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Monday, April 13th, 2020 Academics No Comments

Historian Julie Weise’s grant will transform a podcast into a YouTube series

Editor’s Note: Julie Weise is a CLLAS affiliated faculty member. This article originated in Around the O.

Julie Weise

Around the O, March 2, 2020—Julie Weise, an associate professor of history, has been awarded a $50,000 public-engagement grant to take her Nuestro South project to the next level, building on a successful podcast series to create a five-part YouTube series.

The YouTube series will showcase the long history of Latinx life in the Deep South, celebrating 100 years of Latinx culture and contributions in the region. The grant was awarded by the Whiting Foundation.

Weise’s work will build on a previous seed grant she received in 2018, also from the Whiting Foundation, which was matched by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She used the funding to collaborate with a team of media-savvy Latinx community leaders and college students to create the Nuestro South podcast.

The podcast filters historical scholarship on Latinx people in the South through the lens of youth who are discovering and celebrating their roots in the region. 

“This new dimension in my career has been unexpected and wonderful as I work with brilliant partners to provide the region’s Latinx youth an opportunity to discover the histories of their forebears,” Weise said.

Phil Scher, divisional dean for social science in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the award stands out because it helps make research accessible to the general public.

“Professor Weise has achieved something important for any scholar: She has been able to take her academic research and scholarship to new audiences outside of the academy,” he said. “The Whiting is a wonderful acknowledgement of the kind of exemplary public engagement we value so deeply at the University of Oregon.”

Weise said that for the hundreds of thousands of Latinx youth living in the Deep South, many of whom are children of immigrants who settled during a wave of migration in the 1990s, it can be challenging to understand how they fit into the standard schoolbook history of a black-and-white South. Yet, the history of Southern Latinx communities dates back more than a century.

Her 2015 book, “Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910,” pioneered scholarship on this under-studied subject, illuminating the lives of Mexican merchants and laborers in interwar New Orleans, Mexican sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta, bracero guest workers in Arkansas, migrant workers in rural Georgia and immigrant settlement in the exurbs of Charlotte in the 1990s. 

After her book was published, Weise did some radio interviews in the South. Among those who heard her was Erik Valera, a nonprofit leader and community activist in North Carolina. Valera reached out to Weise to say that he felt the stories and insight she presented were very important and that he wanted to explore how to make them accessible to others in the community.

“He said he wanted to see the histories from my book on the smartphone of every Latinx young person in the South,” Weise recalls. “As you can imagine, I pretty much fell off my couch. He had faith that the community really cared about this history, and he was right.”

This was the origin of the podcast and now the YouTube series.

With the new Whiting award, Weise and her collaborators will take an extended road trip around the South to shoot and edit the YouTube series. In each stop on their trip, college student hosts will interview Southerners about their and their families’ connection to local Latinx history, retell the stories of Mexican immigration to the area, and engage local young people in conversations about the past.

“The video series and accompanying social media engagement will give Latinx youth a platform to explore their identities, shape their narrative of belonging and see reflections of themselves in historical figures who worked, raised families and fought for justice in the U.S. South,” Weise said.

The Whiting Public Engagement Program is a national grant founded to champion the public humanities in all its forms and to highlight the roles scholars play in using the humanities to advance communities around the country. Weise’s grant was one of 14 awarded to scholars who are tackling pressing challenges in communities.

“The judges were deeply impressed with the way Dr. Weise has developed the Nuestro South collaboration,” said Daniel Reid, executive director of the Whiting Foundation. “They see her proposed next steps as a model for how to bring fresh scholarship to a public who will not only be interested but will be transformed by it.”

By Lisa Raleigh, College of Arts and Sciences

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Monday, March 2nd, 2020 Affiliated faculty, Research No Comments

Laura Pulido is the newest recipient of a Collins Chair

Editor’s Note: Laura Pulido is a CLLAS affiliated faculty member. This story originated in Around the O.

