Class Closed

This blog is now an archive of the work of the students of Loyola Marymount University’s Spring 2012 Chicana/o Studies 404: Chicana Feminisms. This upper division undergraduate course examined the emergence and development of Chicana feminist thought from the late 1960s to the present and its relationship to the Chicano Movement, Anglo U.S. feminism and feminism of women of color. This is a public blog, intended to be used as a resource for the students in the class, but also for the larger community.  Thoughtful and respectful comments are still welcome, but given that the blog is no longer active, response time may be longer. Note: Comments have been closed due to spam traffic. Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to reopen them.  I can be reached at annemarie.perez@me.com

From the syllabus: This course focuses on current writings by Chicana feminists in the context of movements by U.S. feminists of color, exploring how Chicana feminism grew out of a resistance to the masculine nationalism as symbolized by late 1960s Aztlán mythology. We will question how this feminism ultimately queered the Aztlán space, reconfiguring nationalism as transnationalism while at the same time communicating with and responding to African American, Asian American and Native American feminisms. Throughout the quarter we will reflect on Latina traditions of feminism inviting inquiry into the different strands of Chicana / Latina feminism and how these manifest themselves both in community political activism and print cultures / textual communities.

Note: the artwork in the banner for this blog is by activist artist Rini Templeton.  Her work is amazing.  Go see it here.

Many thanks to the amazing students who were part of this course.
¡Adelente!
Annemarie Pérez

So Let’s Put Some of the Pieces Together

This is part of a longer blog series, which you can find links to the previous as well as the next blog posts at the bottom of this blog. 

I think its time I put some things into perspective and piece some of the history and blogs together.

I have complied a time line with the perspectives of the blogs but also some big events of the Chicano History.

 

1947Mendez v. Westminster Supreme Court: This case is critical to the birth of the Chicana/o  Studies program because it is the case that desegregated  schools for Mexican and Mexican American students in Orange County California School.

1968:Chicano Blowouts: Stepping stone towards establishing a formal conversation around the development and implementation of the programs as students walked out in response to the lack of an inclusive curriculum and discrimination they felt in their classrooms.

Plan de Santa Barbara: Noted as the manifesto for implementing Chicano Studies educational programs.

United Mexican-American Students (UMAS) of Loyola-Marymount Proposes a Chicano Studies Department: In a pretty hefty document the students of UMAS began to demand a Chicano Studies Department at LMU.

1970:Chicano Moratorium: An anti-Vietnam war protest that united the Chicanos under one cause, yet it went terribly wrong.

1973: Loyola Marymount University(LMU) officially merge and changes its name to what we know it as currently.

Mexican-American Studies Program proposed at LMU: Five years after UMAS proposes an immediate implementation of a Chicano Studies Program, a proposal for a Mexican-American Studies program emerges.

1974: Chicana/o Studies Department is finally borned at LMU.

Mid 1970’s:Chicana feminist get recognized in El Movimiento thus allowing the discourse of our Chicana Feminism class to occur.

2010: Governor of Arizona signs HB2281 and Tucson Unified School District disbanded Mexican American Studies.

2012: LMU’s Centennial Celebration!

The start of my Chicana/o Studies blog series.

So although this is the end of the series, it is time to recognize this would not have been possible without the help and support of Dr. Annemarie Perez, Dr. Karen Mary Davalos, Raymundo Andrade, Mahnaz Ghaznavi, and Christine Megowan and all those who laid the foundation of the department that gave birth to my interest to its history. Gracias!

Read more:

The Birth of the Chicana/o Studies DepartmentSetting the StageStudents Propose a New ProgramFrom Chicano Studies Department to Mexican- American Studies Degree ProgramCapstone Project Gone Blog

So You Want to Take Introduction to Chicana/o Studies?

This is part of a longer blog series, which you can find links to the previous as well as the next blog posts at the bottom of this blog. 

From my work in my capstone project, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the bigger picture and discuss why the birth of the Chicana/o Studies Department at Loyola Marymount Univesity is so important.

