Richard Griswold del Castillo
Chicano historians have crossed disciplinary, political, cultural, ideological, and psychological borders to develop a new kind of history outside the boundaries of traditional narratives in American history. Latino and Chicano sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists write and teach Chicano history. Chicano Studies is a multi-disciplinary field, and this has encouraged all of us to go beyond narrow academic specializations in our conceptualization of historical topics and approaches. If one defining characteristic of postmodernism is the tendency to transcend boundaries and categories, then Chicano history has become increasingly post modern in the nineties. In 1978, when I wrote my first book, The Los Angeles Barrio, and tried to get it published, I was told that it was a "crack" book. The publishers meant that it did not quite fit into the categories of publications established by the university press. It employed sociological methodologies to analyze historical data, but it was not clearly a sociology text. It was not Western history. It was not Mexican history. What was it? It fell between the cracks of these categories. The implication was that it would be hard to evaluate, market, and sell. In the parlance of the 1990's, it was a book that had crossed the boundaries not only between recognized subcategories of American history, but also between methodological approaches. In the last fifteen years many more works on Chicano history have fallen through the cracks and, as it were, filled up the void. As a result, where once there was no category, we have invented one: multidisciplinary Chicana/o history. In crossing boundaries we have created new borders. Since 1990, there have been a number of historical works that have blurred the older traditional, intellectual, and disciplinary boundaries. Carlos Velez-Ibanez's newest book, Border Visions: Mexican Cultures of the Southwest and the United States, is one example. Velez is an anthropologist who writes history, sociology, art criticism, biography, and economics. The book is an example of border crossing scholarship that demonstrates how, in his words, "The borders of the mind, of cultural boundaries, of marginal identities are often disassembled and reconstructed in creative epistolaries . . . " During the last thirty years Chicano historians have created a new history, one that has never been told before, one that challenges the accepted approaches and themes in American historiography. Since 1990, more than forty monographs have appeared contributing to the development of Chicana/o history (see bibliography). Surveying some of the best examples, we can discern the creative, multi-disciplinary directions that Chicana/o history has taken.
This paper presents ways to endure adverse circumstances facing junior professors, especially those who are pre-tenure. Two brief expressions are offered as key to academic survival: first, “Get Organized” in terms of teaching, research and service, and second, “Know Your Academic Unit” well enough in order to put your priorities and promotion materials together in a way that add value. A list is provided of the most important areas for organization, divided into three categories: 1) Teaching, 2) Research and Creative Activity, and 3) Service. The paper also offers the following five factors to which attention should be given within the academic unit: 1) the need for academic socialization, 2) the role of mentoring and politicization, 3) strategic production of research, 4) collaborative peer review networks, and 5) monitoring performance measures and indicators.
The purpose of this paper is to show that Latinos live in rural areas and that not all Latinos fall under the typical stereotypes of being undocumented, migrant, foreign-born and seasonal workers. Rochín develops the concept of a “rural Latino” because of the lack of knowledge on rural Latinos when compared to urban Latinos. He defines a rural Latino as Latinos that not only live in small cities (under 50,000 population), small towns, open country, but also live in agricultural areas. In order to support his concept of a “rural Latino,” Rochín uses Census data to describe various facets of rural Latinos, such as where they reside, their socio-economic, self-employment patterns, and their wages from farm work. This descriptive data analysis reveals the various issues rural Latinos face in America. Some of the problems for rural Latinos are in relation to poverty, lack of work stability, non-union work environments, cheap labor, and White fear and animosity toward Latinos. This author calls for more research on rural Latinos in the Midwest, and concludes by urging future collaborations between the Julian Samora Research Institute and researchers to improve the living conditions of rural Latinos.
