Occidental College has just put together the first-ever Institute for the Study of Los Angeles, so if you ever really, really wanted to learn just what makes this city tick, you finally can. The interdisciplinary program draws from 11 different departments across the college, including American studies, art history, environmental policy and urban planning.
Across the country, the graduate school of the City University of New York offers a degree in New York Studies, but Occidental’s will be the first program of its kind to examine Los Angeles in detail.
“Oxy has the potential to do much more to support collaborative, community-based, student-centered research on the history, culture, and social dynamics of Los Angeles and Southern California,” Jeremiah Axelrod, the director of the new institute stated in an announcement.
Right off the bat, they’re getting to work studying the multicultural history of the area near their campus in Eagle Rock. They partnered up with local historical groups to identify and preserve artifacts and develop an oral history program specifically focused on northeastern Los Angeles. They intend to become the key archive of the history of that part of the city.
In addition to training the next generation of expert Angelenos—students that we can only expect will go on to both teach about L.A.’s history and, in all likelihood, be leaders for the city’s future—the institute plans to play host to a collection of public programs, from educational speaker series to hosting local artists in residency and developing community workshops, all focused on the issues that impact Los Angeles.
Check out the full Institute for the Study of Los Angeles poster, featuring much of what makes LA unique (hi Chicken Boy):
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