Consider being in history class and taking some time to learn about the Chicano movement so all you get is a couple of passages on the United Farm Workers Movement. Now this was part of the Chicano history but not the whole story. In other words, sometimes we not only want to learn HIStory but also our story. As stated in Mythohistorical Interventions where we not only hear the demand “that our side of the story be told,” as Lydia R. Aguirre, an activist of the time, retells but also asserts the need for more equal education and curricular equality.

Back in 1968, when high school students were walking out, this was one of the demands they had, curriculum reform. Departments like the one found at LMU or similar programs and departments across the nation can trace their roots back to students who wanted a say in their education. They wanted an equal education, which encompasses the telling of their side of the story but also an opportunity to tell the story. Thus driving many Chicano student activists to fight for the creation of Chicano studies programs and cultural centers in universities and colleges. Within this environment, now the Chicanos had an avenue to prosper in thus a dramatic increase in academic recognition in Chicano-produced work as seen over the years that followed. The creation of departments like LMU’s Chicana/o Studies department developed a professional organization in which a better dialogue across educational communities was born.

In a country that finds many great leaders in those who want change, it is sad to not recognize these sudents’ merits who worked towards the educational equality and curriculum reform . Their hard work and devotion to the programs that now exist across the nation starts to get devalued as the program they help set up get questioned and in some cases even banned. I hope I can now at least shine a light on why they are so important and need to be preserved.

 

Read more:

The Birth of the Chicana/o Studies DepartmentSetting the StageStudents Propose a New ProgramFrom Chicano Studies Department to Mexican- American Studies Degree Program, Capstone Project Gone BlogSo Let’s Put Some of the Pieces Together

Capstone Project Gone Blog

This is part of a longer blog series, which you can find links to the previous as well as the next blog posts at the bottom of this blog. 

For those of us that are not too familiar with how we major or minor in Chicana/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University, let me inform you that aside from taking a particular amount of required classes, we must also complete a capstone project which is an independent research project one is required to do as final piece for our undergraduate degree.

As a recently declared Chicana/o Studies minor, after figuring out what the focus for my capstone project was going to be, the birth of the Chicana/o Studies department, I was given the option to opt out of the traditional 25 page thesis I’m suppose to produce and instead embrace the social media my class was participating in. I decided to turn my capstone into a blog series because of it accessibility and the opportunity for intertextuality it carried with it.

In our current society, we are the children of technology, with the possibility of having the internet at our fingertips thus access to information is as simple as snapping our fingers. I found that blogging my findings brought a sense of urgency to my topic given the current uproar around the ethnic studies programs around the nation. I felt my project was reminding the LMU population of the value behind the department. And when this is put out to the public with the use of the internet, it provides some evidence for those departments that need support or answers to those who question the importance of ethnic studies programs. This opportunity to access my paper outside of the department walls was a huge motive to blog.

Also with blogging my capstone project it gave a new dimension to the project that a 25 page paper would never get. It allows for links to be placed within the text as well as tags to bring similar topics to it. This idea of intertextuality gives the reader the opportunity to fill in gaps as they read without doing extra work in looking at footnotes, bibliographies or the likes. Plus with the tags associated with the blogs it gives a diverse audience the opportunity to come across it and run into it when searching for similar things. This new dimension opens the accessibility of it and breaks barriers of understanding since questionable language can be defined by just clicking on it.

Blogging my capstone project allowed itself to be accessible to anyone with internet connection and gives it a new dimension as links and tags bring extra information and a greater audience to it. Hopefully more projects start turning towards this venue in the near future.

Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_computer

Read more:

The Birth of the Chicana/o Studies DepartmentSetting the StageStudents Propose a New Program, From Chicano Studies Department to Mexican- American Studies Degree ProgramSo You Want to Take Introduction to Chicana/o Studies?,  So Let’s Put Some of the Pieces Together

From Chicano Studies Department to Mexican-American Studies Degree Program

 

This is part of a longer blog series, which you can find links to the previous as well as the next blog posts at the bottom of this blog. 

