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Amos Oz
Renowned Israeli writer and peace activist Amos Oz delivers the Herman Wouk Visiting Lecture
Mandeville auditorium, April 22, 2013
Photo by Dirk Sutro, DAH

Upcoming Events

Anita Laing Memorial Documentary Project

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to circumstances beyond the control of the San Diego Italian Film Festival, the documentary at the San Diego Central Library that was scheduled on March 30 must be postponed.

We sincerely regret the need to make this change and at this late date. Please check our Facebook page and other social media for updates as the SDIFF reschedules its documentary series.

We look forward to welcoming you to our whole Anita Laing Documentary Program, and we will reach out with our new schedule as soon as possible.

For more information

Anita Laing Memorial Documentary Project

Curated by Professor Pasquale Verdicchio

Sunday, March 30, 2014- Cancelled

(De) tour de seta, Detour De Seta

By Salvo Cuccia, 2004

Il mondo perduto

By Vittorio De Seta, 1954-1959

SD Central Library Theater | 2 to 4pm, free Library parking free 1st two hours

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sopralluoghi in Palestina, Location Hunting in Palestine

By Pier Paolo Pasolini , 1964

Appunti per un film sull’India

By Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968

SD Central Library Theater | 2 to 4pm, free Library parking free 1st two hours

Sunday, May 25, 2014

India, matri bhumi

By Roberto Rossellini, 1959

SD Central Library Theater | 2 to 4pm, free Library parking free 1st two hours

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ricordati di noi, Remember Us

By Paul Tana, 2006                                                                     

SD Central Library Theater | 2 to 4pm, free Library parking free 1st two hours

This second phase of the Anita Laing Memorial Documentary project connects our main festivals with a monthly series in partnership with the San Diego Public Library. ALL MOVIES ARE FREE.

Reception at the UCSD Faculty Club requires a ticket purchased online or at the venue.


Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Bill Lerach & Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach

Joe Vecchio


Visit our website or our Facebook page to find out more!




Denis V. Volkov: Protecting National Interests or Advancing Imperialism: Russia's Persian Studies in the context of foreign policy towards Iran (1863-2014)

Denis V. Volkov: Protecting National Interests or Advancing Imperialism: Russia's Persian Studies in the context of foreign policy towards Iran (1863-2014)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


De Certeau Room (155)

Department of Literature, UCSD

Denis V. Volkov is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester, UK. His dissertation  ‘Oriental studies and foreign policy in late Imperial Russia and the early USSR: Russian/Soviet ‘Iranology’ and Russo-Iranian relations (1900-1941),’ explores the power/knowledge nexus in relation to Russia’s Persian studies during the late Imperial and the early Soviet periods. He studies the involvement of Russian ‘civilian’ (academic) and ‘practical’ (military officers, diplomats, and Orthodox missionary) orientalist scholarship in Russian foreign policy towards Persia/Iran. From 2006 to 2010 he worked in Tehran as the head of the Russian state-owned company ‘Technopromexport’, and from 1995 to 2004 he worked in the same company in Tehran as an interpreter and commercial expert. He majored in ‘Oriental studies’ (History of Iran, MA) at Moscow State University (Institute of Asian and African Countries) and ‘International Economy’ at the All-Russia Academy of Foreign Trade affiliated with the Ministry for Economic Development. His most recent publications are the article-winner of I.B.Tauris Prize “Persian Studies and the Military in Late Imperial Russia: State Power in the Service of Knowledge?” published in ‘Iranian Studies’ and the articles published at BBC Persian: “The Golestan Treaty and 200 years of expedient co-existence” and “The Persia of Nowadays, or How Russia forever lost Ukraine” (both in Persian). He has been a frequent expert guest at the BBC Persian TV, including the programs such as ‘Pargar’ and ‘Sixty Minutes’http://manchester.academia.edu/DenisVolkov

* Open and Free to the public


Common Knowledges Symposium 2014

Common Knowledges Symposium 2014

In conjunction with the 2014 Binder Lecturer Prof. Serenella Iovino and the sponsorship of the IICAS, the UCSD Center for the Humanities, and the Department of Literature


