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nineteen sixty nine ("NSN") is the official student journal of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. It is published electronically once per academic year, and is available through the University of California's eScholarship open access e-publishing initiative and the California Digital Library.

The journal's name refers to the year in which Ethnic Studies was established at UC Berkeley as a direct result of student activism through the Third World Liberation Front. Thus, nineteen sixty nine simultaneously reminds us of our origins and gestures towards the critical possibilities of Ethnic Studies for the present and the future.

Corresponding with the grassroots origins of Ethnic Studies, the idea for starting an Ethnic Studies student journal was first conceived during various feedback sessions held between students and the Department of Ethnic Studies during the 2009-2010 academic year. Due to student interest, the Department appointed a graduate student to head this initiative in 2010 and the journal was officially launched in 2011.

As such, the journal is managed and edited by both undergraduate majors and graduate students in the Ethnic Studies program at UC Berkeley with minimal direction from the Department and faculty. All submissions to the journal will be reviewed by a committee comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students in Ethnic Studies (and its affiliated programs), as well as our faculty consultants.

The Future(s) of Ethnic Studies

Issue cover
Cover Caption: Pocho, The Smiles of the Bay, 2009. Digital photography.

How has the field of Ethnic Studies transformed within the last forty years? What are some current examples of innovative and emerging work within the field? How do you envision the future of Ethnic Studies for the twenty-first century?

This inaugural volume of nineteen sixty nine seeks to demonstrate the multiple ways in which scholarly and creative work in Ethnic Studies re-envisions the past, transforms the present, and re-imagines the future.

Articles

Derelict Visions: An Introduction

In writing this introduction, I echo Fanon’s opening remarks in Black Skin White Masks. Fanon begins Black Skin White Masks with a critique of the tradition of introducing academic works. He writes, “It is good form to introduce a work in psychology with a statement of its methodological point of view. I shall be derelict. I leave methods to the botanists and the mathematicians. There is a point at which methods devour themselves.” It is important here to not take the sentiment expressed by Fanon in these opening lines as being anti-intellectual or even anti-method in intention. Rather, Fanon continues his introduction with an impassioned overview of his decolonial methodology, providing the reader with the tools necessary to understand the critical truth that is to follow.Likewise, we will also be derelict in this introduction.

The Future(s) of Ethnic Studies is in its Past(s)…and in the Surrounding Possibilities

According to Walter D. Mignolo, unlike the speakers of modern European languages where the future is "in front" of the person, for the Quichua or Aymara people of Ecuador the future is "behind" as it cannot be seen.  That is, because the past can be remembered and therefore "seen," it is for this reason that it is "in front" of you.[i] From this perspective, it's imperative—if we are to consider the future(s) of Ethnic Studies—to look, carefully examine, and reflect on the field's past(s).  Moreover, if the past can be remembered and therefore "seen in front" of you, them it should follow that the "present" is always already a surrounding portal of infinite possibilities and opportunities.  By fusing these perspectives, this article has two goals.  The first one is to call attention to the activist origins of Ethnic Studies.  Having its foundation in a decolonizing praxis, I argue that activism and community organizing always should be central to the field.  From the perspective that Ethnic Studies should be attuned to the openings that the current context of activism is providing, the second goal is to highlight my participation in recent campus and community centered organizing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The reason for this is that, if Ethnic Studies intends to remain relevant the current historical contours and communities, the field's activist underpinnings must be aligned with current decolonizing social change happening on the ground.

[i] Walter D. Mignolo, "Globalization and the Geopolitics of Knowledge: The Role of the Humanities in the Corporate University," Nepantla: Views from the South, 4.1, (2003), 114.

