Author Archives: Editor@naccs.org

Note from the Chair

Roberto Hernández, NACCS Chair, 2021-2022

Estimad@s NACCistas,

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As we approach the Spring equinox and for most a much necessary spring break, we want to relay a number of exciting news and important updates in advance of our upcoming NACCS Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually for a second year now on April 20-23, 2022. As you will read below, we have some announcements of recognition for a few our fellow CCS colegas and their respective accomplishments, as well as some reminders in preparation for the conference.

While we share the sentiment with many of you of wanting to be back in person pa’ compartir and convivir with each of you, platicar and theorize in the flesh, for the time being we say safety first, but with the hope that this time next year we will me making travel plans rather than balancing zoom meeting schedules. That being said, do not forget that although a much-reduced virtual rate, you still need to register for this year’s conference, and encourage others to register as well, as it is one of the few ways that we can continue to keep NACCS afloat during these difficult times. We know several of you have reached out about technical problems with registration and those have since been fixed.

With that, we honor those that we have lost in these three years since we were last together in Albuquerque, we give thanks to those seeds that they planted in each of us, we see and support all those beautiful cosechas emanating in and through the work you each do, and we nourish those new semillas and seedlings to come in the students and mentees of today.

See you en Zoomlandia soon

Spring 2022, No. 47 No. 1

2022 NACCS Book Award

We are proud to announce the winner of this year’s NACCS Book Award: Reading, Writing, and Revolution: Escuelitas and the Emergence of Mexican American Identity in Texas by Philis M. Barragán Goetz (University of Texas Press, 2020). The book unveils the complex history of Spanish-language community schools, or escuelitas, along the US-Mexico border of Texas and New Mexico. As Barragán Goetz explains, these escuelitas were more than just places for resisting hegemonic power(s) of forced assimilation and language control. They were also spaces of negotiation around the domains of race, cultural identity, dual citizenship, and epistemic self-determination. The book’s extensive archival work, detailed mastering of weaving oral history research, and critical genealogical analysis show the nuances implemented by these communities in their everyday engagement and negotiations with power, and the lack of it, around them. Moreover, as Barragán Goetz writes, the book is also “a story about empowered and educated women assuming leadership roles in historically patriarchal communities and a tale of how adults look to their children’s education to manage the problems of their own lives… [and] settled into the idea of becoming Mexican Americans” (3). Reading, Writing, and Revolution contextualizes the long history of struggles around the domains of language and schooling for our Raza, which connects the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to Tucson’s ending of Ethnic studies/Mexican American studies program in 2012 and can be extrapolated to the more recent attacks of Critical Race Theory. Barragán Goetz’s work is a beautiful well-writing research narrative of communities consistently adapting to the ever-shifting forces around them, a most read book. Philis M. Barragán Goetz is Assistant Professor of History at the Department of Communication, History, and Philosophy at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Congratulations!

Honorable Mentions

We also want to recognize two honorable mentions (finalists) for the NACCS Book Award this year. Intersectional Chicana Feminisms: Sitios y Lenguas by Aída Hurtado (University of Arizona Press) and La Gente: Struggles for Empowerment and Community Self-Determination in Sacramento by Lorena V. Márquez (University of Arizona Press). They are significant contributions to the understanding of our field, both theoretical, empirical, and pragmatical. Following a long trajectory, Hurtado traces the intersectional nature of Chicana Feminists and again positions women’s experiences (and those around them) as a cornerstone to understanding the field and the more significant implications of oppression and emancipation. Her book weaves together theory and people’s own relationships, legacies, and genealogies to map a set of empowerment sitios where a new world is enacted every day. In La Gente, Lorena V. Márquez shows the emergence of the Chicana/o civil rights history in Sacramento and Northern California during the 1960-70s. However, as she explains, the Movimiento took place beyond the traditional players. It created a network of spaces to embrace everyday life, from school boards to canneries and the takeover of abandoned army posts. Thank you, both of you, for these fantastic books.

