Reading, Writing, and Reducing Prejudice: Leveraging Inclusive Curriculum Practices to Decrease Intergroup Bias and Backlash”

Principal Investigator: Tiffany Brannon, Assistant Professor, Psychology
This project seeks to explore how college and university efforts to reduce stigma and promote strengths of underrepresented groups through curricular enhancements can result in psychological inclusion among underrepresented group members in ways that are enduring and tied to resilience. These include improved academic achievement, health and well-being, and a mitigation of social disparities between these and dominant groups. This study will specifically assess intergroup attitudes among UCLA college students before and after the 2020 Presidential Election to examine whether the discourse surrounding and results of the election results in polarization and other adverse intergroup attitudes tied to contemporary U.S. politics. This is a continuation of a study Brannon has been conducting on Latinx and African American college students, for which she received an IAC research grant in the past. For this study, Brannon received support from the CSRC and the Bunche Center for a graduate student who will work as her lab manager for six months, assisting with data collection, literature review, data coding and analysis, and the development of conference presentation materials.

How Social Adversity May Relate to Psychological Distress and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Latina Pregnant Women

Principal Investigator: Molly Fox, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Because Latina mothers in the US experience disproportionately high rates of adverse birth outcomes, this project seeks to explore whether social adversity may induce psychological and physiological changes in ways that ultimately lead to these outcomes. Fox will use a transdisciplinary approach to study the experiences and birth outcomes of pregnant Latinas in order to understand, additionally, how health disparities are transmitted across generations. In the proposed study, she will first examine how Latina women’s perceived social adversity relates to psychological distress at 8-16 weeks’ gestation. Perceived social adversity will be assessed in three domains: immigration-related trauma history; political victimization; and discrimination. Psychological distress will be assessed in three domains: perceived stress, state anxiety, and depression. Second, she will examine how these women’s perceived social adversity relates to adverse birth outcomes. Adverse birth outcomes will be measured in a phone interview conducted at 2-10 weeks postpartum and will specifically consider preterm birth and low birth weight, in addition to gestational age at delivery and newborn body mass index percentiles. The study cohort will be a subset of 80 women from Fox’s current NIH-funded project, the Mothers Cultural Experiences Study (MCE). The MCE study is a prospective, longitudinal study of the relationship between acculturation and gestational physiology in pregnant Latina women, but does not include the measurement or analysis of social adversity, psychological distress, or birth outcomes. Fox hopes the results of this study will elucidate mechanisms underlying intergenerational escalation health disparity among Latinos as indicated by preterm birth and low birth weight, thereby shedding light on opportunities for early identification of at-risk individuals and new intervention strategies to mitigate the perpetuation of poor health across generations. Fox received support from the CSRC to hire an undergraduate research assistant.

Picturing Mexican America

Principal Investigator: Marissa K. López, Associate Professor, English

López will receive support for research assistance and technical development pertaining to her ongoing project “Picturing Mexican America” (PMA), PMA is a mobile app that uses geolocation technology to display historical images of Mexican Los Angeles in the long-nineteenth century relevant to a user’s coordinates. Her goal is to illuminate the Mexican history of Los Angeles that has been otherwise erased. The app is meant to reveal the consistent, enduring presence of Latinxs in the United States via an interactive and creative digital experience. Lopez is currently finishing a yearlong Scholars & Society fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, during which she was in residency at the Los Angeles Public Library. During this time she began compiling and tagging archival assets at both UCLA and LAPL into a database. She also began planning the backend infrastructure for the PMA app. She now has a database of over 1,500 items including photographs, maps, and, visually rich historical documents and launched a public Instagram feed (@picturingmexicanamerica) to draw attention to the project and build an audience for the app. López received support from the CSRC to hire an undergraduate research assistant to help her comb the archives, collect material, and generate social media content, including sourcing material from the CSRC archive.

