By Drew Westmoreland, MSPH, PhD

2018 Thinking Gender Coordinator

Thinking Gender, now in its 28th year, is an annual graduate student research conference organized by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) that features original student research on gender and sexuality. This year’s conference theme, Pre-existing Conditions, explored ongoing discussions around the connections between gender, health, and healthcare.

Academic graduate student research presentations—including panels and posters—have been the staples of past and present Thinking Gender conferences, highlighting research being done within UCLA and beyond. This year, however, we wanted to do something new, and we incorporated the first-ever Thinking Gender, Pre-existing Conditions Art Exhibition into our proceedings. This week-long exhibition was held in Kerckhoff Gallery from February 23rd to March 2nd and featured works that use artistic expression to further conversations about health and well-being. To celebrate this artistic exploration of health—and the successful completion of our first day of our conference—we invited presenters, faculty, students, and other guests to join us for an Art Reception and Film Screenings networking event on the evening of March 1.

We partnered with a number of UCLA organizations to extend this event’s local impact. The UCLA Art and Global Health Center kicked off the evening with a performance piece called Sexophonic Choir, which invited volunteers to vocalize lessons about sexual health. Then, they led us on an interactive art walk from the main conference venue at the UCLA Faculty Center to Kerckhoff Grand Salon and Gallery. At Kerckhoff, we were joined by our partners from the UCLA Cultural Affairs Commission who helped us curate the exhibit and connect with students across campus.

Our week-long exhibition included a photography exhibit (Guarded) by Taylor Yocom, featuring images of women and the objects they would use to defend themselves from sexual assault; a fiber art piece (No.Stop.Help.) by Sarah Fahmy about sexual assault victim blaming; public health-themed poetry (data entry and statistics) by Uyen Hoang; and abstracted photographs of body skin impressions (Suspicious Warping: Close to the Skin) by Cecily Fergeson. We also featured digital installations and experimental art pieces. One life-size, digital installation piece (inter-I) by Elí Joteva explored physical body movement through light reflections and refractions off of water. Two other pieces offered attendees an interactive experience to expand understanding of neurodiversity and mental health: Breathe, by Christina Curlee, was a video game that let players experience life with an anxiety disorder; and Kristin McWharter’s The Chameleon Spacesuit invited viewers to engage with the artist, who was clad in a robot-like costume meant to represent the challenge of interacting with the world as an autistic woman.  

Our two films showcased untold stories: one, for example, provided commentary on queer Filipino college students’ mental and physical health as a motivating factor for Alaskan Natives’ environmental justice activism.

This year’s Thinking Gender art show told stories designed to expand and challenge how people conceptualize health. From women “Guarded” and prepared to defend themselves from sexual assault, to the relative intimacy of data entry and cold perceptions of statistics, to alien feelings of being unable to express yourself emotionally (The Chameleon Spacesuit), our artists tackled topics of mental and sexual health, reproductive justice and body imagery as art and health collided.

Pieces from the first-ever Thinking Gender Visual Arts Exhibition that was on display from February 25 through March 2 at the Kerckhoff Gallery

Art walk participants collaborated on haikus that explored the question “what do women need to be healthy?” (Written by Jackie Curnick and Sheila Maingi)

UCLA Art|Sci Center Director Victoria Vesna welcomes attendees to the Thinking Gender Visual Arts Reception

Visitors enjoy viewing and interacting with visual art on display at Kerckhoff Gallery during the reception

Conference presenter Sav Schlauderaff and guest. In the background: inter-I, a digital installation by Elí Joteva

CSW Director Rachel Lee interacts with Kit Kirby, who is performing The Chameleon Spacesuit: Autism in Women and Girls

Arielle Bagood introduces her film, Queer Filipino American Students and Mental Health?

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women is an internationally recognized center for research on gender, sexuality, and women’s issues and the first organized research unit of its kind in the University of California system. Though CSW is funded by the Division of Social Sciences, it serves the entire university.  Read more about its Mission HERE.

Released by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and the UCLA Labor Center

By Abel Valenzuela Jr.

