Cal Poly professor gets Harvard grant
July 8, 2011
Victor Valle, a professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at Cal Poly who was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team of reporters at the Los Angeles Times, has been named a fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Valle, 60, will dedicate his time at Radcliffe to researching and writing his next book, “The Poetics of Fire: On The Art of Chile Eating,” a blending of cultural history, memoir and aesthetic philosophy that interprets North American aficionados’ love of the chile.
A leader among the world’s institutes for advanced study, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard annually selects fellows, who are award-winning artists, academics and professionals, including musicians, mathematicians, filmmakers, anthropologists, biologists and writers, to focus on individual projects and research.
Among his published works, Valle’s 2009 book, “City of Industry,” won critical praise for its look at Industry, a suburb of Los Angeles, where Valle examined the corporate privatization of the state’s redevelopment industry and how it contributed the inequalities of wealth that characterize Southern California’s urban landscape.
In 1984, Valle, then a reporter at The Times, was part of a team of Mexican American reporters and editors who produced a three-week series of stories on the lives and accomplishments of Latino residents of California’s 13 southern counties. The series earned The Times the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service, making the reporters and editors the first Mexican Americans to win a Pulitzer.
Valle joined Cal Poly’s Journalism Department in 1992, and transferred over to its Ethnic Studies Department in 1995, the department to which he will return after the completion of his fellowship.