CSRC Newsletter - May 2020
VOLUME 18, NUMBER 8
Fifty years ago this spring, the newly established CSRC published the first issue of a double-blind, peer-reviewed journal called Aztlán, which the editorial staff described as “the first journal sponsored by a university or college in the United States that focuses critical discussion on Chicano matters as they relate to the group and to the total U.S. society.” True to its goal of working across the social sciences, humanities, and the arts, the first issue featured cover art by Judithe Elena Hernández as well as Alurista’s “Poem in Lieu of Preface.” The contents featured new scholarship—essays, research notes, and a bibliography—that proposed definitions, propositions, periodizations, and evidentiary sources for the new discipline. The editorial staff was self-conscious about contributing to the study of a culture that they saw as “distinct, unique, and American” and that was necessarily approached through both historical research and a critical engagement with the present.
Fifty years later, the journal continues to define and engage–in the words of the first essay—“the multitude of difficult intellectual and social questions which lie ahead of us.” I am honored to have served as editor of the journal for twenty years, and I am delighted that Charlene Villaseñor Black has been at the helm since 2016, charting a new course that responds to, supports, and challenges the field as it continues to develop. Last week, Charlene moderated a panel discussion on the fiftieth anniversary issue, focusing on its dossier section, “Fifty Years of Chicana Feminist Praxis, Theory, and Resistance.” (See below about the online video of the discussion.) Needless to say, because of the global coronavirus pandemic the panel took place on Zoom. The pandemic is an exceptional event in our current moment, but it also has us looking back more than a century to the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed fifty million people. Here we are, in the present and the past. As Alurista wrote in his poem-cum-preface, we “dream of roses and / swallow thorns / . . . feeling guilty about smelling flowers / about looking for AztláN.” More than three hundred people took part in the Zoom panel, making it one of the CSRC’s best-attended events and also a much-needed sign of hope, commitment, and perseverance in these difficult times. And thus the next fifty years begin.
Director and Professor
The CSRC has been awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support a three-year archival preservation project titled Religion, Spirituality, and Faith in Mexican American Social History, 1940-Present. With this funding, the CSRC will process recently acquired collections, reprocess legacy collections, and digitally preserve materials consisting of nearly 250 linear feet of documents, 125 audio recordings, and over 14,000 photographs and slides. The collections offer primary sources for research on churches and faith-based organizations in Los Angeles (Church of the Epiphany, Homeboy Industries, Católicos por la Raza), key religious figures (Father Gregory Boyle, Father Richard Estrada, Sister Karen Boccalero), and individuals whose daily and professional life reflect faith-based values (Lupe Anguiano, Joe Ortiz, Josefa L. Serna). The CSRC has received two other NEH grants, in 2012 and 2015. For press coverage, see In the News (below).
The CSRC mourns the passing of Diane Rodriguez, renowned Latina theater actor, writer, director, and producer, and friend of the CSRC. Rodriguez was a longtime member of El Teatro Campesino, cofounder of the comedy troupe Latins Anonymous, and a staff member of Center Theatre Group (CTG), where she served as co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative (LTI) from 1995 to 2005 and associate artistic director of CTG from 2005 to 2019. In 2016 she was appointed by the NEA to the National Council on the Arts. She was a fierce agent for diversity in theater arts, well-known especially for her support of Latina playwrights. Last fall, the CSRC acquired her papers, which include scripts, director’s notes, correspondence, and other personal documents related to her years in the arts, including some materials from her time in Teatro Campesino. These papers are currently being processed for future research. Rodriguez’s work is discussed in The Latino Theatre Initiative/Center Theatre Group Papers, 1980–2005, published by CSRC Press. The book surveys the CSRC’s eponymous archival collection, which Rodriguez established at the CSRC in 2005. The essay by Chantal Rodríguez relates the history of the LTI and how its leaders sought to diversify audiences by diversifying theatrical programming. To view the finding aid for the Latino Theatre Initiative collection, click here.
CSRC congratulates Deborah Cullen-Morales on her new position as program officer for arts and cultural heritage at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Cullen-Morales is the former executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the former director and chief curator of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Cullen-Morales was a visiting research scholar at the CSRC during the 2019-20 academic year. She is the author of the monograph Rafael Ferrer and a contributor to the exhibition catalog Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell, both award-winning publications from CSRC Press.
Colin Gunckel, associate professor of film, television, and media and American culture at the University of Michigan and former CSRC arts project coordinator, was quoted in a story in The Daily Beast about the 1914 film The Life of General Villa, which Gunckel describes as “the first cinematic war or the first war waged through the new mass media of cinema.” Gunckel edited the exhibition catalog La Raza, published by CSRC Press earlier this year. Read the story here.
