2018 - 2019 CRG Student Research Grantees

AY 2018 - 2019 CRG Student Research Grantees

Grid with photos of AY 2018 - 2019 CRG Student Research Grantees

AY 2018 - 2019 CRG Student Research Grantees


XAVIER BUCK (Fall 2018)
Department:  History

Project Title:  What a Wonderful World: Sex, Jazz and Blackness in New Orleans, 1850-1930

Blackness is often defined by shared histories of slavery or though legal definitions, but a new look at late nineteenth and early twentieth century New Orleans challenges the inevitability of black collectivity and offers a new lens for understanding the processes of race-making and caste as difficult and artificial. In a city with a tripartite caste system, I argue that differences in wealth and culture between creoles of color and the broader black community impeded the process of caste deterioration and black collectivity. More importantly, the state could not impose a black-white binary until they regulated creole wealth-building strategies. My work combines cultural and economic history and has larger implications for understanding race-making on the Gulf Coast, how race was built into urban infrastructures, the expansion of the racial wealth divide, and the history of gender and sexuality.

Department:   Education

Project Title:  Pláticas y Acción Beyond the Classroom: Xicana/Latina Youth’s Navigations of Pathways to Success

As a rapidly growing demographic within the state of California and throughout the U.S., Latinx youth have been identified as a focal group for educational intervention as a means to improve the well-being of the entire nation-state. This research is part of a larger dissertation that examines the political and moral stances racialized youth are socialized into via one such educational intervention, a college preparation program. Specifically, this research project considers how Xicana/Latina youth navigate the racialized and gendered identities that they are socialized into via college-going pathways, cultural histories, and familial aspirations. Using pláticas and youth participatory action research, this project builds upon youth’s readings of their social worlds. Rooted within a desire-based framework (Tuck, 2009), this project centers high school-aged Xicana/Latinas’ agency and navigations of social systems that creatively maintain conditions of social and economic precarity. Rather than focusing on the damage that these systems create, this project provides space and tools for Xicana/Latina youth to build and act upon their existing critiques of such systems. Further, it highlights the affordances and constraints that Xicana/Latina youth’s desired futures are formed within and imagined beyond.

KRISTA CORTES (Spring 2019)
Department:  Education

Project Title:  Designing New Scripts: Exploring the Everyday Practices of Blackness Amongst Afro- Puerto Rican Families in California

This dissertation explores everyday ways Afro-Puerto Rican mothers living in California create environments for their children to learn blackness. I position mothers’ approaches to teaching as rooted in design-thinking – a framework which can be transferred into educational settings to increase equity and inclusion for Afro-Latinx youth, broadly. Through narrative inquiry I document Afro-Puerto Rican families’ everyday practices of blackness and analyze the language and ideologies indexed in those practices to better understand how blackness is taught. I situate participation in practices within larger systems of sociopolitical power relations, complicating dualistic notions of blackness and Latinidad. Moving away from debilitating characterizations of black mothers, this project centers Afro-Puerto Rican women as black activist mothers who cultivate practices of blackness amongst their children that intentionally confront racism, sexism, poverty, and violence as a means to cultivate a strong, sustainable Afro-Latinx community. This study contributes to the fields of Education, African Diaspora, and Latina/o/x Studies by: (1) offering new understandings of Afro-Latinidad that foreground previously obscured experiences of Puerto Ricans in California; (2) documenting daily practices of blackness in Afro-Puerto Rican families; and (3) imagining new ways to design equitable educational spaces that support Afro-Latinx youths’ practices of blackness.

