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Ethnic Studies Students and Faculty Create Indigenous Campus Walking Tour

Apr 4, 2024

ES students lead a walking tour project that highlights the Indigenous history on campus 

ES student Amy Contreras, and ES faculty members Lydia Heberling and Becca Lucas on the Indigenous walking tour with students, March 2024 (Photo from cal poly news)

Ethnic Studies students Amy Contreras and Sophie Martyrossian led a project developed as a BEACoN and SURP Research Project, that began in 2023, to create a campus walking tour that highlights the Indigenous history, of the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini (ytt) Northern Chumash tribe, on the land that the Cal Poly campus resides on. The project's advisors were Ethnic Studies faculty members, Lydia Heberling,, and Becca Lucas,, who is a member of the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash Tribe of San Luis Obispo County and Region.

You can read further information about the completed project as featured in an article on Cal Poly News, here, and take the virtual walking tour, here. Please contact project advisor's Lydia Heberling and Becca Lucas to schedule a guided in-person tour, obtain a printed booklet for a self-guided tour, or any further questions. 

Cal Poly News article

Virtual Walking Tour

Mustang News article

At Cal Poly, we acknowledge that the land on which our university sits carries the heritage of the Indigenous People of San Luis Obispo County and Region, the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini, Northern Chumash Tribe.

Ethnic Studies in Hawai‘i Program in Summer 2024

Feb 21, 2024

ES and EPaCE in Hawai'i Program and Courses Information 

ES 322: Asian Americans in Popular Culture and ES 340: Cultural Production and Ethnicity--Pacific Islander Studies offered in hawai'i, summer 2024

The Ethnic Studies in Hawai'i program is a 5-week, 8-unit immersive academic experience in Honolulu during Summer 2024. In this program, students will be challenged to re-think popular ideas about the Hawaiian Islands through a consideration of how the colonial circumstances in Hawaiʻi shape the experiences of Native Hawaiians and the diverse communities that live there today. The program includes service-learning opportunities through the University of Hawaiʻi, field trips to learn about Native Hawaiian history and representation, Hula and ‘Ori Tahiti dance workshops, and guest lectures by Hawaiʻi-based scholars. The required courses include ES 322, Asian Americans in Popular Culture and ES 340, Cultural Production and Ethnicity--Pacific Islander Studies. 

This program will be led by Dr. Ryan Buyco,, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly. The program fulfills GE Upper Division C & D requirements. 


Financial Aid and Scholarships Information for Study Abroad Programs 

The Poetics Of Fire: A Book Launch and Talk by Victor M. Valle on Feb 22

Jan 31, 2024

ES Emeritus Victor M. Valle will present his new book and lead discussion 

The poetics of fire: metaphors of chile eating in the borderlands by Victor M. Valle, Published by University of New mexico press (nov 2023)  

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Chicano author, and Ethnic Studies Emeritus professor, Victor M. Valle, will present his new book launch on Feb. 22, 11 am - 12 pm in building 180, room 101. 
Assembling a rich collection of source material, Valle highlights the fiery fruit's overarching importance as evidenced by the ubiquity of references to the plant over several centuries in literature, art, official documents, and more to offer a new eco-aesthetic reading--a reframing of culinary history from a pluralistic, non-Western perspective.  

Beyond Baroque hosted L.A. Book Launch with Victor Valle and journalist Patricia Escarcega

Cal Poly Magazine article with Victor Valle over his preparation and research for this book

Film Screening of Manzanar, Diverted And Panel Discussion on Feb 22

Jan 31, 2024

Film screening of Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust followed by panel discussion featuring filmmaker Ann Kaneko

Panel discussion after the film featuring Ann Kaneko, Noah Williams, and Hana Maruyama, on feb 22  

A film screening of Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust will take place on Feb. 22 from 6 - 8 PM in the ATL (007-02) and will feature a panel discussion afterwards with guests, Ann Kaneko, Noah Williams, and Hana Maruyama. This event recognizes the annual Day of Remembrance, Feb. 19th. 

