“Shifting Scales of Transnationalism”

April 26-27, 2013
Royce Hall 306 & 314
(Program [PDF])

At a time when transnationalism has become a catchall term with divergent meanings, we feel a need to address transnationalism’s various scales. Whereas we hope to engage the nature, examples, methods and implications of a truly viable transnational study, we are also charged with unpacking the scales of inter-community relations and the shifting relationality across them. The migration of populations across national lines, the transmission of popular culture to global audiences, the use of border-crossing communication technologies to mobilize local interests at a global level—all are examples of forms of mobility that engage with the conditions of globalization on multiple shifting scales.

Through scales we mean to articulate major and minor transnationalisms; to reposition the shifts between the local, the regional, the national, and the global; to excavate the shared ground between disciplinary approaches; and to attend to the varying scales of community relations made visible through these methodological reflections.

Our panels investigate the shifting scales of transnationalism by taking up the lens of marginalized communities in order to examine processes of creative articulations, creolization, minor-transnationalism, citizenship and queer of color critiques that are either on the ground, from the bottom up, traverse multiple scales, or even “fall out” of the normative definition of the political.

Keynote speakers:
Ananda Devi, Regents’ Lecturer (UCLA); award-winning author of PagliIndian Tango, and Le sari vert 
Barnor Hesse, Professor (Northwestern University) 

Guest Speakers include:
Bret Gustafson, Professor (Washington University in St. Louis)
Chandan Reddy, Professor  (University of Washington)
Caroline Rody, Professor (University of Virginia) 



1:00 pm


David Schaberg
Dean of Humanities (UCLA)
Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih
Directors, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” Program
1:30 pm

“Transnational Citizenships and the Technologies of Subversion”

Bret Gustafson
Professor (Washington University in St. Louis), “On ‘Culture’ and the Subversion of Transnational Power: Reflections from Bolivia”
Jerome Camal
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Dancing onto the (Inter)national Stage: Guadeloupean Music, UNESCO, and the Poetics of the Detour”
Anita Wheeler
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Online Nations and Netcitizens: Kenyan Perspectives on China and Africa”
Discussant: Mark Sawyer, Professor (UCLA)

3:30 pm 

Coffee Break

4:00 pm

Keynote Address, Royce Hall 306

Barnor Hesse
Professor (Northwestern University), “Raceocracy
Moderated by Mark Sawyer (UCLA)


6:00 pm

Reception (Following Keynote Address)



10:00 am

“Recalibrating Race and Gender in the Shadow of Global Capitalism”

Chandan Reddy
Professor (University of Washington), “Postcolonial Failures: Race, Gender, and the Ethics of Migration in Wayne Wang’s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
Alvin Wong
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “After Decriminalization: Neoliberalism, Gay Rights, and Discourse of ‘Tolerance’ in Postcolonial Hong Kong”
Chase Smith
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “The Royal Hawaiian Troubadours: Hawaiian Masculinity and Music in the Early Twentieth-century Transpacific”
Discussant: Karen Tongson, Professor (USC)

12:00 pm 

Lunch Break

1:00 pm

“Simultaneous Subjectivities in Interethnic Imaginations”

Caroline Rody
Professor (University of Virginia), “Transnationalism on a Very Small Scale: Experiments in the Fictional American House”
Tzu-hui Celina Hung
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Traversing Asian America: A Creolized Imagination”
JoAnne Ruvoli
Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor (UCLA), “Towards a Theory of Parallax: Situating the Transnational in Interethnic Narrratives”
Discussant: King-Kok Cheung, Professor (UCLA)

3:00 pm

Coffee Break

3:30 pm

Keynote Address/Reading

Ananda Devi
Regents’ Lecturer (UCLA)
Award-winning author of Pagli, Indian Tango, and Le sari vert
Moderated by Françoise Lionnet (UCLA)

4:30 pm

Round Table Discussion

King-Kok Cheung (UCLA), Barnor Hesse (Northwestern University), Françoise Lionnet (UCLA), and Mark Sawyer (UCLA).
Moderated by Shu-mei Shih (UCLA).
5:30 pm 

Closing Reception, Royce Hall 314

Organized By

Program Co-directors:
Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih

Mellon Fellows:
Jerome Camal, Tzu-hui Celina Hung, JoAnne Ruvoli, Chase Smith, Anita Wheeler, Alvin Wong


This event is sponsored by the Dean, College of Letters and Sciences and the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at UCLA.
This program is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited. Parking will be available for $11 on the UCLA campus. Please go to the kiosk on Sunset and Westwood Plaza to purchase a pass for the nearest available lot.

For further information, please contact Beth Velinsky at

Photo credit: Stock photo by Mark Evans (iStockPhoto); image edited by Jerome Camal.