CSRC RESEARCH GRANTS 2007-2008

EDUCATIONAL MOBILITY AMONG MEXICAN AMERICANS

Principal Investigator: Vilma Ortiz, UCLA Department of Sociology
 
This project is fruitful extension of the Mexican American Study Project (MASP), a CSRC-based study headed by Professor Ortiz and Professor Edward Telles. Using longitudinal and intergenerational data from the MASP, this project will examine generational differences in education, focusing on the extent of educational mobility from first-generation parents to second-generation children, from second to third, and finally, from third to fourth. The study will also examine the effect of human capital and socioeconomic background factors that have been commonly shown to predict educational outcomes, such as parental schooling, family income, and the primary language spoken in the home.
 

IMMIGRANT WORKERS AND DISASTER RELIEF: DAY LABOR IN THE WAKE OF KATRINA

Principal Investigator: Abel Valenzuela Jr., UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and UCLA Department of Urban Planning
 
This project, which builds on Professor Valenzuela’s ongoing research on day labor at the national level, will survey the status of day laborers and other low-wage workers in New Orleans. An addendum to the National Day Labor Survey questionnaire will be developed, which will contain questions that are regionally specific or appropriate to immigrant workers who are not day laborers. These questions will address topics such as job competition (earnings depression) and other labor market issues, immigration and/or migration history and trajectory, housing arrangements, and occupational hazards. This study will be formally linked to the national survey, which will allow for regional and population comparisons. This project is expected to generate interest from external funding and federal agencies that are increasingly interested in the role of immigrant workers in the immediate aftermath and subsequent rebuilding of New Orleans, and it will serve as a gateway to a larger study of informal and low-wage immigrant workers in post-Katrina New Orleans.
 

MEXICAN IMMIGRATION ARCHIVES

Principal Investigator: Kelly Lytle Hernandez, UCLA Department of History
 
The Mexican National Institute of Migration (INM) is responsible for managing migration to and from Mexico; it archives, which were only recently opened to scholars, contain records that address the implementation of migration restrictions, the surveillance of Chinese and Japanese immigrant communities along the northern border, and the emigration of Mexicans to the United States (including over 70,000 participants in the Bracero Program). This project will identify the core archival resources required to assess the mass movement of people between the United States and Mexico. The depth and breadth of the archives will allow contextualization within the broader history of Mexican migration to and from other countries. Professor Hernandez’s findings will introduce scholars to this exciting new archival resource. The research will result in a collection of essays for publication.
 

INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S ORGANIZING IN THE MIGRANT STREAM: DIGITAL STORYTELLING, COMMUNITY MEMORY, AND EMPOWERMENT

Principal Investigator: Maylei S. Blackwell, UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
 
This comparative study of women’s transnational organizing will draw from a series of case studies focusing on different sectors (labor, indigenous, migrant, and lesbian) of women’s transnational organizing. The project will document how women from different social and structural locations engage in collective political action and how they account for and negotiate power differentials. Professor Blackwell will focus on the organizing efforts of the women leaders of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, which has offices in Los Angeles, Fresno, Santa Maria, Oceanside, Tijuana, and Oaxaca City, Oaxaca. This research will further the understanding of the possibilities and challenges of transnational social movements.
 

THE MIGRATION INDUSTRY IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

Principal Investigator: Ruben Hernandez-Leon, UCLA Department of Sociology
 
This project seeks to compare migration industry activities in Mexico-U.S. and Philippines-U.S. contexts. Migration industry activities include entrepreneurs and businesses such as moneylenders, recruiters, transportation providers, remittance and courier services, and lawyers.
 

THE PROCESS OF COMING UP: HOW CHICANA/O STUDIES BECAME AN ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT

Principal Investigator: Erin Fukiko Kimura, PhD student, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
 
While ethnic studies, including Chicana/o studies, have gained a place in many institutions of higher education, they continue to be marginalized through a denial of legitimacy and adequate resources. This study aims to develop a better understanding of the process of departmentalization by utilizing qualitative methods to examine the experiences of faculty, staff, administrators, and students who were closely involved with the effort to achieve departmental status for Chicana/o studies at UCLA. The participants, who were closely involved in these events, will be recruited for semi-structured interviews. The investigator will also study the decision making that led to initiating the departmentalization process and the institutional-level approval process.
 

