Guggenheim Fellowship to Support Ainslie’s Drug War Studies - April 21st, 2010

Ricardo Ainslie

In the documentary film "¡Ya Basta!", educational psychologist Ricardo Ainslie explores a wave of kidnappings and related violence that started in Mexico in the '90s. Watch the film trailer on the "¡Ya Basta!" Web site.

Dr. Ricardo Ainslie, Professor and Fellow in the Charles H. Spence Centennial Professorship in Education at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ainslie, who is in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, was selected by the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from a pool of over 3,000 U.S. and Canadian applicants. He will be using the fellowship to study Ciudad Juarez as the epicenter of the Mexican drug war.

Ainslie has spent the past 15 years analyzing and documenting examples of communities in crisis, producing books and documentary films on the topic. He wrote “No Dancin’ in Anson: An American Story of Race and Social Change” about the controversy over dancing in the small West Texas town of Anson. Research for the book uncovered the post-Civil Rights Act tensions that had simmered for decades in Anson.

He created the film documentary “Crossover: A Story of Desegregation” about Hempstead, Texas, and the bittersweet legacy of school desegregation in the U.S. and, in 2004, wrote “The Long, Dark Road: The Story of Bill King and Jasper’s Murder” about the racially motivated killing of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas. He also created a traveling photography exhibit titled “Jasper, Texas: The Healing of a Community in Crisis” about the Byrd murder.

In 2007, Ainslie released his film documentary “Ya Basta!”, which is about the Mexican drug war and the accompanying epidemic of kidnappings in Mexico. The film has gained acclaim and been shown at film festivals around the nation.

In general, Ainslie’s scholarship employs a mix of psychoanalysis, ethnography and documentary forms of inquiry.

A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Ainslie earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. In addition to being a professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, he also is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Mexican American Studies and the American Studies Program.

Ainslie has published extensively in scholarly journals on topics like psychoanalysis and culture, the psychology of immigration and acculturation, and in 1997 he wrote the book “The Psychology of Twinship.” In 2002, he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Texas Psychological Association.

Among the courses Ainslie’s teaches is Life History and Documentary Approaches to Inquiry.

To learn more about Ainslie’s work, visit Dr. Ainslie's Website or read the article ¡Ya Basta!, and to read more about the College of Education, see the COE Home Page. The College of Education is fourth in the nation among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent rankings of graduate programs and is in the top 10 overall , along with Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Northwestern and Johns Hopkins.

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Last updated on May 4, 2011