CAL Summer Research Field Notes 2021

Research projects took place in a variety of international and national locations during summer 2021. Here, we highlight some of the notable work in which our dedicated faculty were engaged.

Arion Mayes and Aaron Young

Professor Arion Mayes, (right), and her former student and SDSU alum Aaron Young (M.A. 2019), outside of Oaklawn Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they participated in the recovery and analysis of unmarked graves.


Tulsa Race Massacre Research

One hundred years after the race massacre in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, nationally known at that time as “Black Wall Street,” a team of forensic scientists, and archaeologists, supported by community members, and the City of Tulsa began excavation and analysis in the search for unidentified victims of the 1921 Race Massacre.

Anthropology Professor Arion Mayes, who holds a doctorate in anthropology, participated as a forensic anthropologist, carrying out analysis on burials excavated from unmarked graves in Oaklawn Cemetery.  

“It is important that we tell their story. Not just in death. While our directive was the identification of the victims of the massacre, the discovery of unmarked graves, in a well-designed cemetery, of others who had lived and died in this vibrant neighborhood alongside those who died fighting for it, reminds us that all the evidence we collect is important in the reconstruction of an event for historical documentation and the context surrounding it.”  


A letter by Brazilian author Jorge de Lima, Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto, Portugal.


Professor and chair of sociology, Minjeong Kim resumed her fieldwork about Korean immigrants in the U.S.-Mexico border region, which was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s been studying, and plans to write about, the Korean immigrants who live transborder lives. She conducted in-depth interviews with Korean immigrants who reside in Tijuana. Many moved to the region as employees of Korean multinational corporations, who have subcontractors with maquiladoras in Tijuana. This movement of people was facilitated by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since the 1990s and has created a context where a new configuration of ethnic economy has developed. The abstract for Kim’s research can be found by clicking on her name here.

Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures

In May, Fulbright Scholar and Professor Ricardo Vasconcelos conducted archival research toward his next book at the Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto, Centro de Estudos Regianos (Vila do Conde), and the Fundação Instituto Marques da Silva (U. of Porto), in Portugal. His book studies the cultural production (literature, film, music, and the visual arts) developed during the period of the 2011-2015 in response to the financial crisis in Southern Europe and specifically in Portugal, and considers the role of the arts in contributing to shape aspects of national identity.