Badass, Motherfucker, and Meat-Eater: Kit Yan’s Trans of Color Slammin’ Critique and the Archives of Possibilities

In this article, I examine Badass, a spoken word performance by Chinese American female-to-male transgender slam poet Kit Yan. Performed live on stage across the country and disseminated online via YouTube, Yan’s intense, fast-paced articulation of contradictory masculinities in Badass provides a powerful insight into the construction of gender, identity, and community through a trans of color perspective. As a collage of divergent masculine identities—such as rebellious adolescent, consumerist middle-class, racialized, mainstream gay, and punk-rock—Badass highlights the male anxiety around cultivating normative masculinity due to the presence of multiple masculine standards. I argue that Yan’s performance brings to attention the impossibility for male-identified people, in general, and Asian American men, in particular, to simply reclaim maleness in order to be recognized as legitimate citizen-subjects, since there is no such a thing as a singular, authentic masculine ideal in which one can easily draw upon as a measure of identification and belonging.

Most importantly, Badass provides an incisive critique of Asian American nationalist and Asian settler colonialist attempts to recuperate Asian American male subjectivity through gender conformity and sexual disciplining. In examining the history of Asian immigration to the United States mainland and the colonial context of Hawai’i, particularly the moment of transition in the perception of Asian immigrants from “undesirable aliens” to “respectable citizens” facilitated by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, I contend that Yan’s work insightfully addresses the violence of “community” in the post-Civil Rights era and intervenes in the very processes of representation.

Ethnicity in Wounded Spaces: Instrumentalism and the Making of Africa in Brazil

The shaping of ethnic citizenry is embedded in complicated processes of engagement with ancestry, self and group formation, metaphors for belonging and cultural shift. I argue that at the core of all ethnic citizenry is a complicated relationship with social memory. This manifests in an artful encounter with aspects of one’s ancestry in order to facilitate the ongoing construction of self, moving forward into an aspirational future. Socially defined kinship is a powerful referent for belonging in moments where ethnic identities are claimed, challenged, or reconfigured for present day political, social and economic purposes. Ethnic loyalties are formed amidst complicated conditions for remembering and forgetting, thus they often manifest most creatively and powerfully in those instances where they affect the personal and the political dimensions of difficult lives. In this discussion I engage with primordialist, constructionist and instrumentalist approaches to ethnicity in an effort to find the most suitable methodology for engaging with ethnicity in wounded spaces. These spaces represent instances where ethnic identity is a political project prefaced on collective and social memory that attests to difficult or traumatic histories and contemporary inequities. I turn my attention to memory, kinship and ethnicity amongst Afro-descendants in Brazil, where the reinvention of Blackness and a cultural resonance with Africa represent powerful steps to assert ethnicity as an instrument to combat social injustice and racial disparity.

Stories of Identity, Race, and Transnational Experience in the Lives of Asian Latinos in the United States

This research project is an investigation into the lives of Asians and Asian Latinos who came to the United States after living in Latin America. It focuses on the questions of experience and identity for these individuals and their families, at an intersection of places and cultures. In particular, this project attempts to compare the relative experiences of Asian Latinos as an ethnic minority in two different social situations: the Latin American country to which their family emigrated from Asia, and the United States (all participants moved to California). Also, this research seeks to better understand the ways in which these various experiences impact the racial self-identification process for each individual. After interviews with participants with varying experiences and opinions, the themes of language, childhood experience, racial misidentification and self-identification, and a sense of unchangeable racial identity come to light. It is hoped that this research may be placed in conversation with other studies on transnational experience, mixed identity or mixed race, and diaspora studies.

The Americanization of a Filipina U.S. Navy Wife

This story places a biography in the context of history. It describes the life of a Filipina immigrant to the United States during the Civil Rights movement and the Cold War in the context of U.S.-Philippine international relations and the boom of the aerospace industry.