Indeed, selecting this year’s NACCS Book Award was an arduous but rewarding task. There were ten extraordinary books nominated. They all manifest a healthy and exciting picture of our Chicana and Chicano Studies field. More than ever, the relevance and importance of our work are evident. All the books were released in 2020 as the COVID 19 pandemic started to show the overwhelming impact on people of color, migrants, and poor communities in the United States and around the world. We were honored to read such beautiful testimonies of our communities’ consistent resiliency and work toward a more just, egalitarian, and diverse world. Thank you to all the nominations and our community of scholars, researchers, artists, cultural workers, and activists. It has been an honor and a pleasure.

2022 NACCS Book Award Selection Committee

Spring 2022, No. 47 No. 1

Antonia Castañeda Prize Winner

Valdes, Leo. “In the Shadow of the Health-Care City: Historicizing Trans Latinx Immigrant Experiences during the Coronavirus Pandemic.” US Latina & Latino Oral History Journal, vol. 5, 2021, pp. 32-65.

Leo Valdes is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Rutgers University. Their research spans carceral state history, trans studies, and labor history with a focus on the United States but with an attunement to international dynamics, particularly in the realm of migration and diaspora. An oral history practitioner and scholar-activist, their research is shaped by ongoing conversations and political projects in trans of color communities. Their article “In the Shadow of the Health-care City: Historicizing Trans Latinx Immigrant Experiences during the Coronavirus Pandemic” illustrates an approach to trans history that combines materialist analysis with trans/queer theory and is grounded in the knowledge trans people produce from their social location. Likewise, their dissertation merges disparate scholarly fields to examine the historical evolution of the Black and Brown trans past. Based in the New York metropolitan region and moving away from biomedical themes towards class and race, their dissertation offers a historical account and explanation for the emergence of a distinct trans politics inclusive of radical Black, anticolonial, and prison abolitionist traditions. Leo (also known as Lili), who is proudly trans and Latinx, among other identities, has published an article and reviews in the U.S. Latina and Latino Oral History Journal, The Metropole, and New Jersey Studies

Spring 2022, No. 47 No. 1

Leadership Meeting April 13, 12-1:15pm

In the hopes of fostering proactive leadership for NACCS Caucuses and FOCOs, this year we are hosting a leadership meeting for all current and/or aspiring Caucus Chairs and FOCO Reps. The leadership meeting will be an opportunity to engage with current Board members, as well as to be updated on NACCS processes related to leadership expectations, submitting resolutions, accessing your FOCO and Caucus funds, among other questions you may have. The goal is to help ensure that we have smooth transitions between Reps, Caucus Chairs and Board members as well as create avenues for new leadership. It will be a brief onboarding session and Q&A.

Zoom link: https://SDSU.zoom.us/j/82162262542 

Spring 2022, No. 47 No. 1

Foco and Caucus Guidelines: Submitting Resolutions

Deadline for 2022 resolutions: APRIL 6 (14 days before start of annual conference)

All Resolutions emailed to the secretary Robert Unzueta at rob@naccs.org as word document.

General Guidelines

Resolutions must be submitted through Caucuses and Focos – by the Caucus Chair and/or Foco Representative.

Resolutions must be voted on and approved by members in good standing of the Caucuses and/or Focos, (good standing means paid membership). Resolutions must include a memo with the vote (could be an email vote of the members).

There are two types of Resolutions

  • Changes to the bylaws – which require a ⅔ vote to pass. These resolutions are seldom used, however, it is possible to examine the bylaws and find that changes are needed.
  • Resolutions which affect the bylaws must have a rationale and provide the section of the bylaws to be changed and the language of the modification.

Example 1:

If we wished to amend the days to submit the resolution from 14 to 10, we would provide this information:

From: ARTICLE 12 – AMENDMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS, Section 2:

Section 2:

Resolutions must be submitted electronically to the NACCS Secretary at least 14 days before the start of the annual national conference. The Board will review each resolution for appropriate guideline procedures, returning resolutions for revision to Focos and Caucuses as appropriate. Focos and Caucuses are solely responsible for editing and submitting resolutions in the correct style and manner.