The 2021 film, Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, in Manzanar, is an inspired and poetic portrait of a place and its people, and follows intergenerational women from three communities who defend their land, their history and their culture from the insatiable thirst of Los Angeles. In this fresh retelling of the LA water story, Native Americans, Japanese-American WWII incarcerees, and environmentalists form an unexpected alliance to preserve Payahuunadü (Owens Valley), “the land of flowing water.”

About our speakers: 

Ann Kaneko is a filmmaker who is known for her personal films that weave her intimate aesthetic with the complex intricacies of political reality. An Emmy Award winner, her poetic feature  Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust premiered at the 2021 Big Sky Film Festival and broadcast on PBS POV’s 2022 line up. She has screened internationally and been commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Endowment and the Skirball Cultural Center. She is currently in development on a food docuseries for MTV Films/Smithsonian Channel and 45/45 a personal film about the beginning and end of life. Her other credits include A Flicker in Eternity; Against the Grain: An Artist’s Survival Guide to Perú; Overstay and 100% Human Hair. She was a Fulbright, Japan Foundation Artist, Film Independent Doc Lab and Jackson Wild Multicultural Alliance fellow. She currently teaches Media Studies at Pitzer College. 

Noah Williams is the Water Program Coordinator for the Big Pine Paiute Tribe and the vice-chair for the Tribal Advisory Committee for the California Environmental Protection Agency. Noah is a Bishop Tribal member who grew up on the Bishop Reservation in Payahuunadu. 

Hana Maruyama (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor in history and Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She completed her PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. During that time, she co-produced/hosted the podcast "Campu" on Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and was a research fellow for American Public Media’s "Order 9066". Before returning to graduate school, she worked for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. She is a yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American) descended from the Heart Mountain, Jerome, and Gila River concentration camps on her father’s side.

Manzanar Diverted Website

Ethnic Studies Study Abroad Program in Mexico City in Summer 2024

Dec 7, 2023

ES New Study Abroad Program in Mexico City for Summer 2024 Courses Information 

Study Abroad in Mexico City Flyer

ES 323 Latinas/os in Popular Culture and ES 340 Latinx Cultural Production offered in Mexico City, summer 2024

The Cal Poly in Mexico City: Ethnic Studies program is a 5-week, 8-unit immersive academic experience in Mexico's capital. This new program launches in Summer 2024 and will be offered annually. Students will explore Mexico's history and arts and their influence on Mexican American/Chicano history and arts from their Indigenous roots to the present day.  The required courses include ES 323, Latinas/os in Popular Culture, and ES 340, Latinx Cultural Production.

This program is led by Prof. José Navarro,

Through classroom learning and hands-on activities, students will get a grasp on Mexico's intricate historical and cultural impacts on the U.S. and the significant contributions of its diverse communities to Mexican and American language, culture, and identity. This program includes engagements with local artists, visits to heritage sites like Teotihuacán and visits to sites that house the many murals painted by renowned artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siquieros.

Financial Aid and Scholarships Information for Study Abroad Programs

Cal Poly Study Abroad Website

Registration for American Indian Studies for K-12 Educators Open

Dec 5, 2023

ES S410 American Indian Studies for K-12 Educators is now open for registration 

American Indian Studies for K-12 Educators

ES S410 American Indian Studies for K-12 Educators, taught by Lydia Hebering, is part of a 4-part series of accredited courses in Comparative Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly, geared toward K-12 educators.

Registration Link

Cal Poly Extended Education Website 

For more information, please contact Dr. Grace Yeh,

Dr. Pulitano Led Global Program in Palermo Featured by International Center

Nov 16, 2023

Building inclusive study abroad opportunities in a multiethnic community in Palermo, Italy

Students in Palermo

Students in Palermo, Italy, summer 2023

Cal Poly's International Center recently featured a profile on Dr. Elvira Pulitano's, ES Faculty member, Global Program in Palermo, Sicily that took place in the Summer of 2023.

Listed below is the included content by Elvira Pulitano featured in the original article.   

