Glocal Histories of Exile and Activism in the University of California

Bui Long
Global and International Studies
UC Irvine

This project documents the relationship between the University of California and exiled diasporic minoritized communities. It recognizes that as the public University of California has grown into one of the best—and most diverse—university systems, its ties to displaced BIPOC communities grow deeper and more complicated. This historical project tracks the inclusive/exclusionary policies informing institutional scientific/diversity projects as well as educational/community activism since the end of World War II. The UC promises refuge/asylum on a global and local stage, but I juxtapose this traditional understanding with emerging work in critical refugee, race, and university studies. By linking different cases as sites of collective struggle over belonging/outsiderness, I draw the contours of a complicated picture about the UC system that goes beyond the research done on (Berkeley) student movements of the 1960s. Historical events unearthed from UC campus archives come together to tell a multi-pronged story about the academy. I overlay the UC’s spectacular growth under the California master plan of education with geographical events and migrant crises. Though the UC tracks its worker-students through demographics of race, I offer another way of recording these fluid, racialized populations by mapping infrastructures of exploitation and geographies of risk.