UCLA faculty voice: Words matter when it comes to immigration

Rhetoric around immigrants has taken an ugly turn of late. Recent comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are but the tip of a dark iceberg. While the public rhetoric has been loosely focused on the southern border, undocumented immigrants and “anchor babies,” a toxic narrative paints with an expansive brush, tarnishing many hapless targets along its way.

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.

Grass-cutters, mushrooms and giant land snails, oh my!

When UCLA hosted the Special Olympic World Games this summer, a positive message of inclusion and acceptance was amplified. But unfortunately for many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in other parts of the world, this message doesn’t resonate in their countries, where there are no pathways for them to learn work and social skills or gain independence.

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.

UCLA alumnus Juan Felipe Herrera selected as 21st U.S. poet laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera, UCLA alumnus and recently retired UC Riverside professor whose poetry chronicled the bittersweet lives, travails and contributions of Mexican Americans, was announced today as the 21st U.S. poet laureate.

UCLA confers degrees on 7,700 new graduates

Cheers filled UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Friday as seniors in the Class of 2015 graduated. More than 5,500 graduates — decked out in academic regalia modified by glittery words on mortarboards, fragrant leis, novelty sunglasses and more — celebrated the completion of their degrees in person at two ceremonies hosted by the UCLA College, the university’s primary undergraduate unit. The split celebrations, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., each packed the famed arena to near-capacity.

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.