2011 - 2012 CRG Student Research Grantees

AY 2011 - 2012 CRG Student Research Grantees

Grid with photos of AY 2011 - 2012 CRG Student Research Grantees

AY 2011 - 2012 CRG Student Research Grantees


MEGAN ADAMS (Fall 2011)
Department:  History

Project Title:  Public Servants, Public Employees, Public Enemies, Organizing the Chicago Police, 1952-1984

My dissertation, “Public Servants, Public Employees, Public Enemies: Organizing the Chicago Police, 1952-1984,” uncovers a history of labor militancy and activism within the Chicago police department. Historians have identified the police as a powerful force in shaping the postwar “urban crisis,” yet little is known about police as historical actors in their own right. Questions of identity, and particularly race and gender, were central to the development of Chicago police labor politics. Arguing that the unionization of unique categories of city workers redefined municipal labor politics in the late twentieth century, my dissertation examines the intersection of racial and gender politics of the police they began to assert their demands as workers. Black police challenged the discriminatory practices of one of the city’s most racist institutions. Police wives and policewomen clashed over the police department’s gender policies. Meanwhile, majority-white police organizations challenged longstanding loyalties within Chicago’s Democratic Machine and reconstituted themselves as a new political entity in the city.

NATALEE BAUER (Spring 2012)
Department:  Education

Project Title:  (Re)Interpreting Pygmalion: Understanding the Disciplinary Race/Gender Gap in US Middle Schools

My research looks at the raced/gendered discrepancies in middle school disciplinary trends, and how these interactions are both informing and informed by student and teacher racialized identities. I am interested not only in the construction of black masculinity through disciplinary policies and practices, but more specifically I look at the unacknowledged reason behind such construction: the discursive co-construction of ideological whiteness through white femininity/females (given that 70-80% of all school teachers are white women). I argue that it is not important that students see schools as a site of whiteness (cf. Fordham & Ogbu and Prudence Carter), but rather that teachers understand schools as a site for whiteness. Further, I complicate the categorical binaries by looking at those who fall outside of the dichotomies of male/female and white/nonwhite, those who occupy a liminal territory– gender queer, perhaps even “race queer” or “racially transgressive.” For example, I look at students who are disciplined excessively due to their embodiment of masculinity despite being female, and teachers who enact and perform whiteness despite their phenotypic markers of nonwhiteness. From this vantage point I ask how teachers can interrupt the sociocultural reproduction of raced/gendered inequities through a practice of critical self-reflection and active disassociation from their inherent positions of power and privilege.

ZIZA DELGADO (Spring 2012)
Department:  Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Third World Bodies vs. First World Ideologies: The Third World Liberation Front at UC Berkeley, 1969

This summer I will conduct between ten and fifteen video/audio interviews, which will be used for both my dissertation and a documentary I have been working on for the past five years. Upon completion, this film will document and analyze the Third World Strike and subsequent creation of the Ethnic Studies Department at UCB. Because today’s youth and emerging educators are attracted to multi-media educational tools, this film will be developed as multi-platform digital programming to serve as an excellent educational vehicle and interlocutor in the dialogue on social movements and public education. It will also be an integral part of the free on-line teaching tool I am developing, for educators interested in teaching Ethnic Studies in their classrooms. Last year I met almost twenty women who had participated in the movement for ES. Because all of the archives and collections I have used in my research, thus far, have been donated by men, I see these interviews as part of a critical intervention to diversify the historical narrative of this time period. Conducting these interviews will include the vital perspectives of women of color within the movement in both the documentary and my dissertation.

Department:  Sociology

Project Title:  The Struggle for Home and Belonging: The Politics of Immigration in Arizona

My dissertation project explores the contemporary politics of immigration in Arizona, a state that has reinvigorated the bitter controversy around immigration and border policy. Using sociologist Kristen Luker’s (1984) study of abortion politics as an analytical and methodological model for my own fieldwork, I argue that conflicting political positions on immigration are built on opposing edifices of deep beliefs or “world views” about how the social world works. It is because these world views—about what US society is like and what it *should* be like—are called into question in immigration politics, that the topic has come to generate so much outrage. Through life history interviews with activists on both sides of the debate as well as ethnographic observation at the meetings, rallies, and other events organized around immigration politics, I explore the basis of this outrage. I try to bring to the surface the beliefs (particularly with regards to race, gender, family and belonging) that inform activists’ understanding of how US society has changed over the years, what kinds of problems it faces today, and how undocumented migration fits into the mix.

