NAS Affiliates Presenting @ 5/2 UCD Undergraduate Research Conference


Join us this coming Saturday 5/2 at the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference for 4 oral presentations by emerging scholars in NAS:

SATURDAY MAY 2: Session 1 from 1:00pm-2:30pm in Room 229 Wellman Hall

1:00pm— Derek J. Blahut (Biological Sciences), "Beyond Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride: Analyzing Contemporary Reclamations of Traditional Mele and Hula"

ABSTRACT: The Hawaiian Islands have a complex history of multinational contact overlaid on deep cultural roots of music and dance. Over the past 150 years, Hawaiian music has transitioned from a banned practice, to a commercial commodity, to a thriving art form. This project examines Keali’i Reichel’s Kūkahi concert as an example of widely accessible traditional and contemporary mele (song) and hula (dance). As the recipient of over 20 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawaiian Music Awards), a renowned kumu hula (hula teacher), and a major sponsor of Hawaiian lingual and cultural reclamation, Keali’i Reichel uses music and community to consistently redefine what it means to be a modern Hawaiian. This project also uses Beverly Diamond’s Alliance Studies Model to reflect the aforementioned transitions in a musical history of the song “Adios Ke Aloha,” written in the 1870’s and still performed today. These analyses demonstrate the revival, gendering, reclaiming, and survivance (the act of resistance by surviving colonization) inherent in the creation of new, relevant Hawaiian art in traditional styles. These trends can be expanded to other indigenous cultures and musical styles through movements such as “Seventh Generation Rises,” an indigenous movement focusing on reclaiming and rejuvenating indigenous cultures.

1:15pm— Jessica M. Gutierrez (Music and Latin American and Hemispheric Studies), "Mapping Zapotec and Mestizo Cultural Alliances in ‘La Zandunga’"

ABSTRACT: “La Zandunga” is considered to be the unofficial national anthem of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico, and is celebrated annually at the week-long festival Vela Zandunga. The song’s melodic origins are closely tied to Zapotec and mestizo (mixed Spanish and indigenous descent) cultures, and its lyrics were added in 1853 to promote the separation of Tehuantepec identity from the rest of Mexico, by dedicating the song to Tehuantepec women. This paper critically examines three contemporary recordings of “La Zandunga,” including: Marimba Chiapas Hermanos Moreno (2006), Lila Downs’ La Sandunga (2003), and a third from a Latin Wedding CD (2009). I use Beverley Diamond’s “Alliance Studies Model” in order to trace real and imagined connections to Zapotec and mestizo cultures across the realms of genre and technology; language and dialect; citation and collaboration; and access and ownership. Since Diamond’s model considers how social relationships from the past are sounded in the present, I conclude by discussing how songs such as “La Zandunga” have restorative abilities to create community for those who perform, listen, and study it. Ultimately, an alliance studies approach to historical ethnography illuminates the importance of social relationships across space and time, especially in the case of Zapotec and mestizo peoples and communities who are committed to the survival of cultural knowledges embedded in music and dance practices.

1:30pm— Rachel M. Rockholt (NAS and Agricultural & Environmental Education), "Pork, The Fountain of Youth: Okinawan Foodways as Cultural Preservation"

ABSTRACT: Okinawan people are the indigenous people from the southernmost islands of what is now known as the Japanese archipelago. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, however, some of the Okinawan population was forcibly relocated due to an encroaching Japanese settler occupation. Okinawans migrated both by force and choice to places throughout the Pacific, as well as the mainlands of Southern, Central and North America. Despite such dislocations, the Okinawan community has retained important traditional cultural practices. My research explores how traditional foodways, primarily diet and food preparation practices are an essential to this cultural expression, and diet is greatly a cultural practice as well as the accompanying food preparations that Okinawan people exercise. Though the Okinawan diet is heavily reliant on pork as a protein source, Okinawan people are the longest-lived people with the most centurions globally; and second, while they come from a landscape and environment that many would consider harsh or unforgiving, Okinawan people have thrived for centuries in the face of such perceived adversities.

1:45pm— Valentin Q. Sierra (NAS and History), "Problematic Pedagogy: Examining Cultural Competency, Critical Race Theory and the Presence of Native American Studies Topics in 4th Grade Classrooms"

ABSTRACT: Navigating topics of cultural competencies and identities in K-12 public school curricula is increasingly becoming common practice in California as more teachers are expected to address themes of multiculturalism and diversity. My research explores the particular complexities of Native American histories and cultures as they are presented in relation to such academic initiatives. More specifically, I focus on academic materials used in a 4th grade classroom in Davis, California, such as a Common Core aligned historical series titled California Studies Weekly and the book Stone Fox by John Gardiner, to name just two. In classrooms across the United States, public school lesson plans involving Native American topics unfold in a myriad of problematic scenarios that serve to perpetuate forms of oppression and the broader framework of institutionalized racism. In California public elementary schools, this is noticed and addressed by more culturally competent and relevant educational materials that speak to the narrative of oppression directed towards Native Americans. To further analyze and critique the effectiveness and cultural competency of these resources, I draw on related critical race theory frameworks grounded in pedagogy in an effort to better understand this study’s implications in relation to student development and awareness.

2:00pm— Panel Q&A moderated by Prof Jessica Bissett Perea (NAS)