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UCLA History faculty have been doing amazing work. The following are some recent honors they have received.

Professor Brenda Stevenson has been appointed the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women’s History at St John’s College, Oxford University. Dr. Stevenson’s work explores the intersections of gender, race and politics, putting women – and particularly women of color – at the center of accounts of political and social developments. She will serve from November 2021 to June 2023.

When asked about this appointment, Dr. Maggie Snowling, President of St. John’s College, said,

I am delighted to welcome Brenda Stevenson to St. John’s as the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women’s History. This appointment is a wonderful culmination to our year-long celebration of ’40 Years of Women’, which has marked the 40th year since the first admission of female students in 1979. Marking the contribution of women to the life of the College, past and present, is key to the understanding of our own history and ethos, and is integral to our continued commitment to broadening equality, diversity and inclusivity. Professor Stevenson will be joining an intellectually stimulating and egalitarian community, with a very strong tradition in history and a powerful commitment to its future.

To learn more about this inaugural appointment and about Dr. Stevenson, click HERE.

Professor Stephen Aron will become President and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West on July 1, 2021, upon his retirement from UCLA. Dr. Aron has been a member of the history department faculty since 1996, and for many of those years served concurrently as Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the American West and then Chair of Western History at the Autry Museum. Dr. Aron said: “I’ve spent more than three decades researching and writing about the confluences and confrontations of peoples and cultures that shaped the history of North American frontiers and borderlands, but it was my time at the Autry that truly transformed how I think and teach about the American West. At the Autry, I learned the power of arts and objects, the joy of collaborations, and the imperative of public history. I’m so honored now to rejoin the Autry family, and I’m excited to embrace the challenge of making our museum matter more to more people.”

 

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez was named to the Pulitzer Prize Board. She is also one of eight UCLA faculty recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Dr. Lytle Hernandez was awarded a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which said her research on “the intersecting histories of race, mass incarceration, immigration, and cross-border politics is deepening our understanding of how imprisonment has been used as a mechanism for social control in the United States.”

 

 

 

Professor Muriel McClendon won the Distinguished Teaching Award for Senate Faculty and received the added honor of the “Eby Award for the Art of Teaching,” in light of her contribution to learning at UCLA and in a number of domains.

 

 

 

Assistant Professor Hollian Wint was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) faculty fellowship, to further her work on Mobile Households: The Intimate Economies of Obligation Across the Indian Ocean, c. 1860-1960. ACLS invites research proposals from scholars in all disciplines of the humanities and related social sciences. The fellowship helps academics devote their full time to their major piece of scholarly work, which can take the form of a monograph, articles, digital publication(s), critical edition, or other scholarly resources. To learn more about this fellowship, click HERE.

 

Associate Professor Katherine Marino has been awarded a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship. This major fellowship, bestowed by the Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is described as follows: “Serious interdisciplinary research often requires established scholar-teachers to pursue formal substantive and methodological training in addition to the PhD. New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest. The program is intended to enable scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication. In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit scholarship in the humanities more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.” Dr. Marino will take the fellowship in 2022-23 and will pursue advanced training through UCLA law school toward her new project.

In November 2019, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office Civic Memory Working Group convened its first meeting consisting of 40 historians, indigenous elders and scholars, architects, artists, curators, designers, and other civic and cultural leaders. Many of UCLA’s brightest minds were at the table. The charge for those present was to produce a series of recommendations to help Los Angeles engage more productively and honestly with its past, particularly where that past has been whitewashed or buried.

UCLA Members of the Mayor’s Office Civic Memory Working Group:

Advisors to the Working Group:

The Working Group’s report, including a print volume and an accompanying website, was released on April 15, 2021. The report has specific policy recommendations throughout, yet below are 18 key recommendations for moving forward:

The Hollywood Sign in Ruin

Continue and Expand the Conversation

1. Spend the second half of 2021, virtually or in person as the COVID-19 pandemic allows, discussing these recommendations and other materials in this report with a range of Los Angeles communities. These listening sessions should explore, among other subjects, how the City can shift its focus in stewarding civic memory from acting as a gatekeeper to a facilitator, giving fuller voice to community memory and bottom-up representation. Use these sessions to begin to turn the recommendations on this list into policy or built markers of civic memory.

2. Develop programs to train all city employees in civic history and Indigeneity, as they are hired and on an ongoing basis.