Professor and Director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

Last week, UCLA Labor Center researchers Saba Waheed, Lucero Herrera, Ana Luz Gonzalez-Vasquez, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Tia Koonse and David Leynov published our institute’s latest study, More Than a Gig, on the nascent but rapidly growing transportation networking companies such as Uber and Lyft. After reading the report and participating in its release, I am struck by its findings and reminded of research that I undertook almost two decades ago on day labor—at the time, a growing and ubiquitous labor market that we knew little about other than through anecdotes, newspaper accounts or personal experience. My research contributed to discussions and debates about nonstandard and informal labor markets and how worker centers might serve as important intermediaries to improve conditions for day laborers. Adding empiricism, rigorous research, and analysis to debates on day labor and precarious labor markets moved the policy discussion forward in more inclusive and thoughtful ways.

Similarly, the ride-sharing industry is well known among Angelenos as we navigate our city’s sprawl; balance the confluence of space, time and traffic; and reduce our stress by letting someone else do the driving. But up until yesterday, we knew little about the labor market conditions of the ride-sharing market. It is my hope that these findings will begin a policy dialogue about how to improve conditions for these workers.

The findings of More Than a Gig  are significant and highlight three important patterns:

First, ride-hailing is neither supplemental nor temporary, and most drivers report that it is their full-time occupation. Full-time drivers tend to be older, come from an immigrant background, use the job to support their families and principally participate in this market for its flexibility.

Second, the study finds that costs of working as an Uber or Lyft driver decrease what are already mediocre earnings as drivers pay for car maintenance; car purchases or leases; cell phone mounts; floor mats; seat covers; and even passenger amenities like bottled water, mints or cell phone chargers to improve reviews and maintain employment security.

Finally, the study highlights how drivers are structurally and legally limited by the fact that they are independent contractors. Their nonemployee status releases ride-sharing companies from any responsibility for the driver’s wages, work conditions, benefits or workplace protections and safety.

Opportunities to organize workers in this growing industry will be difficult for numerous reasons, not least of which is drivers’ invisibility as they navigate the streets of Los Angeles for work. The lack of a brick and motor workplace, worker center or commissary makes the collective organizing of workers in this market even more difficult. The demand side of this industry is mostly unregulated, though municipalities, including many in Europe, are moving to regulate the industry with surprisingly positive impacts.

Other possible policy prescriptions—including encouraging fair, accessible, and equitable uses of technology work platforms and organizing with existing taxi collectives and emerging ride-sharing worker centers—could be promising first steps in increasing ride-sharing and taxi driver solidarity and in improving the ride-hailing industry.

Download the full report HERE.

Abel Valenzuela Jr. is Professor of Urban Planning and Chicana/o Studies, Director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Immigration Policy. Professor Valenzuela is one of the leading national experts on day labor and has published numerous articles and technical reports on the subject. His research interests include precarious labor markets, worker centers, immigrant workers, and Los Angeles. His academic base is urban sociology, planning, and labor studies. 

 

The following interview with Changemaker Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley is the last of a two-part series.

LASS:     What do you study, and why do you study it?

LFY:        I fell in love with the study of politics. Of course, I never started that “good government job” [at the United States GAO] with the great benefits and the longevity. I decided to jump both feet into academia at the University of Maryland, College Park. In my third year at the University of Maryland, I presented my research [at the Midwest Political Science Association] on a panel with a Cornell University faculty member, Michael Jones-Correa [now at the University of Pennsylvania]. He noted that he would be in the D.C area for a fellowship year at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and he needed a research assistant.  I worked with him at the Woodrow Wilson Center my third year of graduate school, and together, we collected over 100 interviews of elites in suburban jurisdictions around Washington, D.C.

I knew there was a dissertation project in this research and data collection efforts. I left University of Maryland in the end of my third year, and began my fourth year at Cornell where I continued working with Jones-Correa on his Russell Sage Foundation project, and working on my dissertation. With the support of a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, I completed my dissertation in four and a half years.

LASS:     What did you do after you finished your doctorate?

LFY:        After finishing my PhD, I started a two-year Provost’s Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University. After my post-doc, I started a tenure track job here at UCLA, arriving to campus in January 2008.  I became the first African American female and first woman of color in the history of the political science department to obtain a tenure track position. Then, in 2015, I became the first African-American woman, and the first woman of color in the history of the political science department to earn tenure and promotion.

LFY:        In 2015, my book Racial and Ethnic Politics in American Suburbs was published by Cambridge University Press. It incorporates interviews, focus groups, archival work, as well as demographic statistics. It is a study of suburbia and it’s changing demographics; why different groups move to particular areas, how they get along with their neighbors, and how they perceive the government to respond to their needs and concerns. The second half of the book examines local government responsiveness to new spatial location patterns through three case studies: day labor, language access, and education).

