If you would like guidance on navigating the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies library either for research or leisure purposes, Ellen Hickman is more than willing to lend a hand. Ellen is a 4th year transfer from Santa Rosa junior college where she obtained two Associate’s degrees: Spanish and Art/Art History. She transferred to UC Davis last fall, and is majoring in Communication and minoring in Asian American. Winter quarter 2020 marks her second quarter participating as an intern for the Center, where she works with Cultural Studies PhD student Stacey Salinas.
Ellen and her co-interns are in charge of organizing the Center's library. Located on the third floor of Hart Hall, the Bulosan Center library consists of primary sources, books, and other materials related to Filipino-American history. The authors are Filipino, Filipino-American, and others with strong interests in Filipino-American history. Most of the literature deals with the post-colonial era, such as transnational migration histories, export culture, war experiences, and overlooked female heroes.
“We have to record the authors, condition of the source material, and include key points,” Ellen explains. “We are working on expanding the finding guide.” In the quarter prior, Ellen and her fellow interns created the finding guide. It is the first guide developed for the Center's library, and includes complete citations and photos of the front and back covers of source materials.
“I am looking forward to finishing the guide for the archive of the materials we have gathered in Bulosan,” says Ellen. “My favorite document I have worked with is Lahing Pilipino: Pilipino American Anthology published in Davis during the year 1977 this collection of poetry, plays, essays and art is an amazing example of Filipinx American history that was created much like students here at Davis today. It is not only a humorous work that made me laugh, but it presented student struggles that are similar to my own mixed identity. We have a lot of copies of this so I would recommend checking it out if you are curious.”
Ellen shares that as an intern, she is the most proud of the library. Although the Center's library is still in its early stages, it contains a sizable amount of literature. Organizing the library became a priority last quarter due to California Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s scheduled visit to the Center. Directed by Stacey Salinas, Ellen and her group worked over a period of two-three days to alphabetize the books by the author and decorate the library. “Bonta is the first Filipino-American ever to be elected to the California legislature,” Ellen adds, “it was really exciting that he and his group came to visit and checked out the library. I wasn’t there personally because I had class, but it was still really cool. And I believe Bonta helped push for the 1 million dollar grant.”
Through her involvement with the Bulosan Center, Ellen reveals, “Stacey Salinas has not only impacted me through a literary perspective by her books she has written, but also as a mentor who has taught me the importance of my own historical narrative. It was through her encouragement that I started to learn about my own history as a Taiwanese American and began documenting Taiwanese stories with the tools I have learned from Bulosan.”
As a side project, Ellen is recording her grandmother’s memories of WWII in Taiwan. “My grandma was around 8 or 9 years old,” she says, “so she remembers a lot. A lot of the bombs. Taiwan was bombed by the U.S, but no one talks about it.” With Stacey’s help, Ellen had the opportunity to meet with a group of authors who are writing about Taiwanese history and share her family’s stories with them. “I have been fortunate in the opportunity to work with [Stacey] since last fall quarter and hope to continue to work with her in the upcoming spring quarter,” shares Ellen.
When not working in the library or delving into her family history, Ellen enjoys participating in Bulosan Center-related events. “I’ve been a timekeeper for presenters before,” she says, “went to the Capitol with the group to lobby, and I often attend intern meetings. I remember going to the game night last quarter. It’s a lot of fun. I like to bring my cake-mix cookies to share.”