UC San Diego's Department of Music

July 20, 2016

  Summer 2016 News from the Division of Arts and Humanities


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Academic Year 2015-2016 brought great successes and challenges to the Division of Arts and Humanities. Some highlights included winning three of six Faculty Excellence Awards, four of 12 Hellman Fellowships, multiple book awards, significant research and production grant awards, several faculty retentions and new recruitments, numerous student accolades, plus an alumni event in New York City.

As we prepare for the upcoming school year, I feel excited and enthused. I anticipate an even stronger divisional impact as our departments and programs garner increasing attention and support for the foundational, transferable and enduring skills we provide to students. Our joint efforts are reaping phenomenal results. For this, I remain most grateful. Please enjoy a rejuvenating summer and come back in the fall refreshed and ready to embrace the 2016-2017 academic year!

My best wishes,

The Dean's Office is a hub of activity, especially with the appointment of three new deans, effective August 1. The new divisional administrators include the Department of Literature's Jody Blanco, associate dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; the Department of History's Natalia Molina, interim associate dean and the Department of History's David Gutierrez, who assumes the role of associate dean in 2017 after a sabbatical.

The Institute of Arts and Humanities is expanding its reach with two new programs: The Chicano/a and Latino/a Arts and Humanities (CLAH) Minor and the Third World Studies Program (TWS). CLAH is an interdisciplinary minor which provides a broad introduction to the histories and cultural artifacts produced by Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Through a coordinated course of study that draws upon course offerings in Theatre, Ethnic Studies, Communication, History, Literature and other departments, students will gain an understanding of this important segment of the U.S. population. TWS has three main objectives: to provide an understanding of the Third World and its relationships to the West; to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Third World and to provide an understanding of the shifting economic and political nature of countries designated as belonging to the "Third World," especially in light of the dramatic political and economic changes worldwide in the late 1980s and 1990s.

More than 60% of U.S. CEOs have liberal arts degrees. Additionally, most business leaders prefer job candidates who communicate clearly and demonstrate critical thinking and creative problem-solving -- all foundational skills instilled by the arts and humanities and transferable to many professions. Watch our video to discover what students and faculty say about the value of a Division of Arts and Humanities education at UC San Diego.


New Senior Development Director Joins Division
Former San Diego Foundation Director of Development Julie Bronstein recently accepted the position of Senior Director of Development for the Division of Arts and Humanities. Bronstein assumes the role August 1.

$1M Gift Supports New Endowed Chair in Persian Studies
The Chancellor's Office recently recommended approval of an endowed chair named the Roghieh Chehre-Azad Distinguished Professorship in the Division of Arts and Humanities. The professorship will be supported by a $1-million endowment and will be held by a faculty scholar and/or artist who will teach, practice, present and instruct in Persian Studies. Dr. Sia Nemat-Nasser, distinguished professor of mechanics and materials in the Jacobs School of Engineering, and Mrs. Eva Nemat-Nasser contributed the funding in honor of Dr. Nemat-Nasser's mother, Roghieh Chehre-Azad, an actor in Iran during a time when women risked being stoned to death for appearing on stage. "The endowed chair will honor her talented, courageous and astute efforts to defend freedom and practice the beauty of the arts," said Dr. Nemat-Nasser.

New Endowment Supports Grad Research
Literature Faculty Emerita Susan Kirkpatrick has established the Kirkpatrick Graduate Literature Research Endowment, in support of graduate research for Department of Literature students at UC San Diego. The emerita professor will contribute to the fund during her lifetime, and she will leave a $30,000 bequest that will sustain the annual prize in perpetuity.

Division of Arts and Humanities Alumni Jeff Augustin ('14) and Joshua Brody ('13) are teaming up to present "Last Tiger in Haiti" at La Jolla Playhouse through July 24. Augustin (who wrote the play) and Brody (who directs) graduated with MFA degrees from the Department of Theatre and Dance. The play marks the first time a former UC San Diego theatre student's work has been featured in the world-class La Jolla Playhouse's regular season.


History professors Luis Alvarez and Mark Hanna are undertaking new leadership roles by assuming the director and associate director positions, respectively, for the Institute of Arts and Humanities. The new leaders, who will continue in their roles as associate professors within the history department, will galvanize the many programs functioning within the institute.

Dean Della Coletta inaugurated Associate Professor Denise Demetriou as the Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Endowed Chair in Ancient Greek History in May. Demetriou's endowed chair rounds out the leadership at the Center for Hellenic Studies, which also includes professors Thomas Gallant and Edward Watts. The new center was launched earlier this year, with strong support from San Diego's Greek community, to build a comprehensive Greek studies program. "UC San Diego is unusual among colleges in North America in offering scholars the opportunity to study the whole span of Greek history, culture and archaeology, from antiquity to the present day," Demetriou said.

Distinguished Professor of Literature and Former Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Seth Lerer anticipates a busy Fall Semester. Lerer will be the M. H. Abrams Visiting Professor of English at Cornell University. His book "Tradition: A Feeling for the Literary Past" will be published by Oxford University Press. Lerer also has been participating in the First Folio programs honoring the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death (the First Folio, circa 1623, was the first published collection of Shakespeare's plays).

Professor Dennis Childs is the recent winner of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Distinguished Teaching Award for 2015-2016. The award acknowledges and honors efforts professors make to teach and support the courses that fulfill the graduation requirement for students. Childs, whose teaching and research ranges from prison and slavery studies to African American literature, legal studies and blues, was recognized for exemplary teaching and for his commitment to educating students about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in our diverse and complex society.