JARRE HAMILTON (Spring 2019)
Department:  Anthropology

Project Title:  Race, Place, and Other Things for the Taking: Archaeological Examinations of the Buffalo Soldiers and Allensworth, California, 1890-1920

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and its African American Male Achievement (AAMA) program are exploring how black students understand the ways in which currently existing structures, spaces, and systems work in relation (and in response) to their own theoretical and physical presence as black males. This project connects the AAMA program’s mandate for how a community actively demonstrates their own forms of local socio-political praxis (especially through AAMA’s African indigenous knowledge-based curriculum) to community-accountable archaeology. The inter-disciplinary efforts of this project’s community-accountable archaeological praxis decenters dominant Euro-American and Western knowledge systems and colonialist practices via incorporation of multiple knowledge systems. The project focuses on the Post-Reconstruction town of Allensworth, California as an intentional act of black placemaking as California’s first and most prominent all-black township. In drawing historical and contemporary connections between Allensworth and Oakland, this project focuses on and reinvests educational deliverables as valued by African Americans as a means towards social progress, economic advancement, moral uplift, and as evidence of Black achievement amongst a White America. In these ways, my research prioritizes the utility of community-accountable work to support AAMA’s mission to co-craft ownership of historical narratives and reinvest in community educational uplift.

Department:  Architecture

Project Title: Landscapes of Domestic Service

Today in Mexico City, the term “domestic worker” –understood as a person who labors in the setting of a private home as an outsourced service in benefit to a specific household– is usually synonymous with woman, who are typically poor, migrant and often indigenous. To think of domestic workers in Mexico City is to think about marginalized spaces, both of the house and of the city, whose political implications are rarely addressed in the literature of the history and theory of architecture. My research will examine the landscapes that have been (and continue to be) shaped by domestic service, understanding domestic service as a form of care labor that is generally performed in Mexico by indigenous, poor, migrant women. My aim is to answer the following question: how do gender, race and class shape the domestic landscapes of Mexico City?

Department:  Public Health

Project Title:  We are not Safe: Police Violence and Black Women

This dissertation project will explore how Black women experience and perceive policing and police violence in their neighborhood. The researcher will engage in 30 semi-structured interviews with Black women in a historically Black neighborhood in the California Bay Area. Police violence affects Black women in ways that are uniquely gendered and racialized and out of proportion to their representation in the US population (Amuchie, 2016;  Jacobs, 2017). Qualitative or quantitative studies of Black women’s experiences of policing are few or appear only in a larger collective of adolescents, sex workers and drug users in outdoor settings (Chaney & Robertson, 2013; Cooper et al., 2004; Freudenberg et al.,1999). Further, there is a dearth of studies that bring an intersectional and/or Critical Race Theory lens to the issues. To address these gaps, the qualitative element of my research proposal will explore the public health issue of police violence as it affects Black women and will learn from informants what they see as the problems, if any, and what they see as solutions to those problems.

XANDRA IBARRA (Spring 2019)
Department:  Art Practice

Project Title:  Shared Body

My current research in sculpture develops ideas that emerge from the exploration of nightlife ephemera as material to figure the body as a deviant and precarious. Using a combination of materials such as rotting plaster, sex work accouterment, discarded household items, and used car parts; I attempt to enliven body attributes as confrontational, unstable, and defective yet playful. My research asks if the material – rot/fungus- and architectural rendering of the sculptural bodies can enact a politic that does not rely on the overdetermined demand for “better” or more “proper” forms of representation for minoritarian populations.

Department:  Public Health - Joint Medical Program

Project Title:  Woke WOC Docs: A Creative Multimedia Storytelling Project by and for WOC in Medicine

Woke WOC Docs is a podcast and multimedia platform centered on the lives of womxn of color in medicine and health justice, including their unique experiences, viewpoints, and struggles in medical education, research, and practice. We seek to engage current and aspiring womxn of color in medicine with real and diverse stories, conversations, and lived experiences on what it means to hold the identity of a woman of color addressing health justice work. Through the podcast, we aim to uncover a variety of topics that helps to challenge dominant narratives of what a doctor “should be” and how inclusion of womxn of color in the field further encourages unique perspectives and experiences in health, well-being, and healing. Together, we hope to laugh, reminisce, and learn from narratives that womxn of color have about their journeys entering and pursuing medicine. Lastly, we hope to be a platform that examines the sociopolitical structures and frameworks that influence womxn of color in medicine, identifying critical issues that womxn of color are facing and discussing how to better transform the medical institution into one that is more inclusive and welcoming to those of intersectional identities.

