New Approaches in Chicano Historiography by Vicky Ruiz, history homework help

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What does Vicky Ruiz say about the Historiography of Chicano history?

What are some the new approaches?

How do these approaches help us understand Chicano history?

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Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States Texture, Text, and Context New Approaches in Chicano Historiography La Familia: Chicano Families in the Urban Southwest, 1848 to the Present by Richard Griswold del Castillo; The Zoot-Suit Riots. The Psychology of Symbolic Annihilation by Mauricio Mazón; In Defense of La Raza: The Los Angeles Mexican Consulate and the Mexican Community, 1929-1936 by Francisco Balderrama; The Lost Land. The Chicano Image of the Southwest by John R. Chávez; Chicanos in California: A History of Mexican Ameri ... Review by: Vicki L. Ruiz Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter, 1986), pp. 145-152 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1051997 . Accessed: 31/03/2013 18:34 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . University of California Press, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Texture, Text, and Context New Approaches in Chicano Historiography Vicki L. Ruiz University of California, Davis La Familia: Chicano Families in the Urban Southwest, 1848 to the Present. By Richard Griswold del Castillo. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984. $18.95). The Zoot-Suit Riots. The Psychology of Symbolic Annihilation. By Mauricio Maz6n. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984. $12.95. Paper). In Defense of La Raza: The Los Angeles Mexican Consulate and the Mexican Community, 1929-1936. By Francisco Balderrama. (Tuc- son: University of Arizona Press, 1982. $14.95). The Lost Land. The Chicano Image of the Southwest. By John R. Chavez. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1984. $19.95). Chicanos in California: A History of Mexican Americans In California. By Albert Camarillo. (San Francisco: Boyd & Fraser Publishing Company, 1984. Paper $6.95). Chicano history, once again, is burgeoning with new works which deepen our understanding of Mexican and Mexican-American experiences in the United States. Like the recent community study La Familia, The Zoot Suit Riots, In Defense of La monographs,' The Lost Raza, Land, and Chicanos in California add texture and 1. The most significant community studies to date include Albert Camarillo, Chicanos in a Changing Society: From Mexican Pueblos to American Barrios in Santa Barbara and Southern California, 1848-1930 (Cambridge:HarvardUniversity Press, 1979); Mario T. Garcia, Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 18901920 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981); Richard Griswold del Castillo, The Los Angeles Barrio, 1850-1890 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979); Ricardo Romo, East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983); and Pedro Castillo, "The Making of a Mexican Barrio: Los Angeles, 1890-1920" (Ph. D. diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1979). Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 2(1) Winter 1986 ? 1986 Regents of the University of California. 145 This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 146 Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos depth to Chicano historiography. The diversity in topics, approaches, as well as scope, signals a growing maturation of the literature. By experimenting with innovative methodologies and frameworks, the authors bring to light unexplored dimensions of the Chicano landscape. Richard Griswold del Castillo has produced an extremely sophisticated quantitative study on the historical development of the Chicano/Mexican-American family. Marshalling an impressive array of evidence, Griswold del Castillo traces changes in household structures and relations as they reflect an inherent conflict between Mexican value systems and American capitalism. Families are neither fixed nor static entities, but continually adapting hybrids embodyand Anglo ing differing blends of Mexican, Mexican-American influences. In fashioning a model for Chicano social science history, Griswold del Castillo goes beyond a narrow elaboration of his statistical data. He integrates both Mark Poster's and Barbara Laslett's theories on the family in constructing his own interpretations. Indeed, he is at his best when borrowing Poster's conceptual categories as he explores Mexican-American child rearing practices and attitudes toward sex during the nineteenth century. Here, he steps outside of what narrative historians somewhat facetiously refer to as a "numbers racket" as he meticulously analyzes heretofore unexamined (but fascinating) documentary materials, materials which illuminate the private side of the Chicano heritage. Although feminist scholars will question his applications of patriarchy and the cult of true womanhood, particularly in relation to Mexican frontier life, Griswold del Castillo in La Familia provides a path-breaking overview. This monograph fills an important gap as the author makes accessible the historical background from which sociologists can draw as they delve into the dynamics of contemporary Chicano families. A pioneer in a different sense, Mauricio Maz6n has constructed the first psychohistorical approach to Chicano history. The Zoot Suit Riots is an intriguing psychological profile of the people and processes which culminated in Anglo military and civilian attacks on Mexican youth in Los Angeles from June 3-13, 1943. Using the terminology of Erik Erikson, Victor Turner, Franco Fornari (among others), Mazon reveals complex psychological interrelationships among pachucos, Anglo servicemen, defense workers, and law enforcement authorities. Previously classified documents from FBI and military files support his contention that the zoot suit riots were more than racially motivated quasi-military operations. Maz6n offers a rationale for the actions of Anglo servicemen in a way that no other historian has offered. He goes well beyond the tenets of sim- This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Ruiz: Chicano Historiography 147 pie scapegoating by providing insight into the mental interiors of the Anglo community, the differing forms