WEDNESDAY   MAY 14, 2014

4:30-7:30 PM

De Certeau Room, Lit 155

Presentations by Prof. L. Stern, Prof. M. Lollini, and  L. Ryan

Prof. Serenella Iovino, Respondent

Prof. Pasquale Verdicchio, Moderator


Prof. Iovino is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Turin in Italy. Her research focuses on all aspects of environmental literary criticism, endangered landscapes and cultural biodiversity. Her recent works include Material Ecocriticism (forthcoming), and Ecologia Letteraria, una strategia della sopravvivenza (2006). Iovino’s current book-project is Ecocriticsm and Italy: Ecology, Resistance and Liberation and is under contract with Bloomsbury Academics.

PROF. LESLEY STERN, Dept. of Visual Arts, UC San Diego

Tyres and Tomatoes: Writing the landscape.

Los Laureles Canyon runs between Tijuana and San Diego. The canyon connects and divides two countries, connects an informal settlement with a protected estuary, urban congestion with a restored natural habitat. Los Laureles Canyon has served as a laboratory for various disciplinary investigations—ethnography, ecology, urban planning, border studies.  Drawing on these approaches the presentation asks how might we write the story of the canyons and their inhabitants in that space where ideas of ‘landscape’ and conceptions of  ‘the garden’ intersect? How do we write ecocriticism?

Writing in the interstices between cultural studies, memoir, and environmental history, Lesley Stern expands the ways we see multispecies worlds. Stern will read from her genre-bending book-in-process, in which a natural/social landscape on the southern California-Mexico border comes to life as both cosmos and microcosm. Her dream-like work The Smoking Book (1999) has been described as “an innovative, hybrid form of writing…at once intensely personal and kaleidoscopically international.” She is Professor Emeritus in the Visual Arts Department UC San Diego.

PROF. MASSIMO LOLLINI, Dept. of Romance Languages, University of Oregon

Sicilian Ruins from Vittorio De Seta’s Documentaries to Vincenzo Consolo’s Cityscapes.

Vittorio De Seta's documentaries are considered masterpieces of world cinema. These films were shot in Sicily between 1954 and 1955 to document, with a certain urgency, the work of the tuna and sword-fishermen whose world was thought to be fast disappearing. Prof. Lollini will discuss these documentaries, along with De Seta’s later piece Sicily Revisited, made for Italian television in 1980, to address the dramatic ecological and cultural consequences of the ruins of that material culture.  The filmic analysis will be complemented with a reading of essays by Vincenzo Consolo, another great witness to contemporary Sicilian ruins in our globalized world.  In conclusion Prof. Lollini will consider how De Seta's documentaries and Consolo's essays speak to contemporary environmental debates and the search for a sustainable human relationship to the environment.  

Prof. Iollini is a graduate of the University of Bologna, Italy. He earned his M.A. and PH.D. in Italian from Yale University.  In 1992, he joined the faculty of the University of Oregon where he is now Full Professor.  His publications include Le Muse, le Maschere e il Sublime: G.B. Vico e la Poesia nell'età della Ragione Spiegata (Naples: Guida, 1994) and Il vuoto della forma. Scrittura, testimonianza e verità (Genoa: Marietti, 2001)

LESLIE RYAN, Dept. of Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University

Ecological Forestry and the Honorable Harvest:

The Blue River Landscape Study, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Forest production and management practices have long focused on removing the complex diversity and fullness of the forest, replacing the mosaic of forest with monocultural tree farms that greatly advantage one species to the disadvantage of others. Ecological forestry is a new model of timber harvest that uses fire and leaves biological legacies of mature trees, which in turn can seed the next forest. The Blue River Landscape Study in Oregon's Central Cascade Range is an example of Ecological Forestry in practice. The existing, mature Douglas-fir forest was harvested with some trees left standing, and then using historical records of regional fire regimes as a guide, the logged landscape was burned. Dr. Ryan’s talk will examine the Blue River Landscape Study through the eco-cultural framework of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the concept of an honorable harvest. Indigenous knowledge of the honorable harvest has the potential to ground our relationship with productive landscapes such as the forest and the more-than-human world in empathy and the particularities of place.