Department:  Energy and Resources Group

Project Title:  Indigenous Political Thought: Sechelt and Haida Theories of Sovereignty

The political theory discipline has, with few exceptions, failed to take seriously the diverse and intricate traditions of indigenous political thought. Separately, in Canada, the government and public continues to reckon with the country’s racist and colonial past, undertaking projects of healing, reconciliation, and indigenous recognition. Within this context, my dissertation research first, uses ethnographic methods to document political theories traditionally passed down through oral histories and cultural teachings in the Sechelt and Haida Nations, two First Nations in British Columbia, Canada. This will result in co-created textual documentation of both traditions central political theories. Second, the research theoretically assesses these indigenous theories, comparatively evaluating the ideals and philosophies in relation to theories of well-studied western political theorists. Specifically, the project will evaluate Sechelt and Haida concepts of sovereignty and self-determination. The purpose of the research is to contribute to the decolonization of political theory by recognizing the legitimacy of the political philosophies of culturally and racially diverse thinkers, and to theorize what Sechelt and Haida philosophies can contribute to existing political theory debates. The research also serves the Sechelt and Haida Nations by improving documentation of traditional political values which can inform their projects of redrafting their constitutions.

Department:  Sociocultural Anthropology

Project Title:  Assembling Genetic Ancestry: Race, Return, and the Materiality of Home in Cameroon

My work examines conditions of genetic diasporic belonging in Cameroon through genetic ancestry testing. For nearly a decade, as genetic ancestry testing has gained increasingly popularity, particularly for African American roots seekers, African countries of origin like Cameroon are having to contend with the arrival of a diaspora created on the grounds of a 21st century biotechnology that risks reinscribing ideas of biological racial identities. My work reframes the materiality of genetic ancestry by examining how Cameroon’s historical and sociopolitical context, as well as gender disparities amongst returnees, dictate the terms of biological return and belonging, beyond the technology itself, to better assess the ties between genetics and race today.

JALEEL M. PLUMMER (Spring 2019)
Department:  Anthropology

Project Title:  Mental Health and the Everyday Life of Afro-Caribbeans Living in the UK

My project will focus on how race and racialization impact mental illness trajectories for Afro-Caribbeans living in the United Kingdom. Afro-Caribbeans are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. The pathway to a schizophrenic diagnosis for Afro-Caribbeans is often marked by several factors such as physical coercion by the police and stigma within the Afro-Caribbean community. U.S.-based studies have shown that schizophrenia became a Black disease during the Civil Rights Movement. The protesting black man/woman was made into a figure that instilled fear and stigma into the minds of the white majority. This project will, therefore, examine possible correlations between blackness, madness, and gender that shape the lived experiences, subjectivities, and the wellbeing of Afro-Caribbeans. Through ethnography and theoretical engagements in medical anthropology, the experiences of Afro-Caribbeans might be linked to ongoing structural issues such as police violence, institutionalization, drug dependency, and stereotypical notions of Black expressions.

MINDY J. PRICE (Fall 2018)
Department:  Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

Project Title:  Examining the Feminist Political Economy of Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the Northwest Territories, Canada

Food sovereignty is peoples’ right to ecologically and sustainably produced food and the right to define their own food systems. Despite increasing usage of the term in scholarly literature, the “sovereignty” in “food sovereignty” is still under-theorized, especially within indigenous food sovereignty. Gender and political economy are largely left out of the debate. My research fills this lacuna by exploring the decolonizing mechanisms of food sovereignty in an indigenous community in Northwest Territories, Canada. I also turn to feminist political economy to understand the roles indigenous women play in regaining traditional knowledge and provisioning in “post-colonial” sustainable food systems. I will conduct in-depth, ethnographic research at the Northern Farm Training Institute in Hay River, Northwest Territories, where the Métis-led farm exists to establish food sovereignty locally and promote indigenous food sovereignty across Territories through their farmer training programs. Funding from the Center for Race and Gender will enable me to conduct field work in Hay River in summer 2019. This work will be followed by archival research and a longer 12-month field season conducting ethnographic interviews and engaged participant-observation.

