Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chicana Chicano Warriors

Michael Sedano

(1) Book Release. This comes our way from 0101aztlan.net:

¡Raza Sí! ¡Guerra No!

Lorena Oropeza is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis.

This incisive and elegantly written examination of Chicano antiwar mobilization demonstrates how the pivotal experience of activism during the Viet Nam War era played itself out among Mexican Americans. ¡Raza Sí! ¡Guerra No! presents an engaging portrait of Chicano protest and patriotism. On a deeper level, the book considers larger themes of American nationalism and citizenship and the role of minorities in the military service, themes that remain pertinent today. Lorena Oropeza's exploration of the evolution, political trajectory, and eventual implosion of the Chicano campaign against the war in Viet Nam encompasses a fascinating meditation on Mexican Americans' political and cultural orientations, loyalties, and sense of status and place in American society.

(2) Images from candlelight vigil for the 2000th dead US Soldier in Iraq

I had an uncomfortable feeling as I stood with the candleholders in Pasadena's Memorial Park. It was mostly a bunch of old people, like me, standing with candles in memory of the 2000th GI killed in the Iraq invasion. Somber voices read a list of 200 names, alternating between the names and ages of local soldiers killed in Iraq with the names of Iraqis killed in the same invasion. Our dead were 19, 20, 30 year olds. Iraqi dead included unborn children, infants, young adults and elders.

I realized what it was: deja vue of a sort. Years ago, Teatro a la Brava, a chicano troupe I directed, did an acto for at-risk youth. The plot included a veladora for an innocent youth killed in gang violence. The actor, an incredible young man named Carlos Vazquez, was murdered a few years later by a thug gangster. I looked back at that acto realizing the irony that Carlitos was holding a veladora for himself. How were we to know?

For whom were we holding candles that night? For the next 2000? 3000? 30,000? None of us candleholders would serve, though we stand and wait.

That recent Pasadena evening I had put on my old Army field jacket. How familiar it felt to wear my rank and unit patch again--I was on the Korean DMZ in '69-70, not Vietnam. The television people saw it, asked "would the veteran like to say a few words?" Later, as I walked back to my car, a young fellow, maybe the same age I was when I was drafted, followed me across the street talking on his cell phone. "They're not against the war," he told the ear at the other end of the line, "they're against the soldiers."

Anger welled up in me, but I said nothing. I'd gone into uniform with the belief I was somehow defending that jerk's right to be a fool.

(3) finally, from the academic frontiers, from the MELUS group, Multi-ethnic Literature in the US

Call for Roundtable Participants: Demystifying the Dissertation
April 2006 Annual MELUS Conference, Florida

Email 1 page abstracts by 11/14/05 to kcardozo@english.umass.edu

The future of ethnic/literary studies depends upon the retention of diverse
graduate students. General doctoral attrition rates range between 40-50%, and
dissertation completion is often cited as a major obstacle in the humanities.
At the same time, the dissertation process is often relegated to the informal
or "hidden curriculum" of graduate programs. While some commercial guides
exist, few formal disciplinary resources or structures orient students to the
dissertation's scope, format, a! nd process--even though the thesis is the
scholarly foundation of an academic career and a crucial factor in hiring.

MELUS constituents might consider the following questions: does the
privatized nature of the dissertation process have a disparate impact on
nontraditional or historically underrepresented students (who may lack access
to private academic networks?) And, given tensions between politics and
poetics in the study of ethnic literatures: What are the politics of writing
and completing an ethnic literature project in departments where these areas
and/or ethnic faculty are underrepresented? How do "traditional" literary
programs view interdisciplinary dissertations and how do ethnic studies
programs view literary methodologies? What is the relation between a
dissertation and one's future scholarly career?

I'm soliciting participants at all career levels (including graduate students)
for an informative roundtable theorizing these important issues, as well as
how improvement of dissertation practices could aid in the diversification of
the academy. Email 1 page abstracts (for brief 5-7 minute roundtable remarks)
regarding major problems as well as best practices surrounding the
dissertation process by 11/14/05.

Thank you!

Karen M. Cardozo
Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
Department of English
Bartlett Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2332

2005-2006 Research Associate
Five College Women's Studies Research Center
50 College Street
Mount Holyoke College
S0uth Hadley, MA 01075-6406
(413) 538-2275

(4) OK, so the events of the week put me in a funk. RudyG had a provocative piece that deserves discussion. Daniel Olivas' story, too, merits a response, if only a "that reminds me of the time..." Damn. I look forward to reading something happy and cool. Maybe a good children's book will come to our attention this week. Wouldn't that be delightful?

Hasta, raza, and fellow chiclit lovers.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great post and nice hint. I'm here, I'm here finally with things semi working so look out for my post on A Gift of Gracias on Thursday. Have some other interesting stuff I found in the library from Children's Book Press and a few other interesting Children's books. Tomorrow is Dia de Los Muertos and I will be setting up my altar and cooking up a storm. Believe it or not, it's hard as heck to find Cempaxochitl flowers in San Diego. I miss East L.A.!