A new Twitter friend (@Peta_de_Atzlan) sent me a link to historian Rodolf Acuña’s response to the calls for boycotting Arizona. He draws on Linda Greenhouse’s article in the NYTimes that I pointed to on Tuesday to say that a boycott may not be the best way of gaining political support and/or pressuring Arizona to change the law.
Today in the NYTimes, Linda Greenhouse writes a compelling article against an economic boycott of Arizona saying, “a boycott is a blunt instrument that can hurt innocent business owners and their employees,” (Opinionator). What she does not acknowledge is the fact that many of these “innocent” business owners are themselves supporters of SB1070. She does offer an alternative:
So what to do in the meantime? Here’s a modest proposal. Everyone remembers the wartime Danish king who drove through Copenhagen wearing a Star of David in support of his Jewish subjects. It’s an apocryphal story, actually, but an inspiring one. Let the good people of Arizona — and anyone passing through — walk the streets of Tucson and Phoenix wearing buttons that say: I Could Be Illegal.
While I still believe a boycott of Arizona is the best measure of protest, I think that her suggestion is a great way to build support for the movement among those less militant than I. In fact, it is already gaining support. I just received this email from the Western Literature Association email list:
Greetings from Arizona,
As you may know, last Friday the Arizona State legislature passed an extreme anti-immigrant law. The law, promptly signed by Governor Jan Brewer, allows for drastic measures to be taken against suspected illegal immigrants. This law will lead to racial profiling and is racist, intolerant, and stridently anti-humanitarian. Many in the state, in the west, and indeed in the nation are shocked by what the Arizona governor calls a “tough” attitude toward “border security.”
There has been some talk among WLA members about the ethical implications of our 2010 conference in Prescott. As WLA president, I believe that there is no more urgent moment for us to come together to counter the oppressive politics of Arizona and other like-minded states who legislate the denial of human and civil rights. I am in this business because I believe in the transformative power of literature; I am certain many of you do, too. In addition to the topics suggested in this year’s call for papers, and the usual rich diversity of topics our members inevitably present on, there is certainly room for papers and panels on the literature of immigration, the globalization of the American West, the contemporary or historical literature of racial discord, of labor, of land and territory. And what better year to honor our Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Luis Valdez, who began his career writing and producing agitprop theater to demonstrate the humanity of Mexican American farm workers? His work on behalf of civil rights in the face of those who seek to deny these rights should be a reminder to us: artistic expression is a powerful force against oppression.
In today’s New York Times, op-ed columnist Linda Greenhouse presents a good alternative to boycotting, which may actually hurt innocent small business owners and divest us of our political voice: “Here’s a modest proposal. Everyone remembers the wartime Danish king who drove through Copenhagen wearing a Star of David in support of his Jewish subjects. It’s an apocryphal story, actually, but an inspiring one. Let the good people of Arizona — and anyone passing through — walk the streets of Tucson and Phoenix wearing buttons that say: I Could Be Illegal.”
I look forward, more than ever, to seeing you in Prescott in October.
Gioia Woods, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Humanities
President, Western Literature Association
Department of Comparative Cultural Studies
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, Arizona 86011
I was not planning to attend this conference, but if I were, I would definitely consider canceling my reservations.
I just found an announcement for a Seminar in Borderlands and Latino Studies and thought I would post it because it is incredibly important to explore more questions about the products and consequences of creating borders. It also informed me of four schools with Mexican America or Latino Studies programs.
Northwestern University’s Program in Latina and Latino Studies
Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame
Center for Latino Research at DePaul University
Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Chicago
Four incredibly prestigious institutions to explore further. Thank you Newberry Library for pointing me to these schools.
On Wednesday of last week, the UH-Downtown administration and public affairs offices held open meetings to discuss the results from the research conducted by the STAMATS research firm. I won’t recant the proceeding of the whole meeting because that can be found in my Twitter feed. I do have a response to the two proposed names even though I still oppose the name change in general.
The two proposed names, City University and Houston City University, were the most reflective of the identity that the students, faculty, staff, and alumni, see of their school. The research Stamats presented revealed something many of those associated with UH-D already know, we love our city and our place within the fabric of the city. The central urban location and Houston’s prominence as a world class city are the most referred to characteristics that people use to identify the university. City University was the preferred choice by Stamats and I can only infer, the administration as well. Several times in the presentation, both Stamats representatives argued against using Houston because of the increased potential to be mistaken with UH. If the name is just City U, well that just clears up all the confusion.
One of the main reason’s for changing the name in the first place is to remove confusion between the University of Houston and the University of Houston- Downtown. For more reasons why the UH-System Board of Regents agreed to change the school’s name you can read about those on the UHD Web site or in the orginal Richards/Carlberg Survey. I have my own suspicions about the name change, and even though several members of the UH-D administration have attempted to sway my opinion, I have not been given any new information to that end. With that being said, if the name change is inevitable (which I do not believe it is) than the two names being presented do not do anything to alleviate the confusion that the current name is blamed for. In fact, they create more confusion. Using City University would still require a long description of who, what, and where the university is. Adding Houston to the beginning of the name only clarifies some of the location problems, but it does nothing to solve the problem of being associated with UH.
