Grad Research Spotlight

Graduate students who are pursuing Designated Emphases in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies are conducting important and exciting research in a variety of fields.  This page spotlights CRES DE students' research projects.

    Graduate Spotlight- Claire Urbanski

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    For the Glory of Gold and Bones: Spiritual Accumulation and Grave Theft in the Construction of the San Francisco Bay Area

    CRES graduate Claire Urbanski's project explores the ways that the San Francisco Bay area was able to develop by evacuation, desecration, and museum collections of Ohlone dead. This is done in order to question how these bodies contribute to settler colonial expansion and capital production.

  • Graduate Spotlight- Dana Ahern

  • Imperial Knowledges: Bounding the (Trans)itory Body

    CRES graduate student Dana Ahern shares their project and how it tracks the development and movement of transgender knowledge and bodies. While also looking for the origin points of transgender medicine and research and examines the histories and presences of colonialism and imperialism required to make transgender medicine possible, and so much more.

  • Saugher Nojan (Sociology)

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    Muslim Students Capture Campus Climate: A Photovoice Project

    While accommodations such as halaal food options and temporary prayers spaces were offered to students, more permanent solutions were still lacking. To-date, UC Santa Cruz remains the only UC campus without a dedicated prayer space for the Muslim student community.


  • Sheeva Sabati (Education)

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    Settler Colonial Imaginaries and the naming of the first UC Campus

    In spring of 1866, the Trustees of what would become the first public university of the nascent state of California were gathered at the grounds of the proposed campus. Inspired by the views, Trustee Frederick Billings recited the stanzas, “Westward the course of empire takes its way….,” recalling George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne and patron of learning. Click to read more!

  • Trung PQ Nguyen

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    Images of the Vietnamese Human: Visuality and the U.S. War in Southeast Asia

    Most college students in the U.S. are exposed to the visual archive of war in Southeast Asia from 1964 to 1973 through news footage used in documentaries, fictional filmic depictions, and/or iconic photographs. Decades later, we continue to see similar types of depictions in other areas of “humanitarian concern” in order to accumulate public support for militarized intervention. Learn more about how visuals can impact the distortion of history in Trung's research.

  • Jess Whatcott (Politics)

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    California Eugenics and The Making of a Liberal State

    California’s history of eugenics came under public scrutiny when an investigative journalist uncovered evidence that non-consensual reproductive sterilizations took place in women’s prisons as recently as 2010. My interest in the investigation was grounded in hearing similar stories of unethical medical practice within prisons while volunteering as a prisoner advocate for over 8 years. Learn more about California’s long history of eugenics policies and practices on the bodily autonomy of prisoners. 

  • Ka-eul Yoo (Literature)

  • Mi-gam-a, children of hansenin, were permitted to meet their parents once a month and had to stand in a separate row with no touching permitted.

    Fourth Death of Hansenin

    Hansenin*, or Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients in South Korea, have historically described themselves as experiencing three deaths. The first death corresponds to their diagnosis, the second to their mandatory autopsy, and the third to their cremation and burial in a designated charnel house on Sorok Island.  Learn more about the fourth death and Ka-eul's research.