Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
“And we have not vanished, verdad?!”: Chicano university student resistance through identity during the Chicano Movement
Carla Gonzalez

Última modificación: 2017-07-16


This paper focuses how identity formation influenced Midwestern Chicano student activism during the Chicano Movement (1970s) at four predominately White Midwestern Institutions. A review of the literature regarding Chicano educational history shows that a majority of the scholarship focuses on a conceptual pattern developed by Guadalupe San Miguel called the “Plight” and “Struggle” of Southwestern Mexican Americans in educational history. Plight refers to how those in power used policy to retain social control of Mexican American students, which resulted in their segregated educational experience. Struggle refers to the ways in which Mexican American communities, students, and parents resisted discriminatory educational policies. This paper adds to the “Plight” and “Struggle” canon by discussing how colonial power and emancipatory resistance functioned for Chicanos in the Midwest. A majority of scholarship regarding Chicano educational history is situated in Southwest and California. This paper aims to fill gaps in Chicano educational history by focusing on institutions of higher education in the Midwest.

This paper explores how Chicana/o students understood their own identity and how that influenced the creation of spaces for themselves at the University of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I employ in conjunction with historical methodology, the concept of “space” and “place” through a critical pedagogy of place to analyze data sources such as student newsletters and newspapers. The general definition of place has been described as citizens’ relationship with the natural environment, and/or material spaces, however, as Ruitenberg points out, “each place has a history, often a contest history, of the people who inhabited in in past times”. Space, on the other hand, is socially constructed; it is fluid and is not bound to one place.

Understanding how spatial fluidity influences identity can help prevent the “claim our true selves are inextricably bound with our ‘homeland’ or ‘native soil’”. This framing will allow me to investigate how the Midwest functions as conceptual spaces for Chicana/o students and how students might have considered the Midwest as their “home” despite being physically distant from what is typically considered “the homeland” (The American Southwest), as well as, how space influenced their notions of  “Mexican American”/“Chicano” identity.  Critical pedagogy of place offers valuable insight into understanding and addressing Midwest Chicano student isolation by “contextualizing knowledge and by resisting imperialist and homogenizing forces of globalized culture”. Preliminary results demonstrate that this hybrid identity of Midwestern and Chicano informed the types of acts of resistance they used to demand greater educational inclusion of Chicanos.