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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Global Urban Humanities/Future Histories Lab

There are 86 publications in this collection, published between 2013 and 2023.
Courses (7)


Collection of Exhibitions affiliated with Global Urban Humanities and Future Histories Lab

Archiving as Social Justice Practice Summer 2022 Studio Course

Instructor: Lincoln Cushing

Term: Summer 2022

Course #: HUM C132 / ENVDES C132

Why Read This Case Study?

Undergraduates often do not carry out independent archival research until they take upper-division courses, if at all. What would be the impact of introducing incoming freshmen, particularly students who are the first in their families to attend college, to the joys and challenges of handling archival documents?

In Archiving as Social Justice Practice, professional archivist Lincoln Cushing taught students not just to use archives but to help create them. Following field trips to the storied archives of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley as well as to community-based archives, students helped process materials that became part of the Freedom Archives, a long-established grassroots archive in Berkeley. They handled, selected, and digitized historic protest posters and attached metadata, learning important concepts about the practice of history in the process.

The course was supported by Future Histories Lab and offered as part of the Summer Bridge program, which welcomes students from diverse backgrounds, including students of color, low-income, and first-generation students to the college experience in the summer before their freshman fall semester. In their reflections offered in this case study, students said the experience changed the course of their undergraduate careers.

Students who were not even sure they were allowed inside the Bancroft gained the confidence to feel that university resources were theirs. STEM-oriented students gained an understanding of the importance of the humanities; humanities students began to understand history as a discipline; and students oriented toward activism connected their concerns for the future with an appreciation for the need to understand the past.

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Publications (20)

Waves of Data: Illuminating Pathways with San Leandro Lights- in Boom California (2016)

On 20 May 2014, Brittney Silva, a student nearing graduation from San Leandro High School, was walking along the train tracks to her home and talking on the phone. She was using her earbuds and did not hear an Amtrak train approach. She was fatally struck, and her body was retrieved fifty yards from the impact site.

That same week, I met with San Leandro’s Chief Innovation Officer, Debbie Acosta, to discuss opportunities for collaboration between the city and University of California, Berkeley. With the tragedy of Brittney Silva’s death fresh in everyone’s memory, Acosta urged me to do something to make the city safer for pedestrians. When I asked, “How many people walk in San Leandro?” Acosta replied, “We can tell you how much water we use, we can tell you how many cars are waiting at red lights, we can tell you how many streetlights are on, but we have no idea how many people walk where or when.”

That conversation inspired a course I developed with my UC Berkeley colleague Ronald Rael that we called Sensing Cityscapes. In that course, which we offered in fall 2015, we aimed to collect data about human activities that are too often ignored. As part of the interdisciplinary UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative, we aimed to harness methods not just from city planning, engineering, and architecture (Ron’s field), but from the humanistic disciplines, cognitive science, and art (my territory). Our students came from departments ranging from archaeology to public health to performance studies.

Art+Village+City- in Thresholds (2016)

The following materials are the product of a studio, sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley, which critically investigated a wide range of urban art villages in the Pearl River Delta, exploring their historical development, current state, and future potential. These sites ranged from Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, which exports hundreds of thousands of trade paintings around the world, to Xiaozhou Village in Guangzhou, where local artists and art teachers transformed village houses into studios and galleries, and to the collaborative architectural project of Japanese architect Fujimoto and Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou. The studio aimed to analyze the ways in which villagers, artists, officials, migrants, developers, entrepreneurs leverage art practices in order to reimagine urban life and urban citizenship. Texts by Winnie Wong and Margaret Crawford, designed by Ettore Santi with artworks by José Figueroa, images and research by Story Wiggins, Xiuxian Zhan, Valentina Rozas-Krause, Sben Korsh; sponsored by the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative.

The Neighborhood in the Morro: Heterogeneity, Difference, and Emergence in a Periphery of the Global South- in Lo Squaderno (2019)

Read through its most visible characteristics, the neighborhood in the morro (hill) can be anywhere in the peripheries of São Paulo, Brazil, and cities of the global South. Its specificities might disappear within general frameworks used to study urban peripheries, including center-periphery dichotomies, informal urbanism, and the essentialized identity of the poor. This portrait, instead, is about the neighborhood as a landscape of multiple histories, where heterogeneity and difference have produced specific spaces, rhythms, and their sensory emanations. Such an ethnographic approach provides a deeper understanding of emergent forms of the periphery assembled around certain visibilities, practices, and subjectivities, and engaged in uneven patterns of democratic city-making.

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Symposia (2)


Collection of Symposia affiliated with Global Urban Humanities and Future Histories Lab.

Videos- Documentaries (5)

Teatro Campesino | Kinan Valdez (Documentary, 1 minute)

Teatro Campesino | Kinan Valdez (Spring 2016)

Documentary, 1 minute; Part of the Spring 2016 Mexico City: Materiality Performance and Power Studio Course.