ARIKO IKEHARA (Spring 2012)
Department:  Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Black-Okinawa: Mixed-Cultural Formation of African-Americans and Okinawans in Post-War Okinawa

My research examines the socio-cultural and historical formation of a black-Asian community that grew out of the US military occupation of Okinawa during the 1960s and the 1970s. It is a history and a legacy of African American soldiers and Okinawans in a town called Koza-shi, also known as “black town,” where a political alliance between these groups was formed during the height of the Black Power and anti-base/war movements. For this project, I wish to illuminate, not only the political history based on the 1970 Koza Uprising that made this city famous, but also the social-cultural formation that emerged out of this cohabitation of space. I argue that the social-cultural legacy continues in the present moment yet is absent from the public memory and the official discourse, due to certain social pressures to silence this history, and historical stigma and trauma that continue to haunt this city.

I explore how the notion of “blackness” and “black-Okinawan-ness” is apprehended, circulated, and expressed in Okinawa; in what forms and styles of black-Okinawa can be observed in contemporary Okinawa. I employ ethnography and archival research as the primary methodology, I attempt to map this continuum of socio-cultural manifestations expressed in contemporary Okinawa.

Department:  Theater, Dance & Performance Studies

Project Title:  "Power in the Tongue"

On October 7, 1855, Harriet Beecher Stowe composed a letter to National Anti-Slavery Standard Associate Editor, Oliver Johnson, announcing the upcoming dramatic reading of her stage adaptation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe’s attempt to reclaim the message and political work intended for her text in light of its migration to the minstrel and melodramatic stages, The Christian Slave was a mono-drama whose pathetic appeal was inspired by and pivoted on the virtuosic voice of one freeborn Philadelphia dramatic reader: Mary E. Webb. The biracial daughter of a fugitive slave and a Spanish (“Moorish”) gentleman, Webb was well trained in elocution, but valuable to Stowe for her “peculiar faculty of rendering the negro character and intonation”—a singular “power in the tongue” that gave Stowe’s Anti-Slavery stance full rhetorical force.1 In this dissertation chapter I will examine Stowe’s belief that “mixed” voices demonstrated the greatest elocutionary prowess, moral pathos, and political prerogative. How did a model and metaphor of vocal miscegenation contribute to and undercut understandings of freedom and sovereignty in antebellum America, and how did “power in the tongue” serve a larger democratic project?

Department:  Journalism

Project Title:  Historically Black

For her master’s thesis, she is producing a short documentary (presently titled *Historically Black*) about recruitment of non-black students at Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In a recent effort to remain competitive with predominantly white institutions, many HBCUs have begun to set their sights on attracting non-black students to their universities. By chronicling Texas Southern’s efforts to diversify and its impact on the campus community, the film explores the changing role of HBCUs in post-segregated America and addresses what this might mean for the future of these deep-rooted institutions.

Department:  History

Project Title:  "Unalienable" Rights? Race, Gender and the Loss of American Citizenship Among US-Born Women, 1907-1931

Between 1907 and 1931 thousands of American-born women lost their citizenship without ever leaving the United States. Due to the little-known Expatriation Act of 1907 all American-born women who married noncitizens lost their citizenship until its repeal in 1922. However, due to prevailing racist attitudes, native-born women who married Asian-born men continued to lose their citizenship until 1931. Though women’s derivative citizenship (the assuming of one’s husband’s citizenship) has been largely overlooked in American history, scholars of gender and immigration have recently explored its political and legal history.

