UCLA Anthropology alumnus and Professor Robert B. Lemelson has made a generous gift to establish The Study of Black Life and Racial Inequality Program Fund that will provide critical support for graduate and undergraduate students who share a commitment to the study of Black Life and Racial Inequality in Anthropology.

As part of Anthropology’s commitment to ensure ongoing financial support for transformative positive social change, as well as provide much-needed material support for students engaged with these issues, Professor Lemelson’s gift will pave the way for more sustainable future support from alumni and friends who share Anthropology’s vision of impactful research and social justice.

To build on this vision, the Department of Anthropology is excited to support a student-initiated group focused on academic engagement, mentorship, and the professional development of Black graduate students in Anthropology. The Department will also offer a new mentoring course for diverse undergraduates led by the student group to be inaugurated in the Winter of 2021. Undergraduates in the course who are also interested in pursuing independent research will be encouraged to apply to the Department’s prestigious undergraduate Lemelson Anthropological Honors Program to further develop their research and professional careers.

The Department of Anthropology is deeply grateful to Professor Lemelson for his support of this vision and his generous gift, which will ensure the program’s success in years to come.

We invite the community to join us in this important initiative to support the study of Black Life and racial inequality by making an online gift HERE. If you are interested in making a gift by check, please contact Lisa Mohan at We appreciate your support of this important program.


Dr. H. Samy Alim, David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, and the Founding Director of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Language (CREAL), along with his co-PI Dr. Django Paris (University of Washington, Seattle), recently received a $1 million grant from the Spencer Foundation. They will conduct a four-year project exploring the implementation of Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. The project is one out of only five to receive funding from the foundation’s most ambitious grant making program, the Lyle Spencer Research Awards for large-scale research projects.

Alim, Paris, and postdoctoral researcher Casey Wong (UCLA) will work with four sites across the United States, Spain, and South Africa to learn with Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Pacific Islander and immigrant communities about how they are enacting CSP in contexts dealing with the legacies and contemporary realities of settler colonialism and gentrification. Through the project, the team will seek to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an approach that seeks to sustain communities of color as part of an educational justice movement that sees cultural practices as strengths to be fostered rather than as deficits to be erased through schooling.

The grant extends the conceptual and empirical work shared in their highly influential volume, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World (Teachers College Press, 2017), which brought together an intergenerational group of prominent educators and researchers to explore critical teaching approaches that perpetuate and foster linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of schooling for positive social transformation.

L.A. Social Science congratulates Professor Alim and his colleagues!