The Chicana and Chicano LLC Forum of the Modern Language Association (MLA) will hold a special roundtable, Criticism in the Borderlands at 30, at its annual conference in 2021, scheduled to take place in Toronto, Canada. The roundtable is inspired by the 1991 anthology Criticism in the Borderlands: Studies in Chicano Literature, Culture, and Ideology (Duke University Press), coedited by Héctor Calderón, professor of Spanish and Portuguese and CSRC affiliated faculty, with José David Saldívar. The groundbreaking anthology considers how feminist, poststructuralist, and Marxist theory have influenced Chicana/o/x literary and cultural studies and generated recent scholarship in the field. Calderón is the editor of the award-winning anthology The Aztlán Mexican Studies Reader, 1974–2016 from CSRC Press.
In the latest post on the Frontera Collection blog, Agustín Gurza explores a recent global music trend: coronavirus-themed songs that range from corridos to styles such as reggaeton, salsa, mariachi, ballads, and folk. The website for the Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings contains over 125,000 songs celebrating North America’s Spanish-language musical heritage. The Frontera Collection is a joint project of the CSRC, the Arhoolie Foundation, and the UCLA Digital Library Program. Read the post and sign up for the newsletter here.
The International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has launched a new website for its Documents of Latin American and Latino Art project. Featuring approximately 8,000 documents, the site is a resource for researchers interested in twentieth- and twenty-first-century art of Latin America, the Caribbean, and U.S. Latino communities. CSRC staff formed one of the ten research teams that contributed documents to the website, and from 2005 to 2015 CSRC director Chon Noriega was member of the editorial board that helped develop the collection. The CSRC collaborated with the MFAH again in 2017-18 for the exhibition Home—So Different, So Appealing. Visit the ICAA site here.
The CSRC has launched a Facebook page that is dedicated to highlighting content and activities of the CSRC’s academic journal, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. The page will feature article abstracts, links to journal essays and reviews, calls for submissions, and more! Click here to like and follow the page.
New videos on CSRC YouTube channel
Online Panel: “Fifty Years of Chicana Feminist Praxis, Theory, and Resistance” (April 23, 2020) (video). The CSRC hosted an online panel that explored themes presented in the dossier section of the Spring 2020 issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. The panelists—writers, poets, and artists—reflected on fifty years of Chicana feminism and the roles of Chicana feminists. This session brought together Aztlán editor Charlene Villaseñor Black, dossier curator Michelle Téllez, and dossier contributors Maylei Blackwell, Leilani Clark, Dolores Delgado Bernal, Alejandra Elenes, Martha Gonzalez, Felicia Montes, and Susy Zepeda. Judithe Hernández, whose artwork is featured on the cover and in the artist’s communiqué, also participated. The issue celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies.
- Conference: “American” Art and the Legacy of Conquest: Art at California’s Missions in the Global 18th–20th Centuries (November 8–9, 2019). This two-day conference explored the history of California’s missions with the goal of promoting new research that incorporates the voices of Native, Mexican, and Mexican American people into the history of California and the United States. This event was made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art. It was presented by the CSRC and co-sponsored by the Critical Mission Studies project, the UC-Mexico Initiative, and the UCLA Department of Art History.
- Welcome and Blessing (video). Welcome: Chon A. Noriega, CSRC, co-convener; and Charlene Villaseñor Black, CSRC, co-convener. Tongva Land Recognition and Opening Blessing: Julia Bogany, Tongva/Gabrielino Tribal Council.
- Day 1, Keynote 1: "An Indigenous Art History: New Approaches to Studying the California Missions" (video). Speaker: Yve Chavez (Tongva, Akimel O’odham, and Tohono O’odham), University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Day 1, Panel 1: "Art at the California Missions" (video). Presentations: "What Actually Is In the Collections of the California Missions?," Clara Bargellini, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; "The Art of Persuasion: Cultural Transference in the Alta California Missions," Pamela Huckins, independent scholar; and "Art and Devotion at the Missions in Baja California," Luis Javier Cuesta Hernández, División en Humanidades y Comunicación, Universidad Iberoamericana. Moderator: Charlene Villaseñor Black.
- Day 1, Keynote 2: “‘A Land without Water and Stones': Jesuit California Missions and Eighteenth-Century Geopolitics" (video). Speaker: Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, University of Texas at Austin.
- Day 1, Roundtable: "Culture and Resistance in the California Missions" (video). Presenters: Stan Rodriguez, University of California, San Diego, Kumeyaay Community College, and Iipay Nation Tribal Council; Ross Frank, University of California, San Diego; and Maria Montez, Cultural Department of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation.
