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1.4: Overview of the Textbook

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    Chapter Organization

    This textbook includes ten chapters representing cultural knowledge, lived experiences, key debates, paradigms, frameworks, theories, concepts, terms, and analytical tools from the discipline of Chicanx and Latinx studies. All are presented for the purpose of understanding the past to know the present and make a difference in the future. While we encourage you to utilize the textbook order in whatever order makes the most sense to your course and your own interests, the chapters can be divided into three parts.

    Part 1: Foundations and New Directions

    The first portion of the book, including this chapter by Melissa Moreno and Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick, along with Chapter 2: Identities and Chapter 3: History and Historiography by Amber Rose González provide a foundation for understanding the social, political, and historical processes of identity formation and the importance of community stories in the context of Chicanx and Latinx studies. 

    Identity formation has been shaped by resistance movements for self-determination against systems of oppression to empower and rehumanize marginalized Chicanx and Latinx communities. Chapter 2: Identities discusses identity as socially constructed and embedded in a system of power and resistance. It outlines important identity labels and when and why they emerged. Chapter 2 also provides an examination of the current demographics that make up Chicanx and Latinx communities. Chapter 3: History and Historiography focuses on the purpose and meaning of history, and the various approaches, methods, and frameworks that can be used to study history in Chicanx and Latinx communities. González advances how Chicanx and Latinx studies serves as an intervention to the discipline of history and highlights the contributions of feminist and queer studies scholars in the field of Chicanx and Latinx history. 

    Part 2: Chicanx and Latinx Intersectionalities

    The next portion of the book extends these perspectives by focusing on the intersection of Chicanx and Latinx identities with Indigeneity, gender, and sexuality. Chapter 4: Indigeneities by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick and Melissa Moreno, Chapter 5: Feminisms by Amber Rose González, and Chapter 6: Jotería Studies by Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr. are focused on critical and intersectional perspectives, demonstrating how Indigeneity, language, citizenship, and sexuality are subjectivities that impact the social status and lived experiences of members of Chicanx and Latinx communities.24

    Chapter 4: Indigeneities provides an overview of terminology associated with Indigeneity, Indigenous demographics in Latin America and México, and how peoples in the past and present have expressed their Indigenous identities. Chapter 5: Feminisms offers a genealogy of the emergence of Chicana and Latina feminisms including critical issues and key areas of activism. Chapter 6 provides an introduction to the emergence of jotería studies and the importance of self-naming, highlighting some of the cultural and scholarly activist contributions that this area of study has made in Chicanx and Latinx studies. This chapter also explores self-determination in queer and trans Chicanx and Latinx communities, emphasizing the importance of safety and healing spaces.

    Part 3: Activism, Praxis, and Culture

    The remaining four chapters build on these perspectives by exploring the social, political, and cultural dynamics impacting Chicanx and Latinx communities in the context of activism, education, health, and culture. Chapter 7: Social Movement Activity by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick, Chapter 8: Education and Activism by Lucha Arévalo, Chapter 9: Health by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick and Melissa Moreno, and Chapter 10: Cultural Productions by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick all reflect on Chicanx and Latinx studies in social and political action. 

    Chapter 7: Social Movement Activity focuses on 20th and 21st-century social and political movements. The chapter presents frameworks to assess resistance, racial and social justice, and solidarity among Chicanx and Latinx communities. Chapter 7 also identifies how Chicanx and Latinx organizations have enacted equity, self-determination, liberation, and anti-racism. It highlights intersectional Chicanx and Latinx movements that address issues related to class, gender, sexuality, national origin, immigration status, and language. Chapter 8: Education and Activism examines historical educational policies and legal cases used for social change, providing concepts to critically understand key historical education debates, issues, and initiatives that impact Chicanx and Latinx communities today. 

    Chapter 9: Health centers issues surrounding institutional and traditional health, healing, and well-being in Chicanx and Latinx communities. This chapter identifies health conditions, public health disparities, behaviors, and outcomes of health influenced by the intersection of race and environmental racism as they relate to class, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, national origin, immigration status, ability, language, and age in Chicanx and Latinx communities. Chapter 10: Cultural Productions delves into concepts such as pop culture analysis, encoding, decoding, stereotypes, controlling images, tropicalism, disidentification, nationalism, image analysis, and artivism in the context of media and cultural productions. This chapter unpacks how representations and cultural meaning-making operate at the intersection of race and racism with class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, ability, and Indigeneity in Chicanx and Latinx communities. 

    Overall, the chapters are intended to offer readers an introduction to Chicanx/Latinx self identity, stories of community, systems of oppression, social movements, and solidarity efforts.


    24 Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, 1st edition (Watertown, Mass: Persephone Press, 1981); Gloria Anzaldua, ed., Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color, 1st edition (San Francisco, Calif: Aunt Lute Books, 1990).