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USC professor Josh Kun named MacArthur fellow

Josh Kun, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, USC, Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.
Josh Kun, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, USC, Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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Last night the latest round of MacArthur fellows were revealed to the world, each receiving a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000. As it turns out a few of the fellows are from Southern California and one in particular is a friend of the show: Josh Kun.

He's a USC professor who studies the "ways that music and popular culture can be forces for cross cultural thinking and community building," he said in a recent interview with A Martinez. "I try to work with cultural history and cultural archives as a way to help us rethink contemporary politics. And help us think about ways to shape better, more just futures."

We've profiled him and his work many times on the show. 

He found out that he had become a MacArthur fellow a few weeks ago, "First I thought it was my internet company," he said. "It's a validation of the work that so many people in Los Angeles are doing. I am part of a large community of artists writers and scholars and activists and organizers who are doing this vital work around culture and cultural change in the city."

When asked what this means for him and his work he explained that the grant's pushing him to make "a promise to all my friends and family and collaborators that this is the beginning and we're going to keep pushing and keep doing really exciting and valuable work in the years ahead."

One of his next projects is examining the role of latin american music in Los Angeles. 

To hear more about Kun and what it's like to become a MacArthur fellow, click on the audio at the top of this post.