This past summer Dr. Pulitano led twenty-two Cal Poly students in a Global Program in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. While technically part of Italy, the city of Palermo has always been considered the heart of the Mediterranean with its rich, multicultural history spanning millennia. Today the city is at the center of ongoing debates surrounding migration and border-crossing in Europe as it is considered the capital of rights, welcoming, tolerance, and culture. Besides daily visits to the city’s major historical, cultural and artistic sites, students had the opportunity to experience first-hand Palermo’s multicultural and multi-ethnic character. The program included a two-day cycle of activities with Moltivolti and Giochereda, two Palermo-based cultural associations run by young migrants and refugees from several African countries. These experiences offered a great lesson in storytelling, decolonial thinking, and collective learning. The program also included three excursions around Sicily, to the towns of Erice, Cefalú, and Agrigento, to visit local UNESCO Heritage sites. 

Inspired by the success of Cal Poly’s Global Program in Sicily, Dr. Pulitano has submitted a proposal for the 2023-2024 BEACoN Mentorship program. Through this endeavor, Dr. Pulitano hopes to produce a study that contributes to the current debates about decolonizing international education and suggesting alternatives to education abroad programming and pedagogies. A study of this caliber will support efforts that lead to more inclusive and sustainable international study abroad programs. The proposed BEACoN project will hire one research scholar among the students who participated in the Cal Poly Global Program. The selected scholar will conduct research and collaborate with Dr. Pulitano on a co-authored journal article. 

In 2024-25, Dr. Pulitano will serve in the role of director in the CSU IP Program in Florence, Italy. With expertise in international education and experiential knowledge about her native country, she hopes to make studying in Italy an inspiring and enriching experience for all our CSU students.   
Be sure to check out our info sessions during International Education week where you can learn more about our Global Programs, faculty and student opportunities.

Cal Poly International Center Highlights, Original Article

Native American Heritage Month Keynote Speaker Deborah Miranda

Nov 9, 2023

ES Faculty Member Damien Montaño with Author, Poet Deborah Miranda

Damien and Deborah

ES faculty member Damien Montaño with Native author, poet, and professor, Deborah Miranda, November 2023

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time that we collectively, as a nation, and as a campus, celebrate the myriad of histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.

Deborah Miranda is the Native American Heritage Month Keynote Speaker who presented on November 7th in the Chumash Auditorium. 

Deborah Miranda is most known for the mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir. Seen in her memoir, topics of her ancestry, gender, the natural world, and powering through trauma and violence are prominent features in her writing. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay area while holding Santa Ynez Chumash Ancestry. 

You can find out more about Deborah's work on her website, here.

At Cal Poly, we acknowledge that the land on which our university sits carries the heritage of the Indigenous People of San Luis Obispo County and Region, the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini, Northern Chumash Tribe.

Ethnic Studies Faculty and Students enjoy an evening with William Nu'utupu Giles

Nov 9, 2023

ES Faculty and Students enjoy a talk/slam poetry performance by William Nu'utupu Giles on October 26th

Ethnic studies faculty and students with William Giles

William Giles with Ethnic Studies faculty and students, October 2023 

The Ethnic Studies department Fall 2023 guest speaker was award-winning poet William Nu'utupu Giles, who presented a talk/slam poetry performance on October 26th in the ATL building. William is an afakasi Samoan writer, arts educator, and slam poetry award winner from Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Giles is an International Poetry Slam champion and a Kundiman fellow. Kundiman is a national organization that nurtures writers and readers of Asian American literature. Giles’ poems explore mental health issues emerging from modern colonization, the diaspora and the waters that connect people. Their work has been featured by HBO (in the documentary Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices), the National Parks Service, Bustle, LitHub, Button Poetry, and NBC News. Giles has spent the past years organizing poetry spaces with Youth Speaks Hawai’i, a creative organization that serves youth and uses spoken word poetry to teach empowerment through storytelling.

You can find out more about William Nu'utupu Giles' performances, awards, and work on their website, here.

Registration for African American Studies for K-12 Educators is now open!

May 10, 2023

Next Course for K-12 Educator is OPEN FOR REGISTRATION!!!

ES S470 "African American Studies for K-12 Educators," taught by Dr. Dan Castilow, is part of a 4-part series of accredited courses in Comparative Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly, geared toward K-12 educators. Class will be capped at 18.

Registration link is here

For more information, please contact Dr. Grace Yeh,

African American Studies for K-12 Educators


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