Back in 1968 the United Mexican American Students (UMAS) of Loyola-Marymount presented a proposal for the development and implementation of a Chicano Studies Department on nothing more than white paper and a typewriter. But after looking in the Chicana/o Studies Department’s archives in the University’s Archives found in the library’s Archives and Special Collections, I found a very interesting document. I found the Mexican-American Studies Degree Program description.

Finding this document comes at a shock for many reasons. One of which is simply at just looking at this document versus the proposal presented by UMAS. One of the big visual differences include the letterhead this document has. Not only does it have an official Loyola Marymount of Los Angeles letterhead but it also has a sort of seal for the program itself. This shows us that this document although not stated anywhere is not brought up by the students.Through its presentation, we know it means business because it is a formal document  that a faculty or even staff member might of worked on.

Aside from the way it looks, the language used is sophisticated and formal. It does not present an attitude or voice like the UMAS proposal did, to the contrary it presents itself very politically and states its desire in a way that it remains neutral yet confident in what it wants. The only thing that is left unclear though is what gave rise to this and why did it take 5 years for it to appear, as this document is dated from February 14, 1973. Since for the moment those questions remained unanswered we can review it so as to share its contents and try to answer the questions.The document is comprised of 5 different areas. It starts of with the rationale behind the program, then continues into the proposed program of studies which is followed by the class list for humanities and social sciences and ends with the costs of the program.

The rationale begins by first stating the demographics and then gives points as to why the program is vital to an university education. The author behind the document brings the reader’s awareness around the issue that there exist irrelevant issues to the minorities of color, which includes the nation’s second largest minority, the Mexican-Americans. A minority whose unique situation “necessitates academic attention from interdisciplinary perspectives” which would encompass analysis of their historical, social, economical, psychological, cultural and political aspects. It continues on by stating that a degree in such a program not only would develop a student but also “fulfill one of the most important goals of Loyola University” as stated by Father Merrifield in his address on the goals of liberal education which says that there must exist an understanding of social -political realities and awareness of and sensitivity to the deep social problems in America. At the core of it stood the University’s goal  to serve the community which included the presence of the largest population of Mexican descent outside of Mexico City and Guadalajara, including the presence of Mexican-American students whose presence is eluded from the 11% of Spanish surname population at Loyola. (Only to be compared to the approximate 21% currently found now at LMU.) These students need to be well prepared to pursue advanced degrees and strong foundations that a degree or double degree in Mexican-American Studies would provide them with.

The preparation would be coming from the proposed program of studies that included a focus on humanities and social sciences. The proposed program required the student to either take or test out of Spanish, a course in Race, Political Power in America, an Introduction to Mexican-American Studies and a course from one of the Research Methods list of classes. Then they would continue by pursuing one of two paths. One path required the students to take 4 courses from each section III and IV of the document course which are the list of Humanity and social science courses, respectively. Or if they preferred to develop a specialized skill in a particular area they could take any 4 courses in their area and any 4 courses in the other major section, e.i. 4 in history and 4 in social science. The student had some degree of liberty to what they wanted to take as section III and IV list of 33 classes to chose from.

The final section of the document is more at the administration level. As this section deals with the salary of the Director of the program and cost of the program as a whole.

This document seems to fit the needs of the population but still does not give us much to grasp on as to the change in the demand over the course of 5 years.

 

Sources:

Loyola University. Bellarmine College Record Group. Mexican-American Studies Degree Program, February 14, 1973. RG 12, Record Series D:  Departments and programs, Box 14. Loyola Marymount University Archives, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, LMU, Los Angeles.

Photo:

Special Collections Entrance, Los Angeles. Personal photograph by Carmen Castañeda. 2012.