Navigating the Academic Field: Latino First-Gen and In-Between Identities

Principal Investigator: Jose Muñoz, Associate Professor, Sociology, Cal State San Bernardino and IAC CSRC Visiting Scholar, 2020-21
Jose Muñoz, associate professor of Sociology at Cal State San Bernardino, is the 2020-21 CSRC Institute of American Cultures visiting scholar. During his fellowship year, Muñoz seeks to build on a project he participated in as a member of the American Sociological Task Force on First-Generation and Working Class Persons in Sociology. Using focus groups and online surveys, the task force compiled data over three years on sociology professors and graduate students who are the children of immigrants, as well as other academics with a history of migration in their families. Muñoz will review the Taskforce project focus group data and analyze the transcripts and open text entries on the membership survey. Additionally, the online survey collected by the Task Force in 2019 was distributed to more than 5,000 members of the ASA this past summer. Muñoz hopes to follow the analysis of transcripts by conducting 20 in-depth qualitative interviews with sociology Latina/o faculty and graduate students who stated at the end of the survey that they would be interested participating in the interview. With the research proposed providing a fuller understanding of underrepresented minority academics in university and college settings, Muñoz plans to develop two journal manuscripts while at UCLA. The first will be based on the Taskforce data and will explore the obstacles and strategies involved in navigating graduate programs and employment by Latina/o Sociologists. In addition, he plans to begin his interviews in the fall of 2020, finish the interviews by February 2021, and begin writing a manuscript based on these interviews. The CSRC is providing Muñoz with grant funds to support his research while in residency.

A Historical Critical Race Analysis of Latinx Representation in Children’s Literature

Principal Investigator: Lorena Camargo Gonzalez, Doctoral Student, Education
Through archival research and a theoretical framework in Critical Race Theory, this project analyzes the history of Latinx Children’s Literature and seeks to answer the following research questions:1) How do children’s picture books help us understand the role of race and racism in socializing children? 2) What is the history of Latinx children’s literature engaged in issues of race and racism? Camargo Gonzalez argues that examining document and archival data, in addition to oral histories, will illuminate the role of race and racism in the history of Latinx children’s literature. This research contributes to debates in the field of education and ethnic studies that seek to understand and identify how race, racism, gender, social economic status, immigration, language and images of Latinx people are portrayed in children’s books today. Finally, this project seeks to highlight the way we understand identity development for young children through literature, and hopefully will inform the development of social justice education and ethnic studies curriculum for K-12 teachers. For the archival research component of this project, Camargo Gonzalez requested funding to travel to an examine the Council for Interracial Books for Children-Director Files at the Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture at the New York Public Library (the CIBC created curricula on the analysis of Chicanx materials during the 1960’s-1980’s); the Bay Area Radical Teacher’s Organizing Collective Records at the San Francisco History Center (this collective was also active during the 1960s and involved in anti-racist and anti-sexist curriculum for children of color, including Chicanx representations); and a visit to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where in addition examining data on books published by people of color, she will also interview the center director.

Experiences of Adult Mother-Daughter Relationships During Daughters’ First Pregnancy: A Study of Culture, Family, and Mental Health

Principal Investigator: Delaney Knorr, Doctoral Student, Anthropology
Part of a larger dissertation project focusing on mother-daughter relationships of pregnant women and health disparities in mothers and their children, this study seeks to examine Latinas living in Los Angeles and uses four lines of investigation: (1) How do mothers buffer against or exacerbate their pregnant daughter’s levels of anxiety, stress, and depression (self-reported); (2) the cultural expectations or conflicts that emerge as these women start their own families; (3) the expectation and receipt of social and material support through pregnancy, labor, and early motherhood; and (4) the intergenerational knowledge transfer surrounding pregnancy from the pregnant women’s mothers versus other women they know. Through her research, Knorr hopes to provide an in-depth look at the ethnic experience of pregnant Latinas in L.A. with regard to their interaction with family, health care, and socio-cultural stress. She will execute her study through a mixed-methods approach using (1) focus groups, (2) ethnographic interviews, and (3) quantitative surveys.

