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The Making of Chicana/o Studies

The Making of Chicana/o Studies: In the Trenches of Academe

Rodolfo F. Acuña
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    The Making of Chicana/o Studies
    Book Description:

    TheMaking of Chicana/o Studiestraces the philosophy and historical development of the field of Chicana/o studies from precursor movements to the Civil Rights era to today, focusing its lens on the political machinations in higher education that sought to destroy the discipline. As a renowned leader, activist, scholar, and founding member of the movement to establish this curriculum in the California State University system, which serves as a model for the rest of the country, Rodolfo F. Acuña has, for more than forty years, battled the trend in academia to deprive this group of its academic presence.

    The book assesses the development of Chicana/o studies (an area of studies that has even more value today than at its inception)--myths about its epistemological foundations have remained uncontested. Acuña sets the record straight, challenging those in the academy who would fold the discipline into Latino studies, shadow it under the dubious umbrella of ethnic studies, or eliminate it altogether.

    Building the largest Chicana/o studies program in the nation was no easy feat, especially in an atmosphere of academic contention. In this remarkable account, Acuña reveals how California State University, Northridge, was instrumental in developing an area of study that offers more than 166 sections per semester, taught by 26 tenured and 45 part-time instructors. He provides vignettes of successful programs across the country and offers contemporary educators and students a game plan--the mechanics for creating a successful Chicana/o studies discipline--and a comprehensive index of current Chicana/o studies programs nationwide.

    Latinas/os, of which Mexican Americans are nearly seventy percent, comprise a complex sector of society projected to be just shy of thirty percent of the nation's population by 2050.The Making of Chicana/o Studiesidentifies what went wrong in the history of Chicana/o studies and offers tangible solutions for the future.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5070-1
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xix-xxviii)

    Why study it if it is not American? This question is often asked by those who expect everyone to speak English. After all, why should anyone want to speak another language? The argument goes like this: English is the universal language of finance and diplomacy. Consciously or subconsciously, the American Firsters believe in the superiority of Western European culture. This view is a form of intellectual imperialism that creates polarity and spawns prejudice. Ethnocentrism is not confined to foreign relations but is virulent within the United States. Throughout a nation where many nationalities and cultures coexist and struggle for civic...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Becoming Chicana/o Studies
    (pp. 1-13)

    Becoming Mexican has been a long process marked by two phenomenons—three hundred years of Spanish colonialism and the creation of a 2,000-mile border—the result of which has been an identity crisis. At the time of the Spanish conquest a population of 25 million indigenous people lived in what is today Mexico—within eighty years it was reduced to about a million Indians. The imprint of European colonialism and imperialism produced a genetic makeup unique to those who would become Mexicans.¹ The Spanish constructed social categories based on race in order to control its subjects. At the top of...

  8. CHAPTER 2 The Sixties and the Bean Count
    (pp. 14-35)

    Los Angeles was a white city in 1960; within a decade it became Mexican once more. The Mexican American student population rose to 22 percent by the end of the decade, doubling from 1960. Similar shifts took place throughout the Southwest, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest. The inequality of education was on most people’s mind, calling attention to the unequal status of Mexican Americans in income, labor, and opportunity. Mexican Americans, in order to draw attention to their needs, advertised their underclass status and demanded a correction. According to the 1960 Census, the median years of schooling of Spanish-surname persons in...

  9. CHAPTER 3 From Student Power to Chicano Studies
    (pp. 36-58)

    By the end of the 1960s, 85 percent of Mexican Americans lived in urban spaces, 50 percent lived in California, 34 percent in Texas, and over a million in Los Angeles, making it the second largest Mexican city after Mexico City. The median age was 20.2, suggesting that most Mexican Americans were youth, a population that had doubled during the decade. Eighty-four percent were born in the United States, and only a fourth of Spanish-surname people held white-collar jobs. The decade gave Mexican American youth greater access to information—television, radio, and newspapers—they had more mobility than at any...

