CSRC Research Grants, 2003-2004

Almost American: Life and Educational Experiences of Undocumented Latino Youth

Principal Investigator: Leisy Abrego, PhD candidate, UCLA Department of Sociology
Children of immigrants currently make up 20 percent of the child population in the United States and have tremendous potential to shape this country's future. Undocumented youth, though an invisible population, are an important sector of this new second generation. Ineligible for federal or state aid, undocumented students usually cannot afford, and therefore cannot attend college, even if they have earned admission. Nor can they work legally. This project hopes to uncover the unique life experiences of undocumented Latino youth. And what strategies, if any, do they employ to overcome legal barriers to higher education. Through detailed analysis of in-depth qualitative interviews with 20-30 children of Latino immigrants between the ages of 15 and 25, this project examines how undocumented status influences the life chances and expectations of undocumented youth through a comparison with documented immigrants and native-born Latino children of immigrants.


Principal Investigator: Nooshafarin Niv, PhD candidate, UCLA Department of Psychology
This study examines the relationships between ethnicity, sociotropic/autonomous personality styles, stressful life events, social support and clinical outcomes in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is hypothesized that in comparison to Anglo-Americans, Mexican Americans will be more sociotropic, will be less autonomous, will experience more stressful life events, and will receive greater amounts of social support. IN addition, the congruency hypothesis, which states that individuals are at a greater risk for relapse when they experience stress in a valued domain, will be examined in the context of ethnicity. It is believed that Mexican-Americans, who are generally viewed as collectivists, will be more vulnerable to interpersonal stressful events. In contrast, Anglo-Americans, who are generally viewed as individualistic, will be more vulnerable to achievement-related stressors. This study is the first to examine the relationship between stress and relapse in Mexican-Americans with a severe mental illness. The aim is to provide empirical evidence for the importance of culturally sensitive treatments.


Principal Investigator: Guillermo Hernandez, UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese
This project is a scholarly companion interactive website to the Corridos Sin Fronteras: A New World Ballad Tradition exhibition that opened to the public February 2002 at the Smithsonian, and which will travel to 10 additional venues through 2002. This sound based exhibition re-creates the historical development of the corridor in the new World over the past 200 years through vintage and modern recordings, broadsides, photographs, posters, musical instruments, three video stations, costumes, memorabilia, historical documents and a map detailing the origins of the ballad tradition and the geographical settings of the corrido stories contained in the exhibition. The bilingual (Spanish/English) website will assist a variety of audiences (students, faculty, researchers, and the general public) to: (a) take a virtual tour of the corrido exhibition; (b) collect information on the history of the corrido ; (c) submit new materials for the advancement in the study of corrido; (d) communicate with others interested in any aspect regarding the corrido; (e) access a visual archive/depository of related materials; (f) organize future academic conferences on the corrido.


Principal Investigator: Pamela Munro, UCLA Department of Linguistics

Many immigrants from the state of Oaxaca are currently working (primarily as farm laborers) in the Central Valley of California. Most of these people are of indigenous origin (mainly Mixtecs, but also Zapotecs, Triquis, and others), and many still speak indigenous languages. These families are often faced with difficult adjustments- though working fathers may speak English and Spanish, for example, other family members may not, which can cause problems at school and in other situations. As time passes and the immigrants become more established in this country many decide to remain here. While this relocation may have positive consequences, the Oaxacans are coming to realize that the traditional culture and language are threatened in their new environment. This project seeks to provide assistance with these issues at the request of the Coalicíon Qaxaqueña Binacional (COBI) in areas related to language and cultural preservation for Oaxacans in the Fresno-Visalia-Stockton area of Central Valley. We intend to develop basic instructional and literacy materials on one language spoken by COBI members, San Mateo Tunuchi (SMT) Mixtec, and to provide support for the development of cultural programs.



Principal Investigators: Vilma Ortiz and Edward Telles, UCLA Department of Sociology
In this project, issues posed in the sociological literature about the persistence of ethnic identity are addressed. The general assumption is that behavioral expressions of ethnic identity will disappear among the grandchildren of immigrants (or the third generation) --- this has been demonstrated among European immigrant groups who arrived in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20 th century. There is considerable debate about whether Mexican Americans will assimilate in this same manner with stronger arguments on the side proposing that ethnic identity will persist into the third generation, in both symbolic and behavioral ways. We plan to focus on ethnic classification or the label that respondents use for themselves, and examine how it is changed over time (from the 1965 survey to the follow-up survey in the late 1990s) and what is the link between parents and their children. We plan to examine determinants of ethnic classification---especially socio-economic status and immigrant generational status. This project will address critical issues in the sociology of race and ethnicity, contribute to key debates in Chicano Studies, and build a strong knowledge base about the Mexican American population.


Principal Investigator: Pauline Wong-Lemasson, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
This project will explore the impact, response, and educational utilization of a traveling photographic exhibit entitle, Americanos: Latino Life in the United States. The project will at how the exhibit is being received by viewers particularly Chicano/a viewers, how the exhibit is being used by teachers, particularly Chicano/a teachers, and the social, cultural, and political impact the exhibit has on the larger Latino community. "Americanos" is a Smithsonian Institution sponsored exhibition and is one of the most highly publicized and longest running exhibits depicting contemporary Latinos on American society in recent years. Response toward ?Americanos? has been highly complex and diverse within the Latino community ? with both laudatory and critical perspectives. The goal of the project is to further the understanding of the public museum's relationship with the ethnic/racial communities they seek to serve and represent and also to inform American public art institutions on future exhibitions of different groups in the United States.