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Arts & Culture

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies returns to San Anto

Photo: Justin Parr, License: N/A

Justin Parr

NACCS Scholars: Drs. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Antonia Castañeda, and Arturo Madrid


“Mexican American studies is a vital part of American history, and if we are to have an educated public, which every society wants, we need to know that Mexican Americans have been a part of this country’s history since the beginning,” says Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio’s first Poet Laureate, whose background includes having been a senior lecturer in UTSA’s Department of Bilingual and Bicultural Studies, where Mexican American Studies is a major component.

In January, conservative Texas legislators sought a report from the Texas Association of Scholars which cited that more than 50 percent of American history assignments in courses at The University of Texas-Austin and Texas A&M focused on race, gender, and class. The legislators, having neither visited the classes nor interviewed the professors, argued these courses were not comprehensive of U.S. history, ironically, the same argument made against programs that exclude the histories of people of color. Keeping a curriculum inclusive of ethnic studies is vital and the focus of the Society of Mexican American Studies, a group comprised of San Antonio university and college MAS programs, including UTSA and Our Lady of the Lake University, where due to a new emphasis on “marketable skills,” Mexican American Studies recently made the list of programs to be phased out.

“We are a very youthful population. We need major investment in order to assure a prosperous future for our society and citizens. We need to assure our children are educated and have a chance to develop intellectually,” says Madrid of the goals of this year’s NACCS conference.

Programs open to the public include a concert reading of Virginia Grise’s 2010 Yale Drama Award winning play blu, 9 p.m. Friday, March 22at the Guadalupe Theatre, 1301 Guadalupe, (210) 271-3151, guadalupeculturalarts.org. For more conference event information, visit naccs.org

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