  10. CHAPTER 4 In the Trenches of Academe
    (pp. 59-76)

    What happened at Santa Barbara in April 1969 has become legend, and legends are assumed to be fact.¹ Today El Plan de Santa Barbara is one of the most posted documents of the era, and legend is that a small group of faculty members, students, and Brown Berets founded Chicano Studies. University of California, Los Angeles, Professor Reynaldo Macias offers a more staid perspective, “Like any document, there is both a grounding and a contextualization in the time and location in which they are created, and certainly the impact of El Plan de Santa Barbara in the early ’70s immediately...

  11. CHAPTER 5 The Building of Chicano Studies
    (pp. 77-101)

    The years 1969–1973 were critical to the formation of Chicano Studies. Students took advantage of a window of opportunity to form Chicano student organizations that were able to negotiate and disrupt when reason failed. The opportunities closed rapidly at the end of the Vietnam War, and any goodwill that Chicano students had dissipated quickly. After this point, the high priests moved to reasserttheircontrol overtheirinstitutions.¹ The adrenaline boost infused by the movements of the sixties was gone. The only possible advantage was the decline in white enrollment. The end of the white baby boom led to...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Growing a Program
    (pp. 102-122)

    While the number of Chicanas/os has grown, their access to academe has become more problematic. In 1955 the California college and university systems were the envy of the nation. More than half the 86,000 high school students graduating that June took advantage of the close-to-home campus arrangement. They had their choice of sixty public junior colleges, ten state colleges, and the giant University of California, with eight campuses. Fifty private four-year colleges and six private junior colleges were also available to those who could afford them. The educational code prohibited public junior colleges from turning away students, so everyone had...

  13. CHAPTER 7 The Mainstreaming of Chicano Studies
    (pp. 123-142)

    Fabio Rojas presumed that “a new academic program required hundreds of thousands of dollars for faculty salaries, staff, office space, and equipment. Because an academic program has significant financial needs, university administrators can deliberate for years as they weigh a proposal’s intellectual merits and develop new budgets.”¹ According to Rojas, the sudden appearance of Black Studies in 1968–1969 took college administrators by surprise. They had not planned for these “unanticipated financial needs.” It was, therefore, natural for academe to turn to private foundations such as Ford to pay for research, salaries, and other support. As with other scholars writing...

  14. CHAPTER 8 Getting It Right
    (pp. 143-163)

    As a rule, more middle-class women attend college than males. This is a trend that began at least by 1870 but slowed down after World War II, when the GI Bill encouraged white males to enter college in large numbers. In 1920 over 60 percent of high school graduates were women. College enrollment among all women climbed steadily during the 1970s and 1980 s, and by 1992 women earned 54.2 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 58.9 percent of two-year degrees, 51.5 percent of master of arts and professional degrees, and 37.3 percent of PhDs. It should be noted that women have...

  15. CHAPTER 9 Resisting Mainstreaming
    (pp. 164-190)

    The role of philanthropic foundations such as the Ford Foundation in the development of Chicana/o Studies is a mixed bag. Columbia University Professor Manny Marable notes that the Ford Foundation joined with Harvard in the 1980 s to shape Harvard’s African American Studies and Black Studies programs nationally “in their own liberal multiculturalist image.” Ford funded a comprehensive nationwide survey of Black Studies conducted by Harvard’s Nathan Huggins and used its money to fund compatible African American programs. Marable says that it packed these programs with “inclusionists who always assumed that blacks had to succeed in the context of white...

  16. Epilogue
    (pp. 191-210)

    In the March 2010 issue ofHispanic Business,“The Supplier Diversity Squeeze: How the Downturn Affects Minority Contracts” reported that the amount of money spent on minority women-owned contractors shrank in 2009, to $30 million from $45 million the year before. According to the article, the reason was that “when corporations are looking for places to cut, they look around for areas not generating revenue, and one of those places is sometimes supplier diversity.”¹ A similar process plays out in academe: during the budget crises of the early 1980s and in 2008, white administrators and faculty bodies cut programs they...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 211-272)
  18. Appendix: Academic Programs in Chicana/o Studies and Related Areas
    (pp. 273-298)
  19. Index
    (pp. 299-318)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 319-320)