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Left image: The inaugural public event hosted by the Black Feminism Initiative, held in February, featured a conversation between local reproductive justice advocate Kimberly Durdin, left, and UCLA graduate student Ariel Hart.
Top right image: Audience at the event.
Bottom right from left: Kali Tambree and Jaimie Crumley, student co-coordinators of the Black Feminism Initiative.

The UCLA Newsroom recently spotlighted the UCLA Black Feminism Initiative, which was launched by the Center for the Study of Women in 2019 under the leadership of Dr. Sarah Haley. Its mission is to support, develop and perpetuate Black feminist scholarship and ideas among the campus community. It also offers mutual aid for the interdisciplinary approach and community-engaged research of its graduate students. Dr. Haley believes this initiative will make higher education and UCLA more aware of the work of Black feminists of the past, present, and future.

“In the current cultural moment, Black feminism has a lot to teach us all about institutionalized modes of care, and institutionalized modes of harm,” Dr. Haley is quoted as saying about the Black Feminism Initiative. To read the fully story written by Jessica Wolf, click HERE.

 

Click HERE to learn more about the Black Feminism Initiative and click HERE to learn more about the Center for the Study of Women.

 

LA Social Science presents its first “Summer Take-Over” featuring Dr. Sarah Haley and Dr. Grace Hong who joined the e-forum for an in-depth discussion about abolition and feminism.

Interview Chapters:

1:50 – Abolition as a concept and its importance to feminism

7:08 – What feminism teaches us about care

11:13 – The concept of home and domesticity is important to a discussion of the carceral state

17:45 – The work of women of color in feminism and some of the questions posed about life or death and relationality

27:12 – Why the U.S. expanded prison systems in the 70’s into the 80’s

32:22 – Contributions of Black Feminism on the carceral state

36:56 – Going back to the meaning of abolition

Dr. Sarah Haley is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Gender Studies and Advisory Committee Chair and Director of the UCLA Black Feminism Initiative with the Center for the Study of Women (CSW). Dr. Grace Hong is a Professor in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Asian American Studies, and Director of the Center for the Study of Women (CSW).

Have you always wanted to take a course in the social sciences?

Did you think you would never have the time as a working professional?

Are you an upper-level high school student interested in taking a college course?

Are you a current UC student who needs to fulfill a requirement for your major?

Then, take an official UCLA course online from anywhere in the world.

And, learn from renowned faculty who are experts in their field.

UCLA summer courses are open to BOTH UCLA students and non-UCLA students. All summer 2020 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer, and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more general information, click HERE.

But, DON’T DELAY! Register TODAY HERE!

Payment is due by June 5 at 5pm PDT for visiting non-UC students who enrolled before June 5 and by June 19 at 5pm PDT for UC students AND for visiting non-UC students who enrolled between June 6 to June 19. Check HERE to keep up to date on the deadlines.

Check out the amazing courses being offered by the departments within the Division of Social Sciences. Each department’s course list is found in the following links:

African American Studies (additional video course previews)

Anthropology

Asian American Studies

Chicana & Chicano Studies

Communication

Economics

Gender Studies (additional information)

Geography

History

Political Science

Sociology

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has officially announced fellowship awards for 2020, and two UCLA professors in Gender Studies have been recognized. Assistant Professors Juliann Anesi and Joshua Guzmán are two of ten scholars who have been awarded the twelve-month, Career Enhancement Fellowships for junior and adjunct faculty.

Dr. Anesi

Dr. Guzmán

 

To learn more about the 2020 Woodrow Wilson Fellows, click HERE.

LA Social Science would like to congratulate Drs. Anesi and Guzmán for this outstanding honor.

 

 

 

 

 

In an informative video series by the Autry Museum of the West about Native American artist Harry Fonseca, UCLA Gender Studies Professor Nancy Mithlo and Harry Nungesser, Fonseca’s partner, discuss his life and work. Check out this series below.

