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Six new UCLA ladder faculty members were presented with the inaugural Chancellor’s Award for Community-Engaged Scholars, supported by both the Chancellor’s Office and the UCLA Center for Community Learning, for the 2019-2020 academic year. Each recipient will receive $10,000 towards supporting their own community-engaged research and design to implement in an undergraduate course. For the purposes of this award, “Community-engaged research, in this context, encompasses research and creative work across all fields that address an agenda of social justice and create reciprocal value with community partners. At its best, community-engaged research both achieves high levels of scholarly recognition within a field and advances efforts to redress social inequalities” (UCLA Internal Funding Opportunities). This is a strong cohort who meets the community-engaged research standards and whose work will be a major contribution to academic scholarship.

This well-deserved honor calls for celebration and congratulations to all the awardees, but especially to the three faculty members from our Division, Drs. Maylei Blackwell, Marissa Lopez, and Meredith Phillips. Below is a list of all the recipients, their department, and a short description of their community-engaged research project.

  • Maylei Blackwell, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano studies. In her course, Blackwell plans to use community archives and oral histories to map the Latin American indigenous diaspora in Los Angeles.
  • Arleen Brown, professor of medicine. In Brown’s course, students will work with community organizations and academic faculty to reduce chronic disease disparities in Los Angeles County through community-engaged collaborative projects.
  • Jenny Jay, professor of civil and environmental engineering. Jay’s course will center around environmental research that engages community members.
  • Marissa Lopez, associate professor of English and Chicana and Chicano studies. In Lopez’s course, students will partner with the Los Angeles Public Library to build a geolocation smartphone app that displays historical images of Mexican Los Angeles.
  • Rashmita Mistry, professor of education, and Karen Quartz, director, UCLA Center for Community Schooling. Their course will have students delve into educational research methodological approaches using an equity and social justice lens.
  • Meredith Phillips, associate professor, public policy and sociology. Phillips’ course will have students use student and staff survey data to improve K-12 education.

For more information, read the UCLA Newsroom story HERE.

UCLA professors Abigail C. Saguy and Juliet A. Williams recently published a piece in the Scientific American titled, “Why We Should All Use They/Them Pronouns.” They sparked a conversation around the idea that gendered identifiers can lead to more bias and discrimination, so instead, maybe we should all use gender neutral pronouns: they/them. This article received a range of responses, which led to a follow-up piece written in the Scientific American by Drs. Saguy and Williams as well as Drs. Robin Dembroff (Yale University) and Daniel Wodak (University of Pennsylvania).

Their article, “We Should All Use They/Them Pronouns…Eventually,” responds to critics who may not fully understand the recommendation to why gender-neutral language should be universal. The authors further explain their research and perspectives by countering critiques that bring up concerns addressing gender equality, gender justice, gendered language, Western-centric language, trans perspective, misgendering, grammatical gender and how gendering avoidance can be a form of violence.

The authors realize that moving towards using gender-neutral pronouns will not happen overnight, however, as we begin to comprehend the importance of the change to use gender-neutral pronouns as default, then we can truly move closer to gender equality. To read more details about the significance of gender neutrality, click HERE.

The LA Social Science e-forum is kicking off the summer by announcing our brand new search tool on the website.

Do you need an expert in the social sciences?  Find any of our amazing UCLA faculty members in the Division of Social Sciences in one place by simply entering a search term (e.g., name, department, or research specialty).  Check out this new search tool HERE or click on “Expert Search” in the menu at the top of the page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

#LightingTheWay #ChangingLA #ChangingTheWorld #UCLA100

 

INSEAD, The Business School for the World, “brings together people, cultures, and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society” (INSEAD Mission Statement). In March, INSEAD hosted the Women at Work Research Conference in Singapore. This conference offered a space for researchers across the world to come together to share their findings on gender. Specifically, on the experience of women in the workforce and possible solutions to cultivate gender balance.

Among the presenters was Dr. Kerri L. Johnson, a UCLA professor in the Departments of Communication and Psychology. Additionally, Dr. Johnson serves as the Chair for the Department of Communication and as the Director of UCLA’s Social Vision Lab. Her research uses innovative methods of communication science that allows her to uncover unique nonverbal ways of communication and understanding between individuals and groups.

