CSU Los Angeles -- September 29, 2003

Endowed Chair Initiates New Humanities Program, "American Communities," at Cal State L.A.

California State University, Los Angeles recently announced the appointment of Victor Valle (Pasadena resident) as the first endowed chair for a new humanities program at Cal State L.A., effective Fall Quarter 2003.

Valle is the inaugural Joseph A. Bailey II, M.D. Endowed Chair for Cal State L.A.’s new American Communities Program, established through a National Endowment for the Humanities matching grant.
In his capacity as chair and director of the American Communities Program, Valle will be responsible for developing and implementing the program’s short- and long-range goals, designing and supporting public programs, and distributing funds for humanities-based grant applications.

Valle will teach an annual seminar that explores the development of historical and contemporary American communities and identities. Seminars may include focus on the intersecting cultural, economic or political forces relevant to the formation and perpetuation of American communities and American identities.

Valle is a specialist on the subjects of racism in America culture, Mexican American cultural images, Chicano/a non-fiction literature, and he has taught numerous ethnic studies courses at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degree in comparative literature from CSU Long Beach, and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. This past June, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship from the Center for Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara, which he dedicated to his most recent book project, City of Industry: A Genealogy of Power. The case history proposes to show how Los Angeles will complete its emergence as global metropolis early in this decade thanks to the wealth, power, and development rationales generated in suburbs such as the City of Industry.

For eight years, Valle worked as a Los Angeles Times staff writer, receiving a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 as a member of the reporting team that wrote a multi-article series on Southern California’s Latino community. Valle has also won two Certificates of Excellence from the Greater Los Angeles Press Club: one for an investigative series in 1986 on “Hands Across America,” the other in 1983 for an investigative series on undocumented Mexican workers. His book, Recipe of Memory: Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine, garnered three nominations for its literary quality from two of the nation’s leading culinary book competitions. This book has been translated into Italian and a paperback edition is available as well. His latest book, Latino Metropolis, in its third printing, examines the political, economic, and cultural ramifications of an emerging Latino majority in the greater Los Angeles area.

The Cal State L.A. American Communities Program and Endowed Chair explores the question, “What does it mean to be ‘an American’?” by studying the evolving nature of American identity through the humanities disciplines. The endowment supports a two-three year rotating chair and a variety of academic programs, such as faculty-student collaborative research; new curriculum and teaching; seminars and public events; undergraduate and post-doctoral fellowships; and faculty research grants.

The American Communities Program is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and major matching funders including The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, Edison International and individual donors. Joseph A. Bailey II, M.D., prominent San Bernardino area physician, donated the culminating gift to name the chair and establish a component of the chair focusing on African-American history and culture.

Contact: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044

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