As the new director of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, Chon Noriega plans to expand the center’s existing programs and include more research and publications related to public-policy issues and social sciences.
“Needless to say, we will also continue our role as a leading publisher and library-based resource in Chicano and Latino studies,” said Noriega, who started working as the center’s director on July 1. “As the new director, I feel the present moment is an exciting time for the field, especially given the increasing political, economic, demographic and cultural influence of the Latino community in Los Angeles and nationwide. Furthermore, UCLA offers an unmatched set of colleagues, resources and opportunities that can provide a foundation for the center’s growth in the years ahead.”
Noriega, a professor in UCLA’s Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, had served as the center’s associate director since July 2001.
Noriega brings a wealth of research and writing experience to his new position. He is the author of “Shot in America: Television, the State and the Rise of Chicano Cinema” and nine other books that deal with Latino media, performance and visual art. Since 1996 he has been editor of Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, which is the flagship journal for the Chicano Studies field since its founding in 1970. He has overseen the center’s publication of four books and the new “Latino Policy and Issues Brief” series.
Noriega has co-curated numerous media and visual arts projects, including “Just Another Poster: Chicano Graphic Arts in California.” It will travel to five venues nationwide through 2003. He also organized the Chicano Cinema Recovery Project between the center and the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The project, which received major support from various foundations, is helping recover and preserve independent, Chicano-directed feature films.
In 1999 Hispanic Business magazine named Noriega one of the Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics for his involvement in media policy and professional development. He is a co-founder and treasurer of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. He was also co-principal investigator of two comprehensive studies of Latino actors commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and conducted by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute in 1999 and 2000. He also recently served as moderator for the Arts and Entertainment Summit of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which will develop policy recommendations.
“I am delighted that the search committee was able to identify a person of such outstanding qualifications to lead the center,” said Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, vice chancellor of graduate affairs and dean of graduate programs.
Guillermo Hernandez, the center’s past director, returns to full-time teaching in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
The Chicano Studies Research Center, established in 1969, promotes the study and dissemination of knowledge on Latinos. The center supports the research of UCLA professors and keeps a library collection and archives. Its publications unit disseminates research and publications in the area of Chicano studies.
In 2000 the Los Tigres del Norte Foundation donated $500,000 to the center to launch the establishment of the Strachwitz Frontera Collection. It is the largest public collection of Spanish-language folk music. The donation also enables the center to research Spanish-language folk musical traditions.
In 1998 the center and the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History also developed the world’s first comprehensive museum exhibition on the corrido, or ballad. The exhibit, which has been expanded by the Smithsonian, is traveling across the nation.