of alienation which coalesced into the zoot suit riots. Although some scholars may chide Mazon for not placing pachucos within the context of Mexican-American barrio life, he explicitly states in his introduction that this monograph presents a specific psychohistorical interpretation, not an allencompassing study. The author is an excellent psychohistorian. He skillfully reconstructs the processes by which feelings of alienation and frustration become directed against pachucos. He also provides a stunning indictment of Los Angeles journalists for their role in transforming Mexican pachuco youth into a convenient target, a surrogate enemy. The media fanned an anti-zoot suit hysteria, portraying pachucos as delinquents and slackers. Coincidentally, servicemen, straight from boot camp, poured into the area. These soldiers and sailors felt compelled to prove their manhood and by "stripping" zoot suiters, these men could release pent-up frustrations and most importantly, regain their sense of self lost during basic training. He also argues that the confrontations were symbolic rituals of rejuvenation which solidified the bonding between Anglo soldiers and the civilian population. Furthermore, Maz6n makes trenchant observations in his examination of long range implications of the zoot suit riots. For decades after World War II, Mexican-American barrio youth would carry a stigma of deviancy in the Anglo mind set, a label which can be directly traced to ten days in 1943. Law enforcement officials, as well as the general public, would no longer interpret pachuco garb as a teenage fad, but as a badge of criminality.2 Francisco Balderrama engages in neither statistics nor psychoanalysis but what he does accomplish is a readable, insightful narrative which delineates the roles of the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles during the early 1930s. In Defense of La Raza is a rich compendium of diverse sources ranging from high-level diplomatic correspondence to oral histories. As one of the first Chicano scholars to mine Mexican and U.S. foreign relation files, Balderrama proves that diplomatic history and ethnic social history are by no means mutually exclusive. Regarding immigration studies, the author carefully reconstructs the activities and responsibilities of the Mexican government to its citizens in Mexico afuera. European newcomers, in contrast, lacked the support system available to their Mexican counterparts. During the Great Depression, the steps taken by the consulate to alleviate the hardships its constituents faced have no parallel. Consular aid to 2. Maz6n, The Zoot-Suit Riots, 80-81, 85. This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 148 Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos those boarding Mexico-bound trains as either repatriots or deportees indicates a unique role for a diplomatic official-that of advocate and benefactor. The hand-in-hand relationship between the consulate and many community groups helps explain why Mexican nationals and their children maintained such close ties with Mexico in terms of cultural heritage and for the Mexican-born, citizenship. In 1930, for example, there existed a sharp differential in naturalization rates between Mexican and European immigrants (5.5 to 49.7 percent respectively).3 Filled with valuable research, In Defense of La Raza is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on the Chicano experience. As Chicano history branches out in so many different directions, is synthesis possible? Both John Chavez and Albert Camarillo have attempted this enormous task, Chavez for the Southwest, Camarillo for California. Both have produced readable, entertaining monographs which can be enjoyed by those outside of academia. Yet, it is difficult to cover the broad panorama of Mexican-American history in 160 pages or less. Chicanos in California is bursting with solid information while The Lost Land offers compelling ideas. Chavez portrays Mexican Americans as holding onto the imagery of the dispossessed while hopeful of eventual hegemony. Chronicling the "foreigners in their native land" theme throughout the text, he argues that the lost land has served as the focal point for Mexican nationalism in the United States. Chavez spins a well-crafted narrative; yet he sometimes indulges in blanket generalizations. As an example: Their nationalism having been revived during the 1960s, most U.S. Mexicans no longer disassociated themselves from their fellows across the border; they were no longer willing to stand by, as they had in the 1930s and 1950s, and watch Mexicans mistreated simply for lacking proper documents.4 In detailing southern California civil rights groups and mutualistas active during the 1930s, Albert Camarillo and Francisco Balderrama demonstrate the concern felt throughout the Mexican community for those members awaiting deportation or repatriation. In addition, Camarillo elaborates on the important postwar political and labor organizations. Mario Garcia's and Liliana Urrutia's articles on the Asociaci6n Nacional Mexico-Americana (ANMA) further dispels the notion of the passive Mexican-American generation.5 3. Balderrama, In Defense of La Raza, 8. 4. Chavez, The Lost Land, 153. 5. Mario T. Garcia, "Mexican American Labor and the Left: The Asociacion Nacional Mexico-Americana, 1949-1954" in The Chicano Struggle: Analysis of Past and Present Struggles," ed. John A. Garcia, Theresa Cordova, and Juan R. Garcia (Binghamton: Bilingual Press, 1984), 65-86; Liliana Urrutia, "An Offspring of Discontent: The This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Ruiz: Chicano Historiography 149 John Chavez also tends toward nostalgia in his portrayal of the Chicano Movement. He accentuates the revolutionary ideology of el movimiento depicting ethnic consciousness as a powerful nationalism which bonded Chicanos everywhere in a united struggle for self-determination. Camarillo, on the other hand, presents a more realistic interpretation. Emphasizing reformist gains, he examines the Chicano movement not as a coordinated crusade but as an umbrella for a plethora of organizations and programs representing different constituencies; plus he admits that factionalism sometimes undermined the varying social justice goals. Both authors, however, do agree on the importance of education not only for Chicano youth, but for the