Harry Fonseca: Coyote Leaves The Rez

Harry Fonseca: Coyote Green High Tops

Harry Fonseca: Coyote Wide-Eyed

As summer 2020 approaches, LA Social Science will be highlighting some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA Gender Studies will be offering the courses listed below. Visit www.summer.ucla.edu to enroll or email shogan@gender.ucla.edu.

Session A (June 22nd – July 31st)

185: Special Topics: Feminisms Online!

Instructor: Taryn Marcelino – TR 8:30-10:35

Course Description: Through a framework of keywords such as access, analog/digital, celebrity, censorship, data, fan, posthuman and more, the course will explore issues of authorship, spectatorship, and the ways in which digital content (film, television, blogs, video, advertising) enables, facilitates, and challenges marginalizing social constructions in society. Through feminist critique, students will research and analyze how the internet creates and contests stereotypes and ideas of difference, including exclusionary representations of the human, with a particular focus on how digital technologies are transforming popular culture. A variety of UCLA Gender Studies Department faculty will participate in this class, contributing lectures and other course materials.

M111 Womxn and Film: Lesbian, Butch, Trans, and Queer Media Narratives

Instructor: Candace Hansen – TR 10:45-12:50

Course Description: Cinema and television helps us make sense of our place in the world. Often it is through this artform we are able to come to realizations about lives and identities, and even imagine realities beyond our own. Why is it then that mainstream narratives surrounding queer women and trans people are monolithic, tragic, and lack nuance? In this course we will explore the relationship between sexuality, gender, and cinema, interrogating issues surrounding agency, authorship, and the consequences of tropes for lesbians, bisexual women, butches, trans women, trans men, non-binary individuals, and gender non-conforming people. Focusing primarily on American cultural production, we will consider the ways that race, class, and other elements of identity intersect with and influence cinematic depictions of queerness. We will look at independent as well as mainstream cinema, tv shows, documentaries, art films, and other sources to attempt to track queer narratives through the lens of gender studies, and imagine what the future of representation and film making might hold.

Other Session A offerings include (Gender Studies Core Courses fulfill Diversity Requirement):

  • Gender 10 Intro to Gender Studies (GE) – Instructor: Dee Mauricio
  • Gender 102 Power- Instructor: Shawndeez Jadali
  • 101W Writing Gender: Indigeneity, History & Culture (Satisfies Writing II Req) – Instructor: Laura Terrance

Session C (August 3rd-September 11th)

M133C History of Prostitution

Instructor: Elizabeth Dayton – TR 1:00pm-3:05pm

Course Description: From a global historical perspective, this course will spotlight historical moments and figures within “the world’s oldest profession” to investigate how ideologies of race, class, gender, sexuality, empire, and globalization influence the dominant frameworks of prostitution policy. Beginning in antiquity and ending in the present day, we will trace changing attitudes towards prostitution from the vantage point of sex workers, moralists, medical authorities, and police officials. Course Topics will include: critical analysis of historical policies and attitudes towards prostitution (tolerance, regulation, criminalization, decriminalization); prostitution and the construction of empire(s) and borders (“white slavery” panic, trafficking policies, militarized prostitution & red-light districts); impact of pandemics/disease outbreaks on the sex industry (including syphilis, AIDS, COVID-19); and contemporary sex workers’ rights movements. The diverse contexts in which we will study prostitution may include but are not limited to: ancient Greece, medieval Europe, seventeenth-century Japan, London in period of Jack the Ripper, colonial India, and twentieth-century United States.

M107B. Studies in Gender and Sexuality. (5) Literatures of Resistance: Queer Punk As Method

(Same as English M107B and LGBT Studies M107B)

Instructor: Candace Hansen – TR 10:45am-12:50pm

Course Description: What does it mean when artistic work is world making? In Hansen’s M107B we will be thinking through queer punk as a method by looking at resistant literatures, things that are not just gay but queer, critical, and artful. In the true spirit of queer praxis, literature will not just be understood as written word alone in this course. Music, video, art, dance, performance, ritual, and collective experiences are all works of artistic merit and meaning, and contribute to a body of knowledge that shape queer and punk epistemologies and identities. We will read and analyze work from classic and contemporary creators, writers, musicians, skateboarders, zinesters, dancers, astrologers, and more to think about what it means to make queer art that is oppositional AND affirming AND community building. Work that is creating, critiquing, and negotiating power. Work that is responding to gaps. Students will write a paper and create an original work as part of their final grade.

