2020-2021 Media and Society Lecture Series

Media and Society, now in its fifth year at Kresge College, 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. The series aims to serve the UC Santa Cruz campus in a vital but sometimes overlooked function of the liberal arts: to cultivate public knowledge and dialogue, and guard our freedoms in expressing and debating that knowledge.

"Media" is a euphemism, born under the old auspices of what we might call "conventional" journalism, and its framing of culture and politics for public consumption. 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 evades clear understanding or criticism. And yet critical thinking about this environment has never been more vital. 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 Department of Film and Digital Media 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, we focus on Prison Abolition, reconceptualizing gender, and a multidisciplinary series of conversations on social dimensions of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.


    Media and Society Fall 2020




    Passcode: 799599

    November 17–CREATIVE INTERVENTIONS: Activism, Culture-work and Arts in the Context of Struggle

    Moderated by Nicol Hammond (Department of Music, Kresge College Core Faculty)


    cropped-image1.jpgA.M. Darke is an artist, game designer, and activist designing games for social impact. She created the award-winning card game Objectif, which explores the intersection of race, gender, and standards of beauty. In 2016 she 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, she 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. She 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. Her work has been shown internationally and featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes, Kill Screen, The Creator’s Project, and NPR.


    cropped-image17.jpgT.J. Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art, global politics, and ecology, and his essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and catalogues worldwide. His published work centers broadly on the conjunction of art and politics, examining the ability of artistic practice to invent innovative and experimental strategies that challenge dominant social, political, and economic conventions. He has served on the Art Journal editorial board (2004-08), and currently sits on the editorial board of Third Text, and on the advisory board of Grey Room.

    Most recently Demos is the author of Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016), which investigates how concern for ecological crisis has entered the field of contemporary art and visual culture in recent years, and considers art and visual cultural practices globally. While ecology has received little systematic attention within art history, ecology’s visibility has only grown worldwide in relation to the pressing threats of climate change, global warming, and the environmental destruction of ecosystems. To address these intersecting crises—at once economic, socio-political, and environmental—Decolonizing Nature considers creative proposals from speculative realist and new materialist philosophy, Indigenous cosmopolitics, postcolonial theory and climate justice activism, as critical resources for how to model just forms of life that bring together ecological sustainability, anticapitalist politics, and radical democracy.


    cropped-image18.jpgAnna Friz is a sound and radio artist, and media studies scholar. Since 1998, she has created and presented new audio art and radiophonic works internationally in which radio is often the source, subject, and medium of the work. She also composes atmospheric sound works and sonic installations for theater, dance, film, and solo performance that reflect upon public media culture, media ecologies, political landscapes and infrastructure, time perception, the intimacy of signal space, and speculative fictions. Current projects include We Build Ruins, a large scale sound-focused media art installation expressively considering mining and industrial corridors in the high altitude deserts in northern Chile, and ongoing projects concerning radio beacons, air traffic control, and military monitoring vs. citizen listening. Consistent collaborators include sound and media artists Konrad Korabiewski, Emmanuel Madan, and Jeff Kolar. She also works with the Toronto-based collective Public Studio to create multi-channel film installations and sculptures which critically consider the social politics of landscape, environment and urban systems. 

    Presentations of her work in the past year include Ars Electronica Big Concert Night (Linz, Austria), the Museum of Arts and Design (New York), SITE Gallery (Houston), and many others, worldwide. She was one of the core curatorial team for the Radio Revolten International Radio Art Festival held in Halle (Saale) Germany in October 2016, and together with Public Studio, recently completed a City of Toronto commission for a permanent sound installation in the Lee Lifeson Arts Park in Willowdale, Toronto entitled One Hundred and Twenty Mirrors. Her radio art/works have been heard on the airwaves of more than 25 countries, and commissioned by national public radio in Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, and Mexico. (More info: <http://nicelittlestatic.com/>)







