UCLA Faculty Receive $75,000 to Support Pacific Rim Research 2004-2005

UCLA Faculty Receive $75,000 to Support Pacific Rim Research 2004-2005

Grants are awarded to support explorations on the origins of agriculture in Northern Asia, how art history and science might combine to illuminate Southeast Asian sculpture, what varied experiences with bast fiber textiles suggests about cultural preservation, and how globalization is affecting education on the Pacific Rim.

For 2004-2005, UC Pacific Rim Research Program allocated $508,199 to support 28 projects. Four UCLA research projects received support.  Below are summaries of the four projects.

More than two years ago, a group of scholars organized by Roy Hamilton of the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History began work on a book on bast fiber textiles. As the project progressed, it became clear that beyond the need to examine the history and range of bast fiber weaving, large cultural preservation issues demanded attention. Hamilton and his collaborators are now using bast fiber textile case studies to explore these issues. Their PRRP grant is supporting research trips by Hamilton to gather needed information to round out the volume and a workshop for the authors (including scholars from UC Berkeley, Guam, Kyoto, and Canada) to further examine and discuss each other’s studies. The Fowler is drawing upon its own extensive bast fiber collection for an exhibition to coincide with publication of the volume. 

Focusing on China’s Gansu Loess Plateau, anthropologists Jeffrey Brantingham (UCLA) and Robert Bettinger (UC Davis) are comparing archaeological and climatological data from two dramatic climatic events, the Last Glacial Maximum (22,000-18,000 years ago) and the Younger Dryas (13,000-11,000 years ago). The current explanation for why agriculture emerged during the Holocene period (10,000-8,000 years ago) is that the Younger Dryas glacial conditions affected populations and produced novel adaptations which yielded early millet cultivation. Together with top scholars in several disciplines from China and Russia, Brantingham and Bettinger are seeking to understand why people emerging from the earlier climatic downturn did not shift to a settled, agriculture-centered lives while those emerging from the later event did. PRRP funds are being used to support fieldwork in Gansu. The project team includes UC and Lanzhou graduate students.

UCLA art historian Robert Brown is co-leader with Pieter Meyers of a Los Angeles County Museum of Art effort to integrate art history approaches and scientific analysis in the investigation of Southeast Asian sculpture. The project is now in its second year and PRRP funds are supporting a workshop involving scholars from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Europe, and the United States. The workshop will address complex questions associated with sculpture including authenticity, role of technology in stylistic development, sequencing and development of sculpture, center versus peripheral workshop traditions, and artistic relationships with ancient cultures and ethnicities.

The fourth UCLA project receiving PRRP support in 2004-2005 is “Educating the Global Citizen” and involves scholars in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It is headed by Carlos Alberto Torres, an education professor and head of the UCLA Latin American Center. The projects aims to investigate how globalization is affecting the privatization and decentralization of K-12 education, to document the multinational movement towards standards-based instruction and high-stakes testing, to explore educational reform and its impact on students’ understanding their role as citizens and their opportunities for further education, and to consider what K-12 data suggests should be considered in setting higher education priorities.

UCLA faculty and advanced graduate students interested in applying for Pacific Rim Research Program support in 2005-2006 should attend the Asia Institute's PRRP workshop on Friday, November 12, 2004. Gail Hershatter, chair of the UC Executive Committee, and Florence Mou, the program's manager, will participate in the workshop. The UCLA deadline for faculty and students to apply for PRRP support is December 15, 2004. Additional information is available at: http://international.ucla.edu/asia/prrp/index.asp.

Published: Monday, November 01, 2004