Although Mexican Americans have one of the oldest histories of the peoples of the United States, Chicano/a history as a recognized field within United States history is new, with the first historiographic essays in Chicano history appearing in 1970. Acceptance by historians has been gradual, but as of the 1990s both the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians have formally recognized the field of Chicano history. Despite formal acceptance, many historians still view the field as questionable, primarily regional, and limited to the Southwest. This essay examines the origins of the field and three decades of scholarship by Chicano/a historians. Chicano history emerged as a new field affected by various philosophical and ideological perspectives, including the new social history; European and Latin American progressive and radical traditions; and Whig and liberal American historical traditions. Major issues in Chicano history include (1) the periodization and degree of historical continuity between pre-twentieth-century Mexicans and twentieth-century Mexican Americans; (2) the stagnation or decline perspective of nineteenth-century Mexican society in the Southwest; (3) the origins of Mexican labor organizations and the influence on them of the American labor movement; (4) the role of women in the reproduction of Chicano/a identity and culture, and the lives and struggles of Mexican women as central in Chicano/a history; (5) the imagining of and changes in identities—i.e., national, ethnic, regional, local, gender; and (6) organization, politics, and political ideology.
This is a presentation given by the author at a JSRI conference. We are undergoing a period of wrenching change. As we approach the 21st century, industry and the workplace are changing so rapidly that at times it seems we can hardly catch up. As Editor and Publisher of Hispanic Business Magazine, I have been witness to changes of immense proportion and significance to the U.S. economy.
This paper documents the history and ongoing development of BESTNET. BESTNET was established in the early 1980s as an effort to link universities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border through microwave, satellite and cable television technologies. In the late 1980s BESTNET focused primarily on the development of asynchronous computer mediated learning and teaching in an internationally networked virtual environment. For the past six years BESTNET has strengthened its binational ties and continued its “high tech” focus through the development of active or vibrant model technology which is assisting in the creation of an on-line binational university setting that is “borderless.” Today, this type of design and linkage for curriculum, learning, teaching, research and performing collaborative scholarly work is called a “global virtual university.” The concepts of a “global virtual university system” and “viable global networked learning” are taking hold throughout the world. The BESTNET paradigm for looking at improving education has proven to be one of the most advanced. It is built upon three critical foundations: (1) a variety of useful, applicable technologies; (2) the experience and dedication of faculty and institutions who experience, promote and share the common goal of broadening knowledge; and (3) a sixth sense that the world will be globally connected, linked across borders, frontiers, languages and academic scholarship.
Ruben Viramontez de Anguiano
A version of this paper was completed for partial credit for the Masters of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University. Portions of this paper were presented at the 1995 Annual Meetings of the National Council on Family Relations, and the National Association for Chicano Studies (NACS) Conference. Partial support for this work was provided by a special NICHD grant to Drs. Harriette P. McAdoo and Francisco A Villarruel. Additional support for this work was provided by grants to the second author from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Julian Samora Research Institute. The principal narrator in this account is Ruben, a doctoral candidate in Family and Child Ecology. Dr. Francisco Villarruel served as faculty advisor for this paper. Special acknowledgement goes out to the following individuals and organizations: Proteus Agency of Iowa, Antonio Garza, research assistant, Paula McMurray-Schurtz, Ph.D., Iowa StateUniversity, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, and Michael Bell, Ph.D., Iowa State University, Department of Sociology
Philip Martin, Edward Taylor, & Michael Fix
The title of this paper suggests that the population composition of rural America is changing rapidly, as Mexican, Central American, and Asian immigrants take jobs in agriculture and related industries. The paper highlights the results of a recent conference, one of a series on the impact of immigration to rural areas, that focused on the Midwest. Of particular interest to these efforts is Hispanic or Latino immigration, since Latinos comprise the vast majority of the nation’s increasing rural immigrants in recent decades. The driving force behind this project is the concern that the substantial growth in rural immigration that has been in evident for some time may lead to vast new pockets of entrenched rural poverty. The key results of the conference discussions, based on current research efforts, are presented here. First, immigration to the Midwest appears not to be as extensive as media reports have suggested because many rural area settlers are merely Latino or Asian migrants from other parts of the nation rather than abroad. Second, major employers of these newcomers—mainly meat processing companies—are providing low, but generally livable, wages to these incoming workers. Most of the latter work alongside non-migrant workers and within unionized settings. Further, despite some problems, social resistance to their settling has been relatively mild, at least up to now.
