COVID-19

Following the campus guidelines for Coronavirus all UC Davis classes, lectures, seminars, labs and discussion sections will move to virtual instruction and remain virtual through the end of Fall Quarter 2020, including final exams. Given this, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions. To contact staff members of the department via e-mail or phone, please go to our administrative staff contact page.

Home | About | Alumni |

Alexis Chavez

What do you do at your present job?

I began a Ph.D in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago in 2017. Besides endlessly reading, I attend weekly workshops where graduate students discuss and help develop each others research projects. During the 2018-2019 academic year, I coordinated departmental lectures and workshops as part of the Michel-Rolph Trouillot Lecture Series at the University of Chicago.

How did your education at UC Davis prepare you for your job?

I became involved in a variety of research projects and extracurricular activities at UC Davis. I dedicated a significant portion of my undergraduate career on Dr. Suad Joseph’s Media Genealogy Project, where I did content analysis on the representation of Muslims in the New York Times between 1850 to the present. As a project coordinator, I helped maintain a research database and presented my findings at several conferences. Through these experiences I developed a holistic understanding around the intricacies of social science research. In addition, the patient mentorship and critical intellectual support I received from my advisors, all of whom are affiliated ME/SA faculty, facilitated my transition into a doctoral program. Their generous feedback on grant proposals, essay drafts, and engagement with my broader intellectual work enabled me to grow as a thinker and writer.

Are there any classes or programs you found particularly helpful?

In the Spring of 2015, I enrolled in a course called "The Middle East in the Twentieth Century." Drawing from primary sources, political theory, and artistic works, the course provided an illuminating and complex political history that contrasted with typical renderings of the region. In retrospect, it influenced my teaching-style and taught me the merits of utilizing a range of literary genres and media forms. The courses I took in Comparative Literature and Islamic Studies gave me an appreciation for theological thought and literary texts that cut across geographic boundaries. Undertaking a ME/SA honors thesis provided an avenue for me to place these various fields in conversation with each other.

What advice do you have for current students?

I would advice students to become fluent in a language! It enables you to engage with tons of important work that will introduce you to complex political histories and unique perspectives that are often unknown, simplified, or neglected. I studied both Arabic and French as an undergraduate and was fortunate enough to study abroad, which helped further my proficiency in the language.