Graduate Students Research Grants Recipients


Ingrid Lagos

Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies Graduate Group

Lagos studies "how national subjects are transformed into transnational subject within El Salvador." Funds were allocated for travel to El Salvador to research the national identity projects planned by the Director's Office of Cultural Matters housed inside the Minister of Foreign Relations. By looking at the national identity projects intended for export, Lagos gains access to cultural material that captures the model citizens the state hopes to construct outside the country, and how this seemingly contradictory biopolitics reflects possibilities for female citizens within its borders. This cultural material will be key to structure Lagos' dissertation focus.

Brook Colley

Graduate Student, Native American Studies

“Hands that Revive: Native American Women Cultural Keepers”, video-documentary project. Funds were allocated to support Colley's recording of the first part of her video-documentary project, "A revival of Southwestern Cherokee Pottery." Each of the video segments will consist of a historical review of the art form and the role of women as aesthetic cultural keepers. This first part focuses on two Cherokee women living in Vinita, Oklahoma, Anna Belle Sixkilles Mitchel and Victoria Vasquez-Mitchel. Colley's research objective for this first part is to record guided interviews with the two Cherokee women as they discuss and engage in making Southeastern style pottery.

Sharada Balachandran-Orihuela

Ph. D Candidate, English Department

“The role of border literatures in U.S. nation formation at the turn of the 20th century”. Funds were allocated to conduct research at the Texas A&M University; Benson Latin American Collection, at the University of Texas and at the Texas State University. In Texas Balachandran-Orihuela conducted extensive archival work on Tejana writers of the early 20th century, specially Jovita Gonzalez.This portion of the project, will be developed into a full chapter for her dissertation. Balachandran-Orihuela's larger project explores representations of the Global South in 20th century literary and cultural production in the U.S. This research will build on an already established canon on transamerican political and cultural relations.


Jessica Bejarano

Masters Candidate, Department of Music

A student in Orchestral Conducting, as well as the Assistant Conductor of the UCD Symphony Orchestra, Bejarano received funding from the C/LRC to participate in an intensive summer conducting program at the International Academy for Advanced Conducting in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of twelve students accepted, Bejarano is the only Latina who will participate in this course. This program represents the necessary “field research” that will help advance Bejarano’s promising career as a conductor, a field in which Latinas are undoubtedly underrepresented.

Magalí Rabasa

Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies Graduate Group

“Gendered Transnational Exchanges in the Zapatista Movement.” Funds were allocated to support Rabasa’s travel to the Zapatista Women’s Gathering, held in Chiapas, Mexico in December 2007. As a participant-observer, Rabasa examines the intercultural dynamics that emerge through this international gathering, paying particular attention to the specific issues of decolonization and education that are raised by both the indigenous Zapatista women and the international activists and observers.


Silvia Soto

Graduate Student, Native American Studies

“P´uhrépecha Communities: Language, Indigena/o Communities, and Transnationalism.” Funds were allocated for travel to Mexico to participate in an intensive P´uhrépecha language course. The participation in this language course facilitates comparative research between indigenous communities in Mexico and the flow of indigenous immigration to the United States. The acquisition of language is extremely relevant because it allows for active participation in the environment of indigenous peoples.

Dina Fachin

Graduate Student, Native American Studies

“Mothers, grandmothers, wives and daughters: the central role of women in cultural survival and resistance across borders.” Funds were allocated for travel to conduct interviews in Mexico and the Central Valley of indigenous women. This research investigates to what extent women engaged in cultural production utilize writing and/or visual media technology as resources for asserting indigenous identity and as political tools in the struggle for autonomy, self-determination, and gender equality.


Sandy Gomez

Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies

“Locating Mexicana Entrepreneurs in the Home: Rethinking the Fluidity of the Public and Private Spheres.” Funds were allocated for travel to conduct additional interviews with Latina women working for Princess House, a direct marketing company that allows employees to participate in the labor market in their native Spanish language and with networks of family and friends. This project investigates the disruption to the public and private divide and the possibilities that develop when Latinas participate in paid labor in the home. This work also investigates the way that corporations are capitalizing off of racialized and classed, Spanish-speaking communities and their networks. Gómez recently advanced to candidacy and she will present excerpts of her findings at the National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference in Berkeley on April 1, 2006.

Anna Christina Rodas

Doctoral Student, Spanish and Classics

“Collection of Testimonies of Guatemalan War Survivors.” Funds were allocated for travel to conduct interviews with survivors of the Guatemalan civil war who witnessed massive genocide. This project examines trauma and reunification, including the role of immigration to the United States.