Laura Pulido

Around the O, February 21, 2020—Laura Pulido, a professor in two UO departments who has had a wide-ranging influence on campus and beyond, has been named a Collins Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Collins gift specifies that the recipient of the endowed chair be an outstanding scholar in the humanities disciplines or one who studies “aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches.”

Pulido holds a joint appointment in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies, where she has also served as department head, and the Department of Geography. Her research focuses on how working-class people of color struggle for their rights within the confines of what she calls “racial capitalism,” the idea that racism is an endemic aspect of capitalist economies.

More recently, her work has shifted to structures of domination, especially white supremacy and nationalism and how they shape the U.S., including its historical geography.

“Dr. Pulido has a truly outstanding record of scholarly achievements, with an international profile,” said Bruce Blonigen, Tykeson Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who cited Pulido’s 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2018 Harold Rose Anti-Racism Award from the Association of American Geographers, and 2018 Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography by the Association of American Geographers as recent examples of her scholarly achievements and recognition.

Pulido’s arrival on the UO campus was heralded by colleagues across campus. Alec Murphy, professor of geography and Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences, noted that “Laura’s arrival was widely viewed as a coup for UO’s geography department because of her visibility as a disciplinary citizen and the far-reaching impact of her scholarly work on the geographic roots and implications of racial inequality.”

David Vázquez, department head for English and a specialist in Latinx literature, also was enthusiastic about Pulido’s contributions.

“She is one of the leading figures in both the study of race and social movements and in the field of environmental justice studies,” he said. “As one of the top researchers in the world on environmental justice, she further consolidates UO’s reputation as the premier university in the U.S. for environmental studies.”

Pulido has spent much of her career studying how activists create meaningful social and environmental change. She said her interest in political activism began when, as a child, she first learned about Harriett Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

“My inability to understand her courage and actions led me to study how people become activists, their visions for changing the world, how they create change and the obstacles they encounter,” she said. “The fact that the first person I ever admired was a black woman is also meaningful. Although my work is anchored by the study of ethnic Mexicans, I knew that I could never draw too tight a boundary around them. Consequently, I have written a good deal about comparative and relational ethnic studies.”

Pulido said she was delighted to be the recipient of a Collins Chair.

“The University of Oregon attracted me because it was an excellent fit intellectually, but I have found it to also be a very welcoming place.” She said. “As a faculty member of indigenous, race, and ethnic studies, I am especially pleased to be recognized in this way because far too often people do not think ethnic studies is a serious field of scholarship.”

Pulido joins David Li, Collins Professor of the Humanities, who has held the Collins Chair in English since 1999.

By Lisa Raleigh, College of Arts and Sciences

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Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 Affiliated faculty, Awards No Comments

Bilingualism: Myths Abound!

February 13, 2020
6:00 pm

Powerpoint Links Now Included

Gumwood Room, EMU 245

Bilingualism (and multilingualism) are prevalent across the United States, yet myths about its development, value, and role in educational spaces continue to spread. Join faculty researchers from the College of Education and the Department of Linguistics as we share our research related to bilingualism at all stages of the lifespan, and dispel some of the common misconceptions you may have heard.

Moderated by Lillian Durán, Associate Professor of Special Education

View Powerpoints of the following presentations:

This event is co-sponsored by CLLAS and the College of Education.

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Winter 2020 CLLAS Notes

Winter 2020 CLLAS Notes

The 2020 winter edition of CLLAS Notes, our twice-yearly newsletter, is now available online. Print edition will be available after January 1.

Gabriela Martínez, CLLAS director and SOJC professor, revisits our fall events. Fall saw the kick-off of a new two-year theme, “The Politics of Language in the Americas: Power, Culture, History, and Resistance.” CLLAS organized several fall events, including partnering with the UO Common Reading program and Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art this fall to host a brunch with Helena María Viramontes, author of Under the Feet of Jesus.

Read about award-winning poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s visit to UO on October 9, which included a poetry slam and a teach-in where guests teamed up to compose original poems. Learn about CLLAS-funded faculty and graduate research on topics ranging from agricultural practices in Amazonian Ecuador to gender-based violence in Brazil. 

