Monday, March 28, 2011

Yemeni Regime Collapsing? Who are the Protesters? And What Comes After?

To listen to the podcast of this program, click

February 3, 2011 protest poster.

With more countries in the Middle East erupting in protest, we return again to a focus on one of those, Yemen, whose president seems tottering on the verge of quitting. Who are the protesters? And were the pro-U.S. regime to fall, what comes after?

On this evening's edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we talk with William Picard of the Yemen Peace Project again about those questions and analyze recent developments, some horrific, some encouraging.

For your information, the Yemen Peace Project has posted a link to donations on its web site, with a plug to: "Support Yemen’s Peaceful Protesters:
Hundreds of thousands of brave Yemeni citizens are risking their lives and livelihoods to make their country a better place. Help them by supporting those that provide urgent medical care to protesters injured by state security forces."

William Picard is a political and historical researcher and analyst based here in Orange County. He has spent a decade studying Southwest Asia, with a particular focus on the modern history and current affairs of Yemen. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Arabic, Persian, and Pashto, and completed a double major in Modern Middle East Studies and Southwest Asian Conflict Studies. In late 2009 he helped found the Yemen Peace Project (YPP) with Dana, a peace advocacy organization that seeks to educate the American public about Yemen, advocate for peaceful and constructive foreign policy, and facilitate communication between Yemenis and Americans. He directs the YPP’s research and public education efforts, manages the organization’s Twitter activity, and writes frequently for the Directors’ Blog.

Picard was previously on Subversity February 7, 2011 with UCI graduate student Dana Moss, also of Yemen Peace Project. Moss also appeared subsequently a week later on Subversity.

Picard is interviewed by Subversity Show host Daniel C. Tsang. The show airs from 5-6 p.m. today on March 28, 2011 on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via Podcasts will be posted here shortly.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Egyptian Women; Avoiding Another Korean War

During this spring break at UC Irvine, Subversity takes a break of sorts and airs two programs from Making Contact, from the National Radio Project.

Egyptian Women on the Frontlines of Change takes a look at the most recent Egyptian Revolution and the role of women in political change, in the context of the history of women's activism there.

As the US and its allies drop bombs on another country, we air another Making Contact program - that on Avoiding a Korean War.

The links bring more information as as well audio links to those two programs.

The Subversity show airs on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, from 5-6 p.m. Pacific time, today, 21 March 2011.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Perils of Natural Gas Drilling. Also: WikiLeaks, Free Speech & Future of the Internet

On the 14 March 2011 edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we air two dispatches from the National Radio Project's
Making Contact

In the wake of the horrific twin disasters in Japan, there is growing concern about the efficacy of nuclear power. The Making Contact
program in our first half hour looks at an another energy source, natural gas, and the perils of that resource: Still Fracking: The Perils of Natural Gas Drilling

In our second half hour, we will focus on another topic eclipsed by last Friday's events in Japan. Making Contact has released this
program, WikiLeaks, Free Speech & The Future of the

Our thanks to National Radio Project for their work.

Today's program airs from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Treat Protests as "Teachable Moments"! Sixty-two UCI Faculty Urge Chancellor Drake to Tell DA to Drop Criminal Charges

Non-violent and loud sit-in outside UCI Chancellor's Office 24 February 2010. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2010.
Sixty-two UC Irvine faculty members earlier today urged UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and the Chair of the Academic Senate, Prof. Alan Barbour, to publicly ask Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas "to drop the criminal charges" against the UCI students involved in the "civil disobedience" outside the Drake's Office on February 24 last year, suggesting that "political action" can better be regulated by campus rather than "external" authorities.

The signatories to the three-page letter, dated today and delivered this morning to the Chancellor's office, notably include four Department Heads: Jared Sexton, Chair of African American Studies, Jennifer Terry, Chair of Women's Studies, Susan Jarratt, Chair of Comparative Literature, and Jim Lee, Chair of Asian American Studies. It also includes two Distinguished Professors, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, of English and Comparative Literature, and Etienne Balibar, of Humanities, French and Italian, and Comparative Literature. One-third of the signatories are Full Professors, the rest mainly Associate Professors.

"We ask that the university return to an environment engaged in teaching and learning. Student activism and campus debate should be treated as teachable moments, lead to open discussions about the meaning of civil disobedience, the history of social movements, and the wide variety of political discourse within our community," the letter urges the Chancellor.

It concludes: "These and other actions can affirm the mission of the university as one of teaching, learning, supporting a wide range of ideas, opinions, and political actions."

There were actually altogether 19 defendants in the case, not all of whom are UCI students, with many active in the UCI Worker-Student Alliance on campus. The protest outside the Chancellor's office had focused on poor labor conditions facing outsourced workers at UCI.

