CSRC Newsletter - January 2008

Volume 6, Number 4

Director's Message

Happy New Year! As you may have heard, 2008 is an election year, and so we begin the year with a conference on voting rights (see below). But it is useful to think also about the larger context for elections—that is, why we vote. Lately I have been mulling over the phrase “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” from one of the most well-known passages in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. While Captain Kirk from Star Trek could recite the entire document from memory, allow me to jog your memory here:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
In this amazing passage, Thomas Jefferson made a crucial change from similar phrases by philosophers Adam Smith and John Lock: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property” (Smith) and “life, health, liberty, or possessions” (Locke). Instead of an emphasis on property or possessions, Jefferson shifted the grounding for our unalienable rights to happiness. Government would secure such rights, and its power to do so would be based on the “consent of the governed”—that is, the vote. We seem to have journeyed some distance from this declaration. Today, we often place business and religion in front of our unalienable rights, rather than understanding them as private matters that constitute some of the ways in which we are free to pursue happiness. But we have also extended our unalienable rights to include women, people of color, and LGBT people (although less so thus far), and that was not the case in Jefferson’s time or for a century or more afterwards. Happiness. What if our freedom were based on the pursuit of happiness, an ongoing process of a life well lived, and not in the accumulation of property or possessions? So, here’s wishing you life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in 2008— something worth voting for.
Chon A. Noriega
Director and Professor


A Ver Project Receives New Award
A Ver: Revisioning Art History, CSCR’s project to document the life and work of U.S.-based Latino artists, has been awarded $60,000 by the Joan Mitchell Foundation toward the publication of upcoming books that feature artists who have been recognized by the foundation’s grant program for individual artists. These artists are Mario Brito, Pepón Osorio, Freddy Rodríguez, and Juan Sánchez.
Study Shows Health Care Access Issues
A CSRC-supported project was featured in an article on the front page of the Los Angeles Times “California” section on November 27, 2007. The study, “Health Care Access, Use of Services, and Experiences Among Undocumented Mexicans and Other Latinos,” reveals that undocumented Mexicans and other Latinos reported less use of health care services and poorer experiences with care than their U.S.-born counterparts did. Alexander N. Ortega, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead author was quoted, saying, “The current policy discourse that undocumented immigrants are a burden on the public because they overuse public resources is not borne out with data, for either primary care or emergency department care.”
Cyclona Materials on Display in New York
Photographic selections from “The Fire of Life: Robert Legorreta–Cyclona Collection” will be featured in a major exhibition at El Museo del Barrio. The Cyclona Collection, one of the CSRC Library’s archival resources, comprises papers, photos, LP records, and three-dimensional items gathered by performance artist Robert Legorreta, also known as Cyclona. The exhibition, Arte ≠ Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas, 1960–2000, will run from January 30 through June 1. The exhibition surveys for the first time the vast range of performative actions created over the last four decades by Latinos in the United States as well as artists working in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, and Central and South America. Curated by Deborah Cullen (who is writing a book in the CSRC Press’s A Ver series), the exhibition will feature a lavishly illustrated bilingual catalog. For more information on the exhibition, visit the museum’s website. Images from the Cyclona Collection and a link to the collection’s finding aid are available on the CSRC website.
Exhibition Catalog Showcased
The University of California Press features an image from Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement on the cover of its spring 2008 publications catalog. The book, by Rita Gonzalez, Howard N. Fox, and Chon A. Noriega, documents the exhibition Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement, which will open in April at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition, developed in collaboration with the CSRC, is the first comprehensive consideration of Chicano art in almost two decades and the largest exhibition of cutting-edge Chicano art ever presented at the museum. The catalog notes that both exhibition and book “explore the experimental tendencies within today’s Chicano art, which is oriented less toward painting and polemical assertion and more toward conceptual art, performance, film, photography, and media-based art, as well as ‘stealthy’ artistic interventions in urban spaces.” The book includes essays by the three authors, as well as two hundred color illustrations, twenty-five individual artist portfolios, and a chronology of significant moments in Chicano cultural history.

