CSRC Newsletter - January 2014
Volume 12, Number 5
Carved into the stone above the stage at UCLA’s Royce Hall is an anonymous inscription: “Education is learning to use the tools which the race has found indispensable.” This 1,833-seat concert hall has featured renowned performers from Marian Anderson to Ella Fitzgerald and speakers from Albert Einstein to John F. Kennedy, and its acoustics have made it a preferred site for recording sessions by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Built in 1929 as one of the four original buildings on the Westwood campus, "It is the symbol of UCLA," as Chancellor Emeritus Charles Young once declared.
The architect for Royce Hall derived the inscription from UCLA’s first provost, Ernest Carroll Moore (1871–1955), who served as the university’s administrator until 1936. When we consult Moore’s What Is Education? (1915), published while he was a professor at Harvard University, we see that the phrase “the race” (used thirty-four times in the book) does not necessarily mean “human race.” Indeed, Moore cites Sir Frances Galton’s hierarchy of races, which places the ancient Greeks at the top and the “African negro” at the bottom, with the English somewhere in the middle. Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, used The Origin of Species to develop a statistics-driven concept of eugenics. He coined the phrase “reversion toward mediocrity” (now known as “regression toward the mean”) to explain how social services impeded natural selection, producing mediocrity. With respect to Moore, in 1936 the United Progressive News reported that he called for a “Republican New Deal” that involved the “forcible expulsion of unemployed from relief roles, sterilization of the unfit, and war on radicals.” Between 1925 and 1942, California accounted for nearly one-fourth of all nonconsensual sterilizations performed in the U.S. during the entire twentieth century and 60 percent of all sterilizations performed nationwide in the 1940s (source). California’s sterilization law remained in place from 1909 to 1979. The Nazis claimed to have learned from California, and in 1934 the American Public Health Association invited a curator from Dresden’s Deutsches Hygiene-Museum—which promoted the Nazis’ eugenic policies—to create an exhibition for the APHA’s annual convention in Pasadena. The exhibition, Eugenics in New Germany, traveled to six U.S. cities over the course of two years and was then on display at the Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York, until 1943.
This history is written quite literally into a cornerstone of UCLA, in much the same way the U.S. Constitution establishes slaves as three-fifths of a person. When Royce Hall was built, racial segregation was de jure. The landmark desegregation cases were decades away for Mexican Americans (1947) and African Americans (1954). Prior to 1967 the UCLA School of Medicine enrolled no Latino or African American students. Today, UCLA has the nation’s highest portion of low-income students, once a target for eugenicists, but it barely maintains even one-fourth parity with the “underrepresented minorities” who make up 80 percent of the region’s K-12 public schools. And UCLA—like many universities—struggles to move beyond the rhetoric of diversity in order to address the realities of racial and ethnic bias and discrimination.
Of course, history is always more complicated, and so was Moore. In many ways Moore advocated for universal education, and he often wrote in a gender-neutral style. In a 1923 letter to Grace A. Day at the Young Women’s Christian Association, he questioned the use of intelligence testing, with its underlying principle that education is only for the “few most gifted minds,” declaring instead: “I have no hesitation in saying that to me it seems that the commission of education is to all.” Moore also challenged the positivist view of human knowledge. In his memoir, I Helped Make a University (1952), he used Plato’s Cave as a model to respond to those who criticized the inscription that embellishes Royce Hall. He contrasted their view of education as the “illumination” of an empirical reality with his own view that education created tools for thinking that served the public good: “[Education] is the fitting of the soul to go down into the cave, which is the world, and to shape its own life and that of its fellow citizens so that each, working with the things of time and space, will produce the good life.” And, in his personal relationships, Moore offers another surprise. Starting around 1906, he developed a close friendship with Ezequiel A. Chávez (1868–1946). Trained as a lawyer in Mexico City, Chávez was commissioned in 1903 by the Mexican government to study the organization of U.S. universities and help prepare the charter for the National University of Mexico (now called the National Autonomous University of Mexico), ratified in 1910. The two men exchanged numerous letters over a forty-year period—with Chávez’s earliest letters written in Spanish. Moore also regularly visited Chávez in Mexico City and, in the 1930s, arranged a visiting professor stint for Chávez at UCLA.
