Vice Provost - Institute of American Cultures

Vice Provost

David K Yoo, Vice ProvostDavid K. Yoo is Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA. A historian of the United States, Dr. Yoo is the lead editor for the recently published Oxford Handbook of Asian American History. He is the author and editor of seven books, including Contentious Spirits: Religion in Korean American History, 1903-1945. In addition, Professor Yoo most recently was the Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and has served as the senior editor of Amerasia Journal, and currently is a series editor for the University of Hawaii Press and the University of Illinois Press. Dr. Yoo previously taught at Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Colleges, where he served as chairperson of both the Department of History and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.

Professor Yoo has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar (Korea) and a recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, and the Huntington Library. He has been active in many professional organizations including the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, and the Association of Asian American Studies. Professor Yoo is also the recipient of the Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize at UCLA. His community involvement includes being on the boards of the Korean American Scholarship Foundation and the Little Tokyo Service Center.

A native of Los Angeles, Professor Yoo received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Claremont McKenna College, an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary, and the M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University in American Studies and History. 

Director of American Indian Studies Center

Director of American Indian Studies Center

Shannon Speed is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She is currently the Director of the American Indian Studies Center and Associate Professor in Gender Studies and Anthropology. Dr. Speed has worked for the last two decades in Mexico, and her research and teaching interests include indigenous politics, legal anthropology, human rights, neoliberalism, gender, indigenous migration, and activist research. She has published five books and edited volumes, including Rights in Rebellion: Human Rights and Indigenous Struggle in ChiapasHuman Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Moral Engagements, and Cultural Contentions, and Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in English and Spanish, as well as two books in Spanish. Her current research is on indigenous Latin American women migrants and gender violence, and her book in progress is entitled, States of Violence: Indigenous Women Migrants and Human Rights in the Era of Neoliberal Multicriminalism. She serves on the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) and as co-chair of the Otros Saberes/Other Knowledges section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). In 2013, she was awarded the Chickasaw Dynamic Woman of the Year Award by the Chickasaw Nation, and in 2014 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Texas Indian Law Section.

Director of Asian American Studies Center

Karen Umemoto, UCLA Asian American Studies Center Director

Karen Umemoto is a professor in the departments of Urban Planning and Asian American Studies and is the inaugural Helen and Morgan Chu Endowed Director’s Chair of the Asian American Studies Center. Professor Umemoto received her Ph.D. in Urban Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Science from San Francisco State University. 

She comes to UCLA after serving on faculty at the University of Hawai'i Manoa since 1996. Professor Umemoto’s research and practice take a broad view of planning in the context of social inclusion, participatory democracy, and political transformation. 

Professor Umemoto has published over 50 articles, book chapters, and professional reports, and she has served on the boards for the Association for Asian American Studies and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. She has also served on editorial boards for five journals, including the Journal of the American Planning Association. In 2001, she received the University of Hawai'i Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching. She is the recipient of the W.E.B. DuBois Award of the Western Society of Criminology, co-author of Jacked Up and Unjust: Pacific Islander Teens Confront Violent Legacies (University of California Press, 2016), and the author of Truce: Lessons from an L.A. Gang War (Cornell University Press, 2006).

Director of Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

Kelly Lytle Hernández is the Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and Professor of History and African American Studies at UCLA. She is one of the nation’s leading historians of race, policing, immigration, and incarceration in the United States. Her award-winning book, MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010), explored the making and meaning of the U.S. Border Patrol in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, arguing that the century-long surge of U.S. immigration law enforcement in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is a story of race in America. Her book City of Inmates: Conquest and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), is an unsettling tale that spans two centuries to unearth the long rise of incarceration as a social institution bent toward disappearing targeted populations from land, life, and society in the United States.


Director of Chicano Studies Research Center

Chon A. Noriega

Chon A. Noriega is Professor in the UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media. In July 2002, he became Director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. He is author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema (Minnesota, 2000) and editor of nine books dealing with Latino media, performance and visual art. He is completing a book on multimedia artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz.  Since 1996, he has been editor of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, the flagship journal for the field since its founding in 1970.

For the past fifteen years, Noriega has been active in media policy and professional development, for which Hispanic Business named him as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics. He is co-founder of the 500-member National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP, established in 1999) and served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the largest source of independent project funding within public television. Noriega has served as moderator for the Arts and Entertainment Summit of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus. His current research establishes a quantitative methodology for the study of hate speech in the media.

In addition to his work in media, Noriega has curated numerous exhibitions for the Autry National Center, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Mexican Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art, among other venues.  He co-curated  the traveling exhibitions Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement (2008-10) and Just Another Poster:  Chicano Graphic Arts in California (2001-03), as well as the five-exhibition project L.A. Xicano (2011-12). He is editor of A Ver: Revisioning Art History, a book series on individual Latino artists, which now has six titles in print and nine more in progress. He has also helped recover and preserve independent films and video art, including the first three Chicano-directed feature films. The restoration of these films is the cornerstone of an ongoing "Chicano Cinema Recovery Project" that he organized between the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Chicano Studies Research Center.