AMANDA SU (Spring 2019)
Department:  English

Project Title:  Memorialization of Comfort Women in Taiwan

Since the end of World War II, the Japanese government has neglected to provide an official apology for the 200,000 women who provided forced sexual labor for the Japanese Imperial Army, provoking a long campaign from comfort women and feminist advocates to preserve this history. My research project contextualizes Taiwan’s memorialization of the comfort women against the backdrop of the global redress movement, focusing on two case studies: a comfort women museum erected in 2016 by a women’s advocacy group, as well as a comfort women statue erected by Taiwan’s conservative KMT (Kuomintang) party in the run-up to a contentious midterm election season in 2018.

The two case studies can be loosely characterized as characteristic of two modes of the comfort women redress movement: respectively, a liberal feminist approach that focuses on the universality of sexual violence against women and the presumed universality of the sex trafficking victim, and a more geopolitically conscious approach that situates the phenomenon within the context of Japanese imperialism and seeks to leverage the comfort women discourse for strategic gains within the space of national politics. My project examines the ongoing processes of memorialization that emerge from this unique juncture.

ALICE TAYLOR (Spring 2019)
Department:  Education

Project Title:  The Youth Turn: Brazilian Youth Movements for Social Justice and Higher Education

In Brazil, activists have led a rich history of social movements in response to coloniality and ongoing social exclusion and violence. That activists mobilize when they are young or as students is not new; more recently, however, the category of “youth” has become increasingly politicized and prominent. My research examines Brazilian youth movements and how and why youth articulate struggles of anti-capitalism, feminism, and anti-racism alongside struggles for equitable access to higher education. I focus on how youth navigate aspirations and collective movements. Situating my work within globally interconnected movements, I employ ethnographic, interview, and archival methods to understand youth experiences and practices in a time of contested educational and political futures.

SARAH WHITT (Spring 2019)
Department:  Ethnic Studies - Native American Studies), designated emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Project Title:  False Promises: Race, Power, and the Chimera of Indian Assimilation 1879-1934

My dissertation centers on the institutionalization and punishment of American Indian women and men at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918) in Carlisle, PA and the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians (1902-1934) in Canton, SD, the first institutions of their kind designed solely for Indian people. Specifically, I analyze how white American officials at Carlisle and Canton devised new disciplinary techniques to control, manage, and immobilize adult Indian people, and how officials at both sites enacted punitive policies articulated as uplifting. In examining the entwined objectives of Carlisle and Canton, I reveal how two separate institutions furthered settler-colonial processes of Indigenous elimination and proletarianization through overlapping punitive policies and practices. I am concerned with the relationship between Carlisle and Canton, how Indian women and men navigated disciplinary structures that seized upon their bodies and minds as pathological, deviant, and infantile, and how white Americans wielded punishment as a form of white racial power held in common over Indian people under their jurisdiction. These phenomena expose how Carlisle and Canton segregated, racialized, and criminalized Indian women and men at least as much as they claimed to educate, train, care for, or “cure” them.


FALLON BURNER (Spring 2019)
Department:  History

Project Title:  Healing Through Language: The History of the Weⁿdat Language and Waⁿdat Dialect

Fallon Burner will be writing a history of the Weⁿdat Language and Waⁿdat dialect, showing the vital role that language plays in the Indigenous community and how its history is tied to issues of erasure and survival, as well as the role that language revitalization projects have in addressing transgenerational trauma. The Wendat Confederacy, which originated in the Great Lakes region and now spans Quebec, Ontario/Michigan, Kansas, and Oklahoma, is a matricentered society where women have played heroic roles, so Fallon expects a uniquely gendered narrative. She will conduct oral history interviews with community members in Wendake (Quebec) and Oklahoma, and further her knowledge of the Weⁿdat Language and Waⁿdat dialect through language work, as this is vital to achieving more accuracy in historical narratives of the Wendat Confederacy.

