IAC RESEARCH GRANTS 2004-2005

WITCH HUNTING THE BORDER: THE MAQUILADORA MURDERS

Principal Investigator: Alicia Gaspar de Alba, UCLA César Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and UCLA Department of English
 
This study examines the history of femicide "the sexual murder of women" by looking at the cross-cultural, trans-historical stereotype of the "bad woman": the witch, the prostitute, the lesbian, the disobedient wife, the rebellious daughter, the defiant nun, the mother who kills her children. What all of these figures have in common, what constitutes their "sinfulness," is how they resist the cultural, and religious codes by which a "good woman" is constructed. The Salem witchcraft trails of the 17th century offer one case in point, The "maquiladora murders" of the post-NAFTA border between El Paso and Juarez provide another. In each instance, in the eyes of their respective community, the victims "asked for it," either they were lured outside their homes by promises of a factory job, or they flaunted their talents and physical attributes. This research has three objectives: 1) to compare literary and visual representations of the witches and the Juarez victims; 2) to examine the social and judicial responses to the presence of these "bad women"; and 3) to explore the role that economic changes in each place "the development of a merchant-driven, capitalist economy in New England, and the arrival of NAFTA on the border" play in creating these "witch hunts" in the first place.
 

LATINO STUDENTS, HISPANIC SERVING INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR COLLEGE CHOICE PROCESS

Principal Investigators: Daniel G. Solorzano and Patricia Maries McDonough, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
 
Although Latinos are the fastest growing population in the United States, the number of Latino students entering college has not increased at the same rate. With the Latino population growing at such a rapid rate and the Latino students becoming the majority of K-12 student populations in some state, the educational attainment of Latinos is a growing educational equity concern. Moreover, with the substantial underenrollment of Latinos in higher education, and the disproportionate enrollment in low-selectivity colleges, the college choices of Latino students is critically important. This is a large scale, qualitative analysis of Latino students' college choices using a national sample of 269,413 first-time, full-time freshmen from 434 U.S. colleges and universities. To study the process by which Latino students choose colleges the study asks: 1) what are the characteristics of first-time, full-time Latino freshmen in the U.S.; 2) what are the similarities and differences between Puerto Rican and Mexican American student subpopulations; 3) what does the distribution of Latino students look like across postsecondary institutional types; and 4) what predicts enrollment at an Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS).
 

WHY NOT MARTHA'S VINEYARD : THE EXPROPRIATIONS IN VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO

Principal Investigator: Cesar J. Ayala, UCLA Department of Sociology
 
Description: The study examines the long term effects of the U.S. Navy's expropriation of land and expulsion from the land of the population of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. The expropriations and expulsions took place in 19420-43 and in 1947. The effects have continued ever since and this research covers the period of 1950-2000. This study uses quantitative data from Vieques taxation records available in the Archivo General de Puerto Rico, archival data from Vieques, and interviews of elderly residents who lived through the expropriations of the 1940s and are still living in the central part of Vieques. Professor Ayala has a contract to publish the completed manuscript through the University of Florida Press.
 

MENDEZ V. WESTMINSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT : THE STRUGGLE OF A MEXICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

Prinicipal Investigator: Nadine Bermudez, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
 
This research project, leading to a dissertation, is a study of the Mendez v. Westminster School District (1946, 1947) and examines the grassroots movement of a group of Mexican and Chicana/o parents, families and community members who organized to end school segregation in their community. Mendez marked the end of school segregation in California in 1947 and predates the Brown v. Board of Education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court by seven years. Along with Gonzalo Mendez were a number of supporters who worked together to resist racial discrimination. The research will provide the story of the Mexican American community struggle to end school segregation and to record the experiences of the adults who challenged it and the children (students) who lived it. The study is based on methods of qualitative research including document analysis of archived materials and the private holdings of individuals, personal interviews and oral histories, and focus groups.
 

MEXICAN AND CHICANO ARTISTS ASSERTING A TRANSNATIONAL IDENTITY THROUGH HIP- HOP

Principal Investigator: Christine Elizabeth Calderon, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology
 
This study investigates the dialectic between Mexican and Chicano popular culture: 1) how both Chicano and Mexican hip-hop artists and listeners demonstrate their Mexican heritage through lyrical content; and 2) to document and interpret the hip-hop elements that are representative of street culture and their function as a demonstration of identity, be it identity as a result of experience or identity as a result of borrowing from pop culture as a local and global phenomenon. Chicano and Mexican rap artists have taken on various elements of the "gangsta" persona and used them in an assertion of identity. Why do Mexican rappers display such a persona, when do they display something different, and what do these declarations say about the musical dialectic between the U.S. and Mexico? Because of the difficulties in finding scholarly works that fully examine these groups with musical analysis in mind, ethnographic research is essential to this study and to forming well-rounded conclusions.
 

ORAL NARRATIVES IN TLACOLULA DE MATAMOROS ZAPOTEC

Principal Investigator: Brook Danielle Lillehaugen, UCLA Department of Linguistics
 
This project is to collect and analyze a corpus of oral narratives in Tlacolula de Matamoros Zapotec (TMZ), an Oto-Manguean language indigenous to Mexico, spoken mainly in the state of Oaxaca and by some immigrants to the greater Los Angeles area. TMZ is a seriously endangered language although it may be the single language spoken by some Mexican immigrants (they do not speak Spanish); the youngest speakers are estimated to be in their 50s and there are no children acquiring this language. The text of the narratives and stories collected will be published in Zapotec, Spanish and English.