Ahmanson Undergraduate Research Scholarships

Up to ten undergraduate scholarships are offered every year to support undergraduate student research at the Clark Library. These are intended for UCLA upper-division students who enroll in a designated course (usually open to upper division students from any UCLA department). Program details, seminar descriptions and requirements, and application procedures are announced each year.

2022–23 Ahmanson Undergraduate Scholarship Seminar

Paul Landacre and the Erasure of Indigeneity in the California Landscape
Information Studies 180, Fall 2022
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m.12:30 p.m.
Directed by Johanna Drucker, UCLA Department of Information Studies

Many sessions held at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (off campus)
The Clark Library is located 12 miles from campus in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles. For directions and additional information, please visit http://clarklibrary.ucla.edu/visit/

ENROLLMENT BY INSTRUCTOR CONSENT ONLY (see below for application instructions)

On successful completion, students receive a $1,000 scholarship, funded by the Ahmanson Foundation and administered through the Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies.

Overview of the topic

In 1931, the gifted printmaker and landscape artist, Paul Landacre, published his first volume of works, California Hills. In 1928, the United States Congress approved the Jurisdictional Act, legislation that allowed indigenous tribes to sue the Federal government for reparations for land taken from them for centuries. Landacre’s striking images of the California landscape are all devoid of human occupation—indigenous as well as settler, mining, farming, and urban communities are all absent. The question this seminar is focused on is how Landacre’s work participated in the perpetuation of a particular visual and conceptual image of California. Landacre was a part of the California Fine Press circles in Los Angeles, and participated in many literary, artistic, and spiritualist activities. The Clark library is particularly rich in materials relevant to these circles and also possesses Landacre’s archives and printed work. The seminar will pursue interpretations of Landacre’s work in relation to traditions of landscape, portrayals of indigenous peoples (the Robert B. Honeyman collection in the Bancroft at UC Berkeley and other digitized materials), and commercial and political interests, such as those promoted by the Southern Pacific Railway’s Sunset magazine to generate interest in real estate development on the West Coast in the early 20th century. The seminar is meant to provide an opportunity to work with primary sources, develop research skills for the study of cultural materials, and pose critical questions about the way we understand historical events through visual and textual materials. Questions of race, power, ethnicity will be addressed through the framework of “erasure”—a term that signals deliberate as well as incidental alteration of the record of violence and genocide. To what extent do the skillful and exquisitely aesthetic works of Landacre inadvertently contribute to such an erasure—and how should we read them now in relation the Southern California context in which they were produced?

How to Apply:

Many of the sessions will be held at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in West Adams. Subsidies for use of Lyft transport are provided. No prerequisites, but students must apply to be admitted. An email stating interest and reasons for taking the seminar should be addressed to Professor Johanna Drucker, drucker@gseis.ucla.edu by April 30, 2022. The class is limited in size.

Enrollment in each Ahmanson Undergraduate Scholarship Seminar is limited to ten participants. Those who successfully complete the course requirements receive an award of $1,000.

Questions about the program:
Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies
302 Royce Hall, UCLA

Image: Paul Landacre, Indio Mountains, in California Hills, 1931.