Category Book Reviews

“Presumed Incompetent” and Fight the Tower | MUJERES TALK #decolonize #Xicanism

The truth is, academia is not a way station where rationality overcomes prejudice, but a site for the enactment of oppression essentially no different from any location. Under the rubric of what we assume is an honorable profession dedicated to making the world a better place, all the irrational competition and hatred that is race, […]

Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother: #Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas | #indigenous #decolonize #NikanTitlakah #Xicanism

“If you want to know who you are and where you come from, follow the maíz.” That was the advice given to author Roberto Cintli Rodriguez when he was investigating the origins and migrations of Mexican peoples in the Four Corners region of the United States.” Follow it he did, and his book Our Sacred […]

Q&A w/author of new book on litigation and higher education | #affirmativeaction #Xicanism

‘Suing Alma Mater’ July 30, 2013 By Scott Jaschik “Higher education leaders were anxious throughout the spring about the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending ruling on affirmative action. While the ruling was less decisive than some expected (and many feared), it once again illustrated how significant the courts can be for American higher education. As the […]

Lord of the Lies

Originally posted on Rethinking Schools:
by  Bill Bigelow Portland, Oregon language arts teacher, Michelle Kenney, has written a provocative article for Rethinking Schools about some of her curricular choices—and how what seem like great ideas one moment, turn out to embed troubling race and gender biases. I don’t want to give anything away, because there…

Book Review: Education for Extinction by David W. Adams

Review: David W. Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1995.             When it comes to the contemporary history of indigenous Americans, the issue of boarding schools for native children during the late 19th and early 20th centuries continues to be an open wound for […]

Brief Historiography of Chicano Community Studies

Brief Historiography of Chicano Community Studies

By: Ruben A. Arellano

Historical understanding of the American West has come a long way since Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis” which posited, in short, that the steady push westward by Anglo-Europeans and their indefatigable frontier spirit made (white) Americans exceptional. In a collection of essays on Turner’s frontier entitled Does the Frontier Make America Exceptional (1999), Richard W. Etulian quotes Turner: “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development.”[1] Historians picked up on this and, with few exceptions, told and retold American history from this Eurocentric perspective for almost a century. Herbert Eugene Bolton, who pioneered the “Spanish Borderlands” approach and was a student of Turner, maintained a Hispanocentric (Eurocentric) interpretation of the Southwest, and essentially relegated indigenous people to the historical margins. Bolton promoted an alternative form of Turnerian frontierism that romanticized Spanish explorers and ignored indigenous agency.

            Another of Turner’s contemporaries, Walter Prescott Webb, defined the American West as a geographic space in the 1930s. “Webb called attention to the significant power of the flat, arid, and treeless plains, environmental themes that gained tremendous popularity after the 1960s.”[2] Etulian informs us that neither Bolton or Webb were critical of Turner, rather, “they were advocates of alternative interpretations of the frontier.”[3] However, by the 1960s, some historians adopted a critical view of Turnerian historiography. One such historian, Jack D. Forbes, a scholar of Native American descent, explicitly disdained the insidious Eurocentric bias in American historiography and called on historians to consider revising the traditional approach.

In 1963, Forbes published an essay entitled “The Historian and the Indian: Racial Bias in American History” (1963), where he points out how American historians had all but ignored ethnic and racial minorities…