Read more:

The Birth of the Chicana/o Studies DepartmentSetting the Stage, Students Propose a New Program, Capstone Project Gone BlogSo You Want to Take Introduction to Chicana/o Studies?So Let’s Put Some of the Pieces Together

Women in Media

How women are depicted in the media.
There are two very different stories involving two very different people yet somehow they both seem to be treated in a particular way. And it seems to point to the fact that the two people happen to be women of Hispanic descent. On one case you have Sonia Sotomayor, who was previously mentioned in a prior blog, and the fact that she has been “critical” of the Arizona immigration law. And on the other hand we find Jennifer Lopez, an international icon for pop culture, and the reception of her latest music video which aired during American Idol.
Firstly, Sonia Sotomayor is a Supreme Court judge that has been appointed by none other than the president of the United States, Barak Obama. Needless to say she has much authority and probably a great deal of knowledge on a vast scale. This is a woman that has been through not one but two Ivy League schools, Princeton and Yale, in order to obtain her J.D. However the way that she is depicted in the media during a news coverage on the Arizona law of immigration seemed as if she was biased towards the disapproval of the new bill. The new law would basically allow for the law enforcement to randomly check people for identification in order to prove they are legally in the U.S. However Sotomayor brought up some questions regarding topics that no one else seemed to be concerned with but actually make the decision that much more difficult. For example the people that would be detained for not having valid proof of citizenship would be held for abnormally long periods of time and more resources are required to maintain such activities. Even though Sotomayor brought these important topics to the table, people seem to only focus on the fact that because she is Latina she must be against the bill. And the media does a good job of pressuring any other choice besides accepting the bill saying things such as it would be “un-American” to not pass it. And in the written article the author really stresses the fact that she is Latina instead of focusing on the facts that she brought up. Again it seems no one wants to address the important issues and would rather focus on the theory of gaining votes from the Hispanic community for Obama. Regardless the media should not focus on the fact that the Supreme Court judge is Hispanic and instead realize that she is an intelligent woman with some knowledge of the law, given her position, and think about what she is saying.
The other woman in the spotlight, Ms. Lopez, was taking criticism from not only the media but from a previous judge who is notorious for being cut throat and somewhat rude. There are a couple of interesting things about this article, which include the way that the media presents her new music video and the reactions from it, while Simon Cowell has his own thought of Lopez. The music video has words tagged to it such as “inappropriate” and “explicitly” which automatically give off a negative connotation to the video. Whereas in comparison the video that Lopez was in is arguably less explicit than any other male rap videos with the same theme. But the fact that it is Jennifer Lopez makes the huge difference and is blatantly stated that she should know better. Clearly there seems to be a double standard at play in this situation. Another interesting thing in the article was that in Cowell’s new biography he shares what he thinks of the “Puerto Rican diva.” He goes on to say that he cannot stand her even though he has never met her. Clearly something is wrong with this picture however in the article it doesn’t focus on the clear issue but instead compliments Simon’s statement by saying “Ouch” not even defending Lopez in any way. In both these cases, both women were presented unjustly and media should really change the way these things are handled in order to not seem biased themselves however they seem to care more about ratings more than the actual news.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2012/04/25/american-idol-feud-simon-cowell-on-jlo-cant-stand-her/

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/04/26/sonia-sotomayor-critical-arizona-immigration-law/