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Instructors: C. Greig Crysler, Angel Marino, and Maria Moreno Carranco.

In a narrow, high-sided concrete courtyard hidden in an outdoor corner of the Brutalist Wurster Hall, Kinan Valdez of Teatro Campesino asked students and faculty to growl and shout; to walk, crawl, and leap; and to engage with props such as ropes and lampshades to reconsider the uses of discarded objects. The “Theater of the Sphere” practice of Teatro Campesino grows out of the company’s roots in Cesar Chavez’ United Farmworkers Union. In the 1960s, Teatro Campesino performed and engaged with workers on flatbed trucks and in union halls, and the company continues to create innovate theater today.

Assistant Professor Angela Marino (Theater, Dance & Performance Studies) had invited Valdez to help prepare students for a research studio trip to Mexico City, where they will investigate issues of materiality, performance and power in a fast-changing megacity. During the workshop, we were struck by how our individual and collaborative motion in the confined gray courtyard transformed a prison-like space of raw concrete into an almost cozy enclave, a home for shared experiments in how bodies relate to architectural space.

In March, the students will travel to Mexico City to pursue research projects ranging from the ethnographic to the artistic, led by Marino, Assoc. Prof. C. Greig Crysler (Architecture), and Prof. Maria Moreno Carranco of the Universidad Autonoma Metoropolitana-Cuajimalpa. As with all Global Urban Humanities courses, the group is interdisciplinary and includes students from disciplines including architecture, art practice, film, geography, literature and performance studies.

  • 1 supplemental video

Cheyenne Concepcion- The Borderlands Archive Installation (Documentary, 1 minute)

Cheyenne Concepcion- The Borderlands Archive Installation (Spring 2019)

Documentary, 1 minute; Part of the 2019 Borderlands Archive Installation.

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  • 1 supplemental video

Siteworks- A Surprise Party (Documentary, 3 minutes)

Siteworks: A Surprise Party (Spring 2018)

Documentary, 3 minutes; Part of the  LDARCH 154/THEATER 114 Studio Course, Siteworks: Understanding Place through Design and Performance.

Performed at the Albany Bulb by the students of the studio on April 19, 2018.

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This is a project of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley and generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Before creating this performance, students studied the physical and emotional landscapes of the Albany Bulb and made detailed maps and sketches. They used methods from landscape architecture as well as from dance and theater to explore this unique site. Then they invited an audience to share their discoveries.

Teaching Faculty: Erika Chong Shuch, Ghigo DiTomasso, Susan Moffat, and Annie Danis (GSR)

Student Creators and Performers: Aniston-May Breslin, Helen Jiang, Amy Loo, Tiffany Meng, Patricia Midy, Ricardo Montali, Kathleen O'Connor, Moira Peckham, Hannah Ricker, Natalia Rico, Briana Salmon, Daniel Sanchez, Grace Treffinger, Michael Qi, Peihan Qian,

Videography and Editing by Shane King and Susan Moffat

Drone footage: Gary Yost

Music: "Golden Hours" by Brian Eno

  • 1 supplemental video
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Videos- Lectures (52)

Uneven Modernity and the Peripheral City: Between Ethnography History and Literature in Tbilisi | Reading Cities, Sensing Cities Colloquium | Harsha Ram (Lecture, 50 minutes)

On October 9, 2014, Harsha Ram (Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literature) discussed his research exploring what happens to (historical) modernity and (literary/cultural) modernism in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Georgia, a city remote from the great metropolitan centers of Europe and the West.

This talk was part of the Reading Cities, Sensing Cities colloquium presented by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley.

  • 1 supplemental video

Maps and Urban Form | Mapping and Its Discontents (Lecture, 62 minutes)

Zephyr Frank, of Stanford University's Spatial History Project, notes that maps can be seductive, and offers two provocative statements: maps do not have to be beautiful; and ""we should make fewer maps."" As Frank notes, ""maps are not an end point but a means to new thoughts and problems."" Eve Blau, from Harvard's Graduate School of Design, discusses the use of historical maps as a research tool, focusing on examples from Central Europe. "Architecture defined built space.... [but] what you see is not necessarily what is there; if something looks like something, it does not always operate as you expect." UCLA's Diane Favro provides a response to both speakers.

  • 1 supplemental video

Mellon Mashup- Session One: The Geohumanities Project

Session One- The Geohumanities Project: What Worked, What Didn’t?

Featuring a group of visiting scholars who labored successfully to produce a transdisciplinary volume entitled GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place. The editors reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what lessons came out of the project

-Jennifer Wolch, Dean, College of Environmental Design-Jim Ketchum, Island Press, Washington DC-Sarah Luria, English, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA-Doug Richardson, Association of American Geographers, Washington DC

  • 1 supplemental video
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