Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama's Immigration Reform Plans; Michael Jackson as Queer Icon

Irvine -- On our Subversity show airing 29 June 2009 on KUCI, we focus on two topics hot in the news. In the first half hour, we talk about President Obama's plans for immigration reform, with Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the Immigration Policy Center.

In the second half hour, we discuss the late Michael Jackson as a queer icon, with Kaelin Alexander, a graduate student at Cornell whose research has focused on queer studies.

Mary Giovagnoli is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center. Prior to IPC, Mary served as Senior Director of Policy for the National Immigration Forum and practiced law as an attorney with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, serving first as a trial attorney and associate general counsel with the INS, and, following the creation of DHS, as an associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Mary specialized in asylum and refugee law, focusing on the impact of general immigration laws on asylees. In 2005, Mary became the senior advisor to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS. She was also awarded a Congressional Fellowship from USCIS to serve for a year in Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office where she worked on comprehensive immigration reform and refugee issues. Mary attended Drake University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in speech communication. She received a master's degree in rhetoric and completed additional graduate coursework in rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin, before receiving a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She spent more than ten years teaching public speaking, argumentation and debate, and parliamentary procedure while pursuing her education.

Kaelin Alexander is a Ph.D. student with Cornell University's Department of English. His most recent work focuses on violent queers, queer loneliness, and the perceptual limits of film. He is also working towards a longer project which explores the phenomenology of heartbreak and longing in the Victorian novel. He received a B.A. from Kenyon College in 2007. When he isn't in the library, Kaelin enjoys playing his ukulele and hiking the trails around Ithaca, New York.

To listen to the show, click .

Monday, June 22, 2009

UC's Budget Cuts and Disciplining Academic Labor

Irvine -- On the 22 June 2009 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, in the first half hour, we address the University of California's proposal to impose as high as an 8% pay cut on UC employees.

We talk with union leader Bob Samuels, who has been the president of UC-AFT, the union representing lecturers and librarians at the University of Calfiornia system. The University would have to get the UC-AFT's consent to impose the pay cut on them. Samuels, a writing lecturer at UCLA, believes the University has discretionary funds that could help alleviate the budget crisis.

Samuels is the author of six books, including an upcoming book on university politics. He has PhDs in English and Psychoanalysis from Kent State and the University of Paris. See his Q and A on the budget crisis. And also the letter to UC President Mark Yudof from emeritus Physics Prof. Charles Schwartz, a UC budgeting critic, Budget Lies .

On the second half of the show, we re-air portions of our November 2005 interview with Jeffrey Schmidt, the author of "Disciplined Minds," a critique of how academic and other salaried professional labor is "disciplined", with universities and other employers eager to serve idelological (corporate or government) interests. Himself a UCI graduate student from 1975-1980, Schmidt relates how he managed to form a progressive group, Science for the People at UCI, and how he stood up for a Japanese American fellow graduate student, who had passed away before he finished his Ph.D, and the resistance from a university physics professor (who brought in Pentagon contracts and who would later win a Nobel prize) when Schmidt and other graduate students wanted the university to award the student a Ph.D posthumously. Schmidt's book led to his firing from the American Institute of Physics, his long-time employer, and his ultimately successful campaign to seek redress and vindication is a model of public organizing. See his website: The catalog entry for his 1980 dissertation is here:

To listen to the show, click here: .

Monday, June 8, 2009

From Red Guard to Film Director: Anna Chi's Journey to Dim Sum Funeral

Irvine --- On the 8 June 2009 edition of KUCI's Subversity, we talk with independent director Anna Chi, about her new film, Dim Sum Funeral, that unravels the secrets and tribulations of a Chinese American family based in Seattle.

In an earlier incarnation, Chi was a poster child for the Chinese Cultural Revolution, when her letter to her father, written as a child, urged her dad to listen to Chairman Mao and the Party. She became known as Yong Hong ("Forever Red").

Filmed in Surrey, British Columbia, the film uses the occasion of the Chinese funeral of the family matriarch to bring a dysfunctional family together, sparking surprising conversation and new understandings -- as well as an unexpected ending.

The daughters in the family give strong roles, including one who plays a lesbian and brings along her lover to the remembrance ceremonies, that lasts seven days. The sole son, played by longtime Chinese American actor Russell Wong, is a philandering doctor. Wong shows a special vulnerability in this role. A cute monk also becomes a sperm donor, in the process giving more than just sperm.


Interview with Jonathan W. Hickman:

Interview on what brought the director from China:

Article in Los Angeles Times:,0,6255908.story.

To listen to the show, click here: .