2017 Graduate Students

Claudia Rodriguez



Master in Fine Arts, Creative Writing- California Institute of the Arts

Thesis title: “The Secrets of Mauctla: un corrido and other stories”

Areas of specialization: prose, fiction, and poetry

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Chicano Studies- University of California, Los Angeles, CA 

Biography and Interests

Claudia Rodriguez is a community scholar, educator, creative writer and performer from Compton.  She published her first collection of poetry “Everybody’s Bread” in 2015 with Korima Press.  For the past twenty years, she has developed work for/about and with marginalized communities. As a 2016 COLA Fellow, an award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Claudia  wrote a performance poem entitled “Midnight Steel” that challenges mainstream perceptions of Compton.  As part of the process, she conducted interviews with residents of Compton and wove their voices into her performance.  As a 2014 recipient of an Artists in Residence Grant ($8,0000) from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, she developed the project “Nuestros Cuerpos Nuestras Almas/Our Bodies, Our Souls (OBOS).”  OBOS was a literary project wherein she worked with Transgender Latina immigrants. Through facilitated creative writing exercises, they explored their biographies and produced creative works to be published in a bilingual OBOS anthology (forthcoming 2017). This project addresses the glaring absence of literary work written by transgender Latina immigrants. She is a founding member of Butchlalis de Panochtitlan (BdP) a sketch-driven performance/ installation/video ensemble (now defunked). She performed with BdP from 2002 to 2010 all across the country. 

As a doctoral student, her goal is to pursue arts-based action research questions that investigate how race relations between Blacks and Chicana/os in the City of Compton have shifted along with its demographics. This will include collaborating with the young community organizers in the city to evaluate the shared oppressions between Chicana/os and Blacks that contribute to interracial conflict and how to move beyond it.



Christian Duran 


Biography and Interests

Christian Durán was born in Mexico City and raised in Ciudad Azteca, a colony located in Ecatepec de Morelos in the State of Mexico.  Christian emigrated to Santa Ana, California in the mid 1980s and completed his primary education in the Santa Ana Unified School District.  Subsequent to that, Christian served in the U.S. Army Reserves while working in various fields; banking, child protective services, and immigration law.  In 2008, he returned to school and received his B.A. in English and Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.  While at Berkeley, Christian began to deconstruct his own experience as an immigrant.  Graduating with high honors in English and Rhetoric, Christian received a Charlene Conrad Leibau Library Prize Honorable Mention for his thesis entitled, “Lost in Trans-Nation:  Unearthing Chicano Identity in Daniel Venegas’s Las Aventuras de Don Chipote o Cuando Los Pericos Mamen.”  His thesis cross-examined the historical milieu within which the novel was written as well as the socio-political affiliations held by the author in order to call into question assumptions about the novel’s significance.  Parsing through his own experiences, Christian has developed an interest in the complexity of identity formation and the plasticity of that identity depending on both arbitrary and directed factors.  Areas of interest include transnationalism, identity formation, and representations of immigrants in literature and media. 


Kimberly Ivette Miranda 


University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts in Chicana/o Studies, Cum Laude 

Biography and Interests

Kimberly grew up in East Los Angeles and is a proud transfer student who attended East Los Angeles Community College (ELAC). She transferred Fall 2015 to UCLA and graduated Spring 2017 with a major in Chicana/o Studies and minor in African American Studies. Kimberly participated in the Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars program as an undergraduate conducting research on the anti-gentrification movement happening East of Los Angeles. As an undergraduate she worked with Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP) femtoring prospective transfer students at ELAC. She also spent time working and helping out at a community cultural space called Espacio 1839, located in Boyle Heights. Currently, she is a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow and will continue to pursue her research interests with gentrification, urban sociology, racialization of space, and visual culture in Los Angeles. Her ultimate goal is to centralize underrepresented communities of color experiences that undergo displacement throughout the city of Los Angeles. 


Magally “Maga” Miranda Alcazar 


Biography and Interests

Magally “Maga” Miranda Alcazar is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar working at the intersection of Chicana/o Studies and Marxist critical theory. Her project looks at how a Marxist feminist social reproduction framework could inform studies of gender, race, labor and capital along the U.S.-Mexico “borderlands."

Maga is a Cota Robles Fellow at UCLA. She graduated magna cum laude from UC Santa Cruz with B.A.s in Feminist Studies and Community Studies where her paper “The Gente-fication of Boyle Heights” was recognized with a HUGRA Award.

Her recent publications include “Artwashing, or Between Social Practice and Social Reproduction” (A Blade of Grass) about the effects of artwashing on gentrification in her hometown of Boyle Heights; and “The Power of Trabajadoras and the Subversion of Capital: Notes Towards a Domestic Workers’ Inquiry” (Viewpoint Magazine), an ethnographic and theoretical report based on a participant observation study of domestic worker organizing in the SF Bay Area. Her writing can also be seen in The Nation and Truthout.

Maga is a member of the editorial collective of Viewpoint Magazine and a co-founder and editor of SAL(T): Xicana Marxist Tho(ugh)ts.


Briceida Hernandez-Toledo  

B.A. Gender & Sexuality Studies, Minor in Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Biography and Interests

Briceida is a queer Xicana born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a McNair Scholar, her undergraduate research involved working with undocuqueer students to closely examine resources available to them and honor their experiences as activists in the Nevada higher education system. Currently she is interested in the intersections between citizenship, borders, immigration, gender/sexuality, and violence. With a grounding in women of color feminist scholarship, she wants to contribute to the survival and prosperity of her communities by evaluating how violence is perpetrated onto queer immigrants. As a co-creator of The Muxerista Collective, a Xicanx feminist media platform, Briceida hopes to build bridges and make academia accessible to create spaces for activism, feminism, social justice, and self-care.


Brenda Lara  


Biography and Interests

Brenda Lara originates from Huntington Park, CA. She was raised by a strong hardworking mother who taught her the value of Feminism (without ever using the word Feminism) her upbringing influenced her to research women of color’s knowledge. After transferring from LMU, Brenda attended UCLA majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Chicana and Chicano Studies. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at UCLA she theorized on a phenomenon she coins epistemic unconfidence that establishes that structures of power continuously deny Latinas’ intelligence leading them to believe that they are incapable of producing “legitimate” knowledge. Through the use of Continental Philosophy, Chicana Feminism, and history she hopes to disrupt the notion that Chicanas and Latinas do not produce knowledge.

As a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in the Cesar Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies she plans to expand her work on women of color’s knowledge. Future research ideas include applying epistemic unconfidence to Latinas in popular culture and continuing to integrate Continental and Chicana Feminist philosophies.

Research Interests include: Chicana/Latina Feminism, Philosophy of Race, Epistemology, Continental Philosophy, Herstories, Borderlands Theory, Gender and Sexuality Theory