University of North Texas Professor Roberto Calderón shares these news about Chicana/o scholars that have completed their dissertations. This is somewhat connected to my earlier post this morning on the gender gap in publications, which tracks back to both minority and gender gaps in these areas which are of course deeply historical and systemic in nature and very much related to larger questions regarding whose knowledge, history, and stories count.
Also tracking back to this earlier post, Dr. Carla Lynn Mendiola is a former student from my teaching days at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Again, our very presence as women and minority faculty and researchers makes a difference in the world.
How troubling, as Dr. Calderón notes, to consider that Dr. Peter Charles Martínez' dissertation "represents only the second dissertation ever completed by a Mexican American in the Department of History at the University of North Texas. The first and only other dissertation completed by a Mexican American scholar was the one filed by the late Jesús Luna in 1973 (no Chicana has ever completed a doctorate in history at UNT (my italics)."
Our world is simply a more impoverished one when women and minorities face difficulties securing access to the upper-echelons of the academy where knowledge production happens.
Yes, as Dr. Calderón suggests, one student at a time and a bounty of such scholars in years to come.
- Rubén Alexander Arellano, “Becoming Indian: The Origins of Indigeneity among Chicana/os in Texas,” Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Methodist University, May 2017. 283pp.
Abstract: This study explores the idea of Mexican-American indigenous identity, or indigeneity. I argue that modern Mexican-American indigeneity progressed from the Chicana/o movement’s notion of belonging as a primordial people of Aztlan to the full-fledged embrace of Native American identity. This idea of being indigenous is traced to the colonial writers and thinkers, criollo patriots, mestizo nationalists, and the indigenists intellectuals of twentieth-century Mexico. The evolution of ethnic Mexican indigeneity culminated with cultural extremists in the first half of the last century who assumed a neo-Aztec identity. They in turn gave way to the neo-Mexika identity that emerged in the second half of the twentieth-century in conjunction with the Mexikayotl ideology—“the essence of being Mexican.” Mexikayotl merged with a traditional dance form called danza azteca-chichimeca and made its way to the United States during the Chicano movement where it took root among culturally sensitive Mexican Americans. Chicanas and Chicanos embraced indigenous identities, such as Mexika and Coahuiltecan, and rejected the Latino and Hispanic homogenizing identities. In effect, this work is an intellectual history of the introduction, progression, and evolution of Indian identity among Chicana/os in Texas.
2) Peter Charles Martínez, “Ready to Run: Fort Worth’s Mexicans in Search of Representation, 1960-2000,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, August 2017. 233pp.
- Carla Lynn Mendiola, “Mestiza, Metis, American: How Intermixture on America’s Borders Shaped Local, Regional, and National Identifies,” Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Methodist University, May 2017. 371pp.