Dionicio Nodin Valdes
During its youth in the late 1960's and early 1970's, Chicana/o historical scholarship emphasized its distinctive history and geography. It paid cursory homage to indigenous roots among the Aztecs in Central Mexico, but initiated serious investigation in early 19th century Texas, New Mexico, and California, prior to the mass migration of English-speaking people from the United States. Acknowledging ancient roots and a geography comprising former Mexican territory permitted Chicana/o scholars to challenge U.S. historians who portrayed the flow of history from east to west, and portrayed Mexicans, if they portrayed them at all, as the last of the immigrants. Yet, this shifted in later works. Legal and political mechanisms imposed on Mexicans without consent deprived them of a land base and resulted in widespread downward mobility, while the dominant political culture continued to restrict Mexicans who entered the U.S. in the 20th century. The exclusion is replicated even in recent overviews and bibliographies, where reference to extant Midwestern literature is sparse and often lacking entirely. To that end, this article examines the interpretive historical frameworks adopted by 20th century scholars on Midwestern Mexicans, including the literature of the Chicana/o generation. While placing the authors in their contemporary contexts, this paper simultaneously discusses how a world-systems perspective, which is not new in Chicana/o historical scholarship, permits opportunities to address important theoretical issues in the field.
Chicano historians have begun to re-focus their attention on the histories and experiences of Chicano and Chicana workers, who comprise two-thirds of the twenty-five million Latinos in the United States and one of America's largest and fastest growing racial minority groups. Once peripheral to the dominant concerns of American historians, the study of Chicana/o workers is emerging together with the study of America's other racial minority laboring classes as a new and vibrant area of research. The reconstruction of the everyday lives of these wage workers, their world views, values and habits provides a critical assessment of the rich diversity of their experiences.
The paper focuses on the demographic change of scholars between the current (2000) generation and those who fought the battles to establish Chicano Studies in the early 1970’s. Many older scholars do not trust the new generation to carry on the vision that guided them in the creation of the Chicano Movement. Today, Chicana/o history stands at a crossroads. For the first time, this “new,” but really remade, Chicano history will be told and retold by people who were not there at the inception of the field. Several factors separate and distinguish the myriad of Chicanos experiences. The author discusses in the paper what she thinks challenge the Chicano/a community of interest, both in terms of academia and activism. They are issues around class, gender, and culture. In terms of class, diversity among the Mexican American population has always marked the Chicano experience, but is becoming more prevalent as more Chicanos slowly make their way into the middle and upper classes of American society. Even more divisive than class, however, has been the failure of the majority of Chicano (not Chicana) historians to incorporate gender as a meaningful category of analysis in their work. Finally, what and who defines Chicano culture may help us to define what Chicano history is and what it will be in the future.
As "Juncture in the Road" makes clear, Chicano movement debates that arose a generation ago continue today. Engaged in a widespread and multifaceted struggle for social justice, many Chicano movement participants were inspired by the belief that cultural pride and ethnic unity were together the raw stuff of political mobilization and empowerment. In striving toward ethnic and political solidarity, however, movement participants constantly grappled with a series of difficult problems: cementing a movement marked by considerable regional and ideological differences, gaining recruits among non-movement Mexican-Americans; and recasting the ethnic minority's relationship with majority U.S. society. Inclined to dismiss the preceding generation's civil rights efforts as the "politics of accommodation," activists sought nothing less than, in the words of one key movement proclamation, "total liberation from oppression, exploitation and racism."4 Certainly members of the Chicano Moratorium Committee were eager to build a broad-based ethnic campaign not just against the war in Vietnam, but against a host of social injustices that Mexican-Americans faced on the home front. For their part, the drafters of el Plan de Santa Bárbara, the founding document of Chicano Studies, chose higher education as their arena of operation. As originally conceived, Chicano Studies was going to politicize Mexican-Americans - students and non-students alike - as well as dismantle the marginalization of the ethnic group through illuminating research. Unfortunately, the determined quest for social justice that was an integral part of the moratorium campaign and which helped inspire the formation of Chicano Studies was only partially rewarded. The decades since the Chicano movement have brought political and educational progress for some people of Mexican descent, and continual economic inequality for many more.5 Not surprisingly, within the field of Chicana/o Studies, one of the most concrete legacies of the movement, many of the same questions over which activists pondered a quarter-century ago - questions of unity, diversity, and political purpose - remain. Indeed, these questions may be more pressing than ever.