Jasmin A. Young is currently a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA in the Department of African American Studies. As a historian, her research focuses on African American history, 20th Century U.S. History, and gender studies. She specializes in African American women’s history, social movements, and the Black radical tradition.

Originally from Los Angeles, Jasmin Young began her academic career at California State University, Northridge. After graduation, she moved to NYC to attend Columbia University where she received her Masters in African American Studies and worked with the late Dr. Manning Marable. With a desire to ground herself in gender theories, Dr. Young moved to the UK to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), earning a second Masters of Science from the Gender Institute.

In 2018, Dr. Young graduated with a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Her dissertation, “Black Women with Guns: A Historical Analysis of Armed Resistance 1892-1979,” offers a long history of women’s political engagement with Black militant activism from the Reconstruction to the Black Power era.

She is developing her book manuscript, Black Women with Guns: Armed Resistance in the Black Freedom Struggle, which is the first intellectual and social history of Black women’s use of armed resistance as a tool to achieve freedom in post–World War II America. While historical studies have assumed armed resistance was a male prerogative, she makes a significant intervention in the historiography by recovering a history of Black women who engaged in and advocated armed resistance from 1955-1979. Using archival research and gender theories, the book argues that Black women increasingly politicized armed resistance, both in theory and in practice, as the Black Freedom Movement shifted its objectives from integration to self-determination. Ultimately, Black Women with Guns broadens our understanding of the Black freedom struggle by expanding what we regard as political thought and action. It also reveals a more multifaceted struggle whose objectives and strategies were continually contested and evolving.

She presented her research to a packed house at UCLA’s Black Forum this past year where she fielded questions and led a great discussion on the intersection of state violence resistance and Radical Black Feminism. Dr. Young has presented her work at various national conferences including the Organization of American Historians. Her work has garnered general public attention and has been featured in the media. You can listen to her interview for the Black Agenda Report with Glen Ford HERE. She was also the historical consultant and writer for a documentary entitled, “Tracking Ida.”

Dr. Young is regarded as a rising junior scholar with cutting-edge research that connects the historical and contemporary understanding and contributions of Black Feminism. Many have attested to her accomplishments and many are eager to read her book when published. For example, fellow scholars at UCLA have said, “Jasmin’s intellectual maturity and complete dedication to research are among her most salient qualities. I was particularly impressed by how she theorized on Malcolm X’s intellectual development as influenced by the Detroit activist community, as well as when she investigated the contradictions of hyper-visibility and invisibility of Black women transnationally in hip-hop culture.”

She has been a great scholar to have in UCLA’s African American Studies Department as well as across campus. Dr. Young’s research reflects the caliber and innovation UCLA offers students, faculty, and the broader community.

Credit: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-to-respectfully-use-gender-neutral-pronouns-in-the-office

UCLA Professors Abigail C. Saguy and Juliet A. Williams from Sociology and Gender Studies, respectively, are co-authoring a book that focuses on the notion of gender neutrality specifically, its use in three areas: the law, news media, and political activism. They share some of their thoughts surrounding this topic for their book in an article they wrote for Scientific American. The article is titled, “Why We Should All Use They/Them Pronouns.” Drs. Saguy and Williams discuss the changes that are happening in degendering today. More and more individuals and companies are taking action to move away from binary gender categories. For example, United Airlines has made available the salutation Mx., an option on their drop-down menu for individuals who choose to be gender-neutral. In addition, it is more common to state one’s preferred pronouns in various public professional spaces as well as via email signature. Drs. Saguy and Williams further examine this current practice of announcing one’s preferred pronouns. Do gendered identifiers cause more bias and discrimination? Is it better for everyone to be gender neutral and use the pronouns they/them? To learn more about the conversation happening around these questions, check out the full article HERE.