CSRC Events  

Voting Rights Conference
On Saturday, January 26, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., the CSRC will join the UCLA Center for African American Studies, Center for Asian American Studies, and Center for American Indian Studies to present “Coloring the Vote: Race, Politics, and Disenfranchisement,” a major conference on voting rights at UCLA’s Covel Commons. Greg Palast, renowned BBC investigative journalist and a native of the United States, will give the keynote lecture. He is recognized for his reporting on voting irregularities in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. Also confirmed is Joaquin Avila, MacArthur “Genius Award” recipient and one of the country’s leading experts on voting rights. Other participants will include local and state elected officials, community leaders, and civil rights advocates. The conference will take place shortly before the California presidential primary.
Speakers will examine the Federal Voting Right Act, examples of disenfranchisement of voters of color in California, and strategies for preventing such irregularities from happening during the 2008 and future elections. Co-sponsors of the conference are the UCLA Graduate Division, the UCLA Center for Community Partnerships, the UCLA Institute for American Cultures, the UCLA School of Law, the UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program, the UCLA Office for Faculty Diversity, the UCLA Social Sciences–College of Letters and Sciences, and the UCLA Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information, visit the CSRC website.
Made in L.A. Screening
On Tuesday, January 29, the UCLA Labor Center will present Made in L.A., an award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrant sweatshop workers as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. Made in L.A. reveals how this struggle gradually transformed these women. Made in L.A. is a deeply moving story about immigration, the power of unity, and personal courage. Filmmakers Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar and the cast will be present for a discussion after the film. The film is in English with Spanish subtitles. This special free screening, co-sponsored by the CSRC, begins at 6:30 p.m. and takes place in 1246 Public Affairs on the UCLA campus. Refreshments will be provided.
Latino Art Now! National Conference
The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, along with the Americas Society and El Museo del Barrio, will host “Latino Art Now!” on January 31–February 2, at Hunter College and the Americas Society, New York City. The conference will explore the valuation of Latino art within a global context. CSRC is a co-sponsor for this event. Chon A. Noriega will speak on recent arts scholarship and publication efforts.

CSRC Library & Archive

CSRC Poster Collection
The CSRC Library continues to make progress on the preservation of the center’s poster collection. The CSRC has over 1,000 posters that chronicle the history of Chicano theater, artist collectives, and social activism. Some of these prints are rare, and a number are signed by the artist. Library staff are reorganizing these prints and putting them into protective sheets so that researchers can have better access to these historical documents.

Archival Collections
The CSRC Library has initiated preservation of the historic Father Will/Church of the Epiphany Archive. This collection of papers and photos, dating from the mid-1960s through today, documents activities at the church, which was a staging ground for the Chicano civilrights movement and Cesár Chávez’s efforts to establish the United Farm Workers. Archival work continues on the Robert Gutierrez papers. This collection consists of the famous L.A.-based artist’s journals, sketchbooks, photographs, slides, and papers.

CSRC Press

Aztlán Chosen Journal of the Month
Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, established in 1970, has been selected as the journal of the month by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for February 2008. Aztlán will be featured on the council’s webpage next month.
Forthcoming Publications
Watch for two new CSRC Press books, available in March. Paths to Discovery: Autobiographies from Chicanas with Careers in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, edited by Norma E. Cantú, presents the testimonios of a group of extraordinary Chicana scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. The authors trace how their interest in math and science at a young age developed into a passion fed by talent and determination. Their stories will inspire students to pursue careers in math and science, fields in which Chicanas continue to be underrepresented. Dr. Cantú is Professor of English at the University of Texas–San Antonio. The Art of Healing Latinos: Firsthand Accounts from Physicians and Other Health Advocates compiles the wisdom of health professionals who have particular expertise in treating Latino patients. The authors—physicians, researchers, administrators, and activists—relate their experiences in a range of health-related fields. The volume is edited by David E. Hayes-Bautista, Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, and the late Roberto Chiprut, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA.


2008–09 Postdoctoral/Visiting Scholar Fellowship
The CSRC and the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) offer a fellowship to a postdoctoral/visiting scholar to support research on Chicana/os. The fellowship includes a stipend (which can be used as a sabbatical supplement) that ranges from $33,000 to $35,000, research support up to $4,000, and health benefits. The appointment is for a nine-month period beginning October 1, 2008. UCLA faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students are not eligible to apply. All applications are due by 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 11, 2008, in the CSRC office, 193 Haines Hall. Address applications to CSRC Assistant Director Carlos Haro. For more information on applying, or to access the application form, go to the IAC website.
2008–09 Graduate and Predoctoral Fellowship
The CSRC and the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) offer a fellowship to a graduate/predoctoral or a postdoctoral/visiting scholar to support research on Chicana/os. The fellowship stipend of $18,500 per year, plus all in-state fees, will be awarded on a competitive basis to a current UCLA graduate student with demonstrated interest in the field of Chicano studies; the fellowship must aid the completion of a thesis or dissertation. All applications are due by 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 11, 2008, in the CSRC office, 193 Haines Hall. Address applications to CSRC Assistant Director Carlos Haro. For more information on applying, or to access the application form, go to the IAC website.
2008–09 Research Grants
The CSRC and the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) provide research grants to UCLA faculty, staff, graduate students, and IAC postdoctoral fellows to support research on Chicana/os in a variety of disciplines. The CSRC is also working with the IAC and the University of California Committee on Latino Research (UCCLR) to offer research grants in Latino policy studies. To apply for a Latino policy studies grant, check both the Chicano studies and the Latino policy studies boxes on the grant application. The grant period is from July 1, 2008, through May 31, 2009. All applications are due by 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 25, 2008, in the CSRC office, 193 Haines Hall. Address applications to CSRC Assistant Director Carlos Haro. For more information on applying, or to access the application form, go to the IAC website.


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