romance Languages, SUNY Buffalo
Feb. 18, 2015, Willow Room
"A New Vocabulary for a New Age: An Argument for a Counter-Morality, Among Other Things," David Palumbo-Liu,  Prof. of Comparative Literature, Stanford University
Feb. 4, 2015, Willow Room
"Breaking Historiographical Boundaries:  Early Modern Persianate Universal Chronicles," Sholeh Quinn, Assoc. Prof. of History, UC Merced
Jan. 21, 2015, Willow Room

FALL 2014

"Of Modern Troubadours and Tricksters," Manuel M. Martin-Rodriguez, Prof. of Chicana/o and Latina/o Literature, UC Merced
Dec. 3, 2014, Wawona Room



"The Medical Interview Upside Down: Latino Patients Empowered," Dalia Magana, Asst. Prof. of Spanish Linguistics, UC Merced
Nov. 19, 2014, Wawona Room

"'Everything is Out of Whack': Subversions and Transgressions in Contemporary Mexican Stand-Up Comedy," Raquel Garcia, Doctoral Candidate in Spanish, UC Davis
Nov. 5, 2014, Wawona Room
"Terror and Colonial Modernity," Eli Jelly-Shapiro, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Merced
Oct. 22, 2014, Wawona Room
"'Rasing Hell': Ancient Maya Modifications of the Ritual Landscape Outside of Caves," Marieka Arksey, Graduate Fellow, UC Merced
Oct. 8, 2014, Wawona Room

"Unruly Women: Culture, Politics and Society in Early Modern England," Susan Amussen, Prof. of History, UC Merced
Sept. 24, 2014, Wawona Room

"A World Upside Down: Cultural Celebration, Historical Memory and Claim to Place in Julio Miyazawa's Yawara! A Treavessia Nidondin-Brasil and Uma Rosa para Yumi," Ignacio Lopez-Calvo, Prof. of Spanish Literature, UC Merced
Sept. 10, 2014, Wawona Room


Merced Seminar in the Humanities 2013-2014
“Engineering The Sounds Of Sisterhood:
Sandy Stone, Race, Gender, And Olivia Records,” Stephan Pennington, Asst. Prof. of Music, Tufts University
Apr. 30, 2014, Wawona Room
“Re-Interpreting (Virtual) Things:
When Research And Museums Turn Upside Down,”
 Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, Graduate Fellow, UC Merced
Apr. 23, 2014, Wawona Room
“Political Aesthetics And Embodiment:
Sung Protest In Post-Apartheid South Africa,”
 Omotayo Jolaosho, Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Merced
Apr. 2, 2014, Wawona Room
“Convention And Natural Law,” Peter Vanderschraaf, Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy, UC Merced
Mar. 12, 2014, Wawona Room
 “Balancing Futures Past: Bengali Intellectuals In The Era Of Decolonization, 1930 - 1970,” Neilesh Bose, Asst. Prof of Modern South Asian History, University Of North Texas
Feb. 26, 2014, Wawona Room
“Posthuman Philosophy Made Visual: Anime As Affective Technology,” Sharalyn Orbaugh, Prof. of Modern Japanese Literature and Popular Culture, Univeristy Of British Columbia
Feb. 12, 2014, Wawona Room


FALL 2013

"Mesa of Sorrows: Women, Men, and Cycles of Evangelism in the Southwest Borderlands," James Brooks, Research Associate School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe
Sept. 4, 2013, Wawona Room



"Disrupting the Urban-Rural Hierachy in
Fashion and Television," Susan Kaiser, Prof. of Textiles and Clothing, UC Davis
Sept. 18, 2013, Wawona Room
"Personification and the Political Imagination
of A Midsummer Night's Dream," Amanda Bailey, Assoc. Prof. of English, University of Maryland
Oct. 2, 2013, Wawona Room
"Music and Religious Change in
Shakespeare's Tempest," Katherine Steele Brokaw, Asst. Prof. of English, UC Merced
Oct. 16, 2013, Wawona Room
"Recalling 1930s State Violence in El Salvador,
Spain and the Dominican Republic: The
Temporality of Memory and the Nation," Robin DeLugan, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology, UC Merced
Oct. 30, 2013, Wawona Room
"89@25: Views of the Chinese Pro-Democracy
Movement as Experience, Event, Myth, Materials
and Social Memory," Edward Lanfranco, Graduate Fellow in World Cultures, UC Merced
Nov. 13, 2013, Wawona Room
"The Wisdom of Farts: Ethics and Politics, Carnival
and Festive Drama in Late Medieval and Early
Modern France," Noah Guynn, Assoc. Prof. of French, UC Davis
Dec. 4, 2013, Wawona Room

Image (call #31481) used with permission, courtesy of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.