Entering into this discussion, my project explores three major questions. First, did American-born women know that they were losing their citizenship upon marriage to foreigners? To answer this question I will examine if automatic expatriation was discussed in major English-language and immigrant/ethnic newspapers of the period. Second, if this was the case, did the law affect marriage patterns among different communities? Third, if not, when and how did American-born women learn about their loss of citizenship and why did so many reapply for citizenship between 1936 and 1968? Throughout this project I will consider how this gendered, racialized policy influenced American-born women differently based on their ethnicity/race, class, and perceived sexual mores.

Department:  Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Impossible Subjects (of Study): Ethnic Studies in Arizona

Arizona House Bill 2281, known as the “Arizona ethnic studies ban,” went into effect on December 31, 2010. Even before AZ HB 2281 was signed, competing representations of the bill’s targeted communities, supporters, opponents, and implications headlined popular mainstream and alternative news media, prompting a multi-media response including interviews, blogs, cartoons, visual art, performances, op-eds, and open letters. Despite the contradicting interests of state officials, ethnic studies teachers, students, parents, activists, and communities, representations have been largely racialized as Mexican, gendered as male, and have emphasized adults (politicians, teachers, activists) over students. The impact of AZ HB 2281 on other ethnic studies programs, particularly Asian American, African American, and Native American studies, is unclear. Eclipsed from view are not only women leaders, scholars, and community activists, but the student youths being directly impacted by this legislation. This project proposes dissertation research travel to conduct preliminary fieldwork in Arizona to visit university archives, events, and organizations related directly to AZ HB 2281. The collection of primary materials from these sources will provide me with an initial set of political, cultural, and discursive texts to consider for further dissertation study and analysis.

Department:  Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies

Project Title:  Over the Rainbow? Constituting Queerness and Performing Nation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

My Dissertation utilizes the popular post-apartheid discursive trope/ truism that “Homosexuality is UnAfrican” as a frame through which to read the value given to particular forms of identity affiliation in contemporary South Africa. Much political and scholarly work has been done to assert the existence of same-sex desire in both colonial and post-colonial Africa and yet the basic belief in the “truth” of this statement goes unchallenged in the everyday delimiting of African identity; as the dominant discourse in any countries, each time it is challenged, the recitation of the argument gains traction, against perceived “outsiders.” I read the phrase “Homosexuality is UnAfrican,” as a performative statement, that—when spoken by those with the authority to enact the erasure—reveals about the contemporary identity articulations on “being South African.” My analysis examines a number of performance sites where the sexual identifier of “homosexual/gay/lesbian” is put into play with the racial signifier of “African” and the national affiliation of “South African,” a triangulation that allows for the potential destabilization of each category, and for performances to emerge that engage old identities in new ways.

Department:  African American Studies

Project Title:  Trending Ghana: Homeland, Diaspora and Digital Nationalism

My dissertation research examines notions of Ghanaian identity among diasporic actors and those living in the homeland, as constructed via new media — mobile phones, Web portals, Facebook, Twitter, and an emerging transnational news and entertainment industry. How does digital nationalism transform traditional divisions between diaspora and homeland? How is diaspora gendered in virtual and physical spaces? This summer I plan to track discourse around December’s upcoming Ghana presidential elections, a singular event that portends several interesting entry points for the discussion of race, gender and technology studies with individuals such as Nana Konadu, wife of former president Jerry Rawlings, running against the incumbent.

SUNNY XIANG (Spring 2012)
Department:  Comparative Literature

Project Title:  Asia's Unreliability: Literary and Historical Positings of the Asian Human, 1945-Present

