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In his new book The Amorites and the Bronze Age Near East: The Making of a Regional Identity, Dr. Aaron Burke, Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies and Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA, traces the complex collective identity of Amorites through space and time. He challenges traditional notions of identity and offers a more complex and historical understanding of identity.

Interview Chapters:

0:04 – Intro

0:36 – What is the main argument/contribution of the book?

4:30 – How do the Amorites challenge the traditional notions of identity?

8:48 – How does your analysis account for nuanced understandings of Amorites not formed before?

15:47 – What does this account of Amorites tell us about groups today, and why should someone read this book?

To learn more, check out Professor Burke’s book, The Amorites and the Bronze Age Near East: The Making of a Regional Identity.

 

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During Latinx Heritage Month, LA Social Science interviewed Brisa Smith Flores, a UCLA graduate student in World Arts and Culture, and Ky’tavia Stafford-Carreker, a recent UCLA pre-med graduate, about the contributions of Afro-Latinxs in the U.S. They discuss the genesis of the first Afro-Latinx student organization and undergraduate course in Chicana/o & Central American Studies at UCLA. They, also, discuss their own Afro-Latina identity.

Interview Chapters:

:05 – Intro

4:43 – What has been your experience as an Afro-Latina on the West Coast?

7:53 – How did you come to identify as Afro-Latina? And what that means to you?

11:29 – How did you establish the first Afro-Latina/o student organization at UCLA?

18:20 – Paper on anti-Blackness in Mexico using art history.

 

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.

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 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 information, click HERE.

Check out Dr. Karyl Kicenski’s UCLA ONLINE summer course, “Communication and Identity.” Communication 108 studies the relationships among communication, culture, and identity focusing on theoretical frameworks that utilize language, representation, technology, as well as the rhetoric of public memory. Communication is understood as a performative endeavor and interrogated as a critical/cultural object to form our very notions of selfhood or subjectivity.

For more information about this course, see the preview video below, and enroll HERE TODAY!

 

By Rosie Rios, Administrative Director, UCLA Prison Education Program

“We, the people.

We are not criminals.

I am not a criminal.

I am Arlena.

I am beautiful.

I am stardust.”

                                                                                         — Arlena (Sankofa Student)

This summer I had the privilege of co-facilitating the Sankofa Summer School for Girls at Barry J. Nidorf (BJN) Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California. Every day for two weeks Professor Lauri Mattenson and I went to BJN to discuss and analyze the book, When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, with girls between the ages of 14 and 18. We began each class with a movement icebreaker. The dancing one was their favorite. We then sat in a circle, read our community agreement, which was created and signed collectively on the first day of class as a promise to our commitment to respect one another, and then opened up the space with the question, “What stood out to you the most from the reading?” This was by far my favorite part of the class because I had never seen so many students raising their hands up all at once, eager to share what they had learned!

Our daily conversations touched on the topics of identity, trauma, conditions in underserved communities like the ones that helped raise us, police brutality, drug addiction, womanhood, and the theme of our class: looking back in order to move forward. We laughed and we cried; most importantly, we created a sacred space.

As we neared the end of the course, the girls decided that just like Patrisse, they too could use their writing to share their stories, be heard and feel understood. Each word in the letter was carefully chosen to not only convey their message, but also to express that they are frustrated and tired of living such a precarious life.

On August 29th, 2018, they wrote the following letter:

People here before us,

We need you to listen and understand that we are not criminals. We ask that you don’t judge us and that you get to know us. Not all of us come from houses with white picket fences and rich neighborhoods. We come from the ghetto—where we grew up exposed to gangs, prostitution, drugs, and police brutality. Where you never have the chance to truly live, just survive. We never had the chance to be kids. Some of us just need guidance, a mentor who genuinely loves us and exposes us to the right paths in life. We ask that you take a moment to sit back and understand our experiences.

As you come to work with us, we want you to listen, be patient, and not pity but empathize with us. 

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely, 

UCLA Sankofa Summer School For Girls

Unit T/V

 

To get involved with UCLA’s Prison Education Program, attend the upcoming orientation this Friday, September 28, from 9 AM to 12 PM in the Ackerman Viewpoint Conference Room on Level A. RSVP here.

For more information about the UCLA Prison Education Program, visit http://www.uclaprisoned.org/ and follow them on Twitter @uclaprisonedu.

Members of the UCLA Prison Education Program team. Front row: Dianna Williams, Daniel Ocampo, Lyric “Day-Day” Green-Brown, Rosie Rios, Joanna Navarro. Back row: Gabrielle Sheerer, Dominique Rocker, Bryonn Bain, Derrick Kemp.