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Summer 2019 Newsletter from Chicano & Latino Studies

June 12, 2019

Greetings from the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies, 

Our faculty, staff, and students have been exceedingly busy and successful with their research. These projects allow faculty and staff to serve as role models and mentors to students and to make significant advancements in the lives of Chicana/o and Latina/o populations. The students acknowledged here document our deep engagement with student leaders. Congratulations to:


Assistant Professor Gabriela Spears-Rico, winner of the extremely competitive Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement fellowship, will spend the year-long fellowship working on her book, Mestizx Melancholia and the Legacy of Conquest of Michoácan, which attempts to reframe how constructions of indigeneity and mestizaje are understood and discussed in Mexico. Unlike previous scholarship of Mexican and Chicana/o identity that has tended to idealize mestizaje, Mestizx Melancholia will build on the emergent framework of Critical Latinx Indigeneities, which offers a nuanced and critical view of mestizaje. Her analysis centers on gendered violence, insisting that the rupture of colonial rape (and Mexico’s refusal to address it) continues to impact mestiza/o anxieties around identity and indigeneity. She utilizes ethnography as a method and performance theory as a lens to examine appropriative consumption in order to query the relationship between indigenous identities and mestizaje. 

Associate Professor Jimmy Patiño, Jr. received a faculty fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS). It will allow him to focus on his research in spring 2020. His study seeks to further explore and unearth how a Mexican-American-Left tradition sparks dynamic activism at the intersection of immigrant rights, race, gender, and class struggle. The project will ground the analysis in the labor struggles of the 1930s, focusing on three dynamic women leaders in Southern California, San Antonio, and Chicago, and document its evolving anti-capitalist critique—in terms of transcending legal status differences, creating moments of Black-Brown solidarity, and confronting patriarchy—into the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and '70s. 

Professor Karen Mary Davalos recently received two grants—NEH ($60,000) and Luce Foundation ($35,000)—to support the development of Rhizomes of Mexican American Art Since 1848, an online portal that shares visual art and related documentation from libraries, archives, and museums across the nation. This project will have a significant impact on K-12 teaching, as well as exhibition and scholarly research on Mexican American visual art.


Joselin Navarro-Cano, CLS major, was recently awarded the Hedley Donavan Scholarship for her research, “Chicanx/Latinx People Surviving and Challenging the US Education System.” This award for exceptional undergraduate students majoring in history allows Joselin to examine whether the Chicanx/Latinx community has been treated unfairly by the US education system and how they have historically risen against the unjust treatment, from the civil rights era to the present. She will conduct oral histories and archival research in Texas, California, and Minnesota to complete her study.   

Warm regards,

Karen Mary Davalos