Santa Cruz, Reconsidered: Decolonial Tours and Local Ethnic Studies Curricula


About the Cluster
Our goal for “Santa Cruz, Reconsidered: Decolonial Tours and Local Ethnic Studies Curricula” is to develop and put into motion inaugural programming that grounds ethnic studies in our local setting, enabling us to reconsider the space where we live and learn as a site of rich, though obfuscated, histories of state and extralegal violence and community resistance to that violence. Rather than assume that ethnic studies must be imported into a space like Santa Cruz, this project pedagogically re-envisions both the campus and the surrounding area through the lens of place-based research and public educational practices. As Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) faculty spearheading this project, we have collaborated with Education in a joint initiative around building a shared ethnic studies curriculum in regional K-12 schools. Simultaneously we have, through a 4+1 CRES BA-Education MA pathway, equipped our students to go on to teach ethnic studies in elementary, middle, and high schools after graduation. In order to develop the public humanities part of this collaboration, we, through this research cluster, will create an institutional home for the critical study of Santa Cruz, inclusive of histories of settler colonial expansion in Santa Cruz County, past and present racialized labor in the region, the transformative impact of grassroots student organizing on campus, and narratives and practices of anticolonial and liberatory resistance. Our intended outcome is a UCSC-hosted digital resource that houses (1) our walking tour itineraries and (2) community archives that include the research that makes the walking tours possible.

Engaging this year’s theme, Technology, and also building from last year’s theme, Travel, we aim to employ countermapping as a pedagogical technology, involving our students in countermapping projects that reconsider what a “tour” of Santa Cruz might look like. In this way, our work thinks about technology not only in terms of the tools we will use to tell these stories—digital archives, GPS navigation technology, sound technology, podcasts, apps, countermapping, oral history recordings, and beyond. When we engage technology as a theme, we are also speaking of the technologies of statecraft and colonial rule that our archive will document. And, finally, in engaging technology as a theme, we are imagining the technologies of narration that resist erasure, that archive for decolonial futures.

Co-Principal Investigators
Christine Hong (Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Literature)
Jennifer Kelly (Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies)

Potential Affiliated Faculty
micha càrdenas (Performance, Play, and Design and CRES)
Amy Mihyang Ginther (Performance, Play, and Design)
Kat Gutiérrez (History)
Camilla Hawthorne (Sociology)
Marisol LeBrón (Feminist Studies and CRES)
Cynthia Ling Lee (Theater)
Flora Lu (Environmental Studies)
Steve McKay (Sociology)
Nick Mitchell (Feminist Studies and CRES)
Felicity Amaya Schaeffer (Feminist Studies and CRES)
Savannah Shange (Anthropology and CRES)
Karen Tei Yamashita (Literature and CRES)
Alice Yang (History and CRES)

Potential Affiliated Graduate Students
Arlo Fosburg (Feminist Studies)
Jess Fournier (Feminist Studies)
Robin Gabriel (Sociology)
Kaiya Gordon (Feminist Studies)
Lani Hanna (Feminist Studies)
Raul Meneses (Education and CRES)
Anny Mogollón (Literature and CRES)
Justine Parkin (History of Consciousness)
Rita Carmona (Film and Digital Media)

Potential Affiliated Community Members
Chris Cuadrado (Latin American and Latino Studies, 2013)
Natalia Duong (President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA)
Yulia Gilinchskaya (Ph.D. Film and Digital Media, 2022)
Marty Hart-Landsberg (Economics, Class of 1969)
Mak Aruta Konefal (Environmental Studies, 2020)
Gabi Kirk (Ph.D. Geography, UC Davis, 2023)
Yitong Lei (CRES Alum, 2023)
Izadora Amarís Lopez McGrawley (CRES Alum, 2023)
Ivan Vega (Sociology and Black Studies, 2021)