Today's letter comes in the wake of another, signed by 100 UCI faculty members, urging the Orange County District Attorney to drop criminal charges against the 11 Muslim students involved in protesting the talk given last year on campus by the Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren. That letter was heavily promoted by the UCI Communications Office and posted on the UCI web site as a featured story.
UCI Police begin the arrests of the protesters outside the Chancellor's Office. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 24 February 2010.

The Full Text of the Letter and Signatories Follow:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Chancellor Michael Drake:

CC: Michael R. Gottfredson, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dr. Rameen Talesh, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Edgar Dormitorio, Director, Student Conduct and Assistant Dean of Students
Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D., Interim Vice Chancellor Student Affairs
Alan Barbour, PhD., Chair, Academic Senate

We write to express our concern about the current campus climate regarding student activism, political debate, and social action.

We have been dismayed to learn that the Orange County District Attorney has criminally charged students who engaged in an organized act of civil disobedience on February 24, 2010 outside of the Chancellor’s office in Aldrich Hall. Taking a cue from a long history of activism on University of California campuses, the student coalition had organized a protest to call attention to a variety of pertinent issues on our campus including tuition and fee increases and a hostile environment for students of color. While two students barricaded doors and engaged in other actions that we may not support, political action on campus should be regulated by the university and not external authorities.

Under the purview of the Student Conduct Director of the Office of the Dean of Students, students were placed on academic probation for a year, required to complete 30 hours of community service, a five-page reflection paper on community service hours, and a ten-page paper on the First Amendment. It is our understanding that students have completed or are in the process of completing this punishment set by the university.

On December 9, 2010, these UCI students were charged by the Orange County District Attorney for disorderly conduct. It is our position that this criminal prosecution is incommensurate with the student actions: There was no bodily harm and no property destruction of any kind. The UCI police, not the protesting students, called for an evacuation of Aldrich Hall. Unlike similar incidents, the student protestors were arrested without the usual intervention of the Student Conduct unit. Lastly, it is striking that the criminal charges were filed ten months following the event, two months before the statute of limitation, and on the last day of the quarter.

• We ask that the university explain its role in the Orange County District Attorney proceeding with criminal charges when usually these acts of student civil disobedience have been handled internally.
• We ask that the Chancellor and the Chair of the Academic Senate issue a public statement asking the Orange County District Attorney to drop the criminal charges.
• We ask that the university return to an environment engaged in teaching and learning. Student activism and campus debate should be treated as teachable moments, lead to open discussions about the meaning of civil disobedience, the history of social movements, and the wide variety of political discourse within our community.

These and other actions can affirm the mission of the university as one of teaching, learning, and supporting a wide range of ideas, opinions, and political actions.


Jean-Daniel Saphores, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Paul Dourish, Professor, Informatics
Jared Sexton, Associate Professor & Chair, African American Studies
Scott Bollens, Professor, Endowed Professor in Peace and Intl Cooperation
Francesca Polletta, Professor, Sociology
Lilith Mahmud, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies
Mike Burton, Emeritus Professor, Anthropology
Jennifer Terry, Associate Professor and Chair, Women's Studies
Catherine Liu, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies
Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Assistant Professor, African American Studies
Catherine L. Benamou, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies
Frank Cancian, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
Rodrigo Lazo, Associate Professor, Department of English
Heidi Tinsman, Associate Professor, History
Cynthia Feliciano, Associate Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies and Sociology
Annette Schlichter, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature
Eyal Amiran, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature and FMS
Jessica Millward, Assistant Professor, History
Etienne Balibar, Distinguished Professor of Humanities, French and Italian,
Comparative Literature
Victoria Bernal, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Tom Boellstorff, Professor, Anthropology
Jeanne Scheper, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies
Ellen S. Burt, Professor, French and Comparative Literature
Roxanne Varzi, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Film
Keith M. Murphy, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Robert Garfias, Professor, Anthropology
Julia Elyachar, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Kris Peterson, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Steven Topik, Professor, History
Michael Montoya, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Chicano and Latino Studies,
Public Health, Nursing Science
Elizabeth M. Guthrie, Senior Lecturer, SOE (Retired), French
Claire Jean Kim, Associate Professor, Political Science and Asian American Studies
David A. Smith, Professor, Sociology
Luis F. Aviles, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Cecelia Lynch, Professor, Political Science
Elizabeth Allen, Associate Professor, English
Daniel M. Gross, Associate Professor and Director of Composition, English
Rebecca Davis, Assistant Professor, English
Deborah Vargas, Assistant Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies
Santiago Morales, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Distinguished Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Carolyn Boyd, Professor Emeritus, History
Susan Jarratt, Professor and Chair, Comparative Literature
Karen Leonard, Professor, Anthropology
Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Irene Tucker, Associate Professor, English
Adriana Johnson, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature
Ivette N. Hernandez-Torres, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Charles Chubb, Professor, Cognitive Sciences
James Fujii, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures
Dina al-Kassim, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature
Gilbert G. Gonzalez, Professor Emeritus, Chicano Latino Studies
Jon Wiener, Professor, History
Kavita Philip, Associate Professor, Women's Studies
Frank B. Wilderson, III, Associate Professor, Director, Humanities & the Arts,
Drama & African American Studies
Alice Fahs, Associate Professor, History
Lynn Mally, Professor, History
Raul Fernandez, Professor, Chicano Latino Studies/Social Sciences
Laura J. Mitchell, Associate Professor and Vice Chair, History
Arlene R. Keizer, Associate Professor of English and African American Studies,
Director, PhD Program in Culture and Theory
Jim Lee, Chair, Asian American Studies
Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Assistant Professor, History