This report considers through an economic lens the asymmetrical power relations that define the United States-Mexico border region. At the Mexican border, two nations colossally unequal in wealth and military might face off in a modern version of David and Goliath. Nowhere else in the world does the asymmetry loom greater, as the huge gap in per capita income and production between the two neighbors verifies. Economics dictate this asymmetrical relationship. But for the distorted capitalism of Mexico that confronts the financial and industrial capitalism of the United States, the trade and commerce that joins them together would not exist. The disparity stimulates economic exchange, giving rise to border cities that handle dissimilar exports and imports. The United States provides the finished products and the financial capital, while burgeoning populations in Mexican border enclaves serve as markets and as reserve pools of cheap labor for factories and farms on the other side. The transnational economy is anything but equal, given Mexican reliance on the United States, due largely to the absence of wealth-creating alternatives.
The purpose of this paper is to recount the paradigmatic shifts in Chicano history. The author recounts how the study of Chicano history first began through the male lens, then shifted to include women, and later adopted postmodernist approaches. He outlines three interpretations that dominated modern historical writings, with all found in Chicano history. These interpretations are the bourgeois version of the past, a proletarian analogue, and a “historicist” history that was local and particularistic. He first states that the bourgeois version of Chicano history emphasized the resurgence and regeneration of the economy, including assimilation. Several scholars employing the proletarian analogue, which is based on examining working-class Chicanos through socialist frames, leftist frameworks, and internal colonialism, led the next stage in the development of Chicano history. Following these writings of Chicano history came feminist critiques of the lack of representation of women in Chicano history. The last phase of Chicano history discussed is postmodernism, which emphasizes the complexity and intersectionality of Chicano history.
The author holds that over the past generation the understanding of American history has been altered by contributions to the literature that have opened up entirely new areas of knowledge. The influences of the so-called “new” sub-fields of United States history—social, cultural, women’s, labor, union, western history, etc. —on the study of Chicanas/os have been profound. Unlike the other major immigrant and racial minority groups in the U.S., Mexican Americans were largely excluded from historical analysis. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, this exclusion has been addressed through the works of a few pioneering scholars who helped to define the early historiography. The first cohort of Ph.D.’s trained as specialists in Chicana/o history laid the foundation for the development of this field during the 1970s and 1980s.The author examined in his first book, Chicanos in a Changing Society, published in 1979, a reflection of the initial stages of historical scholarship in Chicana/o history. The primary purpose of this book was to contribute to the recovery and reconstruction of an ignored and obscured past—a history of people of Mexican origin in the Southwest who were cast into the shadows and omitted from historical consideration. Recent literature on Chicana/o history differ in both scope and chronology, but four areas have attracted the attention of historians: urban communities, workers in urban and rural areas, women, and political and institutional histories.
Since the 1970's, huge numbers of Latino and Asian immigrants have arrived in the United States for the millions of jobs that have opened up in service, retail, clerical, and light manufacturing. This contemporary wave of immigration from Asia, Mexico, and Latin America has already surpassed in total numbers the immigration from southern and eastern Europe of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. A third of the new immigrants enter the United States through California, America's new Ellis Island. As a result of this great immigration influx, the population of Los Angeles is one-third foreign born and racial minorities now make up a fourth of California's population. The increased immigration, along with high birth rates, have made racial minorities the fastest-growing segment of America's population. One in four of all Americans are members of a racial minority group; in 16 states and the District of Columbia, one in three school children is a minority, and one in five college students are racial minorities. This demographic trend will remain constant into the next century. Latinos are defined as Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and the new arrivals from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Central and Latin America. As a total group, they are America's fastest growing minority population. Since 1980, the number of Latinos in the United States has increased by 50%. Presently, over 25 million Latinos live in the United States. Through high birth rates and immigration, Latinos are projected to surpass African Americans as America's largest racial minority population. Not only are Latinos changing America racially and ethnically, but in terms of language the United States now has the fifth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. This fast population growth has spawned predominantly Latino cities in America. For example, Los Angeles has the second largest population of Mexicans in the world; Houston, Texas has the world's third largest Mexican population; followed by Chicago, where one-fourth of the world's Mexican population reside; and both New York City and Miami have sizable Latino populations.