Resolutions must be submitted electronically to the NACCS Secretary at least 14 days (10 days) before the start of the annual national conference. The Board will review each resolution for appropriate guideline procedures, returning resolutions for revision to Focos and Caucuses as appropriate. Focos and Caucuses are solely responsible for editing and submitting resolutions in the correct style and manner.

All resolutions require justification. Therefore, you must provide a paragraph with reasons why the resolution is being made. It may be stated as a benefit to the membership, or something else that directly affects participation in NACCS by members.

Resolutions addressing issues relevant to Chicana and Chicano Studies and/or our communities. These resolutions must demonstrate that the issues are of national importance, we can not accept resolutions for individual cases, campuses, or individuals.

Example from Resolutions introduced and passed in 2018.

Example 2:

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOCO

Defending Academic Freedom on all College and University Campuses[1]

No budget or bylaws implications

WHEREAS: Academic Freedom is the central pillar to institutions of higher education. In accordance with the American Association of University Professors statement on academic freedom[4], colleges and universities across the nation are taking a stand against attacks by extremist political forces. Yet, many higher education institutions have not been prepared for repressive attacks on its faculty;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That by April 30, 2018, the NACCS Board in cooperation with the Northern California Foco state its nationwide college and university support for the AAUP Policy on Academic Freedom in a letter embracing the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments”[5];

Information to include on Resolutions

Name of Caucus chair and/or Foco Representative with contact information (cell phone and email address).

Name of Resolution

Indicate whether the resolution has bylaws or financial implications (each of these must be explained and justified).

If a resolution asks for a letter, the person submitting must provide a draft of said letter and the address(es) for circulation.

Questions?

Contact: Your At-Large Representative or the Secretary (https://www.naccs.org/naccs/NACCS_Board.asp)

Link to Resolution Template

Deadline for 2022 resolutions: APRIL 6.

Conference 2022: Plenaries and Highlighted Panels

Plenaries

Opening Plenary

Thursday, April 21, Noon – 1:20 PM

50 Years of Leadership: A Discussion of Need, Challenges, and Change

  • Maria Gonzalez, Program Chair and Chair-Elect.
  • Reynaldo F. Macias, 1975-1976 NACS Coordinator & 2004-2006 NACCS Chair.
  • Tatcho Mindola, 1988-1990 NACS Coordinator.
  • Luis Torres, 1993-1995, NACCS Coordinator.
  • Julia E. Curry Rodriguez, 1999-2000 NACCS Coordinator and NACCS Executive Director.

Chicana Plenary

Saturday, April 23, Noon-1:20 p.m. PST

Demanding Space: Chicana and Lesbian/LBMT Caucuses Decentering Patriarchal Heteronormativity within NACCS

  • Nancy “Rusty” Barceló. NACCS Scholar 2012.
  • Sandy Soto.  University of Arizona.
  • Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz. Trinity University
  • Anita Tijerina Revilla. Los Angeles State University.
  • Yvette J. Saavedra. Chicana Caucus Co-Chair. University of Oregon
  • Millán, Isabel M illán . Chicana Caucus Co-Chair. University of Oregon

Student Plenary/Cervantes Recipients

TBA

Highlighted Panels

3.1 Historians talk about NACCS

  • Camarillo, Al. Stanford University.
  • Orozco, Cynthia. Eastern New Mexico University. “History of Chicanas in NACCS, Origins to 1990s.”
  • Gonzalez, Deena. Gonzaga University.

6.1 Roundtable: Climbing While Lifting: The Perils and Promises of Leading NACCS

  • Castañeda, Mari. University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • DeSoto, Aureliano M. Metropolitan State University.
  • Green, Susan. California State University, Chico.
  • Guerrero, Carlos Reyes. Los Angeles City College.
  • Pendleton Jimenez, Karleen. Trent University.