LASS:     Shifting gears a little bit, tell me a little bit about your current research. We had talked a little bit earlier about the research project, before this interview. What is it? And why do you do it, and what’s its impact?

“The CMPS is opening up an opportunity for a wider group of scholars to have access to high-quality data in the study of race and ethnicity with large samples of racial and ethnic groups.” – Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley

LFY:        One of the projects that I’m working on is called the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS). In 2016, following the Presidential election, we fielded the first 100% user content driven, multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual, post-election survey of political attitudes and political behavior, but also it includes questions related to Black Lives Matter, immigration, healthcare, and a variety of other political and policy related topics. It’s the first cooperative survey with a specific focus on racial and ethnicity politics. We brought together a group of 86 contributors who purchased content on the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey. These 86 contributors were across 55 Universities and colleges, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), smaller teaching colleges, as well as large R1s, and Ivy Leagues. It is such a great group of scholars, from over 15 different disciplines participated in developing the survey instrument by purchasing content across samples of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Whites.

One of the unique characteristics of the survey is not just a high-quality national dataset with large samples across race and ethnicity, including over 10,000 respondents. But, this survey is a cooperative in the true sense of the word, meaning that for scholars, whether they purchased one minute of content, or seven minutes of content, everyone who purchased onto the survey received all of the data, 10,000 cases, 394 questions. Everybody shares all of the content, which is embargoed to the group until 2021. However, all 86 scholars can coauthor with whomever they like– both within and outside of the cooperative, so long as the CMPS contributor is a co-author on the publication or research project. We see this as a way to further grow our academic pipeline and create access and research opportunities, particularly for graduate students, post-docs and junior faculty.

The CMPS is opening up an opportunity for a wider group of scholars to have access to high-quality data in the study of race and ethnicity with large samples of racial and ethnic groups.  The cooperative changes the way social science data is collected, and it creates a broader space that’s more inclusive for a larger group of researchers to have access to high quality data for racial and ethnic groups and to grow their research projects.

LASS:     What is the impact that you are aiming for?

LFY:        One of the takeaways from the CMPS is to have a better understanding of the need for large samples of racial and ethnic groups. At the most basic level, we need to push the social sciences, to gather large samples beyond white respondents. In order to answer some of the most pressing problems of our day, a sample of 200 blacks or 200 Latinos won’t allow you to examine the data in meaningful ways to better understand the role of class, gender, sexuality, geography and so on.

Also providing both the Call for Participation and the Survey Instrument in the language of the respondent’s choice is a mode of inclusiveness and may be important towards capturing a broader group of respondents.

National Map of 2016 CMPS Respondents by Race and Ethnicity (http://cmpsurvey.org/infographics/cmps_1/)

LASS:     What are some of the solutions to challenges that your work addresses?

LFY:        What I hope to do through the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey is to create a space for data collection and research that is inclusive of a broader group of scholars who are interested in examining some of the most pressing problems in modern politics.

Our goal is to open up the space for innovation, open up space for the growth of knowledge, and we can only do that when we decide to step outside the boundaries of social science, and say, “What do we need? How can we address pressing problems in our disciplines? Participating in innovative kinds of data collection efforts can helps us publish and grow our research agendas, but those opportunities are often cut off to some scholars, simply because they cannot afford to collect high quality data to answer their research questions.

The CMPS is as an opportunity to advance our social science disciplines, and to create a more inclusive and diverse research space. There’s definitely a market for this kind of research. The problem is, we do need large samples of racial and ethnic groups to be able to tell informative and generalizable stories that impact our communities. Through the collective nature of the CMPS, we are incorporating a larger group of voices to tell those stories, and I think that’s a win-win situation.

LASS:     That’s great. Thank you for sharing your story, expertise, and experience with LA Social Science.

To read Part 1, click HERE.

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley was interviewed by Mike Nguyen, an assistant editor and contributor to LA Social Science.

Although the academic year is winding down, Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Associate Professor of Political Science at UCLA,[1] is only getting started. In addition to her own teaching, research, and initiatives for first generation students, she is also organizing the upcoming Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) Summer Research Conference at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs on August 8-10, 2018. We caught up with Dr. Frasure-Yokley, in a two-part series, to learn a bit more about her passion for research and educating the next generation of policy makers and researchers.

