CSRC Research Grants, 2018-2019

Women Who Make Their Own Worlds: The Ester Hernández Oral History Project

Principal Investigator: Maylei Blackwell, UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

With the afforded funding, professor Maylei Blackwell intends to complete research for a book on Bay Area-based Chicana visual artist Ester Hernández. Hernández is best known for producing art for the United Farm Workers (UFW), exemplified by her piece Sun Mad (1981), which was a political commentary on the use of pesticides in the San Joaquin Valley and its effect on women who picked grapes. More recently, she created Sun Raid (2008), a visual commentary on ICE raids, increased deportations, and the increasingly indigenous labor force in the fields. Blackwell argues that for the past forty years, Hernández has used her creative talents and own lived experiences to call attention to social justice struggles at the intersection of gender, sexuality violence, environment, and racism. Blackwell’s aim is to write a book-length study of Hernández’s artwork, life, and contributions to Chicanx, feminist, and queer art history. A large portion of the grant will be used to conduct an extensive oral history with Hernández through a series of interviews that will include her life story, political work, and narration of her life through her artworks. Further, Blackwell wishes to conduct archival research at Stanford University and at the Galería de la Raza in San Francisco.

Women of Color, Intersectionality, and the Geography of Electoral Politics in the United States

Principal Investigator: Lorrie Frasure Yokley, UCLA Department of Political Science

This research project uses data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Study (CMPS) and merges it with data from the US Census, including the 2010 Census Tract file, and the most recent ACS five-year survey, to examine which factors influence black, Latina, Asian American and white women’s vote choice and political attitudes. Professor Yokley will also analyze how these factors vary by geography. Yokley states her study addresses gender and race “intersectionally” for a more nuanced view of the 2016 election results by examining differences among and between women voters. She argues that the role of race/ethnicity, gender, and geography remain understudied in the political science discipline and her project will help remedy that deficit. Yokley will employ an intersectional framework and a mixed-method approach to “extend” current comparative studies of US racial politics, “moving beyond the outdated use of a city/suburb dichotomy [and] the longstanding black/white or Latino/white binary often used for understanding political differences.” She plans to spend the first part of the grant year coding, analyzing, and writing up the results of 2016 CMPS data; she will spend the second part of the year revising each chapter of her book manuscript for publication.

Making Moves in, with, and Against the University: The Development of a Politicized Voice in Immigrant Student Organizing

Principal Investigator: Chantiri Duran Resendiz, PhD candidate, UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

This dissertation project examines how undocumented immigrant youth and undocumented immigrant student organizers have interacted in higher education institutions. Using a feminist theoretical framework that integrates gender, race, ethnicity, and citizenship, Duran Resendiz asks and seeks to answer 1) how undocumented immigrant youth and undocumented student organizers build a political voice within institutions of higher education, and 2) how institutional arrangements of power in higher education shape undocumented student movement strategies. To answer her questions, Duran Resendiz is using an interdisciplinary, multi-method approach combining content analysis of personal testimonies, thirty (30) semi-structured interviews, and participant observations at two (2) UC campuses (UCLA and UC Berkeley). She requested funds so that during the grant year, she can conduct semi-structured interviews with immigrant student organizers who were active participants in the immigrant student movement in California from 2003 to the present, as well as interviews with institutional allies and representatives who were crucial in supporting undocumented students and their actions at the two campuses. Duran Resendiz is particularly interested in the connection between the rearticulation of “minority difference” on these campuses at the same time public universities began shifting towards models of market-based competition, which allowed any democratizing mission to be eclipsed by financial concerns.

Supported in part by the Tamar Diana Wilson Fund

Preserving Culture, Picturing Trauma: Chicana/o and Mexican Commemorative Murals in Watsonville, California in the 1980s

Principal Investigator: Gabriela Gomez, PhD student, UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

Using two murals in Watsonville, CA, the site of a cannery and labor strikes in the 1970s and 1980s, this project will address “artistic political activism” and its hemispheric influences. In the grant year, Gomez proposes traveling to numerous sites (libraries, museums, and mural locations) to conduct primary and secondary research on muralism and labor movements. Proposed sites for travel include the Bay Area, California Central Valley, New York City, and several cities in Mexico. Ultimately, this project aims to find transnational influences between Mexican and Chicana/o muralists, and assert how murals are able to convey a narrative that reifies women-of-color leadership in labor movements.

