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Why Latino History Matters to U.S. History

Professor Vicki Ruiz, UC Irvine

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Jan 19, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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Why does Latino history matter? Contrary to media depictions of Latinos as people who arrived day before yesterday, there exists a rich layering of nationalities and generations.  Whether carving out a community in St. Augustine in 1565 to reflecting on colonialism and liberty during the 1890s to fighting for civil rights through the courts of the 1940s, Spanish-speaking peoples made history within and beyond national borders. This presentation offers a focused state of the field bringing out larger themes, debates, and sources.  The author emphasizes two historical moments pivotal to re-imagining an American narrative with Latinos as meaningful actors—1898 (the Filipino-Cuban-Spanish-American War), and 1948 (the Latino G.I. Generation).

Vicki L. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. A first generation college-bound student, she received her PhD in History from Stanford University in 1982. An award-winning scholar and educator, she is the author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth- Century America and co-author of Created Equal: A History of the United States. She and Virginia Sánchez Korrol co-edited the three-volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, which received a 2007 “Best in Reference” Award from the New York Public Library. Over the course of her career, Ruiz has participated in numerous public history and community engagement programs, including Arizona State’s Hispanic-Mother Daughter Program. From 2007- 2012, she served as Dean of the School of Humanities at UC Irvine. In 2012 Professor Ruiz was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The National Women’s History Project named her a 2015 Honoree in recognition of her scholarship. She is the immediate past president of the American Historical Association, the flagship organization for historians across all fields representing over 14,000 members. On September 10, 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Ruiz the National Humanities Medal, the eighth UC faculty member and first Latina so honored.



The views and opinions expressed during this lecture are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of UCCS.

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