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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Navigating Ethnic Hierarchies in Community-Academic Partnerships: A Case Study on Koreatown Community Politics


Based on the experiences of a Koreatown scholar, the executive director of a Koreatown nonprofit, and a longtime resident student, the article advocates for greater attention to the complex and dynamic power structures of ethnic enclaves in community-academic partnerships. We discuss the changing landscapes of Koreatown as the global nexus of the Pacific Rim economy, the city of Los Angeles’s urban redevelopment plans, and growing diversity and inequality. Programs that aim to engage effectively with ethnic communities must reassess how knowledge is produced and conveyed, how we structure partnerships within stratified communities, and how to grow from issue-based partnerships to broader communities of interest.

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