COUNTER-FEMINITIES: CULTURAL CIRCUITS OF FEMME ONTOLOGY

Principal Investigator: Stacy Macias, PhD student, UCLA Department of Women’s Studies
 
This project will explore the discursive spaces and material productions that enable a range of imagined, articulated, and embodied queer/racialized femininities, or “counter-femininities.” In particular, it will analyze the representations of queer femininities in an upcoming non-academic conference titled “Femme 2006: Conversations and Explorations,” its concurrent website, and two short documentary films. The immediate aim is to understand the ways in which representations of racialized femininities—a counter-femininity always already transgressing the boundaries of acceptable and respectable femininity—circulate in spaces labeled as “queer femme.” The project’s methodology comprises a multi-sited approach involving the accrual of ethnographic research from conference attendance and participation, completion of interviews with the film’s directors, procurement of the documentary films for textual examination, and discursive analyses of online representations. This project will address the current dearth of critical scholarship on the intersection of Chicana/o studies and queer studies.
 

PAN-LATINO IDENTITY AND COALITION: POLITICAL STRATEGY OR CONTRIVED GROUPING

Principal Investigator: Rita Alicia Buck Rico, PhD student, UCLA Department of Political Science
 
This project proposes a multi-methodology to address its central question: What are the conditions by which the pan-ethnic identity “Latino” emerges? The first effort will be a content analysis of the materials distributed by all ethnic Latino groups in Los Angeles, including hometown associations, immigrant rights groups, and other issue-specific organizations to ascertain when the word Latino is most commonly used and when ethnic-specific identities emerge. The materials of national Latino organizations will be examined as well. Interviews with local and national organizations will be used to evaluate their attempts at mobilization and recruitment. Data drawn from the pending Los Angeles County Social Survey will be used to determine ethnic groups’ political opinions and affect toward Latino ethnic groups and outgroups.
 

SOCIAL CAPITAL AND STUDENT-SCHOOL PERSONNEL RELATIONSHIPS

Principal Investigator: Wendy Jennifer Rivera, PhD student, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
 
Immigrant parents’ unfamiliarity with the American educational system limits their ability to provide their children with the knowledge needed to navigate through the academic pipeline or vocational training. Only some students and their families are successful in obtaining the information needed for social and educational advancement. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between school personnel (e.g., teachers) and students who were successful in obtaining the appropriate information (social capital) to either become academically high achieving or take steps toward their vocational career objectives. This study will target Latino immigrant graduating seniors at an economically diverse high school who have concrete plans to attend a four-year college during the coming fall or to work toward trade certification through a vocational program.
 

THE ACADEMIC MARIACHI MOVEMENT OF THE WEST AND SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES

Principal Investigator: Lauryn Camille Salazar, PhD student, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology
 
Beginning in the latter part of the twentieth century, mariachi music grew to be the national musical symbol of Mexico, as well as a source of ethnic pride for Mexican Americans in the United States. This phenomenon can be directly linked to the creation of professional mariachi groups, academic pedagogy programs, and mariachi festivals. These events provide a cultural outlet and a mechanism whereby students compete and receive instruction from the world’s best mariachi musicians. With the American mariachi educational movement gaining momentum since the 1990s, these academic mariachi programs have the potential to transform the tradition while improving the retention of Mexican American students. This project will focus on how academic mariachi programs affect students and the mariachi tradition both musically and culturally.
 

CONTESTING CITIZENSHIP: EXAMINING THE ROLE OF “EXTRANATIONAL” PUBLIC SPHERES AND ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTIONS OF MEMBERSHIP IN LATINO COMMUNITIES

Principal Investigator: Arely M. Zimmerman, PhD student, UCLA Department of Political Science
 
The recent national wave of mass mobilizations of Chicanos and Latinos on behalf of immigrant rights has furthered the possibilities of concretizing a pan-ethnic “political” identity that can be deployed as a powerful rhetorical tool for claiming rights and membership. The goal of this project is to contribute to the research on the role of “subaltern counter publics” as sites of identity formation within Latino communities and to assess its effects on mainstream political institutions. It will track the lobbying activities of a specific group, Wise Up!, part of the Undocumented Student Movement in California, which is constituted almost entirely of Latino undocumented youth. The aim is to show how their notions of membership have been successful in permeating the boundaries of mainstream public and has ultimately affected the normative structures that underlie dominant conceptions of citizenship.