By Rhonda Hammer, Lecturer, UCLA Department of Gender Studies

We are in the midst of a Digital Revolution that many scholars find comparable in scope to the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, which transformed the Western world.

Indeed, it was not so long ago that the Internet and social media were heralded as revolutionary social justice resources for new dimensions of participatory democracy, which allowed for marginalized and oft-suppressed voices to be heard in a public forum.

Yet, as revelations of large scale manipulation emerge post-2016 US presidential election including disinformation, surveillance, data collection and microtargeting by marketers, data resource corporations, political organizations and foreign governments, it becomes increasingly evident that there is an urgent need for courses which teach or incorporate critical media/digital studies.

Loosely defined, critical media literacy involves teaching students to think critically about “the ways media texts are produced, constructed and consumed” as well as to provide skills that help them recognize messages encoded in media/digital texts, many of which are not consciously perceived. (source).

For example: many scholars clearly demonstrate that certain media representations of different groups of people can reinforce negative stereotypical values.  These images can be communicated or enhanced in film or television not only by the script and casting but also through production techniques such as lighting, shot framing, music and sound effects (to name a few).

With that in mind, it seems evident that critical media literacy should be essential to contemporary education, including K-12 college and university curricula. And it is this need which best describes the perspective of a newly-revised Gender Studies undergraduate course I teach on “Media: Gender, Race, Class & Sexuality.”

Although I have taught this course for many years, it was only last year that a media production component was implemented largely due to newly available resources through UCLA’s innovative College Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC). Not only were camcorder kits made available for check-out by the students, but they also now have access to the extraordinary services of Vince Mitchell, the primary producer and director of UCLA’s on-campus media production center, Studio 22.

During the 2018 winter quarter, Vince and members of his capable student staff conducted weekly workshops as part of the class, teaching the students basic production and post production skills to empower them to plan and construct their own short group media projects.

Given that most of the students had no previous production experience (save for some DIY or high school projects) the final short video programs – which were screened during exam week – were remarkable. Students were broken up into nine group based on their topic interests and asked to produce a 5-10 minute long documentary-style video, critically examining some dimension of media culture and the politics of representation (how marginalized and dominant groups of people are represented in media).

The documentary themes were topical, relevant and reflected student interests in a variety of topics including Representations of Black Masculinity in Hip Hop Music Videos and Social Media and Feminist Voices and Representations of Latina Women and Stereotypes of Asian Portrayals. Here is a link to the media projects produced in this class, which are described and can be publicly viewed online.*

The enthusiasm and pride the students take in these productions was evident during the final screening of their media projects at the end of the course and proved to be an empowering experience for all involved. I hope that other faculty will consider including critical media literacy and/or media/digital instruction and  productions in their classes and take advantage of the resources and facilities of CLICC and Vince Mitchell of Studio 22, whose services can be scheduled through Jessica Mentesoglu, Head of Digital Initiatives & Information Technologies Operations Services at UCLA Library. They can both assist in designing highly relevant media-related resources or assignments for your courses.

 

*Caroline Kong, Instructional Technology Coordinator for Social Science Computing (SSC) set up and designed this accessible, user-friendly website as well as the course’s Moodle page.  For assistance with Moodle pages you can contact her.

Dr. Rhonda Hammer is a Lecturer in Cinema & Media Studies; the Graduate School of Education, Social Science & Comparative Education; and Gender Studies at UCLA. Her research is in the areas of critical theory; media/cultural studies; critical media literacy; and the politics of representation in film, television, new media, feminisms and engaged pedagogy. She has published numerous articles, chapters and books on these subjects, including her co-edited 2009 anthology, Media/Cultural Studies: Critical Approaches, which describe and analyzes dimensions of contemporary media, consumer, and digital culture. 

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.