Sandy Gomez

Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies

“Femininity, Masquerade, and Self-Empowerment: Immigrant Voices from Princess House.” Funds were allocated for travel to conduct interviews with Latina women working for direct sale organizations. This project investigates the way that corporations capitalize off of racialized, classed, Spanish-speaking communities and their networks.

Renee Lopez

Psychology Fellow, UC Davis Counseling Center

"Racial Identity and Self-Esteem Among Biracial Americans.” Funds were allocated for travel to the Chico, Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, for the collection of data pertaining to how internalized racial oppression has shaped biracial Americans´ racial identity and self-esteem, with a focus on biracial Chicanos and Latinos. The purchase of research statistical software and the APA publication manual was also included in this grant.Dr. Lopez is currently the Interim Director for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at UC Davis, a program dedicated to assisting our student population with academic, personal and professional success.


Cibonay Cordova

Ph.D Candidate in Native American Studies

“Indigenous People´s Early Mother-Child Relationships within California and Northern Mexico.” Funds were allocated for the travel to the National Archives in San Bruno, California and sort through forty boxes of documents and reports regarding Native America children, schools, and policy. Cordova was also able to take advantage of the microfilm housed at these archives and obtained information on tribes from the area including Ohlone, Pomo, and Patwin.

Vanessa Perez

Ph.D Candidate in Comparative Literature

“The Life and Work of Poet Julia de Burgos.” Funds were allocated for travel to New York to conduct research at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos affiliated with Hunter College. The staff at el Centro provided Pérez with the opportunity to network with Jack Agueros, a poet who recently collected and translated all of Julia de Burgos´s work. Pérez advanced to candidacy June 2003 and received a grant from the Comparative Literature Department. She is currently in the final stages of her dissertation and is on schedule to file with her committee this April for a June 2006 graduation.

Haley Hinda Seif

Ph.D Candidate, Department of Anthropology

“Contesting Mexican (Im)migrant Illegalization: Latinas and State Legislative Politics in Post-Proposition 187 California.” Funds were allocated for services, travel, supplies and materials, software and training associated with research on the representation of undocumented Mexican immigrants by Latina politicians and legislative staff, and how Latina immigrants become involved in the legislative process. Seif traveled to the State capitol for interviews and fieldwork centered around the participation of Latinas as elected officials, staff, and lobbyists, and as grassroots-level organizers and participants.

Stella Mancillas

Ph.D Candidate, Department of History

“Indian-White and Indian-Mexican Marriage Made in the California Rush.” Funds were allocated for travel to archives and courts in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Mariposa County, to examine legal and federal records, and newspapers, in the investigation of the conflicting social and legal statuses of five Miwok women married to White or Mexican men during the Gold Rush era. In addition to examining how these women and their children mediated structures of gender, class, and race, Mancillas also aims to bring to light the voices of these women, through their testimonies. This dissertation project will result in the publication of an article in the women´s studies journal Frontiers.

Dolores Miralles Alberola

Ph.D Candidate, Spanish and Classics

“Questions of Gender in Textual Production by Indigenous Women Writers of Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya.” Funds were allocated for travel and research expenses to conduct interviews with the Mayan women playwrights of FOMMA (Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya) Asociación Civil, in Chiapas, México. FOMMA members are actively redefining the roles of women within their communities, through their women´s center and their theater troupe. Miralles´ work is one part of a larger project on indigenous literatures of the Americas, which will result in the publication of an anthology of indigenous poetry, plays, and narratives.

Kerin Gould

Ph.D Candidate, American Studies

“Indigenous Self-determination and Self-development: the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.” Funds were allocated for travel to the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples, to meet indigenous leaders, and observe their work. Gould interviewed Otomí activist Margarita Gutiérrez and discussed areas of friction and collaboration among indigenous groups and Chicanos, as well as the challenges indigenous women face as they work internationally and also raise families. Through Gutiérrez´ assistance, Gould made contacts with other indigenous representatives as well.


Annie Ross

Ph.D Candidate, Native American Studies

“One Mother Earth, One Doctor Water: A Story of Environmental Justice in the Age of Nuclearism, A Native American View.” Funds were allocated for travel and related expenses for the completion of dissertation research and writing, which presents the testimonies of indigenous activists in the US southwest who are working to improve their communities, in the shadow of nuclearism.

Stella Mancillas

Ph.D Candidate, Department of History

“The Nuptials of Lucy and John Hite: An Indian-White Marriage Made In the California Gold Rush.” Funds were allocated for travel and research expenses for the completion of a conference paper examining Indian/White, gender, class relations, and the property of “whiteness” from 1849 to 1900. The paper was presented at the Western History Association annual meeting in October 2002, as part of a panel focusing on case studies of California Indians and their quest for legal justice in the wake of the changes imposed by the Gold Rush.

