Persistence proved to be a key trait for Sociology Professor Anthony C. Ocampo.
The author of a recently released book, with another one in the research phase, recently won a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, the only sociologist and the lone CSU system faculty member to receive the award for 2016.
“It’s a really hard award to get,” Ocampo says. “I applied like five or six times before.”
Each year, the foundation selects 18 to 20 faculty members from institutions across the country to receive the fellowships, which are aimed at increasing diversity at colleges and universities.
The award will free time for Ocampo to work on a book he is writing titled “Out in LA: Race, Masculinity, and Sexuality in an Immigrant City.”
The book is about gay Latino and Filipino men in Los Angeles. It covers their family lives and community interactions, he says.
When Ocampo came across stories about immigrants, he didn’t find much written about children of immigrants who also happened to identify as gay.
“The paths of their lives are so different because they are gay,” he says. “They have grown up seeing their ethnic identity and gay identity as incompatible.”
Expectations that immigrant parents have for their children and religion both play a part in the struggle to find acceptance, Ocampo adds.
The toughest thing about writing a book are the moments of self-doubt, a writer’s concern that he or she may not have anything to say, he says. Hearing stories of those he interviewed gave him confidence.
“I’ve laughed with them, even cried with them sometimes, but most importantly, I’ve listened,” he says. “They showed me that no matter who someone is, there is always something the world can learn from them.”
In addition to his research, Ocampo is promoting a book released this month titled “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race.” The Asian and Pacific Islander Student Center will host a talk and book signing event for him on Wednesday, April 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room behind the Denny’s restaurant on campus.
Ocampo earned a bachelor of arts in comparative studies in race and ethnicity and a master’s degree on modern thought and literature from Stanford University and a master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology from UCLA.
“The seeds of that book were from my college years,” he says, adding that he wrote several papers in college on Filipinos and racial identity.
“Latinos of Asia” looks at the role of Filipinos in U.S. history and their classification as Asian Americans juxtaposed with the legacy of Spanish colonialism of the Philippines.
“I wanted to write this book because I felt like I didn’t see my community’s story in sociological books,” he says. “Not many books cover Latinos and Filipinos and their connection culturally.”