And so as UCLA moves toward its Centennial, the inscription remains at Royce Hall, a testament to the university’s complex and sometimes conflicted origins. It serves as an object lesson. But it also inspires alternative visions. In a poem called “Study,” UCLA alumna Josephine Miles (1911-1985) writes about seeing the inscription while taking a “Saturday test” on campus. Miles—who suffered from severe degenerative arthritis, who helped Allen Ginsburg publish Howl, and who was also the first woman tenured in the English department at UC Berkeley—turns Moore’s phrase on its head: “I thought, Good for Education, modest, and steadily / Learning its way.” Her gloss of the inscription echoes that of UC president William C. Campbell, who complained, “‘Education is learning’ is like ‘John is learning.’” But whereas Campbell found fault in the language, Miles finds possibilities through language in light of “a lofty norm.” May you all find such possibilities in 2014.
Chon A. Noriega
Director and Professor
Spotlight: Pepón Osorio by Jennifer A. González
This month we spotlight Pepón Osorio, volume 9 in the CSRC’s A Ver series. “Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1955, Benjamin “Pepón” Osorio is one of the world’s foremost installation artists, noted not only for his exploration of form across diverse cultural registers but also for his commitment to an artistic process grounded in social justice, collaboration with disenfranchised communities, and blurring of the institutional boundaries for artistic practice and exhibition,” writes Chon A. Noriega in the book’s foreword. Learn more about the publication and download the entire foreword and table of contents from the CSRC website.
American Latino museum town hall discussion now online
On December 6, CSRC director Chon A. Noriega participated in a town hall discussion concerning the need for a Smithsonian American Latino museum in Washington, DC. Other panelists included David Hayes-Bautista, CSRC faculty affiliate and director of the UCLA School of Medicine’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture; Pilar Tompkins Rivas, coordinator of cultural initiatives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and co-curator of the CSRC’s L.A. Xicano project; Evonne J. Gallardo, executive director of Self Help Graphics & Art; and Moctesuma Esparza, CEO of Maya Cinemas North America, Inc., and whose papers are now being archived at the CSRC (see CSRC Library, below). To watch the video of the town hall, visit the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino website.
Gomez to exhibit work
Los Angeles-based artist Ramiro Gomez, whose first solo show was held at the CSRC last February, will present Domestic Scenes, an exhibition at the Charlie James Gallery in L.A.’s Chinatown, January 11–February 15. Gomez was recently named as one of the “25 Artists to Watch and Collect” by Artvoices magazine. Artworks he made in 2013 that investigated issues of immigration and were installed near the gates of the White House and in Arizona received national coverage in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. The CSRC is home to the Ramiro Gomez Collection of Visual Works, which includes artworks as well as photographs of his installations.
New videos on CSRC YouTube
Video recordings of more of our Fall 2013 public programs are now available for viewing on CSRC YouTube:
- Talk: William A. Nericcio Presents “From Tex[t]-Mex to Mextasy to Eyegiene: Televisually Supercharged Hallucinations of 'Mexicans' in our Digital Humanities-laced, Technosexually Voyeuristic Tomorrow(s)” (November 19, 2013). Nericcio is a professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University and director of MALAS (Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences), a cultural studies graduate program. Alicia Gaspar de Alba, professor of Chicana/o studies, English, and women’s studies, provided the introduction.
- Artist’s Talk: Shizu Saldamando (November 14, 2013). The artist discussed her recent exhibition at the Vincent Price Art Museum, When You Sleep: A Survey of Shizu Saldamando. Marissa K. Lopez, CSRC associate director and associate professor English and Chicana/o studies, provided the introduction. (Like Ramiro Gomez mentioned above, Saldamando is one of Artvoices’s artists-to-watch.)
- National Immigrant Youth Alliance and Dreamactivist.org West Coast Tour (November 6, 2013) featured organization representatives Dulce Guerrero, Santiago Garcia, and “Dream 9” member Luis Leon discussing their humanitarian work and direct actions for immigration reform and on behalf of undocumented youth.
- A Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration of John Rechy’s City of Night (October 23, 2013) was an evening honoring John Rechy, the Mexican American writer, the gay writer, and the L.A. writer. The speakers were John Rechy; Héctor Calderón, professor of Spanish and Portuguese; David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic; and John Densmore, musician and author.
CSRC in the News
ASCO: Elite of the Obscure named one of Mexico City’s best for 2013
Art critic Patrick Charpenel named the traveling exhibition ASCO: Elite of the Obscure, a Retrospective, 1972–1987, as one of the five best art exhibitions in Mexico City in 2013. The show originated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of Pacific Standard Time, the Getty arts initiative, in 2011. The CSRC is a lender to this show.
Art in America (online), December 26, 2013 (PDF)
Review of Asco: No Movies
The exhibition Asco: No Movies at the Nottingham Contemporary was reviewed in the December/January issue of Art Monthly, a U.K. publication. The CSRC was a lender to this exhibition.
