Working Group on Violence and the Body


Banu Bargu, Faculty, History of Consciousness


Banu Bargu's research brings together political theory, anthropology, philosophy, global history, and Middle East studies around questions of the body, power, violence, and resistance practices. As a political theorist, her main areas of focus are modern and contemporary political thought, poststructuralist and critical theory. She is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), which received APSA’s First Book Prize given by the Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is the editor of Turkey's Necropolitical Laboratory: Democracy, Violence, and Resistance (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and the co-editor of Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique: Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser (Palgrave, 2017). Bargu has previously taught at The New School for Social Research, New York City, and SOAS, University of London. Her scholarship has been recognized by a number of fellowships, including the Mercator fellowship and the ACLS, and she was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, during 2020-2021.

Michelle Velasquez-Potts, UC Chancellor's Postdoctoral Scholar, History of Consciousness


Michelle is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz. She received her PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley in 2019. Before coming to UCSC she was an Embrey Postdoctoral Fellow at UT Austin where she taught courses in Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies. Michelle's writing has been published in  Women and Performance, Public Culture, Abolition Journal, Art Journal Open, and Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (2011).

Vanita Seth, Faculty, Politics


Vanita Seth is a wide-ranging political theorist whose work engages early modern European thought, feminist, postcolonial and postmodernist theory, histories of racial discourse, histories of modernity and histories of the body. Seth's current book project, tentatively titled Tailoring Individuality, traces the history of a particularly modern form of selfhood: the individual. Seth's research explores the possibility that individuality derives its meaning through its constitutive parts, through the collective assemblage of a wide array of characteristics (interiority, uniqueness, authenticity, originality, rationality, judicial culpability and corporal fixity) that have their own peculiar, inter- related and at times, discrete histories. Seth assess these histories through specific thematic sites: the signature, the face as a literary trope, the emergence of statistics, the correlation between copyright laws and discourses of originality, the emergence, in western art, of portraitures and perspective and the gradual distinction between western individuals and non-western "races," "tribes," "religions," "clans," and "castes." Seth's first book, Europe's Indians: Producing Racial Difference, 1500–1900 (Duke University Press, 2010), forces a rethinking of key assumptions regarding difference---particularly racial difference---and its centrality to contemporary social and political theory. Seth serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She is also an editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies.

Gina Dent, Faculty, Feminist Studies


Gina Dent (she/her), Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies, UCSC, is a committed activist, scholar, and educator. Abolition. Feminism. Now. (May 2021, Haymarket Press) co-authored by Dent with Angela Davis, Beth Richie, and Erica Meiners, grows out of her work as an advocate for human rights and prison abolition. She is the editor of Black Popular Culture, and author of numerous articles on race, feminism, popular culture, and visual art.

Althea Wasow, UC President's Postdoctoral Scholar, Feminist Studies


Althea Wasow is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at UCSC. Her current book project tentatively titled, Moving Images/Modern Policing: Silent Cinema and Its Afterlives, analyzes the ways in which the emerging institutions of modern policing and motion pictures corroborated and subverted each other’s projects in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Natali Levin Schwartz, PhD Candidate, Politics


Natali Levin Schwartz works in the intersection between critical political theory, feminist theory, and law and society scholarship. She is interested in different forms of political action and their relationship to various modes of oppression in contemporary liberal democracies. She studies questions of sexual violence, resistance, and the relationship between law and activism. She is especially interested in the political roles that the practice of testimony could play in struggling against injustices and advancing egalitarian democracy. In her dissertation, she examines women's testimonies to sexual violence within the official legal sphere and civil society and theorize their capacity to bring legal, social, and political change.