- Day 2, Panel 1: "Missions in Global Context" (video). Presentations: "A Bavarian Pilgrimage Shrine in Seventeenth-Century Paraguay," Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Queen’s University; "Visual Globalism: An Eighteenth-Century Tabernacle from the Philippines in Mission Dolores," Ramón de Santiago, University of California, Berkeley; and "Art, Architecture, and Conquest: A Transpacific Perspective," JoAnne Mancini, Maynooth University. Moderator: Jennifer Scheper Hughes, University of California, Riverside.
- Day 2, Workshop: "Methodologies of Restructuring and Reclaiming" (video). Presenters: Lylliam Posadas, Autry Museum of the American West; and Pamela J. Peters (Diné [Navajo]), Indigenous multimedia artist.
- Day 2, Panel 2: "Mission Studies Moving Forward" (video). Presentations: "Routes, Networks, and the Missions: New Documentary Avenues for Research," Mari-Tere Álvarez, The J. Paul Getty Museum; "Native Painting as a Useable Past: The Index of American Design at Mission San Fernando, 1936–37." Cynthia Neri Lewis, University of California, Riverside, and Rio Hondo College; "Difficult Histories and Contact Zones in the California Missions: A Museum Studies Contribution to Critical Mission Studies from a Mexican Perspective," Cintia Velásquez Marroni, Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía; and "Repeating Colonial Narratives and the Violence of Imagined Communities," Roberto Lint Sagarena, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Middlebury College. Respondent: Francisco López Morales, Patrimonio Mundial del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (retired). Moderator: Jonathan Cordero (Ramaytush Ohlone, Bay Miwok, Chumash), California Lutheran University.
CSRC In the News
All “In the News” articles are available in PDF format on the CSRC website.
Join CSRC librarian and archivist Xaviera Flores as she provides instruction to the UCLA community on how to use the CSRC’s online resources. Students who will be taking classes remotely are encouraged to join. Flores will cover a range of topics including navigating the CSRC’s digital archives, accessing online resources, requesting research support, and more. Register via Zoom here.
Throughout May, newly admitted UCLA Latinx transfer students are invited to participate in online information sessions that introduce them to the CSRC. Xaviera Flores, CSRC librarian and archivist, and Michael Aguilar, CSRC community engagement coordinator, will host these sessions via Zoom. Flores and Aguilar will discuss CSRC resources and services and answer questions regarding how the CSRC can best support students during their academic studies. Register via Zoom here.
Join CSRC librarian and archivist Xaviera Flores for this workshop on methodologies and best practices for archiving your research. Learn basic archival concepts and skills to help you organize your writings, working documents, research, digital files, and more. This interactive workshop will provide plenty of opportunities for questions and case examples. Register via Zoom here.
All CSRC events are free and do not require an RSVP unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. For the most current information, visit the Events page on the CSRC website.
The CSRC Library has been awarded funding from the California State Library (CSL) for a project titled Joteria: Rehousing the Gronk and Cyclona Papers. The CSL’s grant program, Preserving California’s LGBTQ History, funds projects that support physical and/or digital preservation of LGBTQ materials that relate to California history and culture, demonstrate the significant role of LGBTQ Californians, and document the LGBTQ movement in the state. The Joteria project at the CSRC will preserve and properly rehouse over seventy linear feet of materials pertaining to The Gronk Papers and The Fire of Life: The Roberto Legoretta–Cyclona Collection. The two collections, which provide insight into the life and career of queer Chicano artists in Los Angeles, are among the CSRC collections that are most widely used by scholars, curators, and students. Materials from The Gronk Papers and the Cyclona Collection have been loaned to numerous art museums across the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Rehousing them and providing new descriptions and histories will improve access and use and will help preserve the materials for research and teaching.
In accordance with Chancellor Gene Block’s directive to suspend most on-campus operations, the CSRC Library and its archive are closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. During this time, CSRC Library staff will remain available via email, and we look forward to engaging with community members remotely. For online library instruction, see Events (above).
Off-campus exhibitions that include images and artworks from CSRC collections and publications are currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Our best wishes go out to the curators, museum personnel, and the artists, and we hope the public is able to encounter these works again in the near future. In the meantime, we are reaching out to scholars, students, and curators to highlight aspects of our collections online. Stay tuned!
The University of Washington Press, a distributor of books published by CSRC Press, is having a sale. All books are 40 percent off and shipping is free through May 15. The sale includes exhibition catalogs La Raza, Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell, and Home—So Different, So Appealing. Other titles on sale include The Aztlán Mexican Studies Reader, 1974–2016 and Barrio Harmonics: Essays on Chicano/Latino Music, plus the latest edition of The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlán, 1970-2019. To order, click through the CSRC website link or visit https://uwapress.uw.edu/.