Part 1

LASS:     Where are you from and where did you go to school?

LFY:        I grew up on Chicago’s south side where I attended Chicago Public Schools, K through 12. I went to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for undergrad, and then onto the University of Chicago for a Masters in Public Policy. During my MPP program, I got an internship at the General Accounting Office, now, the Government Accountability Office in Washington, DC, and I was offered a full-time job after graduation, but I knew that my heart really was in academia. I wanted to examine politics and policy, but I wanted to have greater autonomy? I decided to continue on and apply for PhD programs, but I’m also pragmatic, so I decided to apply in the Washington, D.C area just in case I didn’t really like the PhD program. I actually deferred my job. I deferred my position in Washington, D.C, and I started at the University of Maryland, College Park for a PhD in Political Science.

“…Every week [holds] new discoveries, because we’re challenging one another to think about race, ethnicity, and gender beyond the dummy variable.” – Dr. Frasure-Yokley

LASS:     Tell me about teaching. What classes are you teaching right now, and why did you decide to teach those classes?

LFY:        Sure. I am teaching an undergraduate course called Introduction to Race, Ethnicity and Politics [REP], and we trace, in the first half of the course, the socioeconomic, political, and cultural road of various racial ethnic groups, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, whites, Asians in the country, and we look at their development in the US until the post civil rights movement, so 1965, 1970. Then, we use the lens of their historical and cultural and economic and social trajectory as a lens through which to examine various policy issues, voting rights, political behavior, public opinion, other kinds of political issues of our time.

It’s a small course, which I value in this department to be able to teach a small course and I always get to have greater interaction with students than I do in my larger courses.

Then, I’m teaching a graduate course. It is a rewarding experience to bring the intersections of not just race and ethnicity, but race, ethnicity and gender to the study of political behavior, public opinion, and ideology, these kinds of other factors that we care about in political science…the lens of the course is intersectionality. We look at all of the readings through the lens of the role of disparities and oppression of particular kinds of marginalized groups, but the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status.

LFY:        It’s my first time teaching this course, and it is a packed house. I have 17 wonderful graduate students. It’s a very large course.

LASS:     That’s a big class for the graduate level.

LFY:        It’s huge, but every week [holds] new discoveries, because we’re challenging one another to think about race, ethnicity, and gender beyond the dummy variable. Today’s course, we read two books on white womanhood and conservative politics. Mothers of Massive Resistance is one new book that challenges our notions of whiteness and white womanhood and the role that white women played in shaping the conservative right movement. It’s just a spirited class. It’s a great class. It’s a lot of work, because it’s challenging our paradigms. It’s challenging white women as the reference category. What does that mean? What do we lose by not truly theorizing about white womanhood? We fought so long in REP to have a space to theorize about black women and Latinas and Asian-American women. What have we lost by failing to theorize about white women, for example, and the intersections of class and race and place and geography for white women.

Now, I also teach the Politics of American Suburbanization, which is like an urban politics course, but I incorporate various modes of geography, instead of just thinking about the role of the nation state, and the role it played on why our geographic space looks the way it does, and why it’s stratified in the US the way it is between city and suburb, and rural areas.

LASS:     Tell me this, then. Of all the classes that you can teach, why specifically the topics that you decided to teach on. Why is that important?

LFY:        When I was in graduate school, there was not a formal space for the study of race ethnicity in politics. The field is relatively new. The majority of scholars who study race, ethnicity in politics may have opted for the field of American politics, which is a more traditional field in political science. Although we do have REP scholars who are in comparative politics or political theory, and so forth, but the majority of them are in American politics.

How do we create theories and methodologies that fit well… in terms of really positioning the role of race and ethnicity, and what that means for modern politics? It’s not a one-size fit all when you examine various racial ethnic groups. We have a race ethnicity and immigration (REI) lab where students can workshop their work at any stage of the process. We’ve been working so hard over the last 11, 12 years to create a dynamic and inclusive space for the study of race, ethnicity and politics at UCLA. Our students are thriving. We had numerous students on the job market this year, and all of our students, whose primary field is REP have been placed in both post-docs and tenure track jobs this year. Our students are getting external funding, research grants, publishing widely, and securing top jobs all around the country. We have a lot to celebrate.

Continue to Part 2.