8.1 Roundtable: Que Viva La Joteria: Past, Present, & Future of Queer & Trans Latinx Activism

  • Hernández-Toledo, Briceida. University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Orozco, Roberto C. Rutgers University – New Brunswick.
  • Rodríguez Lemus, Jr., Gabriel. The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Santillana Blanco, José Manuel. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  • Chair: Tijerina Revilla, Anita. California State University, Los Angeles.

11.1 Roundtable:  50 Years of Activist Scholarship: Memory, Indigeneity, Professional-Political Identity, Mentoring, and a Planned Collaborative Project

Discussants:

  • Zamora, Emilio. NACCS Scholar.
  • Carrillo, Teresa. San Francisco State University.
  • Flores, Estevan. University of Colorado, Denver (retired).
  • Hernandez, Ines. University of California, Davis.
  • Hurtado, Aida. NACCS Scholar.
  • Trujillo, Larry. University of California, Santa Cruz (retired).

13.2 Chicana Scholar Activists Today: Building Bridges from Community to Academia

  • Riojas-Clark, Ellen. The University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Cantu, Norma. Trinity University. 
  • Saldana, Lilliana. The University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Estrada, Olga. The University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Moderator: Orta-Puente, Kristel. Southern Methodist University.

14.1 From Proceedings to Book Manuscript: Developing Your Work with the Editorial Team at NACCS

  • Linda Heidenreich, Washington State University.
  • Kristen Buckles, University of Arizona Press.
  • Isabel Millan, University of Oregon.

Resolution Template

Resolution Template Below

  1. Contact Person Name:
  2. Phone and Email:
  3. From: Foco/Caucus
  4. Date:

Bylaws Implication: Yes No [if yes, follow guidelines]

Financial Implications: Yes No [if yes, provide justification and monetary amount at the bottom of the resolution]

TITLE OF RESOLUTION

WHEREAS: text;

WHEREAS: text;

WHEREAS: text;

WHEREAS: text;

BE IT RESOLVED: That the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) text/action; and be it further

RESOLVED:       That the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) text/action; and be it further

RESOLVED: That National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) distribute this resolution to list recipients if warranted;

[Insert name and address, phone, email],

RATIONALE: Italicized Text Italicized Text Italicized Text Italicized Text

If Bylaws implication explain here.

If financial implication is true, describe here.

NACCS 2020 Scholar Award Statement

by Albert Camarillo

Editors note: In April 2020, we would have found ourselves at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel celebrating our honorees for 2020. We planned our awards night dinner around a room overlooking the Seattle skyline at night. But we could not let the moment just pass without recognizing our recipients. Even though we could not physically celebrate Dr. Camarillo, Scholar, and Dr. Salinas, Book Award, we provide you with some comments that would have been shared with each of you if we had been in Seattle.  Please take the time to recognize their contributions to our field, we are sure they would be happy to hear from you. Thank you.

Albert Camarillo

When I received word I was selected for the 2020 NACCS “Scholar Award” and knowing this award recognizes lifetime contributions to Chicana/o Studies, the news set off an avalanche of memories about the organization as well as reflections on my career in helping to develop the field of Chicana/o history and Latina/o Studies. I was part of that small group of graduate students, and even fewer faculty, in 1973-74 to participate in launching the National Association of Chicano Studies (originally the National Association of Chicano Social Scientists) when we held our first conference at the University of California, Irvine. Most of us were scholars-in-training, the first cohort of Chicana and Chicano graduates to enter graduate school, and we were excited about creating an organization that would facilitate our intellectual development and serve as a platform for our social activist agendas. We were few in number but great in spirit.