Department:  History

Project Title:  The Forgotten Afro-Mexicans: Independence and the Role of Women (1800-1830)

In 2015, Afro-Mexicans were recognized as an ethnic group in the Mexican national census for the first time in history. However, their history continues to be suppressed by the state and few studies address the role that Afro-Mexican people, especially women,  played during Mexico’s struggle for independence. For her History senior thesis, Lupita will travel to Mexico to conduct archival research in order to understand to what extent African-descendant peoples were active participants in the independence movement, and in what ways Afro-Mexican women embraced or resisted the ideas that the independence movement promoted. The study of Mexico’s people of African ancestry is necessary because most Mexicans are unaware of the existence of Afro-descendant peoples in the country, which has invisibilized and marginalized their communities.

YUJANE CHEN (Spring 2019)
Department:  Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Fluid Futurities: Fish and Aquatic Creatures as Representations of Queer Migrancy in 21st Century US Poetry

My research is interested in how representations of queer migrancy through fish and aquatic imagery act as catalysts in the work of 21st century queer migrant poets of color. Drawing upon queer futurity, science fiction, postcolonial studies, and critical race theory, how can this aquatic imagery be read as queered, migrated embodiments of language? Through close readings of works by queer migrant poets of color, I will track instances of aquatic imagery and analyze how they occur in conversation with themes of fluidity, intimacy, and belonging. I will also produce a creative manuscript of poems on queer migrant daughterhood, diasporic shame, and gendered exile. As an English language learner and a queer migrant Asian American who has experienced the violent failure of language at both familial and state levels, I am interested in examining the ways contemporary queer migrant poetry mirrors this failure and breakage as a lineage of haunting, naming, and resistance.

Department:  Sociology

Project Title:  The Political Construction of Survivor Support: Imagining Need and Visioning Strategy Within the Bay Area’s Anti-Sexual Violence Movement

My thesis explores the effects of the institutionalization of the anti-rape movement through a comparative analysis of the mores and practices of rape crisis centers (RCCs) and grassroots, abolitionist anti-sexual violence collectives in the Bay Area. Feminist historical and sociological literature represents the emergence of RCCs in the 1970s as a shift in anti-rape political activism to a social service model organized around partnerships with the criminal legal system. These accounts rarely consider structural intersectionality, articulated by Kimberlé Crenshaw in this context as the institutional constraints on RCCs–namely, funding standards that privilege needs which are largely white and middle-class–limiting their capacity support poor and working class women of color. Thus, I ask how RCCs and abolitionist collectives construct notions of “survivor support” to address how institutional legitimation changes the policies and practices of social movement actors. I employ a multi-method approach, drawing on data from (i) participant observation, (ii) semi-structured interviews with staff and volunteers and (iii) archival research on funding sources, policies and external partnerships (with state and non-state actors). In doing so, my research clarifies how these organizations’ variation in institutionalization informs, limits and otherwise prefigures the ways in which they anticipate the needs of poor women and trans folks of color, and respond accordingly.

Department:  Social Welfare, Education

Project Title:  Investigating the Social Influence of Dystopian Literature

I’m eager to understand the social influence Dystopian literature has on marginalized youth between 12 to 18 years old. Specifically, how does reading and engaging with Dystopian literature affect the perceptions, sense of realities, and aspirations of low-income, female youth of color in modern American society? How does Dystopian literature play a role in engaging

young adults in today’s cultural and political revolutions, influence their personal agency and provide an outlet for imagining their possible futurities?