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley was interviewed by Mike Nguyen, an assistant editor and contributor to LA Social Science.

[1] She will soon have a courtesy joint appointment in African American Studies.

The Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 is the fifth in a series of annual reports that examines the relationship between diversity and the bottom line in the Hollywood entertainment industry. It considers the top 200 theatrical film releases in 2016 and 1,251 broadcast, cable and digital platform television shows from the 2015-16 season in order to document the degree to which women and people of color are present in front of and behind the camera. It discusses any patterns between these findings and box office receipts and audience ratings.

Consistent with the findings of earlier reports in this series, new evidence from 2015-16 suggests that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film and television content.

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts and the highest median return on investment, while films with the most racially and ethnically homogenous casts were the poorest performers

  • Minorities accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office)

  • Films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority were released, on average, in the most international markets in 2016
  • Films with Black and Latino leads and majority-minority casts were released, on average, in the fewest international markets in 2016
  • Median 18-49 viewer ratings (as well as median household ratings among Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans) peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows featuring casts that were greater than 20 percent minority

  • For White households, ratings peaked during the 2015-16 season for broadcast scripted shows with casts greater than 40 percent minority
  • Social media engagement during the 2015-16 season peaked for broadcast scripted shows with casts that reflected the diversity of America
  • Median Black household ratings peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were majority minority in 2015-16

  • For viewers 18-49, White, Latino, and Asian households, median ratings peaked in the cable scripted arena for shows with casts that were from 31 to 40 percent minority in 2015-16
  • Social media engagement peaked for cable scripted shows with casts that were at least 31 percent minority in 2015-16
  • The majority of the top 10 broadcast scripted shows among viewers 18-49 and Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

  • The lion’s share of the top 10 cable scripted shows among Asian, Black, and Latino households, as well as half of the top 10 shows among White households and viewers 18-49, featured casts that were at least 21 percent minority in 2015-16

Previous releases in the Hollywood Diversity Report series present evidence supporting the idea that diversity sells when it comes to industry-produced films and television shows. People of color constituted nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, and their share is growing by nearly half a percent each year. Increasingly diverse audiences, the evidence shows, prefer film and television content populated with characters to whom they can relate and whose stories drive the narrative. Europe accounted for only about 7 percent of the world’s population[1] and 17 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)[2] in 2016, which underscores the reality that today’s (and tomorrow’s) global market looks much more like the diversity of America than the White audiences that traditionally drove Hollywood’s greenlighting practices. In short, the previous reports in this series dispel a stubborn Hollywood myth that in order to reach the widest audiences possible, films and television shows must center White characters in their narratives and relegate racial and ethnic others to, at best, supporting roles.

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that diversity is essential for Hollywood’s bottom line. Global box office and television ratings, on average, are highest for films and television shows with relatively diverse casts. Indeed, a consideration of top 10 films and television shows underscores how important diverse audiences have become as drivers of box office and ratings, and that these highly engaged audiences prefer diverse content. But the report’s findings also reveal missed opportunities. For example, we see that Hollywood continues to produce a plurality of films and television shows with casts that are 10 percent minority or less, despite the fact that these projects are collectively among the poorest performers. It also appears as if the industry undersells the relatively small number of films with diverse leads and casts in a global market that is primed to connect with them.

 

This post contains excerpts from the Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 that was released on February 27, 2018.  To read the latest report, download it HERE.

To read the previous four annual reports, click HERE.

This research is led by Dr. Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA.

If you are interested in learning more about the Hollywood Diversity Report research, please contact the Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences, Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, at acramon@ss.ucla.edu.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the report or donating to this research, please contact the Executive Director of Development for the Division of Social Sciences, Julie Strumwasser at jstrumwasser@support.ucla.edu.

[1] See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/The_EU_in_the_world_-_population

[2] See: http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/economic-indicators/GDP_Share_of_World_Total_PPP/

By Professor Ellen Pearlstein, UCLA Information Studies and UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials

UCLA recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the rich collaboration between the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (ACCM) in Palm Springs and the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. The first class was taught in collaboration with ACCM in 2007, and the fifth class ended in 2017.

The course, which is required for graduate conservation students in the UCLA/Getty Program, includes collaborations resulting in sharing cultural, technical and analytical expertise among students, ACCM staff, guest basketry weavers, ethnobotanists, curators and community members. Over the past 10 years, a changing ACCM staff, including directors, curators, archivists, tribal board members, and the ACCM Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, have generously shared knowledge with the students about the founding of the museum and its role in the community.

