Campus: CSU Long Beach -- November 04, 2002
Cal State L.A. Receives Rockefeller Foundation
Grant for New Humanities Fellowship Program
Scholars will analyze how "American" identities are formed
The Rockefeller Foundation has approved a $325,000 grant to California
State University, Los Angeles to support a humanities fellowship program,
“Becoming and Belonging: The Alchemy of Identity in the Multiethnic
Metropolis.” This is the largest private grant ever received by
the University’s College of Arts and Letters.
Cal State L.A. is one of only eight institutions in North and South
America selected as a Rockefeller residency site among 45 applicants.
In recent years, the recipients have included Columbia University, Stanford
University, and UC Berkeley.
The project, co-directed by Richard T. Rodriguez (Chicano Studies) and
Alejandra Marchevsky (Liberal Studies), will begin in fall 2003 and
continue for three years. Through the grant and matching funds from
the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Natural and Social
Sciences, two internal and two external fellowships will be supported.
“This major grant affirms the vitality of the University’s
humanities programs and the excellence of our faculty,” noted
Carl Selkin, dean of Cal State L.A.’s College of Arts and Letters.
“In particular, it reflects the importance of the humanities in
fostering a better understanding of and among Southern California communities.”
The grant—establishing Cal State L.A. as a Rockefeller residency
site—will enable researchers to study the concept of “belonging”
in American society, especially in the diaspora of greater Los Angeles
and the Pacific southwest.
Although such topics are often thought of as exclusively the domain
of the social sciences, Selkin said, “Here, faculty members in
humanities disciplines such as literary and communication studies, art
and music history, and philosophy, will partner with colleagues in the
“The College of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State L.A.
is a full partner in this project,” said Desdemona Cardoza, dean
of the College. “In fact, our Natural and Social Sciences faculty
in Chicano studies, Latin American studies, Pan-African studies, psychology,
sociology and political science have long been engaged in innovative,
interdisciplinary research. We are honored that the Rockefeller grant
validates and brings further prominence to their work.”
Over the course of three years, selected scholars from the University
and the global academic community will address three themes—fundamentalism(s)
in a multicultural society, gendered labor in the global marketplace,
and the transformation of family in hybrid cultures. Participants will
analyze how “American” identities are forged through the
confluence of cultural traditions, globalization, labor conditions,
family structures, and gender roles.
Cal State L.A.’s location, at the intersection of several of the
most significant diasporic communities in the nation, offers an ideal
site for the study of cultural dispersion and resiliency, particularly
in the Latino/a, Asian, and Middle-Eastern communities.
“One of the most important benefits of this project is the way
in which it supports and builds the long-term stability of two emerging
interdisciplinary programs: the American Communities Program established
through an NEH matching grant, and the Center for the Study of Genders
and Sexualities. Both of these projects will benefit from the momentum
the Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship Program provides,” explained
Rockefeller officials were particularly impressed with the non-traditional
structure of the grant project that made it possible for Cal State L.A.
to have an engaged community of scholars, said Professor Rodriguez.
“Normally, Rockefeller residencies only support external fellows.
By incorporating two of our own faculty scholars, we achieved a stimulating
and productive research community.”
Marchevsky added, “The program is designed to involve the entire
campus and the public through an ongoing seminar, an annual colloquium,
and an academic conference in 2006.”
“The ultimate beneficiaries of this grant will be the Cal State
L.A. students who are partners with our faculty in learning about the
world, their communities, and themselves through the humanities,”
said Herman D. Lujan, Cal State L.A. provost and vice president of Academic
“Because the daily lives of our students are closely tied to our
research theme, their participation in the fellowship will be especially
meaningful, offering them not only cutting-edge humanities research,
but a new context for their research, and possibly for their own lives,”
“For faculty, this project offers a way to encourage the optimism
and intellectual energy of our young faculty, who will be participating
in research group dialogue and a successful and innovative, faculty-inspired
program,” Lujan continued.
For more information on the Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship program,
the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities, or the American
Communities Program, contact Robin Moler, director of development, College
of Arts and Letters at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-5061.
CONTACT: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director (323)