Haley Hinda Seif

Ph.D Candidate, Department of Anthropology

“Undocumented Mexican (Im)migrants´ Legislative Participation and Representation in Post-Proposition 187 California: A Gendered Perspective.” Funds were allocated for the transcription of interviews with Mexican and other Latina immigrant women activists mobilizing for the rights of undocumented immigrants in California. This work explores the participation and culture of immigrant women in state legislative politics, the political representation by politicians of Mexican ancestry of undocumented immigrants, and the gendered dynamics of these processes. Seif demonstrates the central participation of Latinas as elected officials and staff, lobbyists, and grassroots-level organizers.

2001-2002 Quarter-Long Research Fellowship Recipients

Julia A. Cottle

Ph.D Candidate, Department of Anthropology

“Para Mujeres Como Nosotras: Women Workers´ Experiences of Restructuring in Northern California´s Tomato Processing Industry.” Julia A. Cottle used her fellowship funds for the analysis of data collected from interviews with thirteen women cannery workers from three Central Valley, California canneries. She presented the results of her work in “Para Mujeres Como Nosotras: Women Workers´ Experiences of Restructuring in Northern California´s Tomato Processing Industry,” at the C/LRC Quarterly Luncheon on March 8. Cottle´s research explores the social consequences of capitalist restructuring in agriculture and agro-industries, as well as their impacts on racial, ethnic and gender differentiation in the US. Her work addresses the cultural politics of recent tomato cannery closedowns and the multiple challenges workers face, specifically in their interactions with public officials and agencies, and the strategies they utilize to meet their economic and social needs after the loss of their primary source of income. This research shows that the closedowns have intensified the workers´ experience and attention to unequal treatment attributed to racial and ethnic differences, and illustrates the ways in which gender informs these women´s understandings of and responses to the discrimination they describe.

Sylvia Escarcega

Ph.D Candidate, Nutrition

“Politics of Indigenousness or Redefining ‘Lo Indígena’: Cultural Politics Among Mexican Indigenous Intellectuals and Activists.” Sylvia Escárcega is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology who presented a portion of her dissertation entitled, “Politics of Indigenousness or Redefining ‘Lo Indígena’: Cultural Politics Among Mexican Indigenous Intellectuals and Activists,” at the C/LRC Quarterly Luncheon in Fall 2002. The C/LRC research fellowship enabled Escárcega to conduct extensive interviews with five indigenous intellectual/activist women in Los Angeles and Fresno, and to complete follow-up, long-distance interviews with similar women at the United Nations, with the aim of documenting political and cultural discourses of Mexican indigenous women who live and act in what Escárcega defines as the transnational arena of California. This research expands upon her previous work showing that Mexican mestizo/as and indigenous peoples (re)create their ethnic identities working within this arena, and in doing so reconceptualize traditional and state-sponsored definitions of mexicanness and indigenousness, but that women and men employ different discourses. Escárcega has found that these discourses flow among the various arenas through the activism of indigenous intellectuals, who “travel” between the local and the international, and the local and the transnational. As a consequence, the struggles and resulting identities of one arena influence the struggles and identities (re)created in the other arenas, meeting at the local community level. Since 1997, Escárcega has been conducting extensive fieldwork in Mexico, Switzerland and the United States, and presenting preliminary results yearly at various international congresses. She plans to continue focusing on indigenous struggles at various sites of action, with a special emphasis on the empowering of indigenous women.

YvonneYvonne E. Cardenas

Graduate Student, Cultural Studies

Yvonne E. Cardenas is a first-year graduate student in Cultural Studies whose research centers on personal narrative and oral history in the Cuban diaspora. She presented her work-in-progress, “Que gusto me da sentir tu voz: An Opening Dialog with My Cuban Family” at the C/LRC Quarterly Luncheon on May 31, 2002. C/LRC fellowship funds allowed for the writing of this narrative that recounts Cardenas’ first visit to her mother’s homeland of Cuba, and the profound connections that she and her family in Cuba both discovered and created in the shared experiences of day-to-day life in Arroyo Naranjo, a neighborhood of Havana.

Following Edouard Glissant, Cardenas interprets the diasporic condition not as one of divergence, but rather as a convergence of “here and elsewhere,” in which geographical separation does not erase a community’s shared history, but merely interrupts that history and allows for the accretion of new influences. The text itself represents a collection of voices arising in varying moments and places, which come together in this interweaving of ethnography, storytelling and poetry. Cardenas used the research funds associated with this fellowship for a return trip to Cuba in the summer of 2002.