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Critical Intersections: Conversations on History, Race, and Science

Friday, May 20, 2022
2:00pm to 4:00pm
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Online Event
The University in Space
Lisa Messeri, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University,
Eun-Joo Ahn, Graduate Student, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara,

As we navigate our daily routines, we might consider the "space" of the university as defined by our immediate environs: classrooms and offices, favorite study nooks, or communal areas where we gather with colleagues and friends during breaks and mealtimes. However, universities are not confined to the physical boundaries of their campus settings. Instead, by exploring the concept of "The University in Space," we can begin to analyze how the emergence of the modern university depends on physical and virtual spaces. When and how do we use the concept of space in our university projects? What can we learn by exploring the connections between the modern university and "space" industries, including astronomy and virtual reality? How do academic institutions relate to their surrounding environments through layers of topographical, geological, and social histories?

Join Lisa Messeri and Eun-Joo Ahn for a conversation about these questions using the Southern California region as a case study.

Speaker Bios:
Lisa Messeri is an assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Yale University. She works with scientists and innovators to understand how their practices and imaginaries shape broader understandings of what it means to be in the world. Her research has been featured in National Geographic, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and PBS's Nova Next. Her first book, Placing Outer Space, explores how planetary scientists and exoplanetary astronomers transform planets from scientific objects into places and worlds. Her current book is under contract with Duke University Press and weaves together the fantasies and technologies that enliven the virtual reality community in Los Angeles.

Eun-Joo Ahn is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at University of California Santa Barbara. She researches on how astronomers at Mount Wilson Observatory near Pasadena interacted with their physical and socio-economic environment during the early twentieth century. Previously, she received her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Chicago. 

Registration required. To RSVP, please click here.

The theme of the "Critical Intersections: Conversations on Race, History, and Science" seminar series for the 20212022 academic year is "Putting the University in its Place." It invites conversation about the histories, places, and people that make up the modern university. The events are jointly organized by faculty in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences [Maura Dykstra (Assistant Professor of History), Jennifer Jahner (Professor of English), and Hillary Mushkin (Research Professor of Art and Design)] and University Archivist Peter Collopy.

For more information, please contact Cecilia Lu by phone at 626-395-1724 or by email at [email protected].