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Chicana/o Studies

Over fifty years ago, anthropologist Octavio Romano founded the publication, El Grito: A Journal of Contemporary Mexican American Thought, at UC Berkeley. Indeed, it was one of many actions of the time that sought to channel the educational aims of the Mexican American civil rights movement into the corridors of higher education. In the years that followed, scholars on campuses throughout California and the West built upon these aims, and ultimately established the academic discipline that became known as Chicana/o Studies.

This project seeks to commemorate that historical development and document the formation of Chicana/o Studies through in-depth interviews with the first generations of scholars who shaped it. Based on the selections of an advisory council composed of scholars from around the country, the project will feature oral histories with over 25 prominent and pioneering scholars who helped build the discipline over the last five decades. These oral histories will take center stage in the two main products of this project. First, each interview will be transcribed and made available with other relevant material on the project’s dedicated website. Second, the oral histories form the heart of a documentary film, tentatively titled, Chicana/o Studies: The Legacy of A Movement and the Forging of A Discipline. 

Taken together, this project commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Chicana/o Studies, and significantly advances our understanding of the field’s development and evolution. Yet the development of Chicana/o Studies, as captured in this film, is more than just the story of a discipline. It is the story of a generation of Chicana/o scholars who broke through barriers to take their place in the nation’s universities, and spent their careers documenting the history and experience of their community. It is the story of educational reform, where scholars of color demanded that America’s curriculum equally include all its citizens—an important historical context amid current political debates over various facets of Ethnic Studies. In many respects, it is also a story that highlights another side of the civil rights movement, one where actions in the classroom, rather than those in the streets, proved the long-lasting vector of social change.

First Generation ScholarsPhoto of Rudy Acuna

  • Rudy Acuňa (CSU Northridge)
  • Norma Alarcón (UC Berkeley)
  • Tomás Almaguer (San Francisco State)
  • Mario Barrera (UC Berkeley)
  • Albert Camarillo (Stanford)
  • Martha Cotera (UT Austin)
  • Antonia Castaňeda (St. Mary’s College)
  • Edward Escobar (Arizona State)
  • Juan Gómez-Quiňones (UCLA)
  • Mario T. García (UC Santa Barbara)
  • Deena González (Loyola Marymount)
  • Richard Griswold Castillo (San Diego State)
  • Ramón Guitierrez (University of Chicago)
  • José E. Limón (UT Austin)
  • David Montejano (UC Berkeley)
  • Emma Pérez (University of Arizona)
  • Ricardo Romo (UT San Antonio)
  • Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith (University of Arizona)La Raza Law Students Association Poster by Oscara Melara
  • Vicki Ruiz (UC Irvine)
  • Ramón Saldivar (Stanford)
  • Rita Sanchez (San Diego State)
  • Rosaura Sánchez (UC San Diego)
  • Carlos Vélez-Ibáňez (Arizona State)
  • Emilio Zamora (UT Austin)
  • Patricia Zavella  (UC Santa Cruz)

Advisory Council

  • Miroslava Chávez-García [UC Santa Barbara]
  • Raúl Coronado [UC Berkeley]
  • Maria Cotera [University of Michigan]
  • Ignacio García [Brigham Young University]
  • Matt Garcia [Arizona State University]
  • Mireya Loza [Museum of American History]
  • Stephen Pitti [Yale University]
  • Raúl Ramos [University of Houston]
  • Oliver Rosales [Bakersfield College]
  • Mario Sifuentez [UC Merced]
  • Irene Vásquez [University of New Mexico]

Project Director

Todd Holmes

Financial Sponsors

  • University of California Office of the President
  • California State University Office of the Chancellor
  • Stanford University
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Arizona
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Texas, San Antonio