Monday, March 7, 2011

Subversity Host Reflects on Activism Off and On the Air

To listen to the podcast of this program, click
Self-portrait in the UCI office, taken right after taping of the interview 4 March 2011 for East 306. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang, 2011.

An enterprising Asian Studies undergraduate class at McGill University in Montreal has an intriguing mission: Create an experimental radio program to document social change in Asia and the Asian diaspora by interviewing activists, scholars and the like.

So I was honored to be one of those interviewed in the project, East 306, whose blog posts audio of past interviewees. Its post today profiles Subversity and my work on and beyond the show.

The back story: The class is co-taught by the superlative Adrienne Hurley, a Japanese Studies doctoral graduate from UC Irvine. The first scholar interviewed by East 306's team of earnest students was another Japanese Studies Ph.D from UCI, Kota Inoue, who is now teaching at my alma mater (see below). The interview with me was conducted using the facilities of a pioneering radio radio station at McGill, CKUT, which is expected to also air this program.

Here's what the students wrote in generously profiling me (taken from their blog) [hyperlinks revised]:

Since the program first aired in 1993, Daniel Tsang has been the host of Subversity on KUCI, the student and community radio station at the University of California, Irvine. Every Monday at 5pm (8pm in MontrĂ©al), he airs critical commentary and conducts in-depth interviews for this internationally recognized program that serves as an open seminar via radio. You can listen live via the KUCI website and browse past interviews and topics here (where you’ll also find a web-exclusive archive). On Subversity, Dan makes available to the masses the voices and ideas of activists, librarians, dissidents, and scholars, including Prof. Dylan Rodriguez, with whom Dan spoke shortly after the last U.S. presidential election. He has interviewed the actor Dustin Nguyen and the director Stanley Kwan, and he has covered a wide array of topics ranging from breast cancer (in a memorial tribute to UC Irvine graduate student Robyn Shikiya) to the ideological screening out of radicals in graduate and professional schools (in an interview with Jeffrey Schmidt).

Dan Tsang is also Data Librarian and Bibliographer in Asian American Studies, Political Science, and Economics at the University of California, Irvine, where he organized the Immigrant Lives Exhibit to debunk ‘The OC’ TV image of Orange County. He maintains Subject and Course Guides in fields such as Asian American Studies, Political Science, Economics, and the Social Sciences. He earned his B.A. in Government from the University of Redlands, where Professor Kota Inoue (interviewed in our very first podcast) currently teaches. Dan Tsang went on to earn two graduate degrees at the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Political Science and an M.L.S. in Library Science. As a journalist, Dan has authored numerous articles and opinion pieces, as well as scholarly publications, which you can see listed here. In today’s podcast, Dan mentions Elaine Black Yoneda, a white woman who joined her Japanese American husband in the internment camp. Dan’s biographical entry on her is the last entry in Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004), Vol. 5, 707-709.

Dan edited the magazine Gay Insurgent in Philadelphia in the early 1980s. He was a Fulbright research scholar at the National Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2003-2004, and contributes greatly to our collective survival as a radical archivist, data librarian, indexer, and bibliographer. He also sued the CIA for spying on him and won. (He discusses this case in today’s podcast.)

Samantha Chrisanthus, who studies Political Science and Women’s Studies at McGill, interviews Dan Tsang about his work in libraries and radio stations, as well as his efforts to document and archive injustice and harm. Sam begins by asking Dan how Subversity started and what led him to radio. In this lively and very informative interview, Dan discusses topics such as how to document police harassment and abuse, the chilling effects of the current case of the Irvine 11 on student movements and student activism, and why we need data liberation movements and radical archiving. Dan also talks about obtaining FBI files on dead activists (and philosophers) and why we should think about preserving our own archives while we are still here and making them.

As host of Subversity I usually get to interview activists; given that they have turned the tables on me, let me return the favor and air the interview on KUCI as well.

The show with this free-wheeling interview by Sam Chrisanthus of myself airs this evening from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via