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Talk / Lecture

Share the Mic: The Folklore of the Freeway

August 19, 2021 | 4:00PM - 5:00PM

The “Borders and Boundaries” section of The Map and the Territory exhibition explores how borders affect relationships among individuals, communities, and places. Some boundaries are systemic and require decades of struggle to overcome. 

UCLA professor Eric Avila’s book, The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modern City, maps the creative strategies devised by urban communities in the 1960s and 1970s to document and protest the damage wrought by highways, which cut through and destroyed many communities of color. Join the Fowler and Avila to learn about this history; the impact of redlining on LA’s Boyle Heights; the work of the Latinx artists who critique and satirize highway construction as a racist and sexist enterprise; and the influence of diverse communities on urban policy. 

Eric Avila, Professor of History and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA, also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Urban Planning. He is a 20th-century U.S. urban historian whose research and teaching emphasize race and ethnicity, cultural expression, and the built environment. Avila earned his BA, MA, and PhD degrees in History from UC Berkeley and is the author of three books: Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (California, 2004), The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City (Minnesota, 2014), and American Cultural History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2018). 

Share the Mic
The Fowler believes in the civic duty of museums to give forum to multiple points of view. This series features thought leaders—artists, activists, and allies—who are guiding us along the arc of justice.

Image credit: Judith F. Baca © 1976, “Division of the Barrios and Chavez Ravine,” detail from the 1950s section of the Great Wall of Los Angeles, painted summer 1983. Image courtesy of the SPARC Archives


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