What made us different from mainstream emerging scholars was our commitment to racial justice and social change and to applying skills learned as scholars, whenever we could, to highlight historical and contemporary problems that defined the Mexican experience in the United States. The legacies of “Jaime Crow” –the generations of discrimination and racial oppression of Chicanas/os and other people of color—haunted us, yet propelled us to make a difference as we came of age and began careers as faculty in colleges and universities across the land. NACCS played a critical role for all of us as we took steps to broaden the reach of Chicana/o Studies on our respective campuses and to recruit more students and faculty through regional Focos and annual meetings. The early years of NACSS provided the camaraderie and intellectual exchange that didn’t exist, for the most part, on our respective campuses. As the first generation of Chicana/o faculty, we were swimming in the waters of traditional white institutions that were adjusting for the first time to people of color on campus, sometimes making it very difficult for us to stay afloat and sometimes throwing us a lifeline as we learned to navigate new environments.

Looking back on a career that spans over forty years in higher education, many of the relationships I formed with NACCS colleagues in the early decades of the organization played an important role in the development of interdisciplinary centers and program I helped found both at Stanford and nationally. The founding of the Stanford Center for Chicano Research in 1980 was inspired, in part, by several Chicana/o students and faculty who, like me, cut their intellectual teeth through participation in NACCS conferences. Similarly, when we established the Inter-University Program for Latino Research in 1983, we realized a consortium of Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, and other Latino university centers (the founding centers were at Stanford, UCLA, Hunter College-City University of New York, and University of Texas at Austin; IUPLR now has 24 member centers) needed to join forces to attract support from major national foundations to fund basic and public policy research to advance knowledge about Latinx communities. And, when the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity formed in 1996, the lessons of multidisciplinary study and collaborative work which I learned early on as a NACCS member helped me steer this center in many productive ways.

Although the status of Chicana/o and Latinx representation in our nation’s colleges and universities is far greater than when a small group of us entered graduate schools in the early 1970s, our numbers are still far too few. The struggle to maintain our collective presence in higher education institutions cannot be taken for granted and, as current events demonstrate so well, the progress we have achieved will be contested. The critical issues of social justice that inspired so many of us long ago to enter higher education as a means to an end to fight against racial inequality loom over us in seemingly more profound ways in the contemporary period.

As NACCS played a key role in promoting scholarly connections and social activism in my generation, I am sure it will continue to do so for younger Chicanas and Chicanos in the future. As a recipient of the organization’s 2020 “Scholar Award,” I am humbled to join the pantheon of former awardees, many of whom were comaradas when we launched the Chicana/o Movement in higher education decades ago. Muchísimas gracias a todos.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

NACCS Winner of the 2020 Book Award

by the NACCS Book Award Committee

Editors Note: The NACCS Scholar Award and NACCS Book Award were set to be celebrated at the NACCS 2020 conference in Seattle in April 2020.  We were unable to meet due to Covid-19, but we still believe it is important to celebrate these outstanding accomplishments as a NACCS community.

Cristina Salinas’ Managed Migrations: Growers, Farmworkers, and Border Enforcement in the Twentieth Century (University of Texas Press, 2018).

Cristina Salinas makes the provocative argument that the Border Patrol, the growers, and the workers in the 1940s and 1950s were truly the actors who negotiated US immigration laws and policies and not the Washington DC policy makers.  The recalibration of the nexus of power at the local level between growers, the US Border Patrol, and the worker migrants themselves recenters our understanding of immigration policy negotiations.  With South Texas and El Paso as the clear examples of how the agricultural seasonal demands were negotiated by growers, workers, and the Border Patrol agents, Salinas identifies the true negotiators of border policy.  Salinas is able to provide us with a unique perspective on the history of immigration policy from the local most affected areas.  A compelling argument, Salinas provides us with detailed descriptions of individual worker narratives and experiences as they negotiate restrictive immigration policies and yet are able to navigate their own mobility across the country.  A much needed historical accounting of immigration policy, Cristina Salinas has provided a richly detailed accounting of immigration policy and the lives it attempts to restrain.

Cristina Salinas is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas with deep roots in the border region of South Texas and northern Mexico. She graduated from Edcouch-Elsa High School, and received a BA, MA, and PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on Chicano/a studies and border history. She is an Associate Professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington and affiliated with the Center for Mexican American Studies. She lives in Arlington with her husband and young daughter.

