Ventura County Ethnic Studies Project
(Summer 2022)

The Summer SURF project seeks to recover silenced histories and re-interpret Ventura County history through an Ethnic Studies lens. For too long, Ventura County local histories have promoted a romanticized white pioneer narrative and idealistic vision of the past. To counter this sanitized history, students will produce counter-stories of Mexican Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans in Ventura County from the 19th to the 21 Century. A central goal is to center the subjugated histories and knowledges of racially minoritized groups in Ventura County.

Student researchers will choose from a menu of research topics related to Ventura County’s Ethnic history. After they complete their annotated bibliography, research question(s) and literature reviews, they will collect data by visiting local historical museums and libraries to find relevant archival sources, research Spanish and English language newspapers available online, analyze historical census data available online, conduct in-person interviews with long-time residents. Finally, students will present their findings to a student conference audience. The ultimate goal is to produce high quality research papers that will be included in book titled, Ventura County: An Ethnic Studies Reader.

The recent 2020 census revealed that Ventura County’s population has become increasingly more diverse and with ethnic studies becoming a requirement in high schools, community colleges, and CSU campuses. Now more than ever, we need published local histories with an ethnic studies lens. It is critical that a more accurate account of Ventura County’s multiethnic past takes place inside the classroom by highlighting the counter narratives of people of color. This book can be adopted for introductory courses in Ethnic Studies at the high school, community college and university level.

Criminalization of Immigrants in Ventura County
(Summer 2020)

There is a dire need for assistance to compile stories of non-US citizens adversely affected by current immigration enforcement and detention policies in Ventura County. Students will gather and compile both quantitative and qualitative data regarding non-U.S. citizens in Ventura County.  Students will work with Professor José Alamillo to learn about historical and contemporary immigration laws and policies, with a focus on immigrant sanctuary policies, “crimmigration,” deportation and detention policies.

Student researchers will:

  • Conduct interviews with those detained and/or family members of detainees.

  • Record information gathered. Quantitative data should be compiled in an easy-to-read format, such as an Excel spreadsheet. Qualitative data should be compiled into simple summaries, articles for press or social media publication.

  • Write a Research Paper based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered to submit for publication in an undergraduate research journal.

  • Make a public presentation to an academic conference.

  • Present results to local community groups to raise awareness about this project, and work with community advocates to develop policy objectives and strategies to improve human and civil rights in Ventura County and beyond.