The Conspirators

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the World’s Most Dangerous Tortilla Art Collective is a team of three guys that basically make tortillas and print images on the tortilla itself. The images have a wide variety of images and hold different meaning for different events. The focus on this piece will be that of Sonia Sotomayor as she was the image printed on these tortillas. Sonia Sotomayor is Hispanic of Puerto Rican descent and was recently appointed by Barak Obama to be on the Supreme Court justice back in 2009. She is the first Hispanic to reach such a position and only the third female to do so. Needless to say she is very intelligent and holds a very powerful position and rightly so. She graduated not only from Princeton but also Yale while earning her J.D. She was also recognized by other presidents such as Bush and Clinton. The image that was used to print on the tortillas was that of Sotomayors face designed by Favianna Rodriguez. Rodriguez is an artist based out of Oakland California. Her art is known for addressing certain issues revolving around, war, immigration, globalization and last but not least social movements. The fact that Rodriguez’s artwork of Sotomayor was used shows that the conspirators, which they are often referred to as, knows a bit about social movements and recognizes the importance of Sotomayor and how much more she represents than a Supreme Court judge. By pulling together their resources and utilizing any connections they may have had they were able to promote not only themselves but also political issues that may concern Sotomayor the newly appointed judge, and even the artist Favianna Rodriguez all while serving a delicious meal. Taking things a step further instead of having someone just take pictures or home video of the event they chose to include the radio station Hard Knock Radio which is a public affairs program. Topics ranging from politics to hip hop are all discussed over the air and on their website. For example the opening page to the site has the article of women’s role in hip hop which is a very diverse topic that includes both social equality and cultural music. Hard Knock Radio made the effort to get out to the event hosted by the conspirators and took some video clips and posted them on their own channel HardKnockradio via You Tube. The conspirators did an excellent job of utilizing everything from the community to make a promotion event very successful.
http://tortillaconspiracy.wordpress.com/
http://www.favianna.com/bio/

Social Media In Our Class

Getting a Twitter account and a blog account on the WordPress associated blog was interesting simply because it was related to an academic course. I have never had a twitter before but I understood the format and how to use it since websites that use personal publishing interfaces are mostly similar.


I avoided twitter because I felt that it was an extra internet tool that I did not need because of my facebook, blogspot, deviantart, (soon to come) linkedin, etc… that I’ve already had. But I have wondered about it simply because of the way professionals use it. I like the fact that it promotes quick, casual interaction without knowing someone’s hometown or seeing last night’s party pictures. I know lots of professionals from the animation industry and from film in general who take great advantage of Twitter. For example, for the making of the live action film, The Last Airbender (2010) (and it was terrible, I know), I followed the producer’s feed and his updates on the progress of the film which was a great way to follow the progression of such a project. Thus I was not really bothered by the idea of signing up although I had never sought to do it on my own. I know I’ll definitely keep mine and will likely continue posting with the CHST404 hashtag (if Dr. Perez doesn’t mind!) to interact with future Chicano Studies enthusiasts and bring up related articles, images, etc.
Blogging on the Cited at the Crossroads site was nothing new since I have my own blog (Stef-a-Sketch). As soon as I knew that we would be given the chance to do blogs for the semester, I knew this is what I would want to do. I am a fan of researching, especially when I get to research topics that interest me, so this was the perfect combination of self teaching with the purpose of teaching others. I know when the time comes I’d like to do something similar on my own, e.g. a blog where I post researched info on multiple subjects, including Chicano Studies!
The only drawbacks I saw were my own, in which I deprived myself of enough time to dive in a little more into each subject I posted about. I also would have liked to tie it in to specific readings since most of the ones we read were very inspirational.
The chance to put our class on the internet really excited me. Although I’ve never been good physically in front of an audience, I love going all out behind the scenes. So again, this was an excellent way to do it. And I believe displaying a high level college class to the world wide web was very appropriate, especially since it is a class about culture, and people. The narrow focus on women I think is something that is also necessary. Like we have seen before, people want to know about this stuff, but sometimes the access of it is lacking. Bringing it down to the personal level of a blog instead of a professional website allows those looking into this subject to enter it more comfortably, and leave with legitimate resources as given by our links. All in all, I’d have to say the use of social media made this class and the experience in general, a very pleasant one that I hope to have in future classes.

Mi Tia Cuca : A portrait

This is an art piece I did back in high school. The assignment was to do a portrait in mostly two tones. I chose to do a study of my step-grandmother, but took a picture of her instead of sitting her down for a few hours. When I look at this picture, many things come to mind in terms of my family’s history.