future of their communities. After reviewing these five books, several questions emerge: Who are the historical actors? And do they indeed act or are they victims manipulated by forces beyond their control? For John Chavez and Mauricio Maz6n, Chicano history is precisely that-Chicano history. Chavez briefly mentions four notable Mexican-American women, providing no sense of women's everyday lives or even household relationships. The Lost Land fails to consider women's contributions as family members and wage earners. Furthermore, this study ignores the rich heritage of Chicana political and labor activism.6 Mauricio Mazon also experiences tunnel vision in his extremely stilted account of those persons he describes as pachuquitas. Citing a secondary source, he describes the pachuquitas as follows: The Mexican pachuquitas were very appealing to American servicemen, and jealousy guarded by Mexican-American boys. They scandalized the adults of the Anglo and Mexican communities alike, with their short, tight skirts, sheer blouses and built-up hairdos.7 Indeed, The Zoot Suit Riots portrays Mexican women as sexual property, objects of desire by both pachucos and servicemen. Maz6n, on one hand, criticizes the Los Angeles newspapers for fanning xenophobic racism, yet when it comes to women, he seems to accept the stereotypes perpetrated by that media. He overlooks Asociaci6n Nacional Mexico-Americana, 1949-1954," Aztlan XV (Spring 1984): 177-184. 6. For more information on the roles of women in political and trade union groups, see the following sources: Camarillo, Chicanos in California; MagdalenaMora and Adelaida R. Del Castillo, eds., Mexican Women in the United States: Struggles Past and Present (Los Angeles: University of California, Chicano Studies Publications, 1980); Alfredo Mirande and Evangelina Enriquez, La Chicana: TheMexican-American Woman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979). 7. Maz6n, The Zoot-Suit Riots, 64. This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 150 Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos statements made by the women themselves. InJune, 1943, responding to newspaper characterizations, a group ofpachucas wrote: The girls in this room consist of young girls who graduated from high school as honor students, of girls who are now working in defense plants because we want to help win the war, and of girls who have brothers, cousins, relatives and sweethearts in all branches of the American Armed Forces. We have not been able to get our side of the story told.8 Obviously, these women had much more going for them than tight clothes and firm bodies. While Balderrama has written an impressive study which details southern California community groups, he does not explore fully the accomplishments of La Cruz Azul and its most well-known leader Elena del Llata. Furthermore, he fails to mention the degree of gender integration or segregation within various organizations. What was the extent of women's involvement? What activities did female auxiliaries perform? How pervasive was their participation in religious associations? Regarding his methodology, why did his oral history sample include 33 men but only three women? Perhaps oral interviews with more women would have illuminated female involvement in barrio affairs. Richard Griswold del Castillo illuminates the values, household structures, traditions, expectations, as well as other parameters, within which Mexican women functioned in society. Although not employing a "woman-centered" approach, the author does consider women as integral to his research. He has uncovered numerous primary sources which deepen our understanding of Chicana experiences, particularly during the 1800s. The Adina de Zavala and Villalongin collections at the Benson and Barker Libraries (University of Texas) are but two examples of what can be used when examining the history of la mujer. In addition, Griswold del Castillo has presented the most complex study on intermarriage in which he denotes the varying cultural orientations. This monograph, along with Gloria Miranda's work on Mexican childhood in Santa Barbara,9 makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of nineteenth-century Chicano family history. 8. EastsideJournal, June 16, 1943 as quoted in MartaCotera, Diosa y Hembra: TheHistoryand Heritageof Chicanas in the U.S. (Austin:InformationSystemsDevelopment, 1976). 9. Gloria E. Miranda, "Hispano-Mexican Childrearing Practices in Pre-American Santa Barbara," Southern California Historical Quarterly (Winter 1983): 307-320. This content downloaded from 130.182.50.101 on Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:34:49 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Ruiz: Chicano Historiography 151 There does exist one survey text which places women on a in California. Albert relatively equal level with men-Chicanos Camarillo incorporates women's experiences and accomplishments throughout the text. He gives Chicanas the integrity of historical actors, people who make decisions and shape events. Camarillo traces the entrance of women into the wage labor force, the types of jobs available, as well as their reasons for working. Chicanos in California is also the first monograph to tap the recent research on Chicana labor and political activism during the twentieth century. Have Chicano historians broken away from the Mexican American as victim model? The works of Albert Camarillo, Richard Griswold del Castillo, and Francisco Balderrama indicate an increasing thrust toward action. Their common approach is premised on the idea that while Chicanos have labored under oppressive conditions through their family structures and community organizations, they have adapted, survived, and in the process created warm, vigorous, diverse environments in the barrios of the Southwest. Conversely, Mauricio Mazon and, to a lesser extent, John Chavez take the familiar "Anglos did this/Anglos did that" perspective. Maz6n's study centers on the psychological underpinnings of the zoot suit riots-what happened in U.S. society to trigger these attacks on Mexican youth. Pachucos appear as secondary characters. They are stripped; they are symbolically annihilated. Although Chavez mentions the accomplishments of individual male political figures, his constant imagery of t ...
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