All you need to know about Latino studies

Latino studies

Latino studies refer to a particular discipline of the academic field that is related to the study of the experiences of the people belonging to the US of the Hispanic ancestry. This field of study is also related to various other areas of ethnic study like the African-American studies, Native American Studies as well as Asian-American studies. Latino studies primarily deal with the culture, history, and politics, experiences, and issues of the Hispanic people. The scholars in the field of Latino studies take inspiration from various other disciplines like history, sociology, political science literature, gender studies, and religious studies to analyze their works from multiple points of view. 

The origination of Latino Studies:

In the academic field, the origin of Latino Studies is related to the development of the Puerto Rican Studies and Chicana Studies, which were the response to the various demands raised by the movement of the students in the later part 1960s in the US. These movements took place at a time when the entire nation was brimming with political and social activist atmosphere and was incited by the protest against the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement of America. 

In some of the higher education institutes of the US, Latino Studies were introduced as an autonomous study programmer to the already existing syllabus in the 1970s and 1980s. Other institutes choose to keep the Puerto Rican and Chicano Study Programs as they were. This shows the variation of the institutional responses to the field of Latino Studies. The debate on the institutional and academic location of the Latino Studies is continuing even today as well. Some scholars prefer to maintain the Puerto Rican and Chicano Program of Studies that help in exploring the particularities of various national experiences in the bigger context of the globalization of the Latino diaspora and thus varying the population of Latino students in the universities of the US.

On the other hand, many other scholars support the field of Latino Studies as a kind of ‘umbrella’ field that is designed to research the pan-Latino variations and histories that go beyond the nation-bound critical frameworks that were introduced by the Puerto Rican and Chicano field of studies. Another group goes for the appreciation and importance of the disciplines like American studies, ethnic studies, and Latin American studies in absorbing the Latino studies. Depending on all these factors, the Latino Studies significantly varies from one institute to the other in the fields of pedagogical practice, terminology, and disciplinary locations with the examples that range from degree-granting departments that are autonomous to both multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs that are affiliated to the research centers of universities. 

Chicano Studies:

The first-ever Chicano Study program tool place at the State University of California in the Fall of 1968. It was established in response to the various demands made by the student movements of activism. Initially, this program was named as the Mexican-American Studies Program. Later, it was instituted at the CSULA under the name of the Chicano Studies Department in the year of 1971. Similar occurrences happened in various other universities in California. In the year of 1969, a conference was held all over the state at the University of California, where the students of Chicano, scholars, and activists penned down the Plan de Santa Barbara. It was a manifesto consisting of 150 pages to implement the Chicano Studies in various higher education institutes in California. Though the Regents of the University of California did not officially accept the manifesto to be something like a mandatory document for the institutes, the declaration indeed served as the primary document to make sure that Chicano Study programs get established across various universities in the state. However, many of the institutions only implemented and followed certain aspects of the plan and not the whole of it. The institutions of Texas also played vital roles in the development of the initial phase of the Chicano Study programs. This list of institutes included the Texas University situated at Austin in the year 1970 and the CMAS (Center for Mexican American Studies) at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Puerto Rican Studies:

In the year 1669, a parallel movement of student activism started to happen at the City University of NY. It was spread by the efforts of African American and Puerto Rican students. These efforts resulted in the Open Admission Strike in 1969 Spring. The activist students staged it. The primary demand of the students was to adopt an Admission policy that was not competitive and was open. This type of admission policy would help to diversify the body of students by making sure that they will get placed at the CUNY no matter from which NY city school graduate they are. Besides the demands related to the admission policy, the protesting students also demanded the introduction of Puerto Rican and Black studies. In response to these demands, the CUNY established the Department of Urban and Ethnic Studies. With the growing activism of the students, the Department of Puerto Rican Studies was finally established in the year of 1971, and it was followed by the setting up of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies as a research institute based in the University in the year of 1973. The overall demand for the introduction of studies related to Puerto Rico was not only limited to the CUNY. It also spread on the campuses of Brooklyn, Queens, Lehman, and Bronx Community Colleges. 

These are the primary facts related to the origination of Latino Studies. With the rise of Chicano & Puerto Rican Studies in the west and east coasts, various institutes in America also pioneered in some of the earliest academic sections with a focus on the Latino Studies. Throughout the years of the 19080s and 1990s, several universities in the country established academic departments and programs related to the field of Latino Studies. In this wayLatino studies, this particular field of study made its way into the larger population of students. 


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Nov 26, 2019


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