The DResSUP Summer session is now in full swing with five new graduate student partners and two assistants!

Graduate student partners

Bernard is a second-year sociology student with a background in evolutionary biology and bioinformatics. He is interested in the sociology of science, culture, and social science genomics.

Social scientists have often borrowed concepts from evolutionary biology to explain changes in culture over time. For his summer DResSUP project, Bernard is committing to this metaphor by imagining cultural domains such as music or literature as ecosystems of different “species” or “lineages” that are born, expand/contract, and go extinct over time. In practice, he is using statistical models from evolutionary biology to explain historical patterns in the cultural diversity of two ecosystems: the sub-genres of metal music and themes in Danish folklore.

Fitting these models to a corpus of 115,000 metal bands or 138,000 folk tales, he hopes to characterize the growth of different lineages (genres or themes) across space and time, identify competitive or synergistic interactions between these lineages, and test hypotheses about the effects of exogenous historical events on the number and distribution of lineages.

Terry holds a M.A. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Schooling from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Originally from San Francisco Bay Area, Terry has two lines of research. The first line of research concerns the historical origins of racial and gender inequality in the juvenile justice and education systems in the United States, and the second involves stereotypicality and the experiences of Black girls in discipline contexts.

Outside of academia, Terry serves as a Director of People Strategy and Operations at FOREFRONT, a nonprofit that focuses on innovative, long-term sustainability projects for undeveloped communities.

Terry’s DResSUP project will examine the early-twentieth century history of convict leasing, educational progress, and juvenile incarceration among Black adolescents in the state of Georgia.

Oscar J. Mayorga was born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami FL. He has worked in various capacities in higher education institutions for the last 15 years in the Northeast, where he was the Director of a Cross-Cultural Center and Chief Diversity Officer. When Oscar is not working, he enjoys family bike rides across Southern California with his partner and two young children.

Oscar’s project will use novel textual analytical techniques to examine the discourse surrounding the various California immigration ballot initiatives between 1900 to 1999. We will be analyzing articles and editorials in Southern California Newspapers during that time period. There are two competing hypotheses: one is that immigration is racialized and can be understood within racial formation theory. The other is that immigration is framed as primarily an economic issue, subject to only locals’ concerns about the social ills associated with poverty. I hypothesize the economic language used in the immigration discourse does not represent the de-racialization of immigration discourse or the decline of extreme variants of nativism in Southern California, but rather shows an emergence of a new racial code or vocabulary for expressing many long standing and strong ethno-racial sentiments. This study will also provide a substantial methodological contribution. The project will use supervised textual machine learning to analyze hundred years of news articles, op-eds, letter to the editors and editorials.

Chelsey is a PhD student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese interested in social justice, particularly in Mexican and Chicanx contexts. During her MA, her research centered around street performance and its digital representation in reaction to the enforced disappearance in Iguala. This research inspired her to delve further into questions of memory and truth, which is what she currently focuses on. She looks forward to continuing to explore these ideas within the digital realm and traversing the field of Digital Humanities.

Her project in DResSUP echoes these interests. Entitled “Thick-Truthing: Complicating the Archive and Networking State Violence”, this project addresses the ongoing phenomenon of state violence in Mexico as a tradition within an era of informal wars. To fully understand such a seemingly unintelligible event and the way in which it is remembered, she argues that it is vital to create networks between Mexico’s past and also within its present. Furthermore, she aims to complicate the concept of ‘truth’, considering it not as a uni-lateral fact, but as a prismed-construction. In sight of such goals, this summer she hopes to focus on the way truth in regards to Ayotzinapa is portrayed in major US and Mexican newspapers, gaining skills such as data mining and word-mapping. Chelsey is excited to learn as much as she can!

Natalie is a Ph.D student in the Chicana/o Studies department at UCLA. She explores the relationship between identity, race, and ethnicity through a food studies lens. Natalie is particularly interested in analyzing the role of food spaces and pathways in developing conceptions of identity, race and ethnicity in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. Her areas of study include history, race, ethnicity, and food studies. Natalie uses an array of methodology, including qualitative interviewing, cognitive mapping, surveys and census data to narrate rich cultural histories in the San Gabriel Valley. She hopes to continue her work in the San Gabriel Valley to further expand the research of this geographical, culturally rich suburb of Los Angeles.

Natalie’s project, Mapping Foodways in the San Gabriel Valley, focuses on a historiography of food in the San Gabriel Valley. What significant contributions have Mexican American farmers made in establishing foodways in the San Gabriel Valley? Focusing on erased, whitewashed narratives of a Mexican American farmer of the early 1900s, Cruz Baca, she seeks to trace his impact to the development of Baldwin Park, a city in the SGV. Baca’s untold story as the sole producer of dried chiles and cornhusks of all the San Gabriel Valley sheds light on the impact of local food sources and points to the constant erasure of people of color from local historical narratives in Southern California. By mapping foodways, customer networks, and product distribution, she hopes to recognize significant contributions of Mexican American farmers in this particular area that have often been erased and omitted.

DResSUP assistants



Guest lecturers



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