Bridging the Divided City: Preparing Students for a New Los Angeles - James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education

George J. Sanchez, Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity and History, and Director of the Center for Democracy and Diversity, University of Southern California

The next generation of academics in this country must be able to address the growing diversity of the U.S. population in multiple ways, not just through traditional scholarship and in the classroom, but also by methods of sustained community engagement that brings residents together to address critical issues facing their neighborhoods and the nation as a whole. This talk will address a career of producing humanities Ph.D. students who are actively committed to public scholarship that explores questions of race, gender, and economic divides in Los Angeles through mentorship, training, and scholarly engagement. Utilizing interviews with current Ph.D. students in History and American Studies, and the careers of recent graduates making an impact on the public scholarship of Los Angeles, Sanchez will explore and reflect on establishing new paradigms in graduate education that work at healing the wounds of racial oppression while nurturing a generation of scholars ready to make a difference in urban America.

About the Speaker

GEORGE J. SANCHEZ is professor of American studies and ethnicity, and of history at the University of Southern California (USC). He is the author of Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945 (Oxford, 1993), co-editor of Los Angeles and the Future of Urban Cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005) and Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina (University of Michigan Press, 2009), and author of “‘What’s Good for Boyle Heights Is Good for the Jews’: Creating Multiracialism on the Eastside During the 1950s,” American Quarterly 56:3 (September 2004). A past president of the American Studies Association, he now chairs its Committee on Graduate Education. Sanchez also serves on minority scholars committees of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association.

His academic work focuses on both historical and contemporary topics of race, gender, ethnicity, labor and immigration, and he is currently working on a historical study of the ethnic interaction of Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, African Americans and Jews in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles, California in the 20th century. He is one of the co-editors of the book series “American Crossroads: New Works in Ethnic Studies” from the University of California Press. He currently serves as director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy at USC, which focuses on issues of racial/ethnic diversity in higher education and issues of civic engagement. In 2010, he received the Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education (Research Institutions) Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc., and in 2011, he received the first ever Equity Award for individuals that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historical profession from the American Historical Association. He earned his PhD in history in 1989 from Stanford University.


Photo by Ben Kucinski CC BY 2.0