If changing the name is supposed to solve the problem of confusion between UH and UH-D then the two names submitted will not solve it, but if the change is to create a new more prestigious identity than it will never work on its own. Changing the name will not increase the respectability of the school’s brand. That will only be solved with more scholarship funding, developing more undergraduate degrees in specialized fields (such as Urban History/ Sociology/ Literature, American Studies, Journalism, and Engineering Degrees), graduate degrees (such as the much needed and desired MBA program, as well as MA’s and PhD’s in every college), and most importantly promote the great things already happening at the university.
It is unheard of that a university the size of UH-Downtown does not have a more substantial student newspaper. While the The Dateline is a great effort on the part of a handful of dedicated students, it does not come close to serving the students it can because the lack of interest from the university administration inhibits real growth and innovation on the part of the students. Editors of the Dateline, and others, have been trying for the better part of two years to acquire a top level domain name and dedicated Web site for the newspaper to publish on. While the entire publishing industry has continued to decline because of costs due to lack of print readership, it is unfathomable that a student organization such as the Dateline is not keeping up with the market trends by publishing via the Web. I understand that Web design and architecture is not an easy thing to do and it takes time, money, and someone to do it, but with the proliferation of free and professional content management systems, such as WordPress and Drupal, there is no reason to not have a basic Web presence. A student run and operated Web site/ portal that is dedicated to the University and branded with the university identity is one of the best ways to create a more substantial group identity among students, alumni, and the community in general.
Changing the name of UH-D is not going to get the desired result. The proposed names, City University and Houston City University, are not going to give the school any more credibility than it already has. Neither name grabs the imagination with wonder or possibility, and they don’t solve the problem of confusion. They cause more. Building a new identity does not have to include a name change. Let the people who are the life-blood of the university be the ones to make it anew. Keep the best students from transferring by giving them the things they want, and attract the best students by reaching beyond our current academic horizons. That should be the way UH-D differentiates itself from UH. Unfortunately, I suspect there are interested parties whose main goal is to see UH-D completely disassociated from UH, and ensure that flagship school maintains its position of prominence. The process is about to really kick into high gear, and everything will culminate with a vote in the 2011 Lege. I’ll be following the process as close as I can, and trust that I’ll be speaking to elected’s at the Convention in Corpus this summer.
Here are some links associated with the name change:
Official UH-D Name Change Web Page (You can also find the videos for Wednesday’s meetings here)
The fact that the Texas State Board of education is running rough shod over culturally important parts of our history should be reason enough, but if you need a few reasons to sign the National Cesar Chavez Day Petition they are not hard to find. Aside from being a hero for millions of farm workers across the United States, he is one of the 20th century’s most profound social movement theorists. Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr are only a third of the great peace activism story.
Cesar E. Chavez, an extreme intellectual with an eighth grade education, lived his philosophical education and earned a Phd in organizing people to action in the face of certain death.
In 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was in the middle of running for President, and he recognized the deep devotion Cesar had to his cause by appearing with him at the end of a prolonged hunger strike. The emaciated, dying Chavez sat next to one of the nation’s most beloved leaders and made him see the pain and exploitation farm workers were suffering.
I won’t keep going. If you would like to read more please visit the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, United Farm Workers, and read José-Antonio Orosco’s Cesar E Chavez and the Common Sense of Non-violence. If you want to see the statement from the UFW Web site follow the jump, I’ve posted it there. Then go sign the petition.
One of the courses I am taking, this last semester of my undergraduate career, is titled Modernity & the Avant Garde, and it is one of the most interesting and powerful subjects I’ve studied so far. We began with Charles Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen (1869) and “The Painter of Modern Life”. Moving into the 20th century, we skipped over Dadaism and took up the heavy task of understanding the motivations and inspirations of the Surrealist movement. Moving from Baudelaire’s modernism to 2oth century surrealism was not much of a jump because the 19th century French poet shared much of the same aesthetic appreciation for that which is not traditionally understood as aesthetic. (Aesthetic was used by Enlightenment Philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant, to describe “the science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception.”) The modernist movement that Baudelaire pioneered found beauty in the things that most people found repulsive, vulgar, and even demonic. The surrealists, such as André Breton, took that definition of beauty and art to explosive new heights. Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism, in all of its chaotic order, revealed the motives driving artists living in Europe after the first world war. After reading his novel (?), Nadja, the class was instructed to write our own manifesto based on what we read and our own vision of the modern world. I titled my short essay, The Unreal Manifesto. So, take a look by following the jump, and tell me where I’m wrong, right, or just bat-shit crazy.
So in Seth’s Blog (no clue who he is or why he’s important) he gives a few ideas for the unemployed college graduate to keep busy after college. At UH-D (I may be wrong) our students usually have less troubles finding a job because they are already working, but it’s a helpful list either way. For the full list you can check out today’s post.
- Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
- Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery.