UF Synergies: The Production of Race in Music & Science

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 4 p.m.
Walker Hall 201D

Vassiliki (Betty) Smocovitis, Biology and History
“Masuo Kodani, Genetics, and the Japanese American Experience”

Smocovitis’s presentation traces the life of Masuo Kodani (1913-1983), a promising Japanese American geneticist, who found himself a stranger in his land after Executive Order 9066 sent him to a prison camp in 1942. Smocovitis follows his subsequent work as geneticist for Occupation Forces in Japan surveying the effects of the atomic bombs on survivors and then his inability to obtain permanent positions as a research scientist. Kodani’s life is a study of marginalization and exclusion, of race and ethnicity, of hybridity and displacement, and of the history of immigration policies in the United States with respect to Asian Americans in general and Japanese Americans in particular.

Bryce Henson, African American Studies
“Race, Gender, and Bahian Hip-Hop Cultures”

Henson’s talk presents his ethnographic study of black hip-hop artists in Bahia, the northeastern state of Brazil. He frames hip-hop as a form of diasporic cultural politics that challenges forms of oppression. Within that study, he emphasizes cultural expression that moves beyond hegemonic representations of black cultural politics, including those of gender and sexuality, highlighting how the Bahian hip-hop movement reimagines blackness beyond discourses of respectability. Based on the methodology of critical ethnography, his project contributes to a fuller account of black communities in the national imaginary of Brazil, including those who are marginalized in the nation and the diaspora.

The UF Synergies series features informal talks by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere’s Rothman Faculty Summer Fellows, Tedder Doctoral Fellows and Rothman Doctoral Fellows. Fellows speak for 20 minutes in length about their funded work, leaving ample time for questions and discussion. Talks are paired across disciplinary boundaries to stimulate discussions about threads and connections across research areas and allow for synergies of ideas to emerge in interdisciplinary conversations.

• All events are free and open to the public.
• For more information on becoming a Rothman Faculty Summer Fellow, a Tedder Family Doctoral Fellow or a Rothman Doctoral Fellow, click here.
• For more information on these events, contact humanities-center@ufl.edu.