Ryan received a research degree (M.E.D.) from Yale University’s School of Architecture. She is in the Forest Ecosystems and Society Ph.D program at OSU where her research focuses on science-art interactions.  Ryan is the recipient of the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture (1995), and a Graham Foundation grant.


Prof. Verdicchio is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at UC San Diego. He teaches Cultural Studies, Film, and Environmental literature.  He is a member of the Mobile Knowledge and Cultures of the Commons Research Group.


The James K. Binder Lecture Presents: Serenella Iovino

Serenella Iovino: Death(s) in Venice: Bodies and the Discourse of Pollution from Thomas Mann to Porto Marghera  

The James K. Binder Lecture

The Atkinson Pavilion at the Faculty Club, UC San Diego

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Sponsored by UC San Diego Dean of Arts & Humanities and the Department of Literature

A reception will follow the lecture... Free and Open to the Public

There are many ways to imagine the death of a city. Death is the end of a cycle, both an episode and a rule in the ecology of matter’s transformations. Death in Venice can have many faces, and many names. It has the face and the name of Gustav von Aschenbach, the German nobleman who acts as the protagonist of Thomas Mann’s novel—or the face and name of Tatzio, his beloved 14-years old boy. It can have the face and the name of hepatic Angiosarcoma, a cancer form spread among industrial workers by the Montedison, a petrochemical factory located in Porto Marghera, just one mile from the city. It can have the face of the waters, and tides and fluxes of energy generated by global warming. These latter elements are coupled with the engineering systems implemented to control the ever-increasing high tides affecting Venice (the so-called MOSE barrage), with the unsustainable tourism of humongous cruise ships, and with the polluting activities normally caused by human everyday life in a delicate ecosystem such as the Venetian lagoon.

In this lecture I will concentrate on Venice as a text made out of embodied stories—a material text, in which natural dynamics, cultural practices, political visions, and industrial choices are interlaced with human bodies in issues of justice, health, and ecology. 

Taking literary works, theatrical plays, and “living” cases as my focus, I will show how ecocriticism can amplify the (often unheard) voices of Venice’s reality. This discourse is part of my current book project. Titled Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation, the book attempts to collect the "material stories" of some particularly dense places in Italy as segments of the vast ecological and eco-cultural horizon of this country. The idea is that, in this (local) scenery of (global) crisis, literature and critical practices enact forms of ecological resistance and cultural liberation.

A philosopher by training, Serenella Iovino is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Turin. President of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (www.easlce.eu) from 2008 to 2010, she is Research Fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation. One of the most influential voices of European environmental literary criticism, she is author of four books and numerous essays, and serves in the editorial boards of several international journals and publication series on environmental topics, including prominent ecocritical journals such as ISLE, Green Letters, and Ecozon@. Among her recent works, Material Ecocriticism (co-edited with Serpil Oppermann, Indiana UP, forthcoming September 2014) and, as a guest-editor, Ecozon@'s Special Focus Issue on Mediterranean Ecocriticism (Autumn 2013). Her current book-project, titled Ecocriticism and Italy: Ecology, Resistance, and Liberation, is under contract with Bloomsbury Academics.

The James K. Binder Lectureship in Literature is made possible by Mr. Binder’s generous bequest and honors his wishes that we bring leading European intellectuals to UC San Diego to provide a forum for rigorous discussions of literary topics.


Presidential Post Doc Lecture Series: Kristina Lyons

The UCSD Department of Literature Presents the President's Postdoctoral Fellow Lecture Series

Kristina Lyons: Death by Resuscitation: Soils, Shared Bodies and Stamina Under the Gun of the US-Colombia “War on Drugs”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Literature Building Room 155 (de Certeau)

