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10 Questions: What is a University?

Students and faculty assemble outside the State Normal School in 1904
Support Provided By

"10 Questions" is a collaboration with UCLA and is an interdisciplinary course/public event series featuring conversations with leading scholars that provides both students and the public a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university. 

Every Tuesday for ten weeks UCLA faculty members from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicana and Chicano studies, law, philosophy and religious studies will join UCLA Arts Dean Brett Steele to explore a fundamental question such as: What is space? What is failure? and What is freedom? The goal is to stimulate dialogue and exchange, and to seed a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century. We present a discussion primer for each week's session to get the conversation started.

Art&Arc100: 10 Questions sessions will be held on Tuesdays through December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Glorya Kaufman Hall theater (room 200). Free and open to the public (RSVP required). Pay by space parking available on campus adjacent to Kaufman Hall (Structure 4).

This week, Bryonn Bain, Jerry Kang, David Schaberg and Robert Watson will join Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture to explore the question, "What is a University?"


Bryonn Bain, performing artist and scholar

Associate Professor in the Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance and Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies

Bryonn Bain is a hip-hop theater innovator, spoken word poetry champion, prison activist, actor and educator, and has been described by political activist and intellectual Cornel West as an artist who "...speaks his truth with a power we desperately need to hear.” Bain's widely-known theater productions, “Lyrics from Lockdown” and “What It Iz” critique what race, prisons, poverty and privilege mean in America today and the increasingly visible injustices in the U.S. criminal system. Bain began teaching in the fall of 2015 in African-American Studies with a course on “Hip Hop and Spoken Word.” The classes in his teachings also include “The Revolutionary Politics and Poetry of Malcolm X” and “Narratives of Change.” He studied at Columbia University.

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Jerry Kang, legal scholar

UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor in the School of Law

As a leading scholar on implicit bias and the law, Jerry Kang has published more than a dozen articles on the subject in leading journals. He regularly collaborates with leading experimental social psychologists on wide-ranging scholarly, educational and advocacy projects. Recognized by both the UCLA law school and the entire University as the best teacher of the year, Prof. Kang is widely sought after as a speaker. Prof. Kang graduated magna cum laude from both Harvard College (physics) and Harvard Law School, where he was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. After clerking for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, he started his teaching career at UCLA in 1995 and has visited at Georgetown, Harvard and NYU law schools.

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David Schaberg, scholar of comparative literature

Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

As the past chair of Asian Languages & Cultures and Co-Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, David Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography and philosophy, as well as Greek/Chinese comparative issues. He is the author of "A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography," which was awarded the Association for Asian Studies 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies (Pre-1900 Category). Schaberg was a translator, along with Stephen Durrant and Wai-yee Li, of "Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan" (University of Washington Press, 2016), which won the Association for Asian Studies 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation. His most recent work addresses the history of oratory and ritual speech genres in early China. Schaberg received his BA from Stanford and his PhD from Harvard.

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Robert Watson, Shakespeare scholar and poet 

Neikirk Distinguished Professor in the Department of English

Robert Watson taught at Harvard before coming to UCLA, where he’s served as Associate Dean of Humanities, Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, Chair of the Faculty of UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and is now Distinguished Professor of English. Besides edited volumes, his books explore Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, fear of death, the Renaissance roots of modern environmentalism and Japanese cinema. A study of the role of arts and humanities in cultural evolution is forthcoming. He’s won Guggenheim, NEH and ACLS fellowships, visiting fellowships at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and awards for distinguished teaching and service. Watson earned his BA at Yale and his PhD at Stanford.

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Top Image: Students and faculty assemble outside the California State Normal School in 1904. The School eventually transformed to become the San José State University and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

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