Art Monthly, December 17, 2013 (PDF)
“Three Questions for Ramón García”
Daniel Olivas interviewed Ramón García concerning his new book on Chicano photographer Ricardo Valverde, released by the CSRC Press in 2013.
Los Angeles Review of Books, December 15, 2013 (PDF)
“Market Makeover: Euclid Market Transformation”
Writing for KCET, a young volunteer reported on the transformation of the Euclid Market in Boyle Heights into a store prioritizing fresh produce over processed foods. The project was led in part by the UCLA-USC Center for Public Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD) and CSRC associate director Alex Ortega.
KCET.org, December 12, 2013 (PDF)
“The Artist Gronk Hosts Book Launch of Ramón García’s Biography of the Late Chicano Photographer, Ricardo Valverde”
Reporting for La Bloga, Daniel Olivas covered the launch party for the CSRC publication Ricardo Valverde by Ramón García, volume 8 in the A Ver series.
La Bloga, December 9, 2013 (PDF)
“Market Makeover: Transforming Boyle Heights’ Sociedad and Euclid Stores”
KCET’s Artbound reported on the latest corner store conversions by the Market Makeovers project in L.A.’s Eastside. Euclid Market reopened on December 14. Market Makeovers is a project of Public Matters and the UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. CSRC associate director Alex Ortega is one of the project’s leaders.
KCET.org, November 22, 2013 (PDF)
All “In the News” articles are available in PDF format on the CSRC website.
The first ten RSVPs for any CSRC event in January will receive free parking! UCLA faculty, students, and staff are not eligible. Contact Rebecca Epstein, CSRC Events, at email@example.com.
Art historian to lecture on Rivera’s Rockefeller Center mural
Join us Thursday, January 9, 4:00 –5:30 p.m. in the CSRC Library, for the first public program of 2014 when we welcome Anna Indych-López, who will present the talk “Beyond the Controversy: Diego Rivera’s Rockefeller Center Mural and the Politics of Space.” The destruction of Rivera’s mural at Rockefeller Center in New York is one of the best-known examples of art censorship in the United States. Although scholars have focused on Rivera's painted image of Lenin, this talk examines the controversy over his mural within the context of artistic-architectural collaboration and the diverging views of public art in the 1930s. Indych-López, an associate professor of art history at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, specializes in the modern art of Latin America, specifically Mexico. She is currently writing a book on muralist Judy Baca for the CSRC’s A Ver series.
CSRC to screen documentary on transgender activist
On Wednesday, January 15, 3:00 –5:00 p.m. in the CSRC Library, the CSRC will host a screening of TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story. This documentary by Dante Alencastre focuses on the life of renowned Los Angeles–based trans-Latina activist and leader Bamby Salcedo and shows how her work gives voice and visibility to not only the transgender community but also to the multiple overlapping communities her life has touched (Latina, immigrant, HIV+, youth, and LGBT, among others). The film premiered at L.A.’s Outfest in 2013. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Bamby Salcedo and the director. The UCLA LGBT studies program is a co-sponsor of this event.
Exhibition reception for You Found Me
The CSRC is pleased to host a reception on Thursday, January 23, 4:00 –6:00 p.m., for the library exhibition You Found Me: Photographs by Christopher Anthony Velasco. The artist describes You Found Me as “an ongoing photographic exploration of the effects of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Using photographs of randomly found shopping carts, I describe feelings of depression, displacement, and abandonment that are triggered by the condition. As the title expresses, I am, for the first time, being open and honest about my longtime struggle with GAD. I am allowing you to see me.” You Found Me is on view through March 21 in the CSRC Library and vitrine during regular library hours.
All CSRC events are free unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. For the most current information, visit the Events page on the CSRC website.
Additions to existing collections
The CSRC has acquired an additional 300 linear feet of material for the Moctesuma Esparza Papers. Esparza is a UCLA alum and one of the Chicano activists involved in the founding of the CSRC. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, producer, entrepreneur, and activist revered for his contributions to the Hollywood film industry and his commitment to Latinos. These new materials document many of his productions, including Selena, Gettysburg, The Milagro Beanfield War, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca, and Walkout (HBO). Items include photographs, correspondence, scripts, production files, and papers pertaining to his entrepreneurial and philanthropic work.