Carlos Diniz: A History of Drawing the Future

Increase Access and Share Information

3. Create a new City Historian position, or a three-person council of historians and community elders, on a rotating two-year basis, looking to the City’s Poet Laureate position as a model and potentially drawing from the ranks of college and university history departments and independent scholars.

4. Organize a task force of museum professionals, working artists, historians, Indigenous and other community leaders, and others to explore the creation of a Museum of the City of Los Angeles, with the understanding that this group may recommend instead supporting similar work inside museums and other cultural institutions already established.

5. Complete and publish an audit of the monuments and memorials in Los Angeles on public and publicly accessible land.

6. Broaden the accessibility and impact of the Los Angeles City Archives and Records Center as a basis for new civic memory initiatives.

7. Create a room or other space inside City Hall, open to the public, to celebrate civic memory and the Indigenous history of the site and its surroundings. This room should include both historical records and archives and rotating exhibits and displays related to civic architecture and the history of Los Angeles.

1871 Anti-Chinese Massacre

Recognize Indigenous History

8. Begin the process of adopting an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Policy for the Mayor’s Office and for the City, in close collaboration with the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission (NAIC), as outlined in the summary appearing later in this volume from the Indigenous Land Acknowledgement subcommittee.

9. Create a new, full-time staff position within the Mayor’s Office to serve as official liaison to the NAIC and the broader Indigenous community.

10. Embed historians and Indigenous leaders on a compensated basis in City-led planning efforts, for example the Taylor Yard/G2 Equity Plan for a site along the Los Angeles River. Preserve or Acknowledge the Various Histories Embedded in the Built Environment

11. Take steps to protect the architecture and civic memory of the recent past, beginning with an effort to extend the Department of City Planning’s SurveyLA initiative from 1980 to the year 2000.

12. Strengthen financial and other penalties for the prohibited demolition of significant architecture, particularly residential architecture.

13. Pursue the expansion of Historic-Cultural Monument status to include thematic or non-contiguous designations, for example the Bungalow Court, and to protect the body of work of a single prominent firm or social or cultural movement.

14. Consider a City-led effort to mark and make visible the boundaries of racially exclusive zoning and lending practices in housing, e.g. redlining, or the communities displaced or disfigured by freeway construction.

6710 La Tijera Blvd.

Reconsider Memorials and Difficult Histories

15. Create a garden or series of gardens dedicated to the essential workers of Los Angeles.

16. Arrange specific community-engagement sessions during the remainder of 2021, guided by the recommendations in this report, to solicit ideas for commemorating the 30th anniversary, in 2022, of the 1992 civic unrest in Los Angeles. The goal should be a range of commemorative approaches, rather than a single event or memorial.

17. Work with the leadership of the Chinese American Museum and a range of community groups to develop citywide commemorations, considering both ephemeral and permanent forms, to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1871 Anti-Chinese Massacre on October 24, 2021.

18. Develop strategies to recontextualize outdated or fraught memorials as an alternative to removal—although removal will, in certain cases, remain the best option.

To read the full report, click HERE.

UCLA’s Luskin Center for History and Policy (LCHP) has continued to be a leading voice in connecting past to present. The center’s “Then & Now” podcast has tackled some of the most challenge topics of the day by connecting them to the past. The latest conversation is with UCLA alumna Anthea Hartig. LCHP writes:

“In 2019, Anthea M. Hartig made headlines when she became the first woman director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Since then, she has been a fierce advocate for public history in the nation’s capital. Join us for this President’s Day episode as we learn about how Hartig, a UCLA alumna, fell in love with history, developed a rich and challenging approach to the past, and sees history as a key to navigating the present.”

To hear this informative podcast, click HERE.

In her new book The World of Plymouth Plantation, Dr. Carla Pestana, UCLA History Professor and Chair, provides a comprehensive understanding of Plymouth and adds a great deal of knowledge to what was previously known and published. These new additions and nuances contribute to a better historical account of what happened by debunking myths and connecting it to the wider world.

Interview Chapters:

0:04 – Intro

0:54 – How does the book challenge the dominant national mythology of Plymouth?

2:30 – “Connections rather than isolation sit at the heart of the Plymouth story.” Why is that important?

5:09 – Main contributions and takeaways of the book.