Honorable Mention

Roberto D. Hernández’ Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative (University of Arizona Press, 2018) is an intervention into the discussions of the discursive hegemony of the US-Mexico border.  Disrupting a standard political reading of the border, Hernández provides the reader with an anti-intuitive reimagining of the colonial assumptions and the violence engendered in concepts of nation state.  Violence and Coloniality become the terms Hernández interrogates with the use of mass culture, government policies, maps, documents, and even geographies.  Finally, he “remain[s] steadfast in the argument that violence on the U-S///Mexico border reveals the racial/colonial origins and continuities of the interstate system” (182).  From the 1984 McDonald’s massacre to the assassination of women in Juarez, Hernández is able to expose the colonial demand for violence.  A highly theoretical work providing a new reading of the border, Hernández deserves recognition for work that urges us to move toward a decolonial space in order to just survive.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

Tributes: Juan Gomez-Quiñones, Rudolfo Anaya, & David William Foster

1990 NACCS Scholar Juan Gomez-Quiñones Passes Away

From Dr. Reynaldo Macias, 2014 NACCS Scholar

Juan Gomez-Quiñones

Dear all, Juan Gómez-Quiñones passed this (November 11, 2020) morning at 2.28 am at home. A long time colleague and friend, it is impossible to over estimate the contributions he has made to Chican@ Studies and History at UCLA, the US and Mexico, despite institutional resistance, retributions, and political challenges. An activist scholar from the beginning of his academic career as a student in the 1960s, he has shone light in the many dark corners of the academy and society in the US and Mexico. His presence, his voice, and his heart will be missed by many family, friends, and colleagues and the many generations of students that have been influenced and uplifted by his ideas, scholarship and support in the classrooms.


A Tribute Recordando a Rudolfo A. Anaya: From Aztlán to Mictlán (Oct. 30, l937-June 28, 2020), NACCS Scholar 2002

by Francisco A. Lomelí, NACCS Scholar 2004

Rudolfo Anaya

El llano is mourning the passing of Rudolfo A. Anaya where time became suspended, the wind stopped, and the juniper trees sighed. His death marks a watershed moment in many ways: the Quinto Sol Generation just got smaller; his legacy is forever an indelible memory; and his fame transcends his patria chica.  He was a child from the dry eastern part of New Mexico where hardy people live and eke out a living, surrounded by an intensely ingrained tradition of Hispanos who go way back to the XVI century.  He always felt grounded in his gente and his long-standing Nuevomexicano culture.  That solid foundation rendered him a particular lens of confidence and identity as someone who shared a common history.  This is why his works did not dwell on formulating a new ethnos since he knew perfectly well where he came from. As such, the Chicano social and literary movements benefited from his perspective because his characters were not interlopers nor phantoms. Quite the contrary, they seemed of flesh-and-blood or what some consider an embodiment of un Nuevo México profundo. 

       Such lived experiences helped shape Anaya into a keen observer of the human condition filled with life stories from an earthy world view.  He was fundamentally grounded in oral storytelling while transmitting a rich mix of folklore of Hispano and indigenous tales, legends and myths. This was the fertile ground of an infinite imagination upon which to situate his characters in search of harmony, much the way the protagonist Antonio Márez recounted in a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel known world-wide, the unforgettable Bless Me, Ultima.  Antonio represented the synthesis of two peoples and two generations, their religious and cultural beliefs and social practices. The llano culture was the fountain that gave birth to his unique sensibilities: a deep appreciation for this rural culture that never left him.  He instinctively returned to relive the quest to relish, explore and understand the New Mexican conscience because it nurtured his sense of place and purpose.  In fact, most of his fiction, poetry, essays and plays are an extension of such a quest, a desdoblamiento of his inner questions and doubts about life, tragedy, death, a sense of resolution, spirituality and a deep awareness of humanity. 