    Link to event - bit.ly/AbolitionEducation 

    { Webinar ID 993 4468 1058 }
    Webinar Passcode: 955755

    November 10, 7:00pm—JUSTICE (IN)VISIBLE

    Police and Prison in Media and Lived Experience

    Moderated by Daniel Pearce (Writing Program, Kresge Core) and Megan McDrew (Sociology, Kresge Core)


    Lawrence Bartley is the Director of “News Inside,” the Izzy Award-winning, print publication of The Marshall Project which is distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails throughout the United States. He holds an advanced degree in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary and a B.S. from Mercy College. Bartley serves on the Board of Directors of the Prisoner Legal Services and Rehabilitation Through the Arts, and on the advisory board for the Parole Preparation Project and Panacea Video. Previously, Lawrence co-founded Forgotten Voices and its successor Voices From Within, which highlights individual stories of redemption through short film. Lawrence is an accomplished public speaker and writer who has provided multimedia content for CNN, PBS, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, the NY Emmy-winning three-part series “Drama in the Big House", NPR’s “All Things Considered,” WNYC’s Death, Sex and Money podcast, TED and more.


    cropped-image14.jpg Camilla Hawthorne is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, whose interdisciplinary work touches themes of justice, the geography of race and racialization, migration, citizenship, activism and social movements, work that “sits at the intersection of critical public policy studies, diaspora theory, Black European studies, and postcolonial/feminist science and technology studies.” She earned a PhD in Geography at UC Berkeley in 2018, and is a principal faculty member in UCSC's Critical Race and Ethnic Studies program, and is affiliated with the Science & Justice and Legal Studies Programs. She is Chair of the Black Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers, and is project manager and faculty member of the Black Europe Summer School, a two-week intensive course on citizenship, race, and ethnic relations held each summer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

    Hawthorne writes “I continue to collaborate with activist collectives in the United States and Europe working at the intersection of anti-Blackness and xenophobia”; her current book manuscript promises to be “the first ever in-depth study of Black youth political mobilizations in Italy,” exploring the politics of Blackness and citizenship, and “ways in which the Italian-born children of African immigrants have mobilized for a reform of Italian citizenship law in the context of the Eurozone economic crisis and the southern European refugee emergency.”



    Anjuli Verma is an Assistant Professor of Politics and teaches in the Legal Studies Program at UC Santa Cruz. Her research examines legal reform, social inequality, and the governance of crime and punishment from an interdisciplinary perspective using multiple methods. Anjuli holds a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine and a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. Before joining UC Santa Cruz, she spent two years at UC Berkeley School of Law as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, where she extended her research on the legal reform of California’s historically overcrowded prisons and jails to examine the aging demography of incarceration, federal-state cost shifts under healthcare reform, and the imposition of monetary sanctions resulting in widespread legal debt by the 21st century.

    Prior to her academic career, Anjuli worked as a policy advocate and communications strategist on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues at the American Civil Liberties Union, and in community affairs at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.

    Her ultimate goal is to use the power of research to help shape a world without mass incarceration, human caging, and carceral confinement. In her view, this means producing high-quality research that intervenes in social theory as much as public policy, and research that creates powerful platforms of representation for showing institutional, social, and political worlds—and lives—otherwise unseen.



    Megan McDrew, moderator —Megan teaches a wide range of sociology courses including Death and Dying, Family and Society, and on social justice. Megan also instructs courses at Hartnell College where her main responsibility is teaching sociology in two prisons. In her free time, she works with the Santa Cruz Public Defenders office investigating juvenile defense cases and runs her own organization: The Prison Transformation Project. Besides teaching and advocating for the incarcerated, she loves to spend time raising her children and training for triathlons.  






    Daniel Pearce, moderator— Daniel is a fiction writer, critic, musician, and teacher. He received his MFA in fiction from Columbia University and is a 2020-2021 Steinbeck Fellow. His writing has appeared in several publications, including The Alaska Quarterly Review, BOMB, Bookforum, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. In addition to teaching at UCSC, he has taught at Columbia University, University of San Francisco, and San Quentin State Prison. His academic interests include human rights, narrative theory, and the sociology of policing.