Monthly Archive for November, 2013

Publication addresses the San Fernando Valley secession movement

by Joanne Lovito-Nelson

Dr. Michan Conner, assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the  School of Urban and Public Affairs examines the San Fernando Valley secession movement in his article“’These Communities Have the Most to Gain from Valley Cityhood’: Color-Blind Rhetoric of Urban Secession in Los Angeles, 1996–2002″ published by the Journal of Urban History.

He notes, “the history of American suburbanization is marked by efforts by the affluent to draw boundaries that keep disadvantaged people out and tax dollars in, and the campaign for Valley secession partly fits this mold.”  Connor goes on to say “the campaign was unique because groups that had previously favored anti-busing and anti-immigration politics were forced to seek allies among the Valley’s fast-growing Latino population.”

Connor argues “as American cities’ budgets grow tighter, suburbs grow more diverse, and competition for resources among cities and neighborhoods grows fiercer, the politics that drove the secession movement will be replayed in metropolitan areas across the country, as affluent communities try to shed fiscal obligations to poorer ones.”

Director’s research spotlights Native American history

by Sara Abraham-Oxford

Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Donna Akers’ research focuses on Native American history, aiming to connect the legal and extra-legal historical actions of the U.S. government and its citizens with consequences for Native Americans. She is currently working on an article titled “Decolonizing the Master Narrative: Treaties and Other American Myths” to be published in the spring edition of the Wicazo Sa Review. She says the article discusses how U.S. college-level history text books tell a less-than-truthful version of westward movement without portraying the authenticity of the Native American experience of warfare, taking of land, conquest and exploitation.

Akers, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is also working on a book, Genocide in America: The Destruction of Native Americans by the U.S. Government, to be published in 2014. She has authored two previous books about Choctaw history and culture.

A mainstream narrative in elementary school that contrasted greatly with the history she had learned from family spurred her study of Native American history, Akers recalls. Her Choctaw grandmother’s comment that “we don’t interfere with the stories they tell themselves” also stayed with her and provided additional motivation to pursue graduate school. “I wanted to write about Native American history from an indigenous point of view. Native scholars call this field Decolonization History and it is considered a counter-narrative to mainstream U.S. history,” Akers says.

Akers, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA) at UT Arlington in addition to serving as the Director of School’s INTS program, spoke about her research to SUPA’s Ph.D. Colloquium earlier in the semester and presented a lecture titled ‘How to Discover Your Native Roots’ in November as part the University’s Native American Heritage Month.

News highlights from the School of Urban and Public Affairs

Dean Barbara Becker weighs in on urban villages in a recent article titled Uneven road to renewal: Fort Worth debates success of urban villages published by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Becker notes that “West Seventh is an example of an urban village done right.” Full Story.

The Arlington Urban Design Center was the focus of a CBS 11 News story. The Center is a partnership between the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Urban and Public Affairs, School of Architecture, and the City of Arlington, Texas. See video and story.

Brian Guenzel, director of the School’s Institute of Urban Studies, served on the Lamar (Colorado) ULI Advisory Services panel that “made recommendations for changes to the built environment that would encourage people to get out and exercise.”  Full story.