Abuelita
First the subject herself, whom I call my Tia Cuca. My grandfather and her got together when my mom was still a young girl. What she faced was a household of several girls who had learned to take care of themselves after my grandmother had gotten sick and passed away when my mom was just nine years old. She took care of each of my grandfather’s children as if they were her own. Eventually she had a daughter and a son, significantly younger than the rest of their half-siblings. Today, she takes care of my grandfather after having been separated for a few years. During this time she lived in San Luis (my mother’s hometown) working at a record store. Now they both live in California where she continues to care for her grandchildren. To me she’s always been very nurturing and relaxed, despite the anxious person my mother remembers her for. One thing I have always admired about her is the respect she still harbors for my biological grandmother who is seen practically as the patron saint of our family. One of the fondest memories I have between her and I dates again to my high school years in which she looked at me closely then suddenly turned to my grandfather and asked him, “Ey, a quien se parece?” “Who does she look like?”. After a few moments of confusion she said, “Te pareces a tu abuela”, “You look like your grandmother”. Although I never had a chance to meet her, it was nice to know that I had a likeness to this person whom everyone missed and that my Tia Cuca still remembered her in such a way,
This piece also makes me think of the artistic background my family has. Firstly, this was probably my first finished portrait I had ever done. Looking back on it I’m both surprised and critical of the piece, but ultimately quite pleased with it (and may re-do it sometime soon). My mom was always the one who was excellent at translating still lifes to paper, specifically portraits. You can find doodles of faces and shapes in many of her notes or even old bills. My grandfather, Francisco, was an excellent carpenter. According to my mom, some of his best pieces, such as giant wooden doors, dining table sets, and such, can be found around the town of San Luis where he was often commissioned to do customized pieces. His work was quite fine and detailed. My father, although not part of the Preciado family, has also always dabbled in drawing. His style is more graphic instead of realistic and has actually designed some of his own tattoos.
Ultimately this is a piece that is very dear to me, and definitely one of my mother’s favorites. I hope to capture as much of my enormous family as I can. Having captured my Tia Cuca’s beautiful features was an inspiration. The next, much overdue step, is to show her this final piece which she has yet to see.

Machismo

According to the dictionary, the definition of machismo is a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness; an assumptive attitude that virility, courage, strength, and entitlement to dominate are attributes or concomitants of masculinity. So my question is how did this word come about?

There is this saying “machos are not born; they are created.” If this is true, then the term machismo refers to a concept that has been invented and not to an ancient cultural trait of any particular group of people. However, U.S. scholars and feminists noticed gender oppression in Mexico and other Latin American countries and announced that machismo was a particular cultural trait among Spanish-speaking men. There was also a disagreement with the origin of the word. Some believed it had ancient roots common in all Latin cultures since Roman times, others thought it was an ideology that originated in Andalusia, Spain, and was carried over the Atlantic Ocean during the Spanish Conquest. And then there were those who thought machismo was indigenous to the pre-Columbian Americas.  In fact, the word machismo has only been around only a few decades in the twentieth century.

A troubling fact about the idea of machismo is that until recently the term was more widely used in the United States than many parts in Latin America. In other parts of the world, macho has always had a negative connotation when referring to humans. Macho originates from a term that designates the male of an animal species, but in Latin America the term has taken on a different meaning. It was not until the 1990’s that the term cam into fashion and was used widely throughout Latin America. In the contemporary United States, the machismo mystique is regularly used to imply that somehow Spanish-speaking heterosexual men are more prone than men from other cultural backgrounds to sexist language, actions, and relationships.

In Latin America, the term macho usually must be differentiated from that of machismo. Macho has different meanings in different social circumstances; it can refer to the male of a species, whether animal or plant. In other cultural contexts, “to be macho” can have contradictory connotations. For older generations, it can refer to something positive for men to emulate; in other words, “a macho man” is one who is responsible for the financial welfare of his family. On the other hand, for younger men it refers to culturally stigmatized behavior like beating one’s wife.  Therefore, men from the younger generations refrain from calling themselves macho.

In my opinion, machismo is becoming less evident in the United States as Latinas go on to have a higher education and become independent of men. However, Mexico still has some progress to make.  Even though it is quickly becoming a modernized country, it still tightly holds onto some traditional views.

References:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/machismo

http://science.jrank.org/pages/7838/Machismo.html