From Past to Present

In this paper, I survey the life of Alice Yang, a thirty year-old second generation Chinese-American woman. I begin with Alice's parents – their time in China, their immigration to the United States, and their initial experiences living in America. I then go into detail about Alice's life specifically, describing her childhood and her time growing up until reaching present day. I attempt to place these experiences within the broader contexts of the various social and historical conditions affecting Chinese-Americans at the time, such as the various immigration educational policies in place. Particularly, I analyze how these factors have affected Alice and her family’s lives in their decisions and actions. Furthermore, I discuss the ways in which Alice and her family have either strayed away from the common trends seen with Chinese-Americans, or have helped shaped the observed trends themselves.  In other words, I shed some light on how independent Alice’s life was from her identity as a second generation Chinese American, and how much her life in turn contributed to the trends among Asian Americans witnessed in general.

Interview with Bo

Interview conducted with NSN Cover Art Competition runner-up.

Visual Media

Tejida Nostalgia

My focus as a photographer is to try and capture the mundane moments of Latin America. I like to showcase the beauty of my culture, the vibrant colors of my people, and the rhythm of its landscape. For me, every photograph is like a poem and the titles of my pieces help compliment my vision. This series titled, “The Rhythm of Landscape,” focuses on the women of Central and South America. My main goal in this series is to highlight the importance of preserving indigenous cultures in the face of popular culture.

 

 

  • 11 supplemental images

Drift No.2

My work imagines the emergent shapes and forms of futurity. Through critical and courageous engagement with the conditions of the present, knowledge and cultural production must ensure the futures rife with hope, transformation, and resistance.

 

Artwork Information

Drift No.2, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”

Untitled (Unknown)

My work imagines the emergent shapes and forms of futurity. Through critical and courageous engagement with the conditions of the present, knowledge and cultural production must ensure the futures rife with hope, transformation, and resistance.

 

Artwork Information

Untitled (Unknown), 2006, linocut print, 7 ½” x 10”

 

Drift No.1

My work imagines the emergent shapes and forms of futurity. Through critical and courageous engagement with the conditions of the present, knowledge and cultural production must ensure the futures rife with hope, transformation, and resistance.

 

Artwork Information

Drift No.1, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”

Literary & Creative Works

Kim Ayu (Come Over Here)

"Her work in poetry, fiction and non-fiction, short story writing and children’s literature demonstrate a passionate commitment to the pursuit of social justice.  Ms. Hernandez has a gift for using her art as an inspirational medium and political activism to reach out and speak to the experiences of other women, immigrants, mothers, and children who have had to overcome tremendous obstacles. Her work encompasses the rare talent of making highly complex ideas and intellectual concepts accessible through a unique point of view with an empathetic and loving voice that is politically engaged in raising consciousness of feminist, working class, immigrant, gender and sexuality cultural-political issues"

Manuel Gonzalez

New York University

Department of Comparative Literature

The Jaguar Moon Has Risen

Reviews:

“His poetic vision is unerring, as much when he deals with the daily and ordinary as when he addresses the larger socially and politically relevant subjects. His unique voice derives substance and sustenance from three confluent linguistic streams and the cultures that provide their diversely essential and fundamental elements. These vital elements blend and mix to form, inform and shape a new reality. This is the place where José’s poetry originates and out of which he “seek(s) no exit,” embracing instead “what is broken.”

 

- Lucha Corpi; Poet/ Author.

 

 

“José Hernández Díaz is a disciplined, self-starting, and a very ambitious young poet. I've

also received notices of his frequent public readings of his poetry. I highly recommend

him to the MFA in Creative Writing program, Poetry, at Antioch University in Los

Angeles, where I've taught for thirteen years. I'm sure his future publications, and stature

as a poet, will bring pride to this Poetry program.”

 

-Alma Luz Villanueva; Poet/ Author.

From My Home to Yours, From Your Home to Mine

"From My Home to Yours, From Your Home to Mine" is a meditation about the relationship between the authors of the piece as women of color in academia. Using U.S. Third World Women of Color feminisms as their starting point, the authors bridge their similarities and differences to elucidate the personal and the political simultaneously. Through multiple forms of speaking and listening, they create a synergistic affect that actively engages the reader in a healing and necessarily painful journey of individual and collective transformation.