What does it mean to live in a criminalized ecology in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of southern Colombia?  How does antinarcotics policy that aims to eradicate la mata que mata [the plant that kills], pursue peace through poison? Relatedly, what is the significance of cultivating a garden, caring for forest, or growing food when at any moment a crop duster plane may pass overhead, dousing entire landscapes with herbicides? Since 2000, the US-Colombia “War on Drugs” has relied on militarized aerial fumigation of coca plants coupled with alternative development interventions in the aim to forcibly substitute so-called illicit-based livelihoods. With ethnographic engagement on small farms in the frontier department of Putumayo – gateway to the country’s Amazon, and a region that has been the focus of antinarcotics policy, Plan Colombia – this talk discusses the impossibility of separating life and death among humans, soils, animals, microbes, and plants in tropical forest ecologies.  I engage with ecologies pushed to their limits through an ecopoetic writing practice that explores the role of literary craft in contemporary ethnography, and as a vehicle for alternative ecological imaginaries and political engagement. By following a growing network of small farmers and their alternative agricultural practices and life philosophies, I closely narrate the way soils may become an ally in rural resistance to the violence and criminalization produced by militarized, growth-oriented development models. Different from modern soil science, which works hard to make soils live and labor, farmers doubt the natural death of soils, as well as their artificial life.  I follow these farmers with my own set of questions: What would "a good life" mean for the entanglements between humans and other beings and elements?  How does this entanglement in turn entangle life and death, enervation and endurance under social and armed conflict? Beyond alternative development, what kinds of alternative territorialities are in the making? Rather than productivity – one of the elements of modern biopolitics – the stamina of these ecologies relies on organic decay, impermanence, even fragility, and, I argue, a transformation that may allow alternative, anti-capitalist worlds to strive into existence.

Dr. Kristina Lyons is a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anthropology Department and with the Center for Science and Justice at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is an advisor for the Regional Alliance of Small Farmer, Indigenous, Afro-Colombian, Union and Youth Social Movements in Putumayo, Colombia where she has conducted research and accompanied communities since 2005.  She is also an award-winning ethnographic poet and creative writer.  \


MFA Readings on 5/30/14

MFA Readings

Friday, May 30, 2014


Literature Building Room 155 (de Certeau Room)

Jeffrey Baker is a poet from New York. He earned a degree in philosophy from Pitzer College. In 2007, he received a grant to bring poetry workshops to impoverished children in Soweto, South Africa. In 2009 and 2011, he continued that work with kids in Brooklyn, NY and Mumbai, India, respectively. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Epiphany: A Literary Journal, The Brooklyn Review, Fractal, and Bird’s Thumb. When not in San Diego, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Valerie, and his dog, Sancho.

Paola Capó-García is a poet, reporter, and translator from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She received her B.S. in Magazine Journalism at Syracuse University and her M.A. in Poetry from UC Davis. Her reporting has appeared in BOMBVariety, and ELLE, and her poetry in Salt Hill, H_NGM_NConium ReviewEl Vestíbulo, and Catena. Paola continues her work as a journalist by co-editing Remezcla, an online news source focusing on independent music from Latin America.

Maria Flaccavento is a poet from southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. She studied anthropology and Italian literature at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her poems can be found in The Apiary, Bedfellows, The Fanzine, and online.

Tina Hyland saw most of the US as a child, and as an adult she has traveled to more than 20 countries. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barge, >kill author, decomP, Bestiary: The Best of the Inaugural Demi-Decade of A Cappella Zoo, and other print and online journals. She tweets at @annanimh

April Peletta is a poet and digital media artist form Northern California. She earned B.A. in English from Mills College and is working on a collection of ecolyric poetry that explores collisions between public space, industry, and personal ecology. When not in class she may be found traveling around California exploring the way water moves. Her work has been published in the American River Review, Late Peaches, The Walrus, Tule Review, Soul of the Narrator, and Susurrus. She has presented her critical work at Weber State University Utah and the University of Ottawa, Canada.