The 2020 winter edition of CLLAS Notes, Volume 11, Issue 1, includes:

  • Letter from Director, Gabriela Martínez
  • “Poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva a Big Hit with UO Students”
  • Graduate Research—“Transmission of Traditional Botanical Knowledge among the Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador”
  • Graduate Research—“Recalling Runaways: Studies of Slavery and Absenteeism in Cuba”
  • Graduate Research—“The Struggle Continues: Gender-based Violence and the Politics of Justice and Care in Urban Brazil”
  • Faculty Research—“Decolonial Environmentalisms: Race, Genre, and Latinx Literature”
  • News & Book Notes
  • Event Reports

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Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 Publications, Research No Comments

Tracing the journeys of the Caribbean’s first people

Reprinted from Around the O
https://around.uoregon.edu/content/tracing-journeys-caribbeans-first-people

Caribbean Digging at Grand Bay

January 6, 2020—People first settled the Caribbean thousands of years ago, but their exact migration routes have long remained a puzzle. Now, a new study coauthored by eight UO researchers is piecing that puzzle together through a rigorous reexamination of archaeological data.

Published in the journal Science Advances, the study reports evidence that the first Caribbean islanders traveled directly from South America to the northern Caribbean beginning about 5,800 years ago, initially settling Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles and smaller islands in the northern Lesser Antilles before further colonizing islands to the south.

“This scenario contradicts a competing ‘stepping stone’ model that many archaeologists still subscribe to, which asserts a south-to-north settlement beginning in the Lesser Antilles,” said Matthew Napolitano, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology

Critics of the stepping stone model point out that trade winds and ocean currents in the region would have made travel toward the southern Lesser Antilles difficult for expeditions from the South or Central American mainlands and that early seafarers would likely have been attracted to the larger, more productive islands of the Greater Antilles, settling those first before gradually migrating southward.

The new study is the culmination of a graduate student project supervised by Scott Fitzpatrick, associate director of the UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History and a professor in the Department of Anthropology. Conducted over a four-year period by Napolitano and Fitzpatrick along with graduate students Robert DiNapoli, Jessica Stone and several others, the project was designed to put the stepping stone model and other Caribbean settlement hypotheses to the test.

The north-to-south pattern was borne out in the team’s research, which involved tracking down and reevaluating nearly 2,500 radiocarbon dates reported from cultural sites on 55 Caribbean islands.

The authors assessed each date’s reliability using strict criteria related to the geologic and archaeological contexts of the dated material, the quality of the samples and the lab conditions under which the materials were analyzed. The dates were then subjected to rigorous statistical analyses, resulting in a new and exceptionally robust colonization model.  

“By carefully applying these criteria, we were able to improve confidence about the reported dates, as well as whether the dated materials actually relate to human activity,” Fitzpatrick said.

To the researchers’ surprise, just over half of the analyzed radiocarbon dates passed muster, despite more than 50 years of archaeological scholarship in the region.

“Our analysis of the resulting acceptable dates, which represent human occupations on 26 islands, provides the first reliable model for initial arrival in the region,” said Fitzpatrick, an expert in island and coastal archaeology whose research focuses on the Caribbean and Pacific.    

The study has also resulted in the largest publicly accessible database of radiocarbon dates for the region.     

“Human colonization of the Caribbean is one of the least understood population dispersals in the Americas,” Napolitano said. “This work helps solve some of the mystery while providing a ‘best practices’ approach to collecting and reporting radiocarbon dates.”  

—By Kristin Strommer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History

RELATED LINKS

Study finds climate helped guide early Pacific seafarers

Archaeologists develop a new picture of the human footprint

Department of Anthropology

Meet Scott Fitzpatrick

Meet Matthew Napolitano

Read the study

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Access the above link for giving to the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund. Online gifts may be made using the form available at this link; all gifts are processed by the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for receiving and administering private donations to the University of Oregon.

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CLLAS Common Reading Brunch with author Helena María Viramontes / Photos by Mike Bragg / Courtesy of the UO Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

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