Institute welcomes new center directors
Bunche Hall, where the UCLA International Institute is located on the 10th and 11th floors. (Photo: Kaya Mentesoglu/ UCLA.)

Institute welcomes new center directors

The Institute welcomes a new cohort of center directors and extends its heartfelt gratitude to faculty members who have served with distinction.

UCLA International Institute, June 21, 2021 — A number of International Institute centers will welcome new leaders in the academic year that begins on July 1, with long-serving directors stepping down after many years of dedicated service. The Institute would like to thank these leaders for their innumerable contributions to their centers and the Institute as a whole, and to welcome a new cohort of center directors.

Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Historian George Dutton, professor in the department of Asian languages and cultures, will step down as director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) after serving eight years in the position. The Institute expresses its deep thanks to Professor Dutton for his steadfast leadership of CSEAS. His collaborative work with faculty, center staff and students have strengthened the center as a major locus of interdisciplinary research on Southeast Asia on campus, including the winning of multiple Title VI grants.

While director, Dutton published “A Vietnamese Moses: Philiphe Binh and the Geographies of Early Modern Catholicism” (UC, 2016), which was awarded the Premio Fondaçaõ Oriente of Portugual in 2017. The UCLA professor also serves as vice chair and sits on the steering committee of the newly created (2020) Graduate Education and Training in Southeast Asian Studies (GETSEA) Consortium, of which CSEAS is a founding member.

During Dutton’s tenure, CSEAS and its Title VI partner UC Berkeley have been working to create a network of Southeast Asian studies scholars in the University of California and California State University systems by holding numerous faculty talks, graduate workshops and conferences (the most recent of which was “Ethnic and Community Identity in Southeast Asia” in February 2021.)

Associate Professor of Anthropology Stephen Acabado, who has worked regularly with CSEAS since joining the UCLA faculty in 2013, will become the new director of CSEAS in July. Acabado is an anthropological archaeologist interested in the human-environment interaction and Indigenous responses to colonialism. He is conducting ongoing research programs in Indigenous Taiwan and in Bicol and Ifugao, Philippines.

Acabado is the author of “Antiquity, Archaeological Processes, and Highland Adaptation: The Ifugao RiceTerraces” (Manila University, 2015), and scores of scholarly journal articles. In addition to his archaeological research, he is actively engaged in the ethnographic study of the Ifugao agricultural system as a living cultural landscape; descendant communities are actively involved in his research projects.

Latin American Institute

At the Latin American Institute (LAI), Kevin Terraciano, UCLA professor of history and Dr. E. Bradford Burns Chair in Latin American Studies, is stepping down after 11 years at the institute, first as acting director and then as director. The institute expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Terraciano for his many years of leadership at LAI and his work with stakeholders across campus and the greater LA community to enhance the institute’s reputation as a major locus of interdisciplinary research on Latin America.

During his tenure, Terraciano chaired (and later co-chaired) the Institute’s M.A. Program in Latin American Studies; established a Nahuatl language program at the International Institute, including an annual Nahuatl conference (now in its fourth year); and oversaw many important conferences, seminars and professional development workshops for K–12 teachers.

Over the past three years, he has published three books that he worked on throughout his years at LAI: “Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern” (Getty Research Institute, 2019; coedited with Larry Silver), “The Florentine Codex: An Encyclopedia of the Nahua World in Sixteenth-Century Mexico” (UT, 2019; coedited with Jeanette Peterson) and “The Codex Sierra Texupan” (Oklahoma, 2021).

Rubén Hernández-León, UCLA professor of sociology and expert on Mexico-U.S. migration, will become the new director of LAI in July. Hernández-León is the author of “ Skills of the ‘Unskilled’: Work and Mobility among Mexican Migrants” (UC Press, 2015; with Jacqueline Hagan and Jean-Luc Demonsant) and “Metropolitan Migrants: the Migration of Urban Mexicans to the United States” (UC Press, 2008), and co-editor of “New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States” (Russell Sage, 2005; with Víctor Zúñiga). He is currently writing a book on a 25-year study of a new destination of Mexican immigration in the U.S. South.

Hernández-León has worked closely with the International Institute for over a decade. He has been the director of the Center for Mexican Studies since 2009, where he works closely with the Consulate of Mexico in Los Angeles and has overseen many community-oriented initiatives with students. In addition, he has served on the institute’s Faculty Advisory Committee and is currently a member of the Faculty Advisory Committees of the Latin American Institute, the Latin American Studies M.A. Program and the Center for the Study of International Migration.

Center for Mexican Studies. Effective July 1, Gaspar Rivera-Salgado will become the director of the Center for Mexican Studies (CMS). A sociologist who earned his doctorate at UC Santa Cruz, Rivera-Salgado is a project director at the UCLA Labor Center of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, where he is a faculty member in the labor studies program. He also directs Labor Center’s Cross-Border Labor Solidarity Project in collaboration with the Solidarity Center of the AFL-CIO.

An expert on labor movements, immigrant workers, farm workers, binational worker movements and global labor solidarity, Rivera-Salgado teaches courses on immigration as well as on work, labor and social justice in the U.S. His publications include “Just Neighbors? Research on African American and Latino Relations in the United States” (Sage, 2011; co-edited with Edward Telles and Mark Sawyer) and “Indigenous Mexican Migration in the United States” (Center for U.S.-Mexican Sudies, UCSD, 2005; co-edited with J. Fox).

Center for Brazilian Studies. Professor of Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures José Luiz Passos will step down from his second term as director of the Center for Brazilian Studies (CBS). An award-winning novelist and respected literary scholar from Brazil who publishes primarily in Portuguese, Passos has played a significant role at the center and in Brazilian studies more broadly at UCLA. In 2020, the Center for Brazilian Studies (CBS) won the Focus Brazil Foundation’s “Focus Brazil 2020 Award” for its promotion of Brazilian culture and the Portuguese language on the West Coast.

During Passos’ second tenure as CBS director, he expanded the literary and cultural content of its public programs expanded while sustaining the center as an important hub for Brazilian studies at UCLA and among the greater Southern California community. He created the UCLA Colloquium on Brazil in 2018 with support from the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles, and sustained both the Colloquium on Brazil and the CBS Brazilian Film Series (collaborations with the consulate, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese).

The Institute will announce the new director of the Center for Brazilian Studies in the near future.

All photos UCLA save for José Luiz Passos (Photo: Raquel M. Barreto). 

This article was published on June 21, 2021, and corrected on July 2.