This paper presents a brief survey of the last 20 years of the literature on Chicano history, an assessment of its current state, areas for improvement, and how best to facilitate the “making” of new history. Prior to the 1960s, little research had been done on the history of Mexicans in the United States. With the Chicano movement came a commitment from young Chicanos to the study and inclusion of Mexican-Americans in higher education. During the 1970s, the numbers of Mexican-American-focused archives, Chicano Studies programs, and Chicano faculty members increased dramatically. In the 1980s, the number of Chicano historians stagnated and few graduate students were entering the field, mirroring growing attacks on affirmative action and multicultural education from the political right. In the present, a new generation of graduate students is rising, but institutional support for Chicano history has declined, as has the availability of new faculty positions, and the scope of research is confined by the limited range of documents in research collections. The paper provides a number of potential avenues for future research beyond the already well-traveled paths. It also proposes that academic consortia supporting Mexican-American research can supplement diminishing institutional support, and that Chicano historians should look to the science and social science model of working in research teams. The paper concludes by arguing that the obligations of Chicano historians are different and greater than those of historians of the middle ages, for instance, and that research on our community must meet the demands of the moment.
The author was asked to speak about her historical research on Chicanos from an anthropological perspective. Her approach is different from that of the historian, as her intent in conducting historical research is to understand the evolution of culture over time. Therefore, what she does is to first explain the sub-specialization of history and anthropology, and second to discuss the relationship between Chicano Studies and the field specializations of history and anthropology; and third, she closes with two examples from her research.
This paper focuses on research on Chicanos and particularly on Ernesto Galarza, who helped establish the field of Chicano Studies. After being a spectator at a conference the author shares his perspective on the state of the discipline of Chicano history as a graduate student. He presents a response to what he thinks are many of the main themes that surfaced at the conference, as well as a summary of the type of work being done by students working on Master’s and doctoral degrees. He reinforces the importance of the work being produced by graduate students in the field of Chicano history as it shapes the understanding of the field and shows where the field is heading.
This paper offers an analytical exploration of what truth and objectivity means in the field of Chicano history. As well as recounts and analyzes the development of Chicano Studies and describes the critiques of Chicano Studies from elite disciplines and scholars. From this analysis, Acuña describes how the racism and attacks toward Chicanos prevail in academia through his own experiences. He argues that because of been purists in each discipline and euro academics, these individuals paint an inaccurate truth of Chicano history. He continues by discussing how the academic paradigm impacts Chicanos in the profession and changes them. He concludes by critiquing two pieces from two scholars, in which he argues have divergent views of Chicano Studies and scholarship do not fully understand the discipline and are based in assumptions and personal views. From this last discussion, he states that Chicano Studies, as a discipline, is still subjugated to the American paradigm that still wants to interpret the world through an American historical lens.
In 1971 Tomás Rivera published his ground-breaking novel ... y no se lo tragó la tierra (...and the Earth Did Not Part), which immediately became a metaphor for the life of the migrant workers and, by extension, for all Chicanos. The novel is structured around a series of encounters between migrant workers and the social, economic, and natural forces with which they have to contend and which they overcome. Rivera's young hero reminisces about a lost year, and is "at a loss for words" to explain what happened during that year. This sense of being lost and speechless can be considered as the central metaphor in Rivera's novel, whose theme is the search for identity. And it can also be interpreted as reflecting the author's sense of being lost in a world without a history of the literature written by his own people. In 1976 he wrote in his essay "Chicano Literature: Fiesta of the Living": At twelve, I looked for books by my people, by my immediate people, and found very few. Very few accounts in fact existed. When I met Bartolo, our town's itinerant poet, and when on a visit to the Mexican side of the border, I also heard of him--for he would wander on both sides of the border to sell his poetry--I was engulfed with alegrÌa. It was an exaltation brought on by the sudden sensation that my own life had relationships, that my own family had relationships, that the people I lived with had connections beyond those at the conscious level. It was Bartolo's poetry...that gave me this awareness. (439-440) Are we to believe, as some do, that something like, for instance, Chicano literature, did not exist because no one had written about it? American critics and literary historians neglected Chicano literature published in Texas after 1836 and the Southwest after 1848. Before the 1950s, not a single article was dedicated to Chicano literary criticism, let alone literary history. No wonder Rivera had difficulty in finding books written by his own people. The literature was there, but it remained for the Chicano literary historians themselves to write about it.
