The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, established as an organized research unit in 1969, is committed to research which enhances our understanding of the history, lifestyles, material conditions, and socio-cultural systems of African Americans and the Diaspora. The esteemed faculty and affiliated researchers include leaders in the fields of African American studies, education, public policy, environmental issues, public health, the humanities and the social sciences. Our faculty combines practical research with efforts to provide real time solutions to community problems.
Research is the core of the Bunche Center’s work. The Center’s mandate is to attract top research talent, sponsor innovative inquiry, disseminate relevant, quality research, and contribute to the historical, contemporary and evolving intellectual discourse in African American studies. The Center’s Assistant Director, Research, Dr. Ana-Christina Ramon, working under the supervision of the Center’s Director, Dr. Darnell Hunt, manages the research division. This includes overseeing grant and fellowship competitions, maintaining a conducive and productive research environment, conducting outreach to other community and academic stakeholders and continually exploring new internal and external opportunities for research funding. The Center’s research division also conceptualizes and plans scholarly symposia and other informational, programmatic and outreach events.
The Center’s work spans a wide range of interdisciplinary research. While the majority of the projects are traditional in scope, covering the humanities and humanistic social sciences (e.g. anthropology, cultural/critical studies, history, political science, and sociology), the Center continually seeks opportunities to expand inquiries beyond the traditional norms. The Center conducts research that is multi-disciplinary in scope, and partners with faculty from a wide range of subjects and professional schools to conduct meaningful research which sheds new understanding into the psychological, physical and social dimensions of the black experience. In recent years, the Center sponsored major research projects on Black Los Angeles, college access and diversity in the media. Current and future research projects include:
* Race and Hollywood Project — Following up on its Primetime in Black and White research, the Bunche Center is collaborating with Hollywood industry players to produce the definitive, annual report on diversity in front of and behind the camera. This report will 1) provide a comprehensive analysis of the inclusion of diverse groups in film and television, including starring roles, writing, directing, producing, and talent representation; and 2) identify and disseminate best practices for increasing the pipeline of underrepresented groups into the Hollywood entertainment industry.
* Cost and Benefits of Diversity Project – Diversity studies in education are primarily considered in the context of how diversity benefits white students (e.g., increased cultural and social awareness and sense of commonality with other students) and/or how it impacts the overall college experience. Only a few studies actually examine the possible benefits of diversity after students graduate. This project will examine the experiences of UCLA graduates, comparing and contrasting the contributions of minority and non-minority students to their communities. As a baseline against which to interpret these data, the study will also consider trends in popular media depictions of the costs and benefits of diversity.
* Meta-Analysis of Educational Interventions in Black Los Angeles – Collaborating with UCLA education researchers such as Professors Ernest Morrell and Walter Allen, this project will produce a definitive inventory of all student outreach and intervention programs targeting black students in Los Angeles County.
Although research conducted by Center faculty, visiting scholars, affiliated faculty and students covers the global reach of the African Diaspora, the Center also recognizes and embraces the opportunity to focus on Los Angeles, California and the western region.
The Center has established a research tradition of distinction, supporting and producing the highest quality research on a number of issues. Center research products have been published as books and reports in both the trade and academic press. In addition, research findings and reports are made available on the Bunche Center website, through the Bunche Library and Media Center, UCLA’s Young Research Library, the UCLA Digital Library and through UCLA’s Department of External Affairs. During the academic year, the Center’s research division hosts conferences and events to disseminate research and foster discussion of research findings to local and visiting faculty, students, policy makers, and the general public.
The Center’s research is conducted through a combination of grants from private foundations, public/government agencies and contributions by corporate and individual donors. The Center has a history of support from prestigious foundations such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. The Center has also received funding from government entities such as the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Agriculture and Forestry Service as well as generous contributions from corporations such as Target, Toyota, Twentieth Century Fox, and Nestle.
Ana-Christina Ramon, Assistant Director & Associate Researcher
Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA
160 Haines Hall, Box 951545, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1545