Dr. Johnson’s conference presentation discussed her research around visual representation and gender fit. Many of us have unconscious gender biases that can affect the way we may respond towards others. She found in her research that the response to men and women who appeared to be more masculine were assumed to have more work and STEM success compared to those who displayed more femininity. To combat these biases, Dr. Johnson suggested that organizations should diversify their workplace with influential role models that represent all genders, occupational positions (including leadership roles), and physical appearances. By changing the way we are normalized to visualize associations, we can break the unconscious biases that are connected to gender, fit, and capability.

If you want to learn more about the important research about women at work, click HERE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Armenian_Americans_in_Los_Angeles

By Lilit Ghazaryan

UCLA Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Immigrant families living in the United States are often faced with the challenge of either raising their children monolingual or putting the emphasis on also teaching them their ancestral language. The Armenian community in Los Angeles lives in a bilingual and bicultural reality where they must navigate their way through at least two languages and two cultures on a daily basis. Trying to maintain one’s traditional and cultural norms as well as pass them down to the next generation is as important to the Armenian community as it is to any other minority group in the greater Los Angeles area. Language is one of the biggest aspects of heritage identity and plays a crucial role in maintaining that part of one’s self.

Within the Armenian community, parents are faced with decisions about how to facilitate their children’s language development in their heritage language. Choosing Armenian daycares, which are quite popular in Los Angeles, has been a widespread means for introducing Armenian children to their national identity, language, and traditions at a young age. Many of these Armenian daycares are home based and have been operating for 10 to 20 years caring after many children of Armenian descent.

My research interest towards the topic of raising bilingual children led me to one of these Armenian daycares. I was curious and wanted to understand how Armenian children navigated between the two languages, English and Eastern Armenian, especially during play time when the children were given creative freedom to choose what to play, who to play with, and most importantly which language to communicate with their peers. I spent around two months observing these children. The information documenting their interactions were gathered mainly through video recordings. In addition, I provided questionnaires for parents to share details regarding their family’s unique linguistic background, which included observations of their children’s language use in the home. These parents were all first-generation immigrants from the Republic of Armenia. The primary language spoken by all the families was Eastern Armenian (one of the two varieties of Armenian, the other variety is Western Armenian).

My observations exceeded my expectations as I witnessed children’s ease in manipulating language in both English and Eastern Armenian. Throughout their designated play time, the children learned from one another, efficiently tutoring each other in two languages while also developing a sense of identity as multilingual speakers. For instance, children translated words and/or phrases for each other; switched the language of dialogue based on the proficiency of the listener, and asked each other questions about both languages including specific meanings to given words. All of these speech practices showcased their metalinguistic awareness (speaker’s awareness of the languages they speak) of their own linguistic abilities as well as the proficiency of their peers in either of the languages. By focusing on the metalinguistic aspect of their communications, my goal is to show the advantages of growing up as simultaneous bilinguals, which helps children develop a strong sense towards the linguistic nuances earlier then their monolingual peers. My aim is to illustrate the masterful ways children play with language and incorporate language in play, while simultaneously developing their linguistic skills and understanding of language politics and practices.

This project brings awareness to the underrepresented community of the Armenian American diaspora and fills the gap within the field of similar studies conducted with children. It also highlights the important role children play in their own language socialization and the socialization of their peers. Although this study concentrates on the Armenian community, it opens a window into the world of immigrant children growing up in the linguistically dynamic city of Los Angeles navigating their way through two (in some cases even more) languages while also developing an understanding of their own identity as a multilingual person. As I continue to develop this project further with the goal of co-authoring a publication with Dr. Erica Cartmill, I hope that my work will be useful not only to scholars, but also policy makers, language teachers, parents, and caretakers. My goal is to show the vibrant linguistic environment that children grow up in, highlight the benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism, and encourage the maintenance of the heritage language within the diaspora communities.

 

Lilit Ghazaryan is a graduate student in the UCLA Department of Anthropology. Her fields of study are Linguistic Anthropology, Language Socialization, and Multilingualism. Her research focus includes metalinguistic awareness, peer-group socialization among children, and the Armenian-American community in Los Angeles.

 

On October 11, Professor Cecilia Menjivar will discuss asylum protections for immigrant women fleeing violence at this congressional briefing organized by the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Women and Crime (DWC).  For more information, see below and visit the DWC website.

Congressional Briefing: Translating Research to Policy
Improving Justice for Women and Girls
Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 9:30am – 12:30pm
Rayburn Office Building, Room 2237, Washington DC

 

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.

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.

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.