In 2017, the students were joined by conservator ​Özge Gençay Üstün (pictured),
weavers ​Roseann Hamilton and Abe Sanchez (pictured),
and William Pink, curators Bryn Potter and Jan Timbrook (pictured),
Sean Milanovich from Agua Caliente, and Cara Stansberry from ACCM

Students complete thorough research, examinations, conservation treatments and re-housing of ACCM objects—primarily baskets—based on discussions with ACCM staff and guest instructors. Both technical knowledge and a clear understanding of tribal museum goals are imparted to the students, which taken together with community input invariably impact conservation decision-making.

Products of this rich collaboration include a faculty and student co-authored article, as well as both a physical and a virtual exhibit describing conservation methods achieved through collaboration, a virtual exhibit that (temporarily unavailable but described here), and a faculty-student publication describing the impact of that virtual exhibit.

In 2009, UCLA Library hosted an exhibit of ACCM items prepared by UCLA/Getty students. This image is the invitation sent out for the opening event.

Between 1983 and 2005, Pearlstein was assistant, associate and senior objects conservator at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Pearlstein served as an adjunct professor in conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts-Conservation Center at NYU between 1991-2004. In 2005, Pearlstein assumed a faculty position in the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Material. As a member of the founding faculty, she and her colleagues designed a curriculum, outfitted a laboratory, and Pearlstein began teaching graduate classes in the conservation of organic materials, ethics of working with indigenous communities, preventive conservation and managing collections. In 2008, Pearlstein joined UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, and invited students interested in library, archive, and rare book materials into her preservation and management classes.  Her research includes conservation of featherwork, effects of environmental agents; pre- and post-Hispanic qeros from the Andes; developing diversity within conservation, and curriculum development within conservation education. Pearlstein is an elected Fellow in the American Institute for Conservation and, recently, in the International Institute for Conservation, winner of the AIC Keck award, and President of the Association of North American Gradate Programs in Conservation.

 

 

CSW

By Gracen Brilmyer, Graduate Student Researcher, UCLA Center for the Study of Women; Alexandra Apolloni, Program Coordinator, UCLA Center for the Study of Women; Rachel Lee, Director, UCLA Center for the Study of Women

Eating a Tide Pod might make for a good YouTube clip, but we all know that it’s dangerous.

However, it’s not just eating  detergent that’s harmful. Many of the ingredients in common detergents and fabric softeners have not been rigorously tested for safety–and yet, we’re exposed to them through daily physical and respiratory contact.

Commonly used laundry, cleaning and personal care products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which can mimic hormones and disrupt one’s metabolism, even at low levels. EDCs are present in synthetic fragrances, which can cause more immediate adverse reactions including headaches, respiratory difficulty and difficulty concentrating.

Exposure to these chemicals is actually a feminist social justice issue. Since women perform a disproportionate amount of domestic labor (such as housekeeping, laundry, etc.) and use more personal care products, they are more exposed. Additionally, environmental pollution is often concentrated near where people of lower economic status or people of color live.

There has been little effective chemical regulation in the United States, but feminist environmental and disability activists are pushing for change on this issue through organizations like Women’s Voices for the Earth, Canaries Collective, and others. Women scientists have also been innovators in this area: UCLA’s the Center for the Study of Women (CSW) is currently building on Anne Steinemann’s work on consumer product emissions, Ana Soto’s discoveries on the endocrine-disrupting potential of BPA and Claudia Miller’s research on illness caused by exposure.

CSW’s Chemical Entanglements initiative is mobilizing UCLA students and faculty to be leaders in these efforts. Chemical Entanglements is a multi-pronged initiative that involves public events; undergraduate and graduate mentorship, writing and research; and collaboration across departments and communities. We’ve created original artwork for educational materials with artist/activist Peggy Munson; we’ve gathered researchers and activists from across the country at an innovative symposium that explored new approaches to public health and education; we’ve begun to document the social and cultural histories of chemicals and the people whom they’ve harmed; and we’re surveying UCLA students to assess how much of an issue chemical sensitivity is on our campus. Ultimately, we want to change policy so that our communities can be safer and healthier, and we want to raise public awareness so that people can better protect themselves and others from exposure to toxins.

