2021-22 Grant Cycle

The black pacific project: reimagining race, migration, and diaspora

Dr. Caroline Collins

The Black Pacific Project seeks to uncover and amplify under-told histories of Black folks’ relationships to water, land, and peoples in particular Pacific regions by examining early histories of oceanic movement and settlement by people of African descent along the Pacific Coast of what is now the United States (California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawai'i).

In turning to the less explored oceanography of the Pacific, this projects maps a Black ontological geography that moves beyond the trans-Atlantic master narrative—troubling and revisiting cultural canons that continue to shape understandings of settlement, extraction, ‘exploration,’ and environmental histories of race in the American West.

Drawing upon public-facing scholarship as a political praxis, this developing project includes a traveling exhibit, a small vessel build (a 28' wooden whaleboat), a short documentary film, and hands-on storytelling events and nautical workshops in addition to scholarly writing. Taken together, these methods foster and rehabilitate ancestral relationships to the natural world through reviving a Black historical past in ways that remake the present.

Project partners include the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the California Institute for Rural Studies, and UC San Diego's Indigenous Futures Institute.

cultivating environmental justice

Prof. Matilde Córdoba Azcárate

This collaboration aims to expand the spatial and environmental thinking about democratic practices in times of crisis by focusing on a specific ongoing community conflict that involves the potential loss of a public park; learning from and supporting the labor of a public SD school’s no-fences garden as a site of transformative justice as well as its ongoing place-based work on citizenship and environmental literacy for the broader community.

Abolition geography of san diego

jose lumbreras and Kerry Keith

Our project experimentally maps an abolition geography of San Diego. We follow the lead of local anti-carceral and migrant rights activists to visualize, conceptualize, and materialize “freedom [as] a place" (Gilmore, 2017; 227).  This project understands both abolition and geography as work that emphasizes political contestation and movement in spatializing liberation.

tierra y libertad

Pepe Rojo and Grant Leuning

For the last six years, the Comité Magonista Tierra y Libertad has been organizing a community through interventions —mainly in the California border— that use the takeover of Tijuana by an international anarchist army in 1911 as their starting point.

teaching race and indigeneity: towards a pedagogy of responsibility

Prof. Boatema Boateng

Developed an undergraduate course (COMM 162: Race, Indigeneity and Social Justice) following a process that rethinks standard conceptions of democratic participation and representation. The process of developing the course centered Indigenous priorities and consulted Indigenous Peoples in San Diego County. Project activities included outreach to Black and Indigenous community leaders and experts in San Diego, consultation with such leaders about pedagogical approaches and activities, and invitations to community leaders to participate in the course as experts.

know your rights workshop (Breathable streets)

Prof. Patrick Anderson, Caroline Collins, Christina Aushana, Sarah McGovern, Kali Boston

Breathable Streets is a research and media initiative focused on reimagining public safety. This is a workshop designed for high school-aged students in San Diego developing outreach programs in schools and neighborhoods to provide participants information about their rights in interactions with law enforcement officers. We partner with and amplify communities who have long demanded new approaches to public safety that prioritize equity, transparency, accountability, and restorative justice.

media and consolidation research organization (MACRO) lab

Prof. Andrew DeWaard and Prof. Shawna Kidman

The Media And Consolidation Research Organization (MACRO) Lab is a scholarly community, research lab, and online resource about media ownership for instructors, students, journalists, and citizens. We aim to provide a space that not only addresses the lack of accessible, critical materials about media consolidation, but also operates as a space to speculate and envision alternative media systems. The MACRO Lab privileges the analysis of diversity, history, power, and complexity in its goal of educating citizens about the democratic dangers of media consolidation.

development of pathologization of a new vocabulary for fat activism & fat studies

Rachel Fox

The goal of my work is to provide a new vocabulary to fat activists and fat studies scholars to challenge the pathologization of fat children by investigating the history of this phenomenon. By unearthing the construction and ongoing consequences of the concept of “childhood obesity,” I hope to develop a heuristic that my community can use to intervene in the ongoing dehumanization and bodily and psychic manipulation of fat children.

13 & k

Grant Leuning and Pepe Rojo

Two radical movements in early San Diego history, the 1911 Magonista Rebellion and the 1912 San Diego Free Speech fight share a historical repetition: May 7th, 1911, the First Battle of Tijuana and the May 7th, 1912, the assassination of union organizer Joseph Mikolash. The Comité Magonista Tierra y Libertad will repeat this date in 2022 with a production performance, traveling from speaker’s corner at 5th & E to 13th & K, the former IWW headquarters where Mikolash was killed. Along the way, we will sew, paint and distribute the flag Tierra y Libertad flag, pressing text into this reinscription and following the threads of these forgotten insurrections.

the aja archive and community empowerment

Prof. Alex Fattal

The Democracy Lab is supporting the AjA Project, a media arts non-profit based in City Heights. Democracy Lab resources are being used to help restructure the organization’s photographic archive and to give AjA teaching artists the opportunity to share their work as artists and educators with UCSD students.