'Chinatown Rising' film showing and Q&A, Feb. 21

The Marcus Endowed Chair of Social Justice Film in the School of Cinema will host a showing of the film “Chinatown Rising,” co-directed by alumnus Harry Chuck (pictured), on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Coppola Theater. Against the backdrop of the civil rights movement of the mid-1960s, Chuck, then a young San Francisco Chinatown resident armed with a 16mm camera and leftover film scraps from a local TV station, turned his lens onto his community. Totaling more than 20,000 feet of film (10 hours), Chuck’s exquisite unreleased footage captured a divided community’s struggles for self-determination.

Harry Chuck earned his M.A. from SF State’s Film Arts Department, where he served as a student assistant in film history. “Chinatown Rising” uses his footage from the ’60s to help tell the story of the Asian American movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once-quiet streets during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews, these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with co-directors/producers Josh Chuck and Harry Chuck.

This event is sponsored by Asian American Studies, AAPI Student Services and ASPIRELearn more about the screening on the College of Ethnic Studies website.

Introduction to Research

Please join us for CURE’s Introduction to Research Workshop. This interactive workshop is designed to help you think through what research is, how to formulate a productive research question, and how to select an appropriate method of conducting research.

The workshop will be led by Prof. Rebecca Eissler (Political Science) and Prof. Bridget Gelms (English). Please register to participate, Zoom information will be sent via email prior to the event. Please contact Prof. Gelms ( or Prof. Eissler ( with questions.

Sponsored by the College Undergraduate Research Committee (CURE).

Unversity shield next to George and Judy Marcus Funds spelled out

How to Write an Abstract

Learn the fundamentals of how to write a good summary of your research so you can submit it to an undergraduate research conference. In this workshop you will learn, through hands on activities, how to summarize your research projects in a brief and clear format. Students from all social science, humanities, and creative arts disciplines welcome. If you have a particular research project already formulated, please have a hard or digital copy ready.

The workshop will be led by Professor Jenny Lederer form the Department of English Language and Literature. Please register to participate, Zoom information will be sent via email prior to the event. Please contact Dr. Lederer if you have questions (

Sponsored by the College Undergraduate Research Committee (CURE).



Unversity shield next to George and Judy Marcus Funds spelled out

Writing into the unknown: a conversation with Marcus Endowed Chair Tonya M. Foster

The acclaimed poet joined SF State’s Creative Writing faculty last fall

Tonya M. Foster uses all types of words in her poetry: big and small, beautiful and vulgar. It is a key tactic of the San Francisco State University Creative Writing assistant professor’s ongoing study of language.

Publisher’s Weekly praised her 2017 book-length poem “A Swarm of Bees in High Court” as “the rare debut collection that displays a marvelous understanding of how to merge form and content … sonically rich, complex in its formal elements and constraints and haunting in its examination of dislocation.”

“AHotB,” the title of Foster’s forthcoming poetry book, is an acronym for “A History of the B---h.” Adopting Fanny Lou Hamer’s idea that “a Black woman’s body is never hers alone,” Foster completed it last year during a fellowship at Harvard University.

Foster joined San Francisco State last fall as one of four Marcus Endowed Chairs, tenure-track positions established with a $25 million donation from alumni George and Judy Marcus. Now, SF State students work closely with the New Orleans-raised poet known for electric lyricism and expansive interpretations of language.

What inspired you to pursue poetry and academia for a career?

For a long time, I think that I considered myself a reluctant poet — someone who wrote poetry but thought, OK, there were all these other things I did, and teaching was one of those things.

Teaching was, for me, a space where you could be in community around learning something, discovering something. I’ve never been particularly interested in mastery. I’m much more interested in ideas of expertise and being open to discovering.

What made you choose to come to San Francisco State?

SF State has an incredible history in terms of Black Studies. To be at an institution that’s important for ethnic studies, I thought that’s a wonderful place for me. What I hope to learn is how these questions of justice — and where Black students are concerned — are energized and more animated, and how can I be a part of that.

Tell us about your new project, “AHotB.”

It’s poetry and prose. There are autobiographical elements in it, but it’s certainly a meditation on and about Black women. An interrogation of the [fictitiousness] of Black womanhood is what it is. I’m very interested in multiple registers of language.

And where does the “b-word” fit in? What does it represent in this project and the meaning behind it?

Well, it’s the word I would never say to people I care about, right? But it is the word, it’s the vision of Black womanhood that has been pervasive in many ways. I’ve been trying to track both uses of the term and also the ways that women have tried to reclaim that term and make it mean its opposite. That kind of intervention is rarely successful, and yet I think it’s a mode. It’s an attempt to do something else.

I’m just trying to sit with it, think through it, imagine through it. When are the moments when women are being called out of their name? By this name? What are the actions, what are the engagements that are being disapproved of and remarked upon?

