Felicia Viator

Assistant Professor
Phone: 
(415) 338-6177
Building: Science
Room Number: 267B
Office Hours: 
Monday: 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am-12:30 pm

Biography

I’m an American historian with a focus on nineteenth and twentieth century social and cultural history. I’m especially interested in California, popular entertainment, and youth culture. I explore all three in my first book, To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America (2020). It’s an origin story of “gangsta rap” woven into the unique and complex history of black Los Angeles. Scholars have a habit of treating LA rap as a renegade outgrowth of New York hip-hop that only mattered briefly. But I put the music and its creators squarely at the center of the story of how hip-hop survived the 1980s and radically transformed American culture.

My next book will explore youth, parenting, and fear in late twentieth century suburban life, with a focus on “stranger danger” concerns, the Satanic Panic trials, Just Say No anti-drug campaigns, cable TV, and, yes, rap music. In the meantime, I recently published a couple of articles, including one on black mobile DJ crews in 1980s Los Angeles, a pet project inspired by my first career as a Bay Area mobile DJ.

In my classroom, we connect the present to the past. And I help all of my students––history majors and non-majors alike––develop the kinds of critical reading and persuasive communication skills that they can apply to any career.

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D., History, UC Berkeley, 2012
  • B.A., History, UC Berkeley, 1999

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • California and the West
  • African American History
  • Youth and Childhood
  • The Reagan Era
  • Popular Culture

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

MEDIA

 

SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS

  • Historical Society of Southern California’s Ahmanson Foundation Grant for Book Publication
  • San Francisco State University Presidential Award for Professional Development
  • Arthur Ferreira Pinto Foundation Fellowship
  • Luso-American Education Foundation Fellowship
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award
  • Doctoral Speaker for UC Berkeley History Commencement 2013

COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • History Discipline Coordinator and Program Designer for new Social Science Waiver Program, SFSU, 2017 – Present
  • Faculty Curriculum Advisor, CURE Program Innovation Project, History, SFSU, 2019
  • Faculty Mentor for UC Berkeley Graduate Teaching and Learning Working Group, 2014 - 2015
  • Program Coordinator and Teacher for Urban Arts Academy After-School Program, Calvin Simmons Middle School, Oakland, 2001 - 2002
  • Social Studies Teacher for the Prison University Project, San Quentin State Prison, 1997- 1999