LASER talk to feature research by UCSC deans of the humanities and social sciences

UCSC Dean of the Humanities, Jasmine Alinder (left), and UCSC Dean of the Social Sciences,
UCSC Dean of the Humanities, Jasmine Alinder (left), and UCSC Dean of the Social Sciences, Katharyne Mitchell

The Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) is an international program of evening gatherings that brings together artists, scientists, and scholars for informal presentations and conversations with the wider public.

A program of the Leonardo International Society for Art, Science, and Technology (ISAST), the mission of LASER is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building.

On Thursday, March 11, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at UC Santa Cruz will present its first LASER talk of 2021—now continuing in a virtual format—beginning at 5 p.m. 

The event will feature research presentations by Jasmine Alinder, Dean of the Humanities (“Representing Japanese American Incarceration”), and Katharyne Mitchell, Dean of the Social Sciences (“Sanctuary Space and Insurgent Memory”).

Admission is free and open to the public with registration.

“LASER Talks have always been quite popular, and since last spring, when they moved online, hundreds of people from the Santa Cruz community and beyond have tuned in to experience the rich program of talks by nationally and internationally renowned UC Santa Cruz faculty and other scholars and artists,” noted Rachel Nelson, director of UCSC’s Institute of the Arts and Sciences. 

“The talks offer lively insights into the work being done on campus, and there’s clearly a lot of interest in the exchange of ideas between faculty working in the arts and humanities, and others researching in the social sciences and physical sciences.”

“For the next LASER, we are particularly thrilled to feature the dean of Humanities, Jasmine Alinder, and dean of the Social Sciences, Katharyne Mitchell,” Nelson added. “This is going to be a chance to look into the minds of these two visionaries at UC Santa Cruz, to see where their creative ideas and research come from, and find out what they are working on right now.” 

Humanities dean Jasmine Alinder is also a professor of history at UC Santa Cruz. She is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged scholar and teacher of public history, the history of photography, and the history of Japanese-Americans during World War II. As a historian of photography, her research investigates what she characterizes as “the presumptive right to the camera.” 

Alinder earned her doctorate in the history of art at the University of Michigan, with an emphasis on the history of photography, her M.A. in art history at the University of New Mexico, and an A.B. in art history from Princeton University. She joined UC Santa Cruz last August from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she was a professor of history and associate dean of the humanities in the College of Letters and Science. 

Social Sciences dean Katharyne Mitchell is a professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz. Her current research focuses on the ethics, practices and politics of church sanctuary in the protection of refugees in Europe. Her recent books include Making Workers: Radical Geographies of Education (2018), and the co-edited Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration (2019). 

Mitchell is working on a monograph, “Sanctuary Space: Memories of Insurgency,” and an edited volume on philanthropy and humanitarianism. She is the author of more than 100 articles and book chapters and the recipient of grants from the MacArthur Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, and National Science Foundation. She also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016. 

For more information, contact the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at