Love and Legalization: Latino Undocumented Young Adults in Los Angeles

Principal Investigator: Lucia Leon, Doctoral Candidate, Chicana/o Studies
Building on Leon’s master’s thesis that drew from 12 in-depth interviews and participant observation from 2016-2017, this dissertation project asks 1) How do race, gender, and sexuality interact in the legalization process for Latina/o undocumented young adults? 2) Given the high stakes and the technicalities of the law, how does the process inform their legal consciousness about legalization? To answer these questions, Leon proposes to conduct 50 in-depth interviews with Latina/o undocumented migrants (35 Mexican, 15 Central American) combined with ethnographic fieldwork in Los Angeles. Interviews will focus on the experiences of 35 heterosexual migrants and 15 LGBTQ migrants at various stages of the legalization process. To more holistically understand legalization as a legal process, data will also be collected from interviews with attorneys and participant observation at immigration clinics and law firms. Preliminary findings show how differential treatment leads to additional burdens, particularly for migrants with higher markers of foreignness such as darker skin tone, phenotypes, English proficiency, and migrants who diverged from racialized, gendered and heteronormative hierarchies of immigration law. This project contributes to the field of ethnic studies, Chicana/o Studies, and the study of migration as it aims to decenter Latino undocumented young adults as a heterogeneous ethnic group by examining how discrete, yet intersecting markers of race, gender and sexuality interact to shape their legalization experiences. Moreover, previous work on family reunification policies and practices has mainly focused on the experiences of heterosexual mixed-status Latino families. This project furthers that inquiry by investigating same-sex marriage as a legalization pathway for Latina/o families, a recent legal reality since the repeal of the 2015 Defense Against Marriage Act. Findings will therefore inform policy recommendations acknowledging the complexities of same-sex marriage as a newly emerging pathway for Latino LGBTQ families to legally claim family reunification. Findings can inform policy recommendations acknowledging the complexities of Latino families’ experiences regarding legalization in the current political climate.

Empty Onset Repair Strategies in Spanish Heritage Speakers

Principal Investigator: Gemma Repiso Puigdelliura, Doctoral Student, Spanish and Portuguese

Defining a “heritage language” as a socio-politically minority language acquired as a first language simultaneously or sequentially with a majority language, this study seeks to examine the ways in which cross- linguistic (Spanish-English) influence affects Spanish heritage speakers’ linguistic abilities. Part of a dissertation project that examines the phonology (oral abilities) of heritage speakers and engages a current debate on the development of heritage grammars, this project seeks to determine whether child and adult Spanish heritage speakers employ the same strategies to “connect” speech as Spanish native speakers. If they do not, the study seeks to pinpoint why. Puigdelliura requested IAC funds to travel to two cities in Mexico for her study, in addition to enlisting participants in Los Angeles. Participants will be adult Spanish heritage and English speakers in L.A., adult native Spanish speakers in Mexico City, and caregivers of native Spanish- speaking children in Mexico.

Politics of Sanctuary and Politics of Hate in North America: A transnational and Comparative Analysis of Pro-migrant and Anti-migrant Policies and Practices in Mexico and the United States

Principal Investigator: Fernando Villegas Rivera, Doctoral Student, Chicana/o Studies

While there is necessary academic attention to anti-migrant and exclusionary policies in the U.S. and Mexico, this dissertation project examines pro-migrant policies taking place at the local level in the U.S. and in Mexico, and argues these policies are an outcome of multi-scalar processes from both Global North and Global South actors cooperating simultaneously at the transnational, domestic and local levels. To reveal this, Villegas Rivera seeks to examine migrant governance in three cities: Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Tijuana. Although it has not passed pro-migrant legislation, Villegas Rivera identifies Tijuana as one of the main battlegrounds for pro- migrant organizations fighting for migrants’ rights bi-nationally. He seeks to show the ways in which local government officials cooperate at different scales with a wide range of civil society organizations including migrant-led organizations and religious NGOs. To analyze effective cooperation between subnational state officials and civil society actors focusing on migrant rights, Villegas Rivera will examine two religious organizations that are working actively and transnationally to provide sanctuary for migrants in Mexico and the U.S.: the Matthew 25 Movement network and the Scalabrinians International Migration Network (SIMN). To answer why there has been a successful emergence of pro-migrant policies and practices, he will collect contextual data including public perception on unauthorized migration, density of immigrant-related protests, ideological and partisan inclinations of local governments, all of which play an important role in the passage of pro-migrant policies. Among so much else, this project has the potential to change the thinking that one must choose, policy-wise, between supporting inclusion for migrants and the redistribution of resources to underprivileged local citizens.