April Peletta is a poet and digital media artist form Northern California. She earned B.A. in English from Mills College and is working on a collection of ecolyric poetry that explores collisions between public space, industry, and personal ecology. When not in class she may be found traveling around California exploring the way water moves. Her work has been published in the American River Review, Late Peaches, The Walrus, Tule Review, Soul of the Narrator, and Susurrus. She has presented her critical work at Weber State University Utah and the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Pepe Rojo (1968) has published four books and more than 200 texts (short stories, essays and articles dealing with fiction, media and contemporary culture). He cofounded Pellejo/Molleja (with Deyanira Torres and Bernardo Fernández), an indie publishing firm, and edited SUB (sub-genre literature), NUMERO X (media culture) and PULPO COMICS (mex-sf comics anthology) for them. He has produced several interactive stories for Alteraction, and published two collections of Minibúks (Mexican SF and Counter-versions) at UABC, as well as the graphic intervention “Philosophical Dictionary of Tijuana”. He lives in strange Tijuana with a strange wife and two strange kids, and by strange, he, of course, means “lovely in an endearing and unusual kind of way”.

The MFA Program and Literature Department thanks the Department of Visual Arts for providing us with the SME Presentation Space


MFA Readings on 6/6/14

MFA Readings

Friday, June 6, 2014


SME Performance Space

Kiik A.K.’s first book of poems made no impact whatsoever. The critics were not pleased by it saying, we have no knowledge or record of her whatsoever. Kiik is usually a man. Unless no record of him exists in which case he is a woman. He was winner of the Youth Haemophiliacs Hospital raffle. Kiik lives here in this room. When you run out the lights he comes in through the window and eats out of your garbage. Since he’s eaten garbage exclusively for years now it is quite accurate if you say, Kiik is mostly garbage. When the lights come on Kiik gets himself real small and crawls inside this tiny box. A pupa wraps its mitten of fur around the word. The mouth of flour rubs its ghost over the flute. The angel of steam raises his palm flush to the barrel.

Sophia M. Echavarria

UCSD 2014

Clarion 2013

Princeton 2009

Writes science, fantasy and queer fiction. Has no idea what she'll do after UCSD,but hopes it includes writing and teaching. Her thesis work includes cloning, identity issues, gene therapy, and screens everywhere.

Keith McCleary is a writer and graphic designer from New York. He is the author and illustrator of two graphic novels, Killing Tree Quarterly and Top of the Heap, from Terminal Press. His prose and comics have appeared in Heavy Metal, The Southeast Review Online, Flash, Jupiter 88, TheNewerYork, and Weave, and his teleplay "The Gothickers," co-written with poet Sophia Starmack, was featured in the CCLaP audio series "Podcast Dreadful." He is currently working on an ongoing comic book series, Curves & Bullets, with Eisner-nominated artist Rodolfo Ledesma, and has also done production work for AmazingSuperPowers and Kill Screen. Keith is a third-year MFA candidate at UCSD, and is the recipient of the Barbara and Paul Saltman Excellent Teaching Award for Graduate Students, and a UCIRA Open Classroom Challenge Grant. He received his BFA in Film & TV Production from NYU, where his thesis film "Australia" won a Warner Bros Production Award in 2002. He can be found online at gchatus.tumblr.com.

Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories, co-author of The Wes Letters, and co-editor of the anthology The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. His short fiction has been published by Tin House, Tarpaulin Sky, Gigantic, and Puerto del Sol, among others.

Hanna Tawater is an MFA candidate at UC San Diego. She is in the process of completing her first book of poetry ‒ an attempt to unite, among other things, cartography, serpent mythology, quantum physics, and Jay-Z. She performs and works with other writers in the larger San Diego community as often as San Diego lets her. Her current work can be found in Jupiter 88, The Radvocate, New Delta Review, and White Stag.

Rachel Lee Taylor is a poet and fiction writer transplanted from the Middle West to the Most West. Between debates over the title of her thesis ('True Detective – Poetry Edition' or 'Things Your Mother Wouldn't Want To Read Part II'), Rachel spends her time posing as a grad student in North Park. Her undercover duties include collecting scarves, drinking lattes, complaining about all the grading she has to do, and petting other people's dogs outside of used bookstores. If this whole writing thing doesn't pan out, Rachel intends to return to her previous career as an Old Time Mississippi Riverboat Captain & Gentleman Gambler. 

The MFA Program and Literature Department thanks the Department of Visual Arts for providing us with the SME Presentation Space