To learn more about CSRC collections and projects please email your queries to the CSRC librarian, Lizette Guerra, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More interviews with L.A. Xicano artists now online
Interviews with David Botello, Margaret Garcia, Judithe Hernández, and John Valadez are now available in PDF format on the CSRC website. They join interviews with Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, Barbara Carrasco, Richard Duardo, Johnny (Don Juan) Gonzalez, Leo Limón, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, Monica Palacios, Robeto “Tito” Delgado, and Linda Vallejo. The artists talk about childhood, education, and career and the inspirations for their art. The interviews were conducted by Karen Mary Davalos for the CSRC’s L.A. Xicano project and are published as part of the CSRC’s Oral Histories Series.
IAC Visiting Scholar/Researcher Program in Ethnic Studies
The UCLA Institute of American Cultures offers awards to visiting scholars and researchers to support research on African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Chicanas/os. Applications are especially encouraged that advance our understanding of new social and cultural realities occasioned by the dramatic population shifts of recent decades, including greater heterogeneity within ethnic groups and increased interethnic contact.
Two types of awards will be offered: Visiting Scholar appointments for persons who currently hold permanent academic appointments and Visiting Researcher positions for newly degreed scholars. In 2014–15, IAC Visiting Scholars/Researchers will receive funding for one or more quarters, with a maximum stipend of $32,000 to $35,000 for three quarters (contingent upon rank, experience, and date of completion of their terminal degree) and will receive health benefits. Visiting Scholars will be paid through their home institutions and will be expected to continue their health benefits through that source as well; Visiting Researchers will be paid directly by UCLA. Awardees may receive up to $4,000 in research support (through reimbursements of research expenses), $1,000 of which may be applied toward relocation expenses.
Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and hold a Ph.D. from an accredited college/university (or, in the case of the arts, a terminal degree) in the appropriate field at the time of appointment. UCLA faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students are not eligible to apply.
Applications are available in December and due by 5:00 p.m., February 5, 2014. Recipients are notified in April.
For more information and the application, visit the IAC website.
IAC Graduate and Predoctoral Fellowships in Ethnic Studies
Current UCLA students with a demonstrated interest in ethnic studies are eligible to apply for graduate and predoctoral fellowships to aid in completion of a thesis or dissertation. Applications are especially encouraged that advance our understanding of new social and cultural realities occasioned by the dramatic population shifts of recent decades, including greater heterogeneity within ethnic groups and increased interethnic contact. Fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis to current UCLA graduate students and predoctoral candidates with demonstrated interest in the field of ethnic studies to aid in the completion of a thesis or dissertation. The terms of awarded fellowships may range from one to three quarters and will cover in-state tuition and fees plus a maximum stipend of $6,000 per quarter. The acceptance of a fellowship carries with it the commitment to make a contribution to the activities of the sponsoring Ethnic Studies Research Center.
Awards are for one academic year or quarter.
Unfortunately, the Chicano Studies Research Center and the American Indian Studies Center will not be awarding 2014–15 Graduate/Predoctoral Fellowships due to budget constraints.
Open only to UCLA students with a demonstrated interest in African American or Asian American studies. Application for the fellowship in African American Studies is open only to doctoral students who will have advanced to candidacy by the beginning of the fellowship year. Applicants may apply to only one research center during a given funding cycle.
Applications are available in December and due by 5:00 p.m., February 5, 2014. Recipients are notified by mid-April.
For more information and the application, visit the IAC website.
For more information and the application, visit the IAC website.
IAC Research Grant Program in Ethnic Studies
The UCLA Institute of American Cultures invites applications for support of research on African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Chicanas/os for 2014–15. The Institute also invites proposals on interethnic relations that will increase collaboration between the Centers and/or between the Centers and other campus units.
The Chicano Studies Research Center is also able to offer two student research awards of $2500 from the Tamar Diana Wilson Fund. These awards are used to conduct original research projects in the United States, Mexico and Central America on urban poverty and poverty alleviation as they apply to Latinos and Mexican and Central American indigenous populations. To apply, check both the Chicana/o Studies and the Tamar Diana Wilson Fund boxes on the IAC application.
The Research Grant Program is on a reimbursement basis only. Ordinarily, faculty projects will be funded for no more than $10,000 and graduate student projects for no more than $7,000. Funds for the purchase of permanent equipment will be provided only under exceptional circumstances. Conference travel, whether the applicant is presenting or attending, is ineligible.
Open only to UCLA faculty, staff, graduate students, and IAC Visiting Scholars/Researchers.
Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., April 22, 2014. Awards will be announced in mid-May.
For more information and the application, visit the IAC website.
Image: Pepón Osorio, Lonely Soul, 2008. Wooden crutches, fiberglass, Styrofoam, wood, resin, photos, metals, human hair, 1,000 pins, hair clips, and rotating wheelchair wheels, 108 x 31 x 49 inches. Photograph courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York / www.feldmangallery.com.