2021-2022 Media and Society Lecture Series

Media and Society is a series of lectures and public conversations on the role of media, journalism, popular culture narrative, and media representation, in the deployment of power in contemporary society. 

Each series lasts a full academic year, but the fall quarter of the series is also a component of Kresge 1: Power and Representation, the core course at Kresge College. The series as a whole uniquely serves the UC Santa Cruz community in a vital function of the liberal arts: to cultivate dialogue in the context of public dialogue, and to guard our freedoms in expressing and debating that knowledge. 

"Media" is a euphemism, often imagined as the frame, or lens, through which culture and politics are made fit for public consumption. But a new regime of public dialogue combines professional journalism, "citizen" journalism, traditional and non-traditional news presenters and producers, and social media, in a dynamic environment that often evades clear understanding or criticism. And yet critical thinking about this environment has never been more crucial to our pursuit of justice and equity. Media and Society provides a forum in which to launch critical views of that landscape, and in which to imagine more productive, ethical, and impactful futures for it.

Kresge College, the University Library, and The Humanities Institute work together each year with an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, and students, to build a series of conversations that help fulfill a charge of media literacy and media engagement at UC Santa Cruz. In this year's series — celebrating Kresge’s 50th year — we focus on creative media, the visual and aural spectacle of race and racism, and dialogues on abolition and transformative justice.

    Media and Society Fall 2021

  • In celebration of Kresge’s 50th Anniversary, we’re thrilled to announce:


    Tongo Eisen-Martin

    Thursday, October 14

    7:00 PM


    When: Oct 14, 2021 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

    Topic: Tongo Eisen-Martin, in conversation with Anjuli Verma


    Please click the link below to join the webinar:



    October 14 at 7:00 PM, the keynote Plenary of the Media and Society Lecture Series at Kresge College. This event features San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, in conversation with Kresge faculty, including novelist-poet Daniel Pearce UCSC Writing Program) and Associate Professor Anjuli Verma (Politics / Legal Studies); they will discuss language and media in the history of slavery and policing, and will including readings of Eisen-Martin’s newest works.


    American Book Award winning Tongo Eisen-Martin (MA, Columbia University; former Poet Laureate of San Francisco) combines incisive poetic vision with practical activism, confronting problems of justice in sound, word, and dialogue. Eisen-Martin’s poetry and education work to build conscientious and intellectual energy for prison-abolition and police-defunding movements by exposing criminal justice inequity, mass incarceration, and police atrocities, including the extrajudicial killing of Black people. His someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015) was nominated for a California Book Award; and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017) earned him accolades, including a shortlisting for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize.


    Poetry Foundation .org: Griffin Prize judges cited Eisen-Martin’s as work that “moves between trenchant political critique and dreamlike association, demonstrating how, in the right hands, one mode might energize the other—keeping alternative orders of meaning alive in the face of radical injustice ... His poems are places where discourses and vernaculars collide and recombine into new configurations capable of expressing outrage and sorrow and love.”



    A.M. Darke Games and Play as Social Intervention

    Tuesday, November 16

    7:00 PM

    Game designer A.M. Darke frames powerful dialogue about the role of games in the shaping of power in contemporary digital culture, and beyond. What is at stake in self-representation, and our representations of our communities, through gaming. How are industry representations variously coded as racial, as gendered? How can aspiring game-makers intervene in their communities and social representations of them?  A.M. Darke rejoins our series for the third time, pivoting from panelist to core/keynote lecturer. His lecture will take shape in two parts; the first an overview of his own work, and the second a primer on accessible platforms for game-making.


    A.M. Darke is an artist, game designer, and activist designing games for social impact. He created the award-winning card game Objectif, which explores the intersection of race, gender, and standards of beauty. In 2016 he became an Oculus Launch Pad fellow, and shortly thereafter wrote An Open Letter to Oculus Founder, Palmer Luckey in response to reports of Luckey’s alt-right affiliations. The following year, he curated the exhibition Building Code: Developing Mixed Use Space in Virtual Reality as an artist-in-residence at Laboratory. In 2018, Darke joined the NYU Game Center Incubator residency, and is currently a Futurist in Residence with ARVR Women. Darke holds a B.A. in Design (’13) and an M.F.A. in Media Arts (’15), both from UCLA. He is an Assistant Professor of Games and Playable Media, and Digital Arts and New Media at UC Santa Cruz, and the founding director of The Other Lab, an interdisciplinary, intersectional feminist research lab for experimental games, XR, and new media. His work has been shown internationally and featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes, Kill Screen, The Creator’s Project, and NPR.


    Winter 2022



    Craig Haney Media and Criminal Justice in the U.S.

    Tuesday, March 1st

    7:00 PM


    Craig Haney is a social psychologist whose work leverages interdisciplinary approaches to policy theory and practice in the pursuit of justice and equity within institutions of policing and corrections. Drawing on social histories of crime and punishment, as well as the environments of public media and representation in which opinions and beliefs and crime and justice are formed, Haney and his students examine the personal and social histories, the psychological effects of incarceration, and the complex mechanisms in which criminal justice occurs.


    Spring 2022





    Pamela Z

    May 14, 2022, 7 p.m. Doors: 6 p.m.
    Location: Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz


    Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist working with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, and sampled concrete sounds. Join us May 14, 2022 at 7 p.m. for a live music performance by this world-renowned musician, joined by local composers Alex Wand and Seth Glickman, and UCSC Faculty Kyle Bruckmann, Vanessa Ruotolo, and Willie Winant for a uniquely collaborative concert.
    Pamela Z in Concert
    May 14, 2022, 7 p.m. Doors: 6 p.m.
    Location: Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz
    This event is free and open to the public, with admission offered on a first come, first serve basis. Registration is encouraged, but not required for entry. See riotheater.com for information about visiting the Rio Theatre, Covid protocols, and parking