Perspectives on School-Based Suicide Risk Assessment and Referral Procedures: Barriers and Facilitators to Mental Health Services for Ethnic Minority Youth

Principal Investigator: Tamar Kodish, PhD student, UCLA Department of Psychology

This project aims to identify barriers and facilitators to care for youth of Asian American and Latina/o descent who have been identified as at-risk for suicide within Gateway to Success, a school-based mental health program in Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD). She will utilize a semi-structured interview approach to collect qualitative data assessing multiple stakeholder perspectives on the current method of risk assessment. The study population will include individuals who have been involved in the risk assessment process within AUSD during the 2016-17 academic year. AUSD serves primarily ethnic minority students (50 percent Asian, 50 percent Hispanic) from low income families. The study sample will include 1) students who received a risk assessment in 2016-17, 2) their parents, and 3) Gateway staff involved in assessment procedures during the 2016-17 academic year. Within the student and parent populations, individuals from three subgroups will be recruited: 1) those who consented to and received mental health services (MHS) following a risk assessment, 2) those who consented to, but did not receive MHS following a risk assessment, and 3) those who declined and did not receive MHS. Gateway staff will compile a list of participants who have provided consent for UCLA to contact.

Queering the Emergent Borderlands: Undocuqueer Activism in the U.S. South

Principal Investigator: Rafael Solorzano, PhD candidate, UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

This dissertation project seeks to demonstrate how the “Trail of Dreams,” a four-month walk from Miami, FL to Washington, D.C. that took place in 2010, redefined immigrant rights activism in the 21st century. Standing apart from mainstream immigrant rights advocates, Solorzano argues, undocumented youth activists not only advocated for a pathway to citizenship but introduced new ideas about what rights are and should be, who should be at the center for the fight for immigrant rights, and if new strategies would be useful in attaining them. The project centers the political activism of “undocuqueer” immigrants and communities in rural spaces that took many forms, out in public and online, individual and collective. The project is at the intersection of queer rights, migrant rights and social justice. Solorzano argues that with the exception of a few articles, research on and of undocuqueer activism is extremely limited. This is quite possibly the first comprehensive study that documents the Trail of Dreams and undocumented/undocuqueer activism across the South. For the grant year, Solorzano will return to his research site of Florida and Georgia to collect ten (10) to fifteen (15) interviews that represent the multi-racial coalitions that were key partners to the Trail of Dreams: white Christians and African-American in Georgia, and Haitian immigrants, white Cubans, and Central Americans in Florida. These will be the final interviews of among forty (40) Solorzano will have conducted for his study.
Supported in part by the Tamar Diana Wilson Fund

From Picket Fences to Picket Lines: Environmental Pollution and Discrepancies in Modes of Mobilization

Principal Investigator: Adria Tinnin, PhD candidate, UCLA Department of Political Science

This dissertation project explores how communities respond to local environmental crises. Tinnin seeks to determine the factors that influence the mode of community mobilization in response and how these might vary by community type. She also examines factors that influence local government responsiveness to communities on issues of environmental pollution, and how this too might vary by community type. More specifically, what were the factors determining the crisis management of a public utility in a low-income community of color and a private company polluting in a high-income, predominantly white community?  Ultimately, Tinnin seeks to argue that a community’s “mode of mobilization” is determined by the collective memory of its relationship with the state. Preliminary results from her two case studies in Los Angeles County (lead and arsenic poisoning from the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant located in Vernon, which closed in 2015, and a malfunction in a Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) natural gas storage facility in Porter Ranch in 2015) support her theory. Tinnin plans to supplement her study with research on environmental pollution cases in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Texas. For the grant year, she plans to conduct interviews at Los Angeles County sites with the assistance of translator, and conduct primary research in the states where she has found supplementary case studies.

Identity Politics in Context: How Context Shapes Our Connection to Groups and Our Politics

Principal Investigator: Bryan Wilcox, PhD candidate, UCLA Department of Political Science

This Wilcox’s dissertation project investigates the wide variation in the political behaviors of Latina/os and Asian Americans in Southern California. Wilcox argues that while some individuals are politically active through formal (e.g., voting) and informal channels (e.g., participation in community groups, church groups, and civic clubs), others appear largely disinterested from any type of political activity.  He explores how “group based identities” among Latinos and Asian Americans account for many political behaviors that cannot be explained by socio-economic status, partisanship, and other “traditional” predictors of engagement. However, he states, group-based identities are not uniform across these two groups and vary extensively by generation, national origin, and where one lives and works. For the grant year, Wilcox would like to conduct a series of in-depth interviews with Latina/o and Asian American residents in the Los Angeles region across three different types of communities: 1) ethnic enclaves; 2) racially mixed areas; and 3) predominantly white areas. He argues this project will underscore the importance of understanding group-based identities to determine various social, political, and economic outcomes.