UC Merced

UC Merced’s First Student Fulbright Scholar Heads to El Salvador for Research

UC Merced Interdisciplinary Humanities Ph.D. candidate Danielle Bermudez will spend the next 10 months in El Salvador, conducting research and serving as a cultural ambassador for the campus as a Fulbright U.S. Student Researcher.

She is the campus’s first student winner of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Her research will explore how people bear witness to mass violence and what role social memory plays in healing after societal trauma. She is specifically interested in how indigenous Nahuat women assert ideas of humanity, dignity, justice and respect such as through public commemorations.

“Indigenous epistemologies can collectively teach us how social memories of violence in the aftermath of trauma offer broader solutions for healing and reconciliation,” she said. “While my research centers on El Salvador and on social memories of indigenous communities in this area impacted by violence and trauma, I believe understanding how indigenous communities heal can offer broader cross-cultural solutions for reconciliation and healing.”

She will conduct archival research and ethnographic fieldwork (participant-observation and qualitative key-informant interviews) for her dissertation.

Bermudez, who was born in Berkeley, earned her bachelor’s degree in feminist studies with a minor in global studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2013. A faculty mentor at Santa Barbara suggested Bermudez continue her studies at UC Merced. Bermudez began work with Professor Robin Maria DeLugan, who is well-known for her research into community collective identity; migration and transnationalism; political anthropology; and indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Bermudez earned her master’s degree at UC Merced, and through her work with Professor Arturo Arias, she became much more familiar with research on El Salvador. She grew up in the United States, but her family is from El Salvador and emigrated during the civil war in the 1980s. She said she still has family members in El Salvador, and they are excited about her doctoral research.

Bermudez spent three weeks there in 2015 on a research trip which introduced her to many faculty members and students in El Salvador, as well as government officials and representatives from various cultural organizations.

“These experiences were transformational to my personal and professional journey, as El Salvador publicly reckons with past violences and its intersections with the present,” Bermudez said.

When she returns, she plans to share her research findings with the campus community. After she finishes her dissertation, she said, she aims for a tenure-track faculty position at a research university through which she can research and teach courses on El Salvador related to gender, indigeneity and social memory to further promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding transnationally.

“Chiura Obata: An American Modern”

Learn more about artist Chiura Obata in a free public lecture with UC Merced Professor ShiPu Wang.

“Chiura Obata: An American Modern” takes place from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Merced County Library.

Wang is the curator of this internationally traveling retrospective, “Chiura Obata: An American Modern,” and offers a revealing talk about the artist’s life (1885-1975) and love for California’s “Great Nature.” He will also talk about his eight-year effort in organizing this exhibition.

The exhibition is on view at UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum through April 29. It travels to Utah, Okayama, Japan, and Sacramento, with a culminating stop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., in November 2019.

UC Merced’s Center for the Humanities is offering each of the first 20 registered attendees a free copy of the exhibition catalog by the University of California Press, the first art book surveying Obata’s seven-decade career by an academic publisher.

Register at bit.ly/2nmAMhU.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the campus’s Public Relations team. To contact the team, email PR@ucmerced.edu.