Working groups are an opportunity for members of the UC Davis community to engage in ongoing dialogue about a specific topic, conversation, intervention, or application of feminist research. Groups are expected to meet a minimum of four times during the academic year. The program is open to groups composed of faculty members, staff and/or graduate students that traverse degree programs and disciplines. Each group must have at least one faculty member who serves as the group’s sponsor.
2018-2019 Working Groups
Exploring the Intersection of Crafting and Feminism
Kristen Bettega, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
Julie Bidwell, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
This group will explore topics at the intersection of crafting and feminism, including: craftivism, or crafting as an introduction to activism for groups not previously politically engaged, such as the knitting of pussy hats for the 2018 Women's Marches; how crafting enables stay- and work-at-home women to earn income, such as textile workers in India who weave recycled silk into yarn for sale in the United States; and how women's creative endeavors continue to be characterized as "less than" forms of cultural production such as "craft,'" as opposed to the loftier categorization of men's as "art." The group will meet regularly to discuss and work on our own crafts as an expression of our individual visions of feminism. Outside speakers, including work- and stay-at-home crafters and women craftivists, will be invited quarterly to share their experiences, and we will outreach to the graduate student community in the nursing, medicine, and physician assistant programs. This working group will inspire critical thinking around the ways crafting intersects with activism, inclusion, equity, and feminism.
Muslim Writing Space
Tanzeen Rashed Doha, Anthropology
Suad Joseph, Anthropology
As myriad scholars within and beyond Gender Studies have pointed out, Western feminism as a theoretical and political project works closely with the ideological and material demands of imperialist interventions and war, and have specifically targeted Muslims who adhere to the pedagogical, social, and political project of traditional Islam. This group will have two broad tasks: the deconstruction and critique of dominant western feminism with the help of works by Chandra Mohanty, Sunera Thobani, Gayatri Spivak, and Hortense Spillers; and the advancement of thinking within the Islamic tradition and rearticulation of the significance of Islam itself for Muslims as a decolonial maneuver to counter repressive secular power. The group will meet twice weekly for writing sessions. Through writing exercises, the group will engage with texts in both feminist and Islamic traditions in a format that encourages the advancement of feminist research by Muslim graduate students and re-visiting of foundational texts of the Islamic tradition.
Mycelial Writing in The Undercommons
Anuj Vaidya, Performance Studies Graduate Group
Wendy Ho, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Mycelia are the filamentous networks that form the vegetative part of the fungal body, fruiting when and where conditions are ripe for emergence. They are considered the neural network of the forest, providing the infrastructure for communication and collaboration – in short, for community. For 2018-19, we intend to follow mycelial methods towards a collaborative writing project that will bring critical race/gender/sexuality studies into conversation with indigenous studies, animal studies, and disability studies. We imagine mycelial methods as nonhuman methods, decentering the human, and working towards a forestation – an ecosystem of thriving difference. The mycelial also makes space for slow scholarship and writing, a disability and feminist method that engages a politics of resistance – a process towards fermenting community. The goal of this writing project, then, is to bring Moten and Harney's The Undercommons (2013) work into conversation with the mycelial undercommons towards a coalitional politics that examines how nature and the non-human are intimately entangled in the construction of the 'human' through race, gender, disability, and species. This group has proposed both a collaborative writing project and a mycelial worlding project of speculative fabulation that together build towards a Spring 2019 mycelial gaming event.
Women and Non-binary People of Color Scholars Inclusion Project (WOCSI)
Jasmine Wade, Cultural Studies Graduate Group
Robyn Rodriguez, Asian American Studies
WOCSI’s mission is to support, provide resources, and create community for women and non-binary graduate students and faculty. Thus far, we have focused on the needs and concerns of the current participants and how best we can adjust to meet their needs. We hope to continue to aid in the retention of women of color, networking across departments and campuses and in creating community. By creating reading groups between faculty and graduate students as well as a colloquium on navigating academia, a research symposium and networking events, we hope to continue to foster an environment of community between the present and future members of WOCSI. WOCSI seeks to create a multi-year program with multiple objectives: build a nurturing academic community for women of color scholars in the fields of critical race and ethnic studies and community-engaged research; increase the visibility of their scholarly work; collect data on women of color scholars' experiences in these fields; and work toward institutional reforms needed to ensure that critical race and ethnic studies and community engaged-research is given equitable support at the university. WOCSI has accordingly proposed five sets of activities: networking; writing retreat; quarterly colloquia; one-day research symposium; and reading group.