My dissertation looks at literary and historical articulations of “Asian character” between 1945-present. In examining characterizations of Asians and Asianness in contemporary novels and in US foreign policy, I aim to limn the contours of Asia’s racial form, which I read as being defined in contradistinction to the morally endowed “human” of international law. Through my literary texts, I investigate how the unreliability of the Asian narratorial voice, in signifying both Oriental deception and human limitation, formally evokes the “Asian human” as literary effect. My interest in reading a literary archive in conjunction with government research and policy initiatives bespeaks a belief that Asian personality has been central to US foreign policy and is crucial to historicizing how Asia has become paradigmatic of modernity’s inhuman conditions. The CRG grant would fund archival work for my first chapter, which takes novelist Chang-rae Lee’s “model minority” narrators as a point of departure for exploring the US government’s burgeoning interest in Asian character between WWII and the Korean War. I am particularly interested in considering the male model minority and the female war refugee as different modes of consolidating the human that are both routed through the reified sign of Asia. In reading Lee’s unreliable Asian narrators within the context of the long Korean War, I hope to illuminate a gendered historiography of Asian’s racial form that is founded on both the moral economy of human rights and the humanistic ethos of literature.


NOOR AL-SAMARRAI (Spring 2012)
Department:  Political Economy, Creative Writing

Project Title:  Faces of Occupy Cal

I am working on an art-journalism project that aims to record the stories of students, faculty, and staff at UC Berkeley, where they can explain what has personally led them to participate in the movement to support public education, why they support it ideologically, what they hope to gain from its success, or how their experiences at Cal have led them to participate. The project echoes the aesthetics of the campus’s Thanks to Berkeley campaign — the large posters hung on street lamps around campus, with their black-and-white close-ups of smiling Berkeley students and alumni pontificating on the opportunities this institution provides — and will include two phases. The first involves the creation of moveable structures upon which large prints of the photographs will be displayed around campus. The second phase of the project is the creation of a website to host the photographs as well as multimedia-format interviews incorporating text as well as audio recordings of subjects telling their stories.

Department:  Political Science, African American Studies

Project Title:  Resighted: Black Women Photographers of the Bay Area

*Resighted* is a creative multi-media research project highlighting Black Women Photographers who, as artists, documentarians and cultural workers, have contributed their visionary work to the Bay Area community as media creators.

*Resighted* examines the subjects black women photographers address, the influence of race and gender on their craft, access to media outlets, use of technology and how they view their own work. With the constant objectification of black women, *Resighted* examines how the image changes when women control the visual conversation.

A multimedia website will be launched that features samples of the women’s work, oral history interviews, short biographies and feature stories, and links to their own website. In addition to current photographers, this project will also highlight some who have since been lost in the margins of history. The transcribed oral history interviews will also be deposited in the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Center and other community libraries for archival purposes.

SARAH LEADEM (Fall 2011)
Department:  Ethnic Studies, Public Policy

Project Title:  The Changing Face of Labor: Immigrant Women, Domestic Work and Labor Unions in California in the 21st Century

Although domestic workers number nearly 2.5 million in the United States and 200,000 in California alone, they have been historically excluded from major federal labor laws and deemed “unorganizable” by major labor unions. A majority of this workforce is made up of working-class immigrant women and women of color who labor as nannies, housecleaners, and attendants for seniors and people with disabilities in private homes. In the fall of 2010, a coalition of domestic worker organizations from across California launched a statewide legislative campaign for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights along with partners among labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). My research examines the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign as a flashpoint in the complex and evolving historical relationship between domestic worker organizing and U.S. organized labor. Through the lens of this case study, I hope to assess what the future of the U.S. labor movement will look like, who will constitute its ranks, what tactics it will employ, and what its relationship will be to the working-class immigrant women and women of color who labor in the shadows of the American economy.

Department:  Sociology

Project Title:  Community and Exclusion in the "Gay Mecca"

The Castro District in San Francisco, CA is frequently referred to as the “gay Mecca,” a home for those of us who have been disowned and pushed to the margins because of our sexual orientation. However, the majority of sociological literature holds that queer enclaves such as the Castro are typically marked by whiteness, male dominance, and class privilege. My research project asks how queer low-income men and women of color, specifically those who hang out on the corner of Market and Castro St. during weekend nights, make sense of their position in the Castro given white, male, and middle-class dominance in the community.