8:40 – How is this useful to us in contemporary times?

11:32 – Conclusion

To learn more, check out Professor Pestana’s book The World of Plymouth Plantation.

 

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Dr. Vinay Lal, UCLA professor of history and Asian American Studies, takes a deep dive on the global impact of COVID-19 in his latest book, Fury of COVID-19. In this interview for the LA Social Science book series, he compares how different nation states have responded to COVID-19. He sheds light on the need for public health measures in the U.S. as well as international cooperation in order to curtail COVID. His book also addresses how social distancing complicates personal relationships. Lastly, Dr. Lal weighs in on how specifically the response in the United States has much to do with the administration’s position on climate change.

Interview Chapters:

0:04 – Intro

1:07 – What is the main point of this book?

6:39 – How did the history of countries affect their response to the pandemic?

16:13 – How do comments like “China Virus” by the administration affect international cooperation?

To learn more, check out Professor Lal’s book, Fury of COVID-19.

 

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Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, professor of African American Studies, Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and Urban Planning, has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board. This prize named after Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, is administered at Columbia University. Dr. Lytle Hernandez said, “I am thankful for this opportunity to work with fellow Board members in celebrating a diverse community of journalists, scholars and artists, and look forward to the work ahead.” LA Social Science would like to congratulate the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies Director.

To read the press release about Dr. Lytle Hernandez’s election to the Pulitzer Prize Board, click HERE.

Photo Credit: The Source

In his essay in The Source, Dr. Kyle T. Mays, UCLA Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History, cites last month’s Native American Heritage Month as a time “to reflect on a history of genocide, and to consider what we collectively owe to the people upon whose land we all currently live.” Dr. Mays discusses the realities of Native Americans in the United States through the lens of Native American Hip Hop (NAHH) that he describes as “one of the best representations of Native sovereignty.”

To read the full essay, click HERE.

Dr. Carla Gardina Pestana, UCLA Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World in the Department of History, discusses the #MeToo Moment on Plymouth Plantation in an essay for “The Conversation.” Dr. Pestana points out that gender dynamics often get short shrift when reflecting on the histories of Plymouth colony.

John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In the essay, Dr. Pestana describes one account from her new book, The World of Plymouth Plantation. It is the story of John Lyford, who was found guilty of rape in Ireland and driven out of his community. Mr. Lyford moved on to Plymouth Plantation after being driven out, and would have continued to harm others if his past had not caught up with him.

To read the full essay, click HERE.

 

 

UCLA graduate student Marina Perez interviews Dr. Nancy Mithlo, UCLA Professor of Gender Studies, about her two new books, Knowing Art (University of Nebraska Press) and Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (University of New Mexico Press). Dr. Mithlo discusses her extensive research with Native communities and the power and beauty of Native art.

For Tovaangar (LA Basin, So. Channel Islands) pronunciation, click HERE.

Interview Chapters:

:14 – Intro

1:41 – Contemporary Indigenous art and why it’s so important

3:24 – American Indian curatorial methodologies

6:53 – What is it like to work with and talk with our elders? Especially David Warren.

10:18 – How do you analyze the artworks?

16:15 – Any advice for artists, students, researchers during the pandemic?

Art work shared:

By the Water’s Edge (1987) bronze, Copyright Chiinde LLC (photo courtesy of Allan Houser)

Dawn (1989) bronze, Copyright Chiinde LLC (photo courtesy of Allan Houser)

To learn more, check out Professor Mithlo’s book Knowing Native Arts and Making History: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

 

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In the latest interview of the book series, we learn that one in four people went to debtors’ prison. The Poverty of Disaster is a historical account of financial insecurity in Eighteenth-Century England. Dr. Tawny Paul‘s approach to look at everyday economics and how it impacts the social and emotional lives of the English middle class leads to uncovering how incarceration and fear played a role in the precariousness of their status. This book also speaks to the economic crisis today and traces the continuities of a capitalist system. 
Interview Chapters:
0:00 – Intro
0:36 – Genesis of the Book
1:49 – Book summary
3:48 – Other major findings, including debtor’s prison
5:20 – The role of fear
7:55 – How findings connect to current events
10:59 – Who would benefit from reading this book?

To learn more, check out Dr. Paul’s book The Poverty of Disaster: Debt and Insecurity in Eighteenth-Century Britain.

 

Subscribe to L.A. Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.