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In the Trenches of Academe
The Making of Chicana/o Studies traces the philosophy and historical development of the field of Chicana/o studies from precursor movements to the Civil Rights era to today, focusing its lens on the political machinations in higher education that sought to destroy the discipline. As a renowned leader, activist, scholar, and founding member of the movement to establish this curriculum in the California State University system, which serves as a model for the rest of the country, Rodolfo F. Acuña has, for more than forty years, battled the trend in academia to deprive this group of its academic presence. The book assesses the development of Chicana/o studies (an area of studies that has even more value today than at its inception)--myths about its epistemological foundations have remained uncontested. Acuña sets the record straight, challenging those in the academy who would fold the discipline into Latino studies, shadow it under the dubious umbrella of ethnic studies, or eliminate it altogether. Building the largest Chicana/o studies program in the nation was no easy feat, especially in an atmosphere of academic contention. In this remarkable account, Acuña reveals how California State University, Northridge, was instrumental in developing an area of study that offers more than 166 sections per semester, taught by 26 tenured and 45 part-time instructors. He provides vignettes of successful programs across the country and offers contemporary educators and students a game plan--the mechanics for creating a successful Chicana/o studies discipline--and a comprehensive index of current Chicana/o studies programs nationwide. Latinas/os, of which Mexican Americans are nearly seventy percent, comprise a complex sector of society projected to be just shy of thirty percent of the nation's population by 2050. The Making of Chicana/o Studies identifies what went wrong in the history of Chicana/o studies and offers tangible solutions for the future.
Puerto Rican Women's Struggle for Reproductive Freedom
In Matters of Choice, Iris Lopez presents a comprehensive analysis of the dichotomous views that have portrayed sterilization either as part of a coercive program of population control or as a means of voluntary, even liberating, fertility control by individual women. Drawing upon her twenty-five years of research on sterilized Puerto Rican women from five different families in Brooklyn, Lopez untangles the interplay between how women make fertility decisions and their social, economic, cultural, and historical constraints.
The Politics of Crossing Borders
It can come as no surprise that the ethnic makeup of the American population is rapidly changing. That there are political repercussions from these changes is also self-evident. How the changes can, must, and should alter our very understanding of democracy, though, may not be obvious. Political theorist John Burke addresses these issues by offering a “mestizo” theory of democracy and tracing its implications for public policy. The challenge before the United States in the coming century, Burke posits, will be to articulate a politics that neither renders cultures utterly autonomous from each other nor culminates in their homogeneous assimilation. Fortuitously or ironically, the way to do this comes from the very culture that is now necessitating the change. Mestizo is a term from the Mexican socio-political experience. It means “mixture” and implies a particular kind of mixture that has resulted in a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish genes and cultures in Latin America. This mixture is not a “melting pot” experience, where all eventually become assimilated; rather, it is a mixture in which the influences of the different cultures remain identifiable but not static. They all evolve through interaction with the others, and the resulting larger culture also evolves as the parts do. Mestizaje (the collective noun form) is thus process more than condition. John Burke analyzes both American democratic theory and multiculturalism within political theology to develop a model for cultivating a democratic political community that can deal constructively with its cultural diversity. He applies this new model to a number of important policy issues: official language(s), voting and participation, equal employment opportunity, housing, and free trade. He then presents an intensive case study, based on a parish “multicultural committee” and choir in which he has been a participant, to show how the “engaged dialogue” of mestizaje might work and what pitfalls await it. Burke concludes that in the United States we are becoming mestizo whether we know it or not and whether we like it or not. By embracing the communitarian but non-assimilationist stance of intentional mestizaje, we can forge a future together that will be not only greater than the sum of its parts but also freer and more just than its past.
The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest
Immigration across the US-Mexican border may currently be a hot topic, but it is hardly a new one. Labor issues and civil rights have been interwoven with the history of the region since at least the time of the Mexican-American War, and the twentieth century witnessed recurrent political battles surrounding the status and rights of Mexican immigrants. In Mexican Inclusion: The Origins of Anti-Discrimination Policy in Texas and the Southwest, political scientist Matthew Gritter traces the process by which people of Mexican origin were incorporated in the United States’ first civil rights agency, the World War II–era President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practices (FEPC). ?Incorporating the analytic lenses of transnationalism, institutional development, and identity formation, Gritter explores the activities and impact of the FEPC. He argues that transnational and international networks related to the US’s Good Neighbor Policy created an impetus for the federal government to combat discrimination against people of Mexican origin. The inclusion of Mexican American civil rights leaders as FEPC staff members combined with an increase in state capacity to afford the agency increased institutional effectiveness. The FEPC provided an opportunity for small-scale state building and policy innovation.?Gritter compares the outcomes of the agency’s anti-discrimination efforts with class-based labor organizing. Grounded in pragmatic appeals to citizenship, Mexican American civil rights leaders utilized leverage provided by the Good Neighbor Policy to create their own distinct place in an emerging civil rights bureaucracy.? Students and scholars of Mexican American issues, civil rights, and government policy will appreciate Mexican Inclusion for its fresh synthesis of analytic and historical processes. Likewise, those focused on immigration and borderlands studies will gain new insights from its inclusive context.