CAMERON MCKEE (Spring 2012)
Department:  Art History, History

Project Title:  Visible Anxiety and the Dreyfus Affair: Exploring Jewishness and Homosexuality as Deviant Identities in fin-de siècle France

The arrest of the Jewish artillery officer, Alfred Dreyfus, in 1894 caused an eruption of the anxieties surrounding french degeneration inthe the forefront of the public sphere. Dreyfus , an Alsatian-Jewish minor artillery officer, was accused, convicted, and exiled for allegedly communicating French military secrets to Maximillian von Schwartzkoppen, the German attaché in Paris. Convicted under the auspices of undeniably forged documents, the intense publicity of the Dreyfus Affair inaugurated the dichotomized French body politic.

My study of the Dreyfus Affair focuses primarily on the articulation of two minority identiteis, Jewishness and male homosexuality, in fin-de siècle France as they were related to the cultural fervor inspired by the Affair. Rooted in the racialized cartoons by Jean-Louis Forain and Caran d’Ache in the French anti-Dreyfusard press, my thesis will give signifcant weight to French visual culture at the end of the century as the means through which radical anti-Semitism and homophobia were articulated.

Department:  Society & Environment, Geography, Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Black and Brown in the Bay: Solidarity Through the Lens of Black-N-Brown Entertainment

As collaborative projects between Black and Brown male artists, Black-N-Brown Entertainment’s three compilation

albums–17 Reasons, 18 Wit a Bullet, and 34 Reasons–give voice to more than just the realities of urban males living in the Bay Area. Since the Black Panther’s support of the United Farm Workers’ grape protests in the early 1970’s, there have been unique alliances between Black and Brown communities specific to the Bay Area. Historically situating Black-N-Brown Entertainment’s three compilation albums, how were the collaborative albums influenced by a deeply rooted and historical Black and Brown alliance geographically specific to the Bay Area? What historical events allowed these compilations to foster? How do the lyrics voice the shared experiences and living conditions of Black and Brown males in the Bay Area? Using a decolonial framework, I will not simply discuss these albums as cultural products of the Bay Area, but as valid critiques and moments of resistance to greater power structures executed by the State, capitalism, and the police. As a Xicana scholar and a native to the Bay Area, I want to complicate feminist critiques of gangsta rap music and show how the masculinity portrayed in Black-N-Brown Entertainment’s compilation albums is a reaction to the Western capitalist patriarchy sustained by over 500 years of colonialism.

SOPHIA WANG (Fall 2011)}
Department:  Sociology, Political Science

Project Title:  Political and Civic Engagement of Chinese Americans in Ethnic Suburbs

My project focuses on the political and civic engagement of Chinese Americans in ethnic suburbs in California. I am interested in finding out whether communal resources and support stimulates sociopolitical participation of minorities living ethnic communities or whether ethnic communities provide enough familiarity and comfort that minorities do not feel the need for political participation. My focus is on Chinese Americans because Chinese immigrants have a long history in California, yet they are underrepresented in not only the electorate and government positions, but also academic research. I plan to interview two groups of Chinese American, one group that lives in predominately Chinese suburb and another group that lives in a more demographically diverse and heterogeneous suburb. In consideration of non-citizens, I will study civic engagement in addition to electoral politics. Through my interviews, I hope to find out how and why people choose to become involved and if there are any patterns or trends in how Chinese Americans view and fulfill political or civic duty. I believe my research is significant because it will contribute to the understanding of this growing population in California and help organizations and political parties to mobilize minorities.

MAIA WOLINS (Fall 2011)
Department:  Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies; Middle Eastern Studies

Project Title:  Narratives of the 2003 War: Iraqi Refugees and the US Veterans (the NOW Project)

Over eight thousand Iraqi refugees have arrived in California since the start of the 2003 war, but little research has been conducted on their resettlement needs and experiences. Many American troops are returning home to California, too, and there is a slowly growing corpus of research on their needs. However, current scholarly discourses on the war actively separate studies of veterans and refugees, and this reinforces the racially divisive rhetoric that fostered conditions for the destructive war. My senior thesis proposes a more balanced analysis of the effects of the Iraq war through an ethnographic study of the professional development of both Iraqi refugees and US veterans in California, as well as the personal, social and economic connections they have shared as a result of the war.