Allan Houser and Francisco Zúñiga: A Critique of the Indigenous Woman as the Essentialized OtheR

Principal Investigator: Nancy Mithlo, Professor, Gender Studies and American Indian Studies IDP

Professor Mithlo’s project investigates through an ethnic studies lens the depiction of Indigenous women in sculpture in the U.S. and Mexico in the late 20 th century. With funding from an IAC grant, she will specifically explore the work of Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994), considered the father of contemporary American Indian sculpture, and Francisco Zúñiga (Costa-Rican born Mexican, 55, 1912-1998), who Houser admired. Mithlo argues that a 1989 meeting of the two artists in Mexico City represents a culmination of influences that led to the massive popularity of American Indian art from 1980-2000, a period that Mithlo says is undertheorized, especially in relation to the creation and reception of the female form. Mithlo seeks funding to conduct five days of archival research at the Allan Houser Foundation near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her long-term goal is a joint exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West and LACMA in 2029, forty years after these artists’ pivotal meeting.  

Indigenous Blackness in the Américas: The Queer Politics of Self-Making Garifuna New York

Paul Joseph Lopez Oro, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Hunter College  

During his year in residency, Professor Lopez Oro will receive funding to support the completion of his book manuscript, tentatively titled “Indigenous Blackness in the Américas: The Queer Politics of Self-Making Garifuna New York.” The study is a critical ethnography of how gender and sexuality shape the ways in which transgenerational Garifuna New Yorkers of Central American descent negotiate, perform, and articulate their multiple subjectivities as Black/Indigenous/Central American Caribbeans.

Redz Angelz: The One and Only Latinx Lesbian Bar in East Los Angeles

Alma Lopez Gaspar de Alba, Lecturer, Chicana/o and Central American Studies

Professor Lopez Gaspar de Alba received funding for a new project to document through photos, film, oral histories, and a book the cultural history of Redz Angelz, the oldest lesbian Latinx bar in East Los Angeles and the only remaining lesbian bar in Los Angeles of the numerous ones that existed pre-COVID. She argues the closures were due to the pandemic as well as the arrival of dating apps for queer communities. She seeks to show how Redz Angelz (formerly Reds) continues to play a vital role in the lesbian Latinx community in its neighborhood and beyond. 

Disentangling the effects of discrimination and neighborhood context on racial minorities’ identification with people of color, group based emotions, and consequent civic engagement and collective action tendencies

Jason Chin, PhD Student, Psychology 

Through a focus group and two large-scale surveys sent to a total of 2100 California residents who identify as Black, Latinx, or Asian American, Chin hopes to gather data that helps answer questions about coalition-building among ethnic minorities. This project builds on the psychological science of group-based emotions and perceptions of discrimination to examine how a sense of belonging and collective action behaviors develop among people of color.

Miss Behave: Latina/x Sexual Citizenship in K-16 Educational Ecosystems

Gabriela Corona, PhD Candidate, Education

Corona received fudning for research related to her dissertation, in which she explores how eugenicist educational practices -- which she defines as relying on “control, containment, and surveillance”-- have affected Latina/x women’s access to their sexual citizenship. She is specifically interested in the historical and modern-day implementation of eugenics in sex education curricula and its connection to medical institutions where sexual violence has and continues to take place in the treatment of Latina/x women and girls. Her interdisciplinary research combines historical and archival research with qualitative interviews to illustrate counter-stories that challenge the deficit notions of these women and girls that impact their well-being in various societal spaces.

Beyond the Wall: Strategic Intermediality and Social Practice in Chicanx Muralism

Amy Crum, PhD Candidate, Art History 

Crum received support to conduct archival research in Mexico for her dissertation, which examines ways in which Chicanx artists in the 1970s created what she argues was an “expanded form” of muralism that favored experimentations with photography, film, performance, and installation art practices. She argues this intermedial approach allowed for strategic commentary on state-sanctioned violence, urban displacement, and socio-historic exclusion, commentary largely associated with social art practices in the 1990s and later but not with the 1970s. She considers this form of “medium disobedience” as an “aesthetic experiment in decoloniality.” She also challenges the widely held belief that Chicanx muralism emerged as the result of a unidirectional flow of influence from Mexico to the US. Ultimately, she hopes to show how Chicanx muralists subverted traditional approaches to muralism in part to draw attention to their own socio-spatial invisibility in American and Mexican public art at this time.

Black Anti-Settler Colonial Placemaking: Examining an Eco-Village in Jackson, Mississippi

Bethel Moges, PhD Student, Anthropology

Moges received support to conduct early dissertation-related research on the intersection of autonomous migration and post-development practitioners who are responding to climate change. With an IAC grant, she proposes conducting participant observation research this summer at Cooperation Jackson (CJ), a cooperative of Black and migrant farmers and laborers in Jackson, Mississippi. Cooperation Jackson utilizes sustainable farming methods and has aims of communal self-reliance, in addition to promoting environmental and ecological justice. Through a collaboration with Center for Grassroots Organizing, CJ is expanding its reach beyond the Gulf region as part of an effort to lay foundations for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and migrant communities “to foster eco-socialist resistance to neoliberalism on American soil.” Moges requests funding to support a residency at CJ from July 1-September 15, during which time she will build a “data set” through participant observation, structured and semi-structured interviews, life histories, archival research, media analysis, and ethnographic mapping. She plans to present her findings at the 2023 International Degrowth Conference, where she presented in 2021.

From the Heart to the Table: Central American Kitchens, Foods, and Stories

Sara Reyes Noriega, Master's Student, Chicana/o and Central American Studies

Reyes Noriega received funding to begin a new project exploring associations between food, memory, and place among Central American immigrants in the US. Reyes Noriega is a master’s student and the research proposed will be for her master’s thesis. Her research explores the burgeoning field of Central American Studies beyond trauma and legal inequalities to include immigrants’ foodways and its attendant agency, creativity, and joy, even if the social and political contexts of its preparation and consumption are tragic and/or oppressive. Reyes Noriega will conduct conversations with twenty people who are Central American immigrants regarding the origins of the Central American food they prepare and/or consume and their memories and stories that are attached to it. 

Muralists Without Borders, Murals Without Walls: Womxn Artists and their Portable Murals of the Chicano Art Movement in the American Southwest

Gabriela Rodriguez Gomez, PhD Candidate, Chicana/o and Central American Studies

Rodriguez Gomez received support to conduct research for her dissertation, which focuses on Chicanx and Latinx womxn artists in the southwest and their creation of portable murals, from Chicano Movement era to the present day. In the process, she hopes to argue that womxn artists who created portable murals were in fact the initiators of the Chicano art movement of the 1960s. She requested grant funding to conduct research in Denver, where she locates what is considered the earliest portable mural of the movement, by Chicana artist Carlota D. d.R. EspinoZa. She will also travel to Santa Fe and Albuquerque to conduct archival research; and to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, where she will conduct archival research and interview two contemporary womxn muralists.