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Conclusion to Three Decades of Engendering History At UC, Berkeley in the 1970s, fewer than 500 Chicanos and Chicanas, graduate and undergraduate, attended the university—a university whose reputation was both liberal and trendsetting. Often, underrepresented minorities were able to find one another because we were so few. In most graduate departments, we were the first Mexican-origin admitted; on the entire campus, there was one pre-tenured faculty member. Stanford University was not in any better shape, as Antonia Castañeda would recite to our gatherings; other campuses in northern California were just awakening to the strange disjuncture between the state’s honored Spanish-Mexican heritage and its failures to provide that ethnic group upward mobility through education. In the more Latino populated areas of southern California, and at UCLA where Emma Pérez received her undergraduate degree and enrolled in a graduate program, the gaps were also evident between our presence in academe and the demographic realities outside the university. As graduate students and undergraduates, we were forced to deal with this reality in whatever unstructured ways we could; organizing seemed a logical outcome. Honestly, when we began meeting as a small cohort of Chicanas, when we began plotting strategy for completing what seemed like interminable graduate programs; when we began envisioning a re-articulation of our Chicana/mestiza pasts, we did not see a path to demonstrable results as an achievement for all of that hard work. Currently, we count well over forty-five dissertations on Chicanas in the field of history alone, plus 380 Three Decades of Engendering History many others in literature, education, the social sciences, and a few in the arts. Until 1987, book titles solely dedicated to Chicanas numbered all of four, in the 1970s, by Marta Cotera and Irene Blea, and in the late 1980s, by Gloria Anzaldúa and Vicki Ruiz. Where few books lined shelves, today more than fifty books are available on topics that cite and explore specifically the Chicana experience. Antonia Castañeda and I edit the current twenty-volume series, Chicana Matters, for the University of Texas Press. In an academic context, the books in the series are blockbuster sellers; some have sold out in three months, unheard of for academic audiences unless the writers have been Pulitzer Prize winners and the like. Chicanas and other Latinas occupy more positions of influence than ever before which may or may not be saying much; in state legislatures, courtrooms, classrooms, university boards, corporate headquarters, Chicanas are still too few in number. If in the halls of Congress women will have to wait 500 years to achieve parity, at the current rate of growth, I shudder to think what Chicanas will have to wait to achieve equity in institutional life in the US. Yet we do not wait, we fight to create change. Our gains have not been dramatic, but they have been persistent. And the small but persistent gains are important celebratory junctures, and the writings and scholarly productivity of one is a testament to the work of all. Thus, these chapters and the remarks preceding each reflect the state of the field that Dr. Castañeda helped engineer and nurture across a near-half century career as an academic and as a practicing historian. Antonia and I met on a summer day in Santa Barbara, at the apartment of a Chicana Stanford scholar on a dissertation fellowship at UCSB, one of the few, one of the first. This political scientist delighted in introducing Chicanas belonging to the small clubs of three or four (three in anthropology, perhaps four in history graduate programs in the entire country). I had followed up on the dissertation fellow’s invitation to stop by on my way from the Bay Area to New Mexico. I was recently divorced and leading a fast life in San Francisco, coming out, leaving behind, Conclusion to Three Decades of Engendering History 381 and in general, doing what all my twenty-something friends at the time were doing—exploring myself. There were no lap top computers, no cell phones, no Facebook, and we had just begun to use answering machines connected to our telephones. Everything was clunky, our shoes, our technology, and our work. To this chaotic, messy but progressive and transgressive environment, Antonia Castañeda’s vision about history’s purpose afforded elegance as well as a higher political goal, one of community and of affirming our support for one another’s larger goals. Antonia began many...


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