This report traces the origins and history of the Chicano movement from the 1960s to the present, with special emphasis on the role of colleges and universities. The report proposes that it is perhaps more appropriate to speak of movements than of a singular movement because the struggles in different parts of the country were many, with separate goals and visions and unique histories. Some of these goals included: the struggle to improve the lives of farm workers, the effort to end Jim Crow-style segregation and police repression, struggles to recover historical land grants, the struggle to improve educational opportunities, and the struggle for political representation and self-determination. Compared to prior Mexican American civil rights struggles, the role of students was unique in the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The influx of Chicano students into universities unleashed a political movement focused on civil and human rights, but also an intellectual movement that challenged historical knowledge and created the discipline of Chicano studies. With the advent of Chicano studies programs, Chicano and Chicana scholars began to produce knowledge about their own communities, but the discipline was fraught with internal contradictions, particularly the lack of attention to women’s issues. The challenge for Chicana feminist scholars is to dispel patriarchal myths promoted by Chicano scholars, and to examine intersections between class, race, and gender. In the 1990s there has been a resurgence of the Chicano movement, particularly at colleges and universities.
This paper traces binational collaborative efforts between academics from Mexico and the United States. During the Salinas de Gortari Presidency, Programa para las Comunidades Mexicanas en el Extranjero (Program for Mexican Communities Abroad) was established. As a result, academics from both countries cooperated on a series of initiatives that addressed issues pertaining to Latinos in higher education in both countries. Researchers focused on health, immigration, history, culture, bilingual education, language, applied research, environmental justice, and other topics. These binational initiatives involved research institutions and universities alike and culminated with the resolution of El Plan de San Luis Potosi that called for the establishment of an international organization of higher education institutions and scholars in North America.
This paper is based on a presentation given in conjunction with Puerto Rican Culture Week at Michigan State University on November 17, 1994. The author has tried to put together a stimulating, clear (and brief, fear not) picture of her culture, Puerto Rican women, and most of all Puerto Rico’s excellent narrative artists, many of whom, by the way, are men, although she mentioned only a few of them. The author presents a brief essay of women writers in Puerto Rico starting with the work of Maria Bibiana Benítez who, in 1832, felt good enough about her writing she sent one of her poems, in honor of an official event, to the local press, becoming the first native-born Puerto Rican woman or man to receive an official accolade. Her niece Alejandrina, in turn, managed to get one of her stories included in the island’s first printed collection of literary works by local writers, the “Aguinaldo Puertorriqueño,” published in 1843. The paper also includes three short stories to give a taste of what the reader might find as s/he enters these texts as interactive readers. The first one is by Rosario Ferré, “The Youngest Doll,” written more than twenty years ago. The second, published by Magali Garcia Ramis in 1976, is “A Week of Seven Days.” Ana Lydia Vega’s short story, “Letra para salsa y tres sonetos por encargo,” from 1995, is the third.
Dionicio Nodin Valdes
While "the nation and its educators'" principal concern is with winning sports contests rather than with the teaching and celebration of history, Valdes provides a detailed, historical look at Latino work and settlement in Michigan. The author gives a chronological account, beginning in the early 20th century, providing information on the first through the fourth generations of Mexican migrants. This paper also includes an appendix on Cinco de Mayo and "Michicano" history.