Our CSW Undergraduate Research Group is on the front lines of this work. Students Vivian Anigbogu and Sophia Sidhu have been using UCLA’s archives to document the history of scent and fragrance in manufacturing. Sophia has created an interactive timeline that traces the development of synthetic detergent and the introduction of the carcinogenic additive 1,4-Dioxane in Tide products, while Vivian has shown how the history of racism ties to the history of soap advertising. Undergraduates are also leading the way to make campus healthier. Hannah Bullock has developed a survey that we are beginning to roll out across campus. The survey will help us understand how UCLA students are impacted by chemical exposures, including, for instance, whether the smells of fragrances make it more difficult for them to concentrate while taking tests or live safely in their dorms. Our students are also developing outreach and education resources, including a short film produced by members of last year’s undergraduate group. It depicts the kinds of exposures a UCLA student might encounter on an average day.

You may be wondering, other than avoiding the temptation of a deliciously colorful tide pod, what can you do to keep yourself safe?

  • Use products that are labeled “fragrance free”
  • Avoid products that have “parfum” or “fragrance” in their ingredient list (these are prevalent in scented shampoos, lotions, deodorants, etc.)

But this kind of consumer activism can only go so far: exposure to EDCs is an issue that impacts everyone, and disproportionately impacts people who are the most marginalized and can’t afford “safer” “green” products or move to less polluted neighborhoods. Through Chemical Entanglements, we hope to build toward policy change that will support the health of people of all genders.

For more resources and information visit CSW’s Share the Air website.

Learn more about the Chemical Entanglements project.

Watch videos from the Chemical Entanglements symposium.

Participate in a survey to help CSW learn more about the impact of fragranced products on UCLA students.

UCLA

Dr. Luft co-authored a blog piece for The Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage.  This powerful piece discusses how dehumanizing discourse can prepare the way for violence over time.  The authors cite important social science research regarding the subject.  To read it, click HERE.

Aliza Luft is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA, and her research focuses on ethnic, racial, and religious boundary processes, gender, high-risk mobilization, and the causes and consequences of violence.

 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Kendall/UCLA
From left: Victoria Sanelli, manager of UCLA Army ROTC; Maj. Tyrone Vargas, UCLA assistant adjunct professor;
Lt. Col. Shannon Stambersky, UCLA professor of military science; SFC Rhu Maggio, military instructor;
Romeo Miguel, recruiting operations officer; Maj. Steve Kwon.

By Lieutenant Colonel Shannon V. Stambersky

Professor and Chair, Department of Military Science

For those not familiar with Army ROTC, there may be a perception that officer training solely focuses on basic “Soldier skills,” such as marksmanship, land navigation and tactics. While Soldier skills are learned, leader development is not solely about learning tactical skills, but also about creating leaders who are open to new and often times uncomfortable experiences that challenge their way of thinking. One of the ways cadets are able to test themselves is through overseas training missions. The Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CU&LP) and Project Global Officer are two competitive programs that assist in this process. While Project Global Officer focuses on language training and earns participants college credits, CU&LP focuses less on language and more on learning to work with foreign militaries and organizations.

Cadets who participated in the program consider it one of the best and most exciting summer programs that Army ROTC offers. Through the program, cadets have the incredible chance to travel the world, work with other countries’ militaries and immerse themselves in other cultures. The program is designed to help cadets understand the similarities and differences that exist between them and their host nation. They also learn how their actions affect those around them by conducting training alongside cadets from their host militaries, participating in humanitarian aid missions and traveling to important religious and cultural sites to better understand how history and religion have shaped the nation.

Not only does this program provide priceless opportunities to the cadets on a personal level, but the Army benefits as well. The Army is making an investment in its future leaders by allowing them the opportunity to learn first-hand the importance of customs and culture in military operations and appreciate the world’s diversity. The CU&LP program is an eye-opening experience for any cadet with a passion to explore the world and a willingness to open their mind.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky graduated from the University of Richmond in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer. She later went on to earn Masters’ Degrees in National Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Prior to her current duties, she served as the single Liaison Officer for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to the Department of the Army at the Pentagon, Washington D.C.  While at DLA, she also served in the Joint Logistics Operations Center providing actionable logistics analysis directly supporting the Joint Force as well as State and Federal Agencies as the Joint Strategic Distribution Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky currently serves as the Professor and Chair of the Department of Military Science at UCLA. Last summer she served as Mission Commander for a US Army Cadet Command sponsored Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program mission to Indonesia. In Indonesia, she led a team of over 30 cadets from around the nation to partner with the Indonesian Naval Academy, Technology School as well as participate in numerous outreach opportunities coordinated through the US Consulate in Surabaya in support of the State Department.