"Shaping Change: Remembering Octavia Butler Through Archives, Art, and Worldmaking," attracted as many as 150 attendees to UC San Diego for each day of the June 3-5 conference marking the 10th anniversary of the sci-fi author's death. The conference was sponsored by the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (Professor of Literature Shelley Streeby is the director) and funded with a $20,000 seed grant from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, along with smaller donations from the Division of Arts and Humanities, the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance and other campus groups. "Ultimately this conference in Octavia's honor is also in honor of Clarion, which she credited with giving her a start," Streeby said.

Professor Jann Pasler was recently awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2016-17) in support of her book "Sounding the French Empire: Colonial Ethnographies of Music and New Media, 1860-1960." The $70,000 prize funds full-time writing. Pasler's project deconstructs the aims, processes, and colonial agendas of music ethnographers in the French empire by analyzing long forgotten contributions to comparative musicology in North Africa, equatorial Africa, and Indochina. It exposes how settlers, indigenous musicians, and local administrators co-created colonial knowledge, promoting certain indigenous traditions over others in the service of political purposes through scores, recordings, and radio. Building on the work and methodologies of historians, anthropologists, linguists, race theorists, and ethnomusicologists, the project lays the foundations for a new field of inquiry by teasing out Europeans' complex relationship to colonial culture and music's role in the negotiation of dynamic national identities, still relevant today.

Cellist and Professor of Contemporary Music Performance Charles Curtis just returned from Marfa, Texas where he performed amid the art installations of the Chinati Foundation, founded by minimalist sculptor Donald Judd. Music included several works penned expressly for Curtis by composer Alvin Lucier, his longtime collaborator, as well as the premiere of a new piece for cello and wind performed on a plateau in the middle of the Big Bend region. Curtis also performed recently at the modernist landmark Schindler House in Los Angeles.

Department of Philosophy Professor Erik Watkins received a Graduate Student Association (GSA) Faculty Mentorship Award during spring quarter. Watkins specializes in Kant's theoretical philosophy and its place within modern philosophy and science, early modern philosophy (especially Leibniz), German Idealism and the history of the philosophy of science. The GSA exists to advocate the rights and interests of the university's diverse community, to provide for the enjoyment of social, cultural and service-oriented events, and for the betterment of academic and non-academic life of all graduate and professional students at UC San Diego.

The Department of Philosophy's new Summer Program for Women in Philosophy (SPWP) hosted 14 undergraduates from the U.S. and Canada at UC San Diego in June. "SPWP aims to encourage and support women who are interested in philosophy to apply to grad schools that best fit their interests and pursue an academic career," said Kathryn Joyce, a graduate student in philosophy at UC San Diego who served as the event's assistant director. "The fact that the philosophy department and university invest so many resources in understanding and correcting the gender imbalance in philosophy speaks to the climate they provide for women and students who are members of minority groups." Guest speakers included University of Arizona Professor Connie Rosati on "The Good Life" and Victoria University of Wellington Professor Sondra Bacharach on "Street Art, Video Games, Comics and Other Forms of Popular Art."

Jesca Prudencio, MFA '16, Theatre and Dance, is one of the first three recipients of the Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship, an expansive initiative offering exposure and inspiration to gifted theater directors (ages 21-29) in the form of one-year travel fellowships to Central/South America, Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. Jesca's $30,000 travel fellowship will allow her to explore traditional forms of puppetry and dance throughout Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. The award supports development of her interdisciplinary theatrical adaptation of Francisco Balagtas' poem "Florante at Laura."

Toby Onwumere, MFA '15, Theatre and Dance, has been cast in the upcoming second season of the Netflix drama "Sense8." He assumes the role of Capheus, a Kenyan working as a bus driver in Nairobi, one of eight characters around the world who find themselves connected by a mysterious force. Onwumere replaces Aml Ameen, who played Capheus in the first season. Written and co-produced by Lilly and Lana Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski, the series is scheduled to begin its second season early next year.

UC San Diego Visual Arts media student Alice Hsieh was recently announced as the Grand Prize Winner of the 2016 Adam D. Kamil Media Awards. Now in its sixth year, the Kamil awards event has become the most prestigious recognition for aspiring UC San Diego filmmakers. The Kamil family created the award to honor the memory of their son Adam and to promote creative undergraduate filmmaking. The award consists of a $2,000 grand prize and two $1,000 finalist awards. This year there were 36 film submissions judged by a committee comprised of Visual Arts faculty members Amy Alexander, Jordan Crandall, Brian Cross, Mariana Wardwell and professional writer-producer David Yorkin. The committee presented the following winners:

Grand Prize: Alice Hsieh, "Children of The Millennia"; Finalists: Alexander Uhler, Yvonne Ha and Yuka Murakami, "Prince of Puppies"; Jia Chen and Clara Park, "EDEN"; Honorable Mentions: Victor De La Fuente, "Tau/Ros"; Grason Caldwell, Alexis Hithe, Alexander Uhler and Yuka Murakami, "WARREN" and Dyllan Edward Thweatt, "Pizza Sense."

Sheldon Brown, professor of visual arts and director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, and science fiction author Vernor Vinge, were interviewed on KPBS-FM public radio's Midday Edition program.

Professor Emeritus Fred Lonidier (a UC San Diego alumnus) is featured in "Made in LA 2016" at the Hammer in Los Angeles, which runs through August 28. Lonidier's project is titled "Labor Link TV." If you attend the exhibit, you can vote for Fred to win a Public Recognition Award at one of the voting kiosks throughout the museum.

Nancy Caciola, History
Afterlives: The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages
Cornell University Press

Amelia Glaser, Literature
Stories of Khmelnytsky: Competing Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising
Stanford Studies on Central and European

Gila Sher, Philosophy
Epistemic Fiction: An Essay on Knowledge, Truth, and Logic
Oxford University Press

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