Summer 2019 Newsletter from Chicano & Latino Studies
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.
Karen Mary Davalos
Living & Learning in CASA SOL
Transitioning to college isn't easy; you’re getting used to the culture and the workload, and you’re trying to make friends. CASA SOL is a Living Learning Community for first-year Latinx and Chicana/o/x students, providing them with the framework needed to be successful at the University and beyond. “My CASA SOL experience was the first time I could control what I wanted to learn,” shares alumna Shanel Perez. “I learned that I can make my education what I want it to look like.” Read "Living & Learning in CASA SOL".
Tourism: The Legacy of Conquest in Michoacán
“The Days of the Dead is supposed to be an intimate communion with our own dead, so the fact that one would tour graveyards is fascinating," says Gabriela Spears-Rico. She spent eight months studying mestizo tourism in a western Mexican town, where she conducted ethnographic research on the dynamics between tourists and the indigenous community. Read “Tourism: The Legacy of Conquest in Michoacán”.
CLS: Community and University
“We are both community and University at the same time,” says Programs and Outreach Coordinator Lisa Sass-Zaragoza about seeking a communal voice both inside and outside academia. Because community is embedded in Chicano and Latino Studies, maintaining long-standing community partnerships is vital. CLS currently has two primary partner sites, schools El Colegio and Academia Cesar Chavez, which provide CLS with the opportunity to engage with and give back to the community. Read "CLS: Community and University".