I don’t just want to describe it, actually. I guess I want to interrogate it. I want to see where it leads. I don’t know yet how the dots connect. I’m curious about that.

It goes to this point I’m often talking to students about: writing into the unknown. If you’ve already decided what the conclusion is, why write it? Somehow, you write into the unknown — you write into the discovery of something that you didn’t otherwise know.

Read Foster’s poem “Testimonial Testify,” excerpted from “AHotB,” in The A-Line: A Journal of Progressive Thought.

Learn more about the Creative Writing Department at SF State.

Faculty-Student History Team to Create Graphic Novel Exploring First Black Marines


San Francisco State University Professor Trevor Getz will again bring an overlooked piece of history to light through a nonfiction comic book. Created with History undergraduate Robert Willis, the “The Montford Point Marine Project” will tell the stories of the first Black U.S. Marines, who served in World War II. The story is based on new oral histories of their experiences. It will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024.

Aimed at a high school and undergraduate audience, “The Montford Point Marine Project” will foreground the meaning and lessons the veterans themselves draw from their service and experiences. In a unique design, the book will include digital resources linking readers to interviews with Montford Point Marine veterans. These interviews are possible thanks to a contribution from The Boeing Co., and will be filmed in December by a team led by Cinema Professor Daniel Bernardi and San Francisco State alumnus Jesse Sutterley. Members of the National Montford Point Marine Association will also help direct the writing and design of the graphic novel.

In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlawed racial discrimination in war industries, allowing Black men and women to serve in a segregated fashion. The Marines recruited Black men and sent them to Jacksonville, N.C., at Camp Montford Point, where about 20,000 African Americans trained between 1942 and 1949. The Montford Point Marines, as they came to be known, remain active in public service, support for their veterans and preservation of their legacy.

“The Montford Point Marine Project” is the follow-up to Getz’s award-winning “Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History” (Oxford University Press, 2011). That book depicts the life and trial of Abina Mansah, a woman living in 19th-century colonial West Africa who escapes slavery and takes her former master to court. Like “Abina,” the new book is designed to be a guide to historical research, in this case focusing on community-based oral history methods.

The team bringing this story to life includes Getzand Willis along with Montford Point Marine historian Gunnery Sgt. Joe Geeter III and artist Liz Clarke. “Through the life stories of the Montford Point Marines, we hope to train and inspire teachers and students to collect, interpret and value the memories, experiences and wisdoms of earlier generations,” Getz said. “The Montford Point Marine Project” has also received funding through the Marcus Undergraduate Research Assistantship Grant.

Marcus Transformative Research Award recipients named

Three College of Liberal & Creative Arts faculty members are this year's recipients of the Marcus Transformative Research Award and will support research in topics spanning the decolonizing of communication research, empowering history collection in Ghana and recovering the works of a 19th century composer.

The Marcus Transformative Research Award provides one semester leave with pay and a $3,000 research budget. The award is made possible by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, which was established in 2018 with a $25-million gift to SF State.

Cristina Azocar

Journalism Professor Cristina Azocar will produce an edited book that seeks to shift the focus of Eurocentric methodologies and theories within the discipline of mass communication. With "Decolonizing Mass Communication Research," Azocar will place Indigenous voices and epistemologies at the center of the research process, providing communication scholars of color with a research pathway to include the inherent knowledge of their lived reality.

The book will be targeted for researchers, providing a framework for graduate students and academics as well as a resource in theory classes in mass communication, journalism, and other related disciplines.

Trevor Getz

"Youth Participatory Action History in Ghana" is a research and curricular framework planned by History professor Trevor Getz that employs community-engaged methodologies to empower and train youth in Ghana to collect, interpret, and direct publication related to their own community's history. It's a novel approach that positions students as expert history researchers, exploring the potential for historian-assisted communities to use this method to understand their relationship over time to the spaces and networks in which they live.

The output generated by students is meant to be open-ended but it's anticipated that a variety of public-facing works will be created including video documentaries in short format like TikTok, as well as uploaded to YouTube.

Brad Hogarth

With "The Music of Francis Johnson," Music professor Brad Hogarth plans to transcribe the works of prolific 19th Century African American composer and performer, Francis Johnson (1794 –1844). Johnson, whose music has largely been lost to time, wrote more than two hundred compositions of various styles—operatic airs, Ethiopian minstrel songs, patriotic marches, ballads, cotillions, quadrilles, quicksteps and other dances.

Working with manuscripts provided by the University of Pennsylvania's Kurt Stein collection of Francis Johnson, Hogarth will adapt and transcribe these works for modern ensembles ranging in size and difficulty; from collegiate and professional ensembles to more accessible forms so that public schools in the United States can easily add more under represented composers into their curriculum.

Learn More

Cristina Azocar | Trevor Getz | Brad Hogarth