Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Clement Lai Selected as 2012/13 Humanities Research Fellow

Clement Lai, an assistant professor in the Department of Asian American Studies, has been selected as a 2012/13 University Research Fellow. One of nine faculty members
appointed this cycle—including honorees from each college and from the university library—Dr. Lai represents the College of Humanities in this campus-wide provost’s initiative to offer CSUN faculty the time and resources needed for ongoing scholarship.

Clement Lai, Ph.D.
Over the course of his fellowship semester this fall, Lai will complete revisions on his book Between Blight and a New World: Urban Renewal and the Multiracial Neighborhood, detailing differing outcomes for neighboring Japanese Americans and African Americans in San Francisco’s Fillmore District following post–World War II redevelopment. His work—incorporating 45 oral histories conducted with community leaders, activists, residents, and business owners from both groups—focuses on the effects of urban renewal on diverse populations in an effort to understand and communicate the importance of including multiple non-White constituent groups in policy decision-making and in community-level political mobilization.

Lai also will continue archival and interview-based research on his next major research project, which examines everyday life in historic multiracial neighborhoods in Southern California, depicting conflicts and cooperation among diverse groups with shared geography and intersecting histories.

“Ultimately, I believe my research sheds light on the question of the meaning and implications of dense diversity in California,” Lai states. “[It makes] a contribution as well to literature on racialization outside of a Black-White model of race relations.”

Lai, who earned his Ph.D. in ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, began teaching at CSUN in fall 2011. He previously held a faculty position at Cornell University and was a Visiting Scholar/Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures and Asian American Studies Center.