For more information on how you can join UCLA’s Army ROTC program and participate in numerous opportunities that will help develop you into a future leader of character for our Nation, contact our Recruiting Operations Officer at 310-825-7381 or armyrotc@milsci.ucla.edu.

Lieutenant Colonel Stambersky and her colleagues from the UCLA ROTC program were recently featured in the news for their acts of heroism in which they rescued motorists from a major crash on a Los Angeles freeway.  To read more, click HERE.

By Dr. Rachel Vaughn

Assistant Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Institute for Society & Genetics, and Gender Studies Department

In 2015, the mayor of Ventimiglia, Italy Enrico Ioculano signed l’ordinanza di divieto da dare da mangiare ai migranti— a municipal ban on serving food to refugees in the streets or those camped along the rocky beaches of the French-Italian seaside town. According to interviews and newspaper accounts, the mayor’s ban was a means of addressing food safety, waste and pest control concerns. Aid groups and activists, however, immediately resisted the ordinance, taking to the media, streets, kitchens and radio waves to protest what they see as the use of food as a weapon of exclusion.

In France two years later, border activists Cedric Herrou and Pierre-Alain Mannoni faced fines, trial and charges for offering solidarities of food, shelter and safe passage.

Legal scholar, human rights activist and director of l’Associazione Antigone Patrizio Gonnella spoke against the ordinance to Italian newspaper La Corriere della Sera, arguing that banning acts of human solidarity was inhumane. The ordinance certainly reflects concern over immigration and a perceived strain on municipal resources. However, since many contemporary asylum seekers to Italy come from African nations and the Middle East, some believe that the ordinance is a reflection of complex racialized and gendered tensions and stands in stark contrast to the humanism of other aid projects in the area.

Thanks to a generous faculty summer research grant through the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, a new oral history project examines various roles of food and water in processes of asylum in Italy. Though I have been researching complex transnational tensions surrounding this particular municipal ban (and its May 2017 revocation) since Spring 2015, this unique research project formally began Summer 2017, when I conducted the first interviews and site visits. The call for participants is open and continuous, regardless of political affiliations, humanitarian aid or citizenship status.

My broader interdisciplinary book project on the topic weaves together the interview data with legal, population, media and popular culture sources to analyze Italian asylum more extensively through the dual lens of the “edible” and the “necropolitical” —in other words, the politics of death, dying, the wasted or cast aside. I center my attention on the racialized and gendered political meaning-making happening through eating, by combining Kyla Wazana Tompkins’ conceptualization of “critical eating studies” with waste scholar Michelle Yates’ Marxist feminist Human-as-Waste and UCLA Gender Studies scholar Grace Hong’s work on necropolitics. By centering my research on edible tensions in Italy’s migration ‘crisis,’ I expand understanding of the raced, classed and gendered dynamics of border crossing within and beyond Italy, engaging the ways in which food and water serve as bio-political tools of inclusion and exclusion.

Courtesy of Marianna Bosco of Il Cammino cooperative via https://rachelvaughnsite.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/media-coverage/

Dr. Rachel Vaughn is Assistant Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Institute for Society & Genetics, and Gender Studies Department. She holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Her research engages the intersections of Critical Food and Discard Studies, Feminist Science & Technology and Environmental Studies. She is the author of “‘Choosing Wisely’: Paralleling Food Sovereignty and Reproductive Justice” (Frontiers); co-editor and organizer of “Edible Feminisms: On Discard, Waste & Metabolism,” a UCLA Luskin Endowment grant-funded conference and special issue of Food, Culture & Society. Vaughn’s forthcoming book is Talking Food, Talking Trash: Oral Histories of Food Precarity from the Margins of a Dumpster (University of Nebraska Press). She is author of a second manuscript-in-progress, Queer Toxic Soy & Estrogen Panic: Gendered Food Fear Mongering. She teaches interdisciplinary courses such as: Biotechnology & Society; Race, Class & Gender in Globalized Foodways; Sanitation & The Body; and Feminist & Queer Ecologies.