UCLA’s Bird Genoscape Project to aid conservation efforts for North American birds threatened by climate change

UCLA researchers announced today the Bird Genoscape Project, which will create the first maps identifying the population-specific migration paths of several bird species and their sub-groups to determine where conservation is needed most to combat the effects of climate change.

Center shatters myth of ‘quiet’ Japanese Americans imprisoned in camps

With help from elderly survivors of the World War II internment camps, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center has launched the Suyama Project to gather and make available online evidence of resistance among Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to camps by the federal government, shattering the myth of the “quiet Americans” who silently accepted their fate without question.

Measuring the sound of angels singing

UCLA professor Sharon Gerstel studies how Byzantine-era churches enhanced the performance of liturgical chants.

Gift to fund graduate research in leading center for population research

A gift from a long-time sociology professor will strengthen graduate student support in UCLA’s California Center for Population Research (CCPR), one of the world’s leading centers for basic science and policy-related research on population processes.

Donald J. Treiman, a research professor and distinguished professor emeritus of sociology, has pledged $200,000 to establish the Donald J. Treiman California Center for Population Research Endowed Student Research Award, which provides up to $6,500 a year to support a student’s research.

“Graduate student research is at the leading edge of the population sciences,” Treiman said. “I am pleased that this gift will help new social scientists to advance knowledge of the causes and consequences of demographic change.”

The first student to receive the Treiman fellowship, John Sullivan, will study the long-term trend in the degree to which young and old live apart in the United States. The project reflects Treiman’s career-long attention to social transformations in how the world works.  Sullivan is currently an employee of the Census Bureau at the UCLA Research Data Center and a Ph.D. student in sociology.

Treiman, who arrived at UCLA in 1975, founded the systematic comparative study of social inequality and is one of the world’s leading authorities on social mobility.  From the beginning of his career, Treiman has combined an interest in the U.S. population with research on populations in other countries.

He is well known for his discovery of the “Treiman Constant,” the observation that prestige rankings of different occupations are remarkably similar across populations, even those that differ greatly in their level of socioeconomic development.  He conducted a series of surveys in societies undergoing major political, economic, and demographic changes, including Russia, China, the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe, and South Africa.

Since retiring in 2009, Treiman has focused on China, and now studies migration within the country and its effects on health and well-being.

“Professor Treiman’s gift will further our mission by supporting students passionate about understanding society,” said Judith A. Seltzer, director of the Center. “Don has always been an excellent mentor to students and professionals just starting their careers. This gift is another example of Don’s commitment to the next generation of population scientists. We are grateful to Don for his dedication to UCLA, as a researcher and teacher, and now as a philanthropist.”

Established in 1998, the California Center for Population Research is a cooperative of UCLA faculty who carry out basic and applied research and training in demography.  Supported by the Dean of Social Sciences, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Aging, CCPR comprises over 90 active faculty researchers from disciplines across the UCLA campus, including biostatistics,  community health sciences, economics, education, epidemiology, geography, human resources and organizational behavior, law, medicine, population, psychology, psychiatry, public policy, social welfare, sociology, and urban planning.

UCLA anthropologist knows her capuchin monkeys

For 25 years, UCLA professor of anthropology Susan Perry has been climbing, crawling, slashing and sloshing her way through the Costa Rican dry forests of Lomas Barbudal in an unprecedented study of the capuchin monkey — a small, white-faced primate that populates large areas of Central America.

Q&A: UCLA’s resident expert on Oscar Wilde proves author was not a plagiarist

Reciting the quote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” becomes second nature when one has studied the work of Oscar Wilde as long as veteran UCLA English professor Joseph Bristow. Yet it wasn’t until a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts seminar that Bristow began to reconsider why imitation, alongside artistic forgery, defines Wilde’s formative years, specifically in the case of Thomas Chatterton.

Renowned UCLA Historian awarded the inaugural Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History

David N. Myers, professor and Robert N. Burr Department Chair in the UCLA College’s Department of History, has been awarded the inaugural Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History, which will provide the renowned historian funds for research, graduate student support, and annual public seminars and symposia.

“It is a great honor to be the first holder of this chair, which will ensure that the poignant and powerful story of Sady and Ludwig Kahn—and of so many other Jews from the near and distant past—will be taught to generations of students at UCLA,” Myers said. “The Kahn Chair affirms UCLA’s place as a major center for the study of Jewish history in the United States and the world.”

