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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, a biannual publication dedicated to publishing exemplary undergraduate research in the humanities and social sciences.


Visualizing Narratives of Art as Gentrification in the "Artwashing" of Boyle Heights

In Boyle Heights, a predominantly Chicanx, working class, and renter neighborhood in Los Angeles, anti-gentrification activists have been rallying against “artwashing”—the appearance of art galleries and associated creative class consumption as a threat of gentrification. These concerns originate from the opening of several commercial art galleries in the neighborhood’s industrial outskirts adjacent to the “Arts District” in Downtown LA. The case of “artwashing” protest in Boyle Heights raises a contestation over the political and spatial possibilitiesof an art world in an existing urban neighborhood. With particular attention to these implications, this paper investigates the following critical questions: How is the relationship between art and gentrification visualized in Boyle Heights? What narrative of gentrification is represented in strategies of its resistance? This research paper will consider “artwashing” in Boyle Heights under particular social theories and geographic relations contributing to the rise of multiple forms of resistance, from neighborhood art projects capturing displacementto anti-“artwashing” organizations targeting the art galleries in the neighborhood. The investigation concludes by suggesting additional research on accounts of “artwashing” protests and urban development in the “Arts District’’ and encouraging the practice of incorporating new forms of urban development into new forms of spatial depictions and visual activism against gentrification.

The Reliability of the I-Quad and Its Predictive Utility in a Modified Dictator Game

Implicit cognition refers to experiences and beliefs that influence one’s behaviors but are not readily available for conscious awareness. Since it is not a conscious process, assessing implicit cognition requires indirect measures such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz. The classic IAT measures two distinct associations, but the current scoring algorithm produces a single statistic based on reaction times. This statistic merges information from both associations such that we cannot tell which association is driving the effect. The Quadruple Process Model (Quad), devised by Conrey, Sherman, Gawronski, Hugenberg, and Groom, provides more informative statistics regarding implicit associations at the group level. In the current study, we aimed to apply the Quad at an individual level and evaluate its effectiveness through employing a test of reliability and predictive utility through a modified dictator game. We provided evidence that the i-Quad is reliable in a test-retest scenario. We also provided support for further research of the i-Quad parameters and their role in predicting prosocial behavior. Our findings add to the growing body of literature that suggests implicit biases can have a significant but subtle effect on how individuals treat one another, especially for members of minority and stigmatized groups. Moreover, the use of the i-Quad may provide deeper insights into the ways in which implicit biases affect those around us in subtle ways that we may not be aware of.

Institutional Challenges and Political Costs in the US Failure to Ratify the ICESCR

On the international stage, the United States has played an active political role in the drafting process of international human rights treaties that shape both how human rights are framed and enforced. However, the United States has politically struggled to implement these international human rights treaties on a domestic level. Particularly, the United States government has carried structural and political tension preventing its embrace of the ICESCR. The following analysis will draw upon existing literature of the US relationship with the ICESCR and utilize Beth Simmon’s theory of treaty implementation as a framework to explain why the US has failed to ratify this central international human rights treaty. The investigation will find, by accounting for institutional hurdle, cultural preferences, and political will, that the politicization of economic rights in the US leads to favoring obstruction and isolationism in terms of treaty implementation, particularly when these deal with positive, economic rights.