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Chicana/o Studies Oral History Project

About the project 

Over 50 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 the 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 online below on the project page. Second, the oral histories will form the heart of a forthcoming documentary film series, tentatively titled, Chicana/o Studies: The Legacy of A Movement and the Forging of A Discipline.

Taken together, this project commemorates over 50 years 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 both the oral history transcripts and film series, 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. 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.

Featured scholars

Rudy Acuña
Rudy Acuña
CSU Northridge

Tomás Almaguer
Tomás Almaguer
San Francisco State University

Albert Camarillo
Albert Camarillo
Stanford University

Antonia Castañeda
Antonia Castañeda
St. Mary’s University

Adelaida Del Castillo
Adelaida Del Castillo*
San Diego State University

Edward Escobar
Edward Escobar
Arizona State University

Ignacio García
Ignacio García*
Brigham Young University

Mario T. García
Mario T. García
UC Santa Barbara

Deena González
Deena González
Gonzaga University

Richard Griswold Castillo
Richard Griswold Castillo*
San Diego State University

David Montejano
David Montejano
UC Berkeley

Emma Pérez
Emma Pérez
University of Arizona

Ricardo Romo
Ricardo Romo
University of Texas, San Antonio

Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith
Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith
University of Arizona

Vicki Ruiz
Vicki Ruiz
UC Irvine

Ramón Saldivar
Ramón Saldivar
Stanford University

Rosaura Sánchez
Rosaura Sánchez
UC San Diego

Guadalupe San Miguel
Guadalupe San Miguel*
University of Houston

Adela de la Torre
Adela de la Torre*
San Diego State University

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez
Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez
Arizona State

Emilio Zamora
Emilio Zamora*
University of Texas, Austin

Patricia Zavella
Patricia Zavella
UC Santa Cruz

*Transcript to be released in fall 2022

Interviews for the project are ongoing.

To nominate a scholar, contact Todd Holmes.

Project director

Todd Holmes

Advisory council

  • Miroslava Chávez-García, UC Santa Barbara
  • Raúl Coronado, UC Berkeley
  • Maria Cotera, University of Texas, Austin
  • Ignacio García, Brigham Young University
  • Matt Garcia, Dartmouth College
  • Mireya Loza, Georgetown University
  • Lydia Otero, University of Arizona, Emeritus
  • Stephen Pitti, Yale University
  • Raúl Ramos, University of Houston
  • Oliver Rosales, Bakersfield College
  • Mario Sifuentez, UC Merced
  • Irene Vásquez, University of New Mexico

Project sponsors

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

See all interviews