Myers, who will be stepping down as department chair at the end of June, received his bachelor’s degree from Yale College in 1982. He then undertook graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before completing his doctorate at Columbia in 1991. He has written extensively in the fields of modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history, with a particular interest in the history of Jewish historiography.

He has authored Re-Inventing the Jewish Past: European Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History, Resisting History: Historicism and its Discontents in German-Jewish Thought, and Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz. Myers has edited eight books, including The Jewish Past Revisited and Enlightenment, Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases, and The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History.

The late Sady and Ludwig Kahn were among thousands of German-Jewish refugees who fled Germany in the late 1930s when the Nazis rose to power, with little more than the clothes on their backs. The Kahns forged a new life for themselves in Los Angeles, and Sady’s parents came to live with them soon after, having escaped on one of the last trains out of Germany. Sady and Ludwig worked all hours, scrimped and saved, and ultimately established a thriving hat-making business.

At Sady Kahn’s request, long-time family friends Jim and Lori Keir helped her identify beneficiary charities, one of which was UCLA. According to Keir, the university was a perfect fit with her values and interests.

“Having had no children of her own, Sady was delighted to know that young people would benefit from her trust long after she was gone,” he said.

Professor Efrain Kristal to share long-time fascination with Jorge Luis Borges

UCLA literature professor Efrain Kristal still remembers how fascinated, yet unsettled, he felt at 17 after reading his first book of short stories by the late Argentine master Jorge Louis Borges, whose philosophical fiction mixes fact and fantasy and sometimes crosses the line into literary hoax.

UCLA conservation program receives $1 million from two donors to meet Mellon Foundation’s endowment challenge

The UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation has received two gifts of $500,000, successfully completing a $1 million match challenge presented by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2011.

A gift from the Kahn Foundation, administered by attorney-trustee James Keir, will support the Kahn Graduate Fellows in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, while alumnus Jeffrey Cunard’s donation established the Lore and Gerald Cunard Chair in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program (pending approval by the UC Office of the President).

Housed in the Cotsen Institute for Archaeology, the UCLA/Getty program trains students in cutting-edge conservation techniques to preserve priceless, fragile artifacts of archaeological, historical and artistic value. It is the only graduate-level academic conservation program on the west coast, and the only program in the country with a strong focus on archaeological and ethnographic materials.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, Jeffrey Cunard and the Kahn Foundation,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh said. “Their comprehensive support will enable the program to expand and continue to draw the very best graduate students to UCLA.”

The UCLA/Getty program is the youngest among a national consortium of four graduate programs in art conservation to receive challenge grants from Mellon.

Program Chair Ioanna Kakoulli, a faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, said, “Thanks to this infusion of endowed funds, we are now in a stronger position to grow the much-needed pipeline of conservation leaders with the specialist knowledge and skills to preserve artifacts and materials.”

Kakoulli noted that conservation is now considered a full-fledged scientific discipline, connecting the humanities and social sciences with the physical sciences and engineering. During their first two years, students work in state-of-the-art labs at the Getty Villa in Malibu, gaining hands-on experience with objects on loan from the Fowler Museum at UCLA, the Autry National Center, the University of Southern California and Native American assemblages. As well as technical skills, students gain an understanding of the meaning certain materials may hold for indigenous populations. The third and final year is spent interning at top-tier museums and archaeological/historical sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia; Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka and Bhutan; archaeological sites in Greece, Italy and Turkey; and Native American sites in California. Graduates of the program have accepted permanent positions at prestigious institutions around the country and abroad.

Alessandro Duranti, Dean of Social Sciences in the UCLA College, said, “The UCLA/Getty Program is an impressive collaboration—across disciplines, institutions, and cultures—that is helping to keep our rich world history alive while elevating the quality of research and teaching for all involved.”

David Schaberg, Dean of Humanities, said, “As one of the world’s great research universities, UCLA is committed to doing our part to preserve the legacy of humanity’s rich cultural heritage. The Mellon Foundation and these two generous donors have furthered our mission considerably.”

 

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. The Mellon Foundation is an important benefactor to UCLA, supporting a wide array of university initiatives.

Literary translator brings Japanese novelist posthumous acclaim

Michael Emmerich, an associate professor of Japanese at UCLA, never worked as a journalist. Neither has he written 50 novels, much less 150 short stories.