Prior research has focused on dystopian literature and the overarching genre of speculative fiction as literary agents, solely focusing on the writing styles and popularity of the genre. Few works have looked at the social implications (Jonathan Alexander, Henry A. Giroux etc.) of this genre but they fail to engage with a specific population of readers. Sami Schalk does disrupt this trend, however, by looking at the significance of science fiction and speculative fiction in relation to black women and the notion of (dis)ablity (Schalk, 2018). Other research efforts, such as that of Michael Benton and Janice Radway, have framed the conversation for understanding reader engagement with literature through interrogating reader response theory/criticism yet this framework remains underutilized in the conversation of young readers’ responses and particularly their engagements with Dystopian literature (Benton, 1993; Radway 1991). My research will address the gap in literature between using dystopian texts as merely a literary agent and understanding the actual engagement with this genre of literature by focusing on marginalized youth populations and their response to the act of reading and engaging with Dystopian literature.

Department:  Gender and Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies

Project Title:  Examining Hegemonic Visions of Futures in Outer Space: A Discourse Analysis of NewSpace

NewSpace refers to the commercialization and privatization of outer space exploration, a recent phenomenon with most U.S. companies being founded in the early 2000s. Drawing from Gramsci’s and Hall’s theories of hegemony, my project examines how current iterations of space-based utopias maintain their hegemonic status by employing tropes of national memory and myth. More broadly, my research studies how outer space—the extreme—is transformed into place and how visions of futures in outer space created by an elite class are made intelligible in ways that often conflict with Afrofuturist and Indigenous scholarship. The paucity of literature examining NewSpace using humanities-based approaches is concerning. As Hall asserts in Media and Representation, representation is constitutive of the event, not outside or after the event. My research contributes to the study of NewSpace by offering a discourse analysis of media representations that is guided by counter-hegemonic perspectives on space, place, and power.

LEE-OR SCARLAT (Fall 2018)
Department: Gender and Women's Studies, Public Health

Project Title:  Access to Fertility Preservation for Low-Income Transgender Youth in the Bay Area: Barriers, Narratives, and Looking Forward

My research focuses on the reproductive futures of transgender youth through examining current barriers to access for fertility preservation services in the Bay Area. While various hormones and surgeries may compromise future biological reproduction for youth, research has shown strikingly low rates of fertility preservation among trans youth. Even so, there is a lack of literature addressing the intersecting barriers to fertility preservation and, moreover, the larger scale impact of class and racial privilege in accessing reproductive options for trans youth.

Within this context I will employ in-depth interviews with transgender care professionals, trans youth, and their caregivers in order to investigate: How do systemic barriers impact the way youth view their family planning options? How does this particularly impact low-income youth and youth of color? In investigating strategies to make fertility preservation more accessible to low-income families I also ask: How can trans youth advocacy organizations learn from strategies employed by pediatric cancer organization, which have politically mobilized to address financial barriers to fertility preservation? This study operates under the historical framework of eugenics within the United States, the sterilization of trans bodies, and the exclusion of low-income people of color from advocacy around reproductive justice.

Department:  Sociology with Native American Studies minor

Project Title:  Decolonizing Our Minds and Actions: Building Relationships and Mapping Community Across the American Indian Urban and Reserve Divide

While scholars have studied Indigenous resurgence in a variety of areas, such as in practices of grounded normativity or land as pedagogy, or self-determination, rarely has this lens been used to simultaneously investigate this kind of resistance as practiced by both urban and reserve Indian communities. American Indian research and literature largely separates urban and reserve populations, isolating each as distinct and separate realities. Moreover, the tensions that arise from distinctions about who is an “authentic” American Indian are usually not paired with critiques on the progress (or lack of progress) in American Indian resistance movements. This project then seeks to extend literature on American Indian resistance, with a concerted effort to understand how reserve- and urban-based American Indian communities are working to establish place-based alternatives to commodified forms of relation as well as reconceptualizing Indigenous identity (which reject colonial restrictions of authenticity) in a way that refuses to replicate the “colonial divisions” that contribute to the urban/reserve divide.