2017-2018 Working Groups
Soil Health Interdisciplinary Working Group
Amanda Crump, Education Graduate Group
Kate Scow, Land, Air, and Water Resources
Healthy soils are critical for a variety of reasons. Soils support biodiversity. Soils provide healthy food. Soils supply clean water. Soils also provide a fertile ground for interdisciplinary research. We propose to build upon an international, interdisciplinary effort called the Soil Care Network and build a complementary network within the University of California community. Our working group will engage a variety of faculty, staff, and students from two University of California campuses and the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA NRCS, and California Department of Food and Agriculture, and The Nature Conservancy. Our working group has two objectives: a learning agenda composed of group meetings and visits from invited faculty; and a collaborative examination of critical studies of soils.
Radical Mycology Working Group
Anuj Vaidya, Performance Studies
Marisol de la Cadena, Anthropology
Thinking with the fungus is not by any means a new methodology – they feature prominently in the cornucopia of indigenous knowledge systems and in origin myths, esteemed for their wisdom and psychoactive properties, their healing potential, and as food. Mushrooms survive (and even thrive) in the margins, offering us new ways of thinking and learning about collaboration, social and political organization, and co-habitation in an age of ecological crisis. From their refusal to be categorized neatly within the taxonomies of modern science, to their transformative capacity as saprophytes – turning dead matter into the potential for life – fungi are queer subjects that inhabit the ruins of human activity. Making avail of the rich culture of mycology in Northern California, the Radical Mycology Working Group at UC Davis will engage in practical workshops on mushroom cultivation, mushroom foraging, mycoremediation, etc through a DIY myco-lab, allowing for conversations about practices of reciprocal (human/fungus) care, and for dialogue that brings mycology into critical conversation with science and technology studies, performance studies, indigenous studies, and critical race and gender studies.
Feminism and Precision Medicine: an initial synthesis from a diverse stakeholder engagement
Jennifer Phipps, Biomedical Engineering
Fred Meyers, Department of Faculty Sponsor: Internal Medicine/Center for Precision Medicine
Women, minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged have been exploited in health care and public health, resulting in pervasive disparities. For example, rates of lung cancer in men have been steadily declining over the past few decades, whereas for women, the incidence has been increasing both in smokers and non-smokers. Smoking is the most common risk factor for lung cancer, but a new epidemic of lung malignancy in never-smoking women has emerged [Isla, 2017]. While cancer rates have been declining across much of America, Black Americans still have higher cancer mortality rates and shorter survival times [Fu, 2005]. These health disparities are of interest to precision medicine, a field that combines multiple domains of a patient’s and population’s characteristics with medical background to personalize their health care, including: sex/gender, genetics, lifestyle, and environment with the ethical, legal and social implications of the analysis. The intersection of feminism and precision medicine has never been adequately discussed or defined and yet the principles of feminism could greatly shape the growing field of precision medicine. We propose to bring together experts in many disciplines to have four focused discussions on intersections between feminism and precision medicine, with an aim towards creating a guide for precision medicine researchers on how to incorporate feminist principles in their work.
Speculative Ecofeminist Futures
Xan Chacko, Cultural Studies
Rana M. Jaleel, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
This group explores the exciting intersection of speculative science fiction and feminist visions of ecological futures, including the applications of an ecofeminist framework, practice, and philosophy, as evidenced in the literary genre of science fiction. We will use this opportunity to think generatively about how each of our projects can be enlivened by considering fictional future narratives from works by China Miéville, Paolo Bacigalupi, Octavia Butler, Frank Herbert, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, and Joanna Russ, and others. The group is committed to understanding how non-human entities are understood and made in relation to particular networks of human interactions and meaning making endeavours. Whether landmines, dogs, microbes, genes, seeds, or cities, the non-human subjects of our respective research projects have lives that are always/already in excess of what our human interlocutors can evince. Science fiction allows us to imagine how these entities could interact with the world beyond the duration and scope of our projects.
2016-2017 Working Group
Feminisms & Sciences Working Group
Feminist Research Institute
What does it mean to do feminist research in the sciences? This working group includes faculty and graduate students from all disciplines and with any level of exposure to feminist theory or science who discuss the role of feminism in and alongside the sciences.