Engendering Transnational Ties
Weaving narratives with gendered analysis and historiography of Mexicans in the Midwest, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration examines the unique transnational community created between San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco, and Detroit, Michigan, in the last three decades of the twentieth century, asserting that both the community of origin and the receiving community are integral to an immigrant’s everyday life, though the manifestations of this are rife with contradictions. Exploring the challenges faced by this population since the inception of the Bracero Program in 1942 in constantly re-creating, adapting, accommodating, shaping, and creating new meanings of their environments, Luz María Gordillo emphasizes the gender-specific aspects of these situations. While other studies of Mexican transnational identity focus on social institutions, Gordillo’s work introduces the concept of transnational sexualities, particularly the social construction of working-class sexuality. Her findings indicate that many female San Ignacians shattered stereotypes, transgressing traditionally male roles while their husbands lived abroad. When the women themselves immigrated as well, these transgressions facilitated their adaptation in Detroit. Placed within the larger context of globalization, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration is a timely excavation of oral histories, archival documents, and the remnants of three decades of memory.
Their Stories, Their Lives
Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives sheds new light on why migrants come to Oregon, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.
Although Oregon has had a settled Mexican-origin population since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of Latinos residing in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system and in agricultural and service occupations.
Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary sources, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, and drawing from multiple disciplines, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflects the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the mexicano experience in Oregon.
Transformations and Challenges
Numbering over a third of California's population and thirteen percent of the U.S. population, people of Mexican ancestry represent a hugely complex group with a long history in the country. Contributors explore a broad range of issues regarding California's ethnic Mexican population, including their concentration among the working poor and as day laborers; their participation in various sectors of the educational system; social problems such as domestic violence; their contributions to the arts, especially music; media stereotyping; and political alliances and alignments._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Brenda D. Arellano, Leo R. Chavez, Yvette G. Flores, RamÃ³n A. Gutierrez, AÃda Hurtado, Olga Najera-RamÃrez, Chon A. Noriega, Manuel Pastor Jr., Armida Ornelas, Russell W. Rumberger, Daniel G. SolÃ³rzano, Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, and Abel Valenzuela Jr.
Tracing economic, social, and cultural connections from colonial times until today, this book highlights the foundational contributions of Mexico and Mexicans to the United States—Hispanic capitalism, patriarchy, and mestizaje, or ethnic blending.
Juan Garcia Ponce and the Writing of Modernity
At face value, the concept of modernity seems to reference a stream of social and historical traffic headed down a utopian one-way street named “progress.” Mexico’s Ruins examines modernity in twentieth-century Mexican culture as a much more ambiguous concept, arguing that such a single-minded notion is inadequate to comprehend the complexity of modern Mexico’s national projects and their reception by the nation’s citizenry. Instead, through the trope of modernity as ruin, author Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández explores the dilemma presented by the etymology of “ruins”: a simultaneous falling down and rising up, a confluence of opposing forces at work on the skyline of the metropolis since 1968. He focuses on artists and writers of the generación de medio siglo, like Juan García Ponce, and envisions both the tales of modernity and their storytellers in a new light. The arts, literature, and architecture of twentieth-century Mexico are all examined in this cross-cultural and interdisciplinary book.
Representing Mixed Identities in the Americas, 1850-2000
Working from literary and historical accounts of mulattas, mestizas, and creoles, Bost analyzes a tradition, dating from the nineteenth century, of theorizing identity in terms of racial and sexual mixture. By examining racial politics in Mexico and the United States; racially mixed female characters in Anglo-American, African American, and Latina narratives; and ideas of mixture in the Caribbean, she ultimately reveals how the fascination with mixture often corresponds to racial segregation, sciences of purity, and white supremacy. The racism at the foundation of many nineteenth-century writings encourages Bost to examine more closely the subtexts of contemporary writings on the "browning" of America.
Original and ambitious in scope, Mulattas and Mestizas measures contemporary representations of mixed-race identity in the United States against the history of mixed-race identity in the Americas. It warns us to be cautious of the current, millennial celebration of mixture in popular culture and identity studies, which may, contrary to all appearances, mask persistent racism and nostalgia for purity.