Student Forum: Navigating Borders, Labor, and Home, Thursday, April 26, 2018, 6:00—8:00 p.m., Museum of Art & History (705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA)

We invite you to a student forum featuring four TED-style talks given by our sponsored graduate and undergraduate students. Presentations from Alma Villa (LALS & Sociology majors, HAVC minor), Bristol Cave LaCoste (History), Cesar Estrella (LALS), and Eric Medina (LALS and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology majors). Selected photographs from the Home/Mobility photo scholarship contest will also be on display.

January 02, 2018

By , Director, Chicano Latino Research Center 

Celebrating their 25th Anniversary, the Chicano Latino Research Center (CLRC) invites you to a student forum featuring four sponsored graduate and undergraduate projects. Presentations include: Making Home Under Precarious Housing Conditions: The Experiences of Latinxs in Los Angeles, CA (Alma Villa, LALS & Sociology majors, HAVC minor), “Living Openly and Notoriously”: The Sexual Policing of Migrant Women (Bristol Cave LaCoste, History), The Demons of Open Borders (Cesar Estrella, LALS), and Self-governance in small scale Mexican fisheries (Eric Medina, LALS and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology majors). Selected photographs from the Home/Mobility photo scholarship contest will also be on display. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. and the program begins at 6:45 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but attendees are kindly asked to register in advance.

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Presentation Abstracts 

Making Home Under Precarious Housing Conditions: The Experiences of Latinxs in Los Angeles, CA
Alma Esperanza Villa Loma, double major in Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology with a minor in History of Art and Visual Culture

Housing in the United States is out of reach for disadvantaged communities. Excessive housing costs, overcrowdedness, and forced evictions underscore the importance of investigate the experiences of Latinx communities, which are some of the most disadvantaged groups in our society. Drawing from 45 in-depth interviews conducted in Spanish and English in Southeast, East and South Los Angeles, my research focuses on precarious housing and it demonstrate that Latinx communities are experiencing precarious conditions as the result of their citizenship, low-wages and unwanted mobility. Yet, it also documents their resilience, dignity and the strategies they use to make sense of home while living under these circumstances.

“Living Openly and Notoriously”: The Sexual Policing of Migrant Women
Bristol Cave-LaCoste, PhD candidate in History with a Designated Emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies

Since its inception in the late nineteenth century, U.S. immigration policies expected border crossers to give up their privacy through physical examinations and interrogations. Historians have understood the role of these practices in labor regulation and familial migrations, but this scrutiny also laid bare and criminalized immigrant women’s alleged sexual pasts.

Nativist anxieties and public anti-prostitution campaigns made a wide range of sexual behaviors a primary justification for excluding and deporting women between 1875 and 1924. Even as the laws barring mostly non-white migrating women failed to end prostitution, they brought devastating human consequences. My work unsettles public and state efforts to normalize sexual conformity as an expectation of national belonging.

The Demons of Open Borders
Cesar Estrella, PhD candidate in Latin American and Latino Studies

International migration is a major source of political debate and alarm in our current world. Immigrant communities are being demonized through the discourse that they are a danger to national security, the national economy, and the cultural and racial identity of nation-states, particularly in the “First-World”.
Although only 3% of the world’s population have settled in another country, immigrants are increasingly facing exclusionary practices and wealth extraction schemes under neoliberal globalization. My presentation will explore the mechanisms by which this narrative is constructed and delivered in order to naturalize growing patterns of expulsion, the flexibilization of the labor force, and the transformation of the “welfare state” into a “security (trans)nationalized state”.  

Self-governance in small scale Mexican fisheries
Eric Medina, double major in Latin American and Latino Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) are integral to our understanding of food security, poverty alleviation, and biodiversity conservation in Latin America. In Mexico, formal institutions for regulating fisheries and fishers have only been around since the 1940’s and their academic and scientific capacities have been limited because of poor political and economic support. This poor understanding of how SSFs self-govern has led to policy that incentivizes harmful fishing strategies and allows for abusive working conditions. This project aims to understand the successes and challenges in SSF self-governance using focus groups to document the personal experiences of fishers. Through this process it was found that many factors that go without formal documentation such as immigration and vigilance play important roles in SSFs. I argue the importance of understanding the lived experiences of fishers for creating policy that supports both fishing and ecological communities.


alma-headshot-sm-2018Alma Esperanza Villa Loma is a fifth-year transfer student in Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology with a minor in History of Art and Visual Culture. Winner of the 2016 Blum Scholar Grant, Joel Frankel Award, STARS Re-entry Scholarship, and Weiss Family Scholarship, she is researching precarious housing among Latinxs in Southern California, with a focus on the impact of the current housing crisis on low-income Latinos in Los Angeles. As the CLRC Intern, she contributed in the construction and exhibition of Nuestras Historias: CLRC Archive Project, participates in our Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, translates text in English and Spanish, and provides support at CLRC-sponsored events. After her graduation from UCSC, she expects to attend a Master program that prepares her to continue working for the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups.

bristol-80Bristol Cave-LaCoste is a PhD candidate in History with a Designated Emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies. She studies prostitution and sexual policing within immigration policy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She feels most at home elbows deep in dusty old immigration records, so fortunately her research on Chinese, Jewish, and Mexican women has sent her to archives in the Bay area, New York, San Diego, and abroad. She is a recipient of both a CLRC mini-grant and the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award to support research in Mexico City and at the Kinsey Archives in Indiana. Alongside dissertation-writing this year, she is developing and teaching two new classes, on Freedom and Race and Queer History in the U.S.A.

cesar-estrella-80Cesar Estrella is a second-year PhD student in the Latin American and Latino Studies Department at UCSC. A Peruvian national, he is interested in policy-making, research and advocacy, particularly on migration issues and socioeconomic development. Before moving to California, Cesar worked for the United Nations for six years on migration governance and emergency management response in South America. On 2015, he became an advisor for the Government of Peru where he helped to develop a new immigration law for the country. Cesar holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree from the University of Salamanca in Spain where he focused his studies on rights-based and intercultural socioeconomic policies. After completing his PhD, Cesar plans to pursue a career as an international researcher, educator and policy maker/advisor with an expertise on migration issues, U.S.- Latin American relations and Latin American and Latino studies. On 2017, Cesar received a grant from the Chicano Latino Research Center for a research cluster on “Latin America and the Global Politics of the Refugee and Migration Management Regimes”.

eric-medina-80Eric Medina is a fourth-year undergraduate double majoring in Latin American Latino Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He is interested in the ways that understanding and connecting with the natural world can improve the quality of life and empower poor communities. He has worked with nature connection initiatives, like UCSC Wilderness Orientation and the UCSC Recreation Department, and with the food justice organization FoodWhat?! Eric is a UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholar and Dell Scholar. He has taken part in the CLRC Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program and was a recipient of the CLRC Undergraduate Research and Professional Development Award in 2017. As a receipient, Eric attended Cosecha National Assembly in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating Eric plans to begin a research based master’s program in ecology and evolutionary biology. Outside of school Eric is passionate about rock climbing and gardening.