University of California, Riverside

Palm Desert Center



Center for Ideas and Society


The Center for Ideas and Society is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advancing humanistic studies and creativity at UC Riverside. The Center’s fellowships, research workshops and public events strengthen the intellectual and creative life of the university. The Center is committed to disseminating the results of its programs to the Riverside community and beyond. We were thrilled to offer two series during the 2015-2016 season! Please join us next academic year. Check back in Fall 2016 for the new schedule.

LGBT Lecture Series

February 16, 2016 -- What is Queer about Frankenstein / George Haggerty

"What isn't queer about Frankenstein?"  After all, an obsessive scientist crawls around graves and into charnel houses and drags variously corrupted body parts back to his laboratory; out of these decomposing parts he constructs a hideous male monster. Then, for more than a hundred pages, the scientist and his creature are locked in a death-dance. Let's start there. George Haggerty is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the UCR Department of English.

January 26, 2016 -- Not Gay: Straight White Men, Homosexual Sex and the Making of Heteromasculinity / Jane Ward

Although the U.S. media has recently been abuzz with commentary about heteroflexibility, most accounts have focused on “girls who kiss girls” for the pleasure of male spectators, or men of color “on the down low” who are presumed to be gay and in the closet.  But where do white men—the dominant culture’s most normalized and idealized figures—fit in to these narratives? In this talk, Jane Ward, Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California Riverside, traces narratives about straight white men's homosexual encounters across four sites-the United States military, online personal ads, popular culture, and the psychotherapeutic industry.

Health, Hope & Humanities Series-Learning to Live Well

April 13, 2016 --Walking Through Fire: Why Memoir Isn’t Therapy / Emily Rapp Black

How do the best writers convey grief, a fundamental and unavoidable experience of human life, without alienating the reader or lapsing into melodrama? How is this experience complicated by writers working to tell a story in the midst of grief?  Professor Emily Rapp Black will engage these questions, and discuss her own work. Professor Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir (Bloomsbury USA) and The Still Point of the Turning World (Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller, an Editor’s Pick, and a finalist for the PEN Center Literary Award in Nonfiction.

March 9, 2016 -- How to Make the Most out of Seven Minutes with your Doctor / Leslie Martin

A large body of literature attempts to guide physicians and other healthcare providers toward more effective communication with their patients. Hundreds of seminars are conducted each year in an effort to improve clinician-patient relationships and information exchange—but they are almost never directed at patients! This lecture will focus on what patients need to know about the members of their healthcare teams in order to maximize the productivity of the visit, and on specific things patients can do to improve their partnerships with their doctors, nurse practitioners, care managers, and others.

February 10, 2016 -- A Humanist in the Medical Classroom / Goldberry Long

In recent years, increasing concern for fostering more empathy in doctors has led to a revival of including the humanities in medical school. UCR’s new School of Medicine has taken this idea farther than any school in the country by integrating a three-year, mandatory writing program into their curriculum.  The novelist Goldberry Long, who has spent almost two years developing and implementing this unprecedented program,  will describe the adventures of a creative humanist crossing the divide between the humanities and the sciences, and all that she discovered in that new country.

January 13, 2016 -- Aging and the Immune System / Ilhem Messaudi

Aging is accompanied by a decline in immune fitness, which contributes to the decreased ability of the elderly to control infectious disease and a poor response to vaccination. Dr. Ilhem Messaoudi from the Division of Biomedical Sciences will discuss how our immune system ages and interventions to delay or reverse these changes, thereby improving our health span.

LGBT Lecture Series

February 16, 2016 -- What is Queer about Frankenstein / George Haggerty

"What isn't queer about Frankenstein?"  After all, an obsessive scientist crawls around graves and into charnel houses and drags variously corrupted body parts back to his laboratory; out of these decomposing parts he constructs a hideous male monster. Then, for more than a hundred pages, the scientist and his creature are locked in a death-dance. Let's start there. George Haggerty is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the UCR Department of English.

January 26, 2016 -- Not Gay: Straight White Men, Homosexual Sex and the Making of Heteromasculinity / Jane Ward

Although the U.S. media has recently been abuzz with commentary about heteroflexibility, most accounts have focused on “girls who kiss girls” for the pleasure of male spectators, or men of color “on the down low” who are presumed to be gay and in the closet.  But where do white men—the dominant culture’s most normalized and idealized figures—fit in to these narratives? In this talk, Jane Ward, Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California Riverside, traces narratives about straight white men's homosexual encounters across four sites-the United States military, online personal ads, popular culture, and the psychotherapeutic industry.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

UCR Palm Desert Center
75080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Tel: (760) 834-0800
Fax: (760) 834-0796
E-mail: palmdesert@ucr.edu

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