            Of course, his long list of literary works in multiple genres denote a prolific writer of unmatched talents. He tended to produce distinctive groupings: the first as a trilogy about place and myth in his classic Bless Me, Ultima (l972), Heart of Aztlán (l976) and Tortuga (l979); a second one as a pre-Columbian exploration into the Chicano indigenous background in The Legend of La Llorona (l985), The Lord of the Dawn: Legend of Quetzalcóatl (l987), and to some degree Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert (1996); later a predilection for the detective fiction in Alburquerque (1992); followed by a series of mystery novels based on the four seasons such as Zia Summer (1995), Río Grande Fall (1996), Shaman Winter (1999) and Jemez Spring (2005); and folkloric renditions combined with science-fiction in Curse of the Chupacabra (2006), Chupacabra and Roswell UFO (2008) and Chupacabra Meets Billy the Kid (2018)He also made an impact in children’s literature with his acclaimed The Farolitos of Christmas; A New Mexico Christmas Story (1987), Roadrunner’s Dance (2000) and The First Tortilla (2007)In addition, he effectively explored philosophical topics on love and death, for example, in The Old Man’s Love Story (2013). He has also exceled in writing plays, poetry, essays and chronicles (i.e A Chicano in China [1986] or what Patricia Geuder calls “a chronicle of oneiric dimensions”). Y muchas más.

            Such vast production has been extremely well received, although not unanimously as when certain school districts voted to burn Bless Me, Ultima for its supposed propagation of witchcraft and sorcery. Others questioned the mythic qualities as fanciful or anti-historical constructions, but he always tried to keep his feet on the ground while listening to the imaginative tales of his people. It is noteworthy to mention that the first Chicano works to receive international acclamation up through the l970s were Bless Me, Ultima and El Teatro Campesino.  During his career he was the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards, such as El Quinto Sol Literary Award, the American Book Award, the National Humanities Medal (presented by President Barack Obama), the NEA National Medal of the Arts Lifetime Honor (presented by President George W. Bush), and twice for the New Mexican Governor’s Public Service Award, and many others.

Rudy Anaya was a man of simple tastes (red chile enchiladas at Barelas Café in Albuquerque) with profound convictions about Chicanos/as’ potential. As a gifted storyteller, he masterfully created stories and characters, oftentimes with shamanistic and poetic qualities, that represent the struggle between opposite cosmic forces, usually ending with an optimistic outlook toward self-realization.  In fact, most of his works embody a search for wholeness, opportunity, justice and goodness, as Ultima told Antonio.  His writings inspire because they express universal truths and values.  Talking to Rudy was often a memorable event for he possessed oracle qualities for his wisdom, passion for writing, and legendary generosity in promoting young writers. I loved calling him at his home because his answering machine seemed to share his humor by saying: “Can’t answer the phone right now because I’m busy writing stories…”. Rudy liked a good laugh con picardía, always promoting books, education and reading like an exemplary pied piper. He was a consummate conversationalist, a friend with a long memory, a gentleman. Only his humility was overshadowed by his greatness. He has now forever returned to the realm of his imagination, the world he sought in life to capture glimpses of owls, golden carps, black stones, subterranean lakes, blue guitars and La Llorona. Rudy has left us but he will be with us por y para siempre. Que en paz descanse nuestro amigo, hermano, maestro, Rudolfo A. Anaya.


A Tribute to David William Foster (1940-2020)

by Frederick Luis Aldama

David William Foster

David, my Virgil. 

From as far back as I can remember, David showed me a way. At Berkeley stirred by Reinaldo Arenas and Luis Zapata, it was his Sexual Texualities (1991). At Stanford David’s careful and creative analytic lens opened wide the work of Francisco X. Alarcón. As an out-of-the-gate professor, he invited me to revisit Mexico City through a cinematic lens. His fervent critical mind carried me time again into spell-binding worlds chock full of ideas and debates. He would patiently take pause to guide me to new friendships with beloved authors. I count “Ani” María Shua as one. 

David was my soothing sage. My Virgil. He was more. 

Lockstep he showed me how to shed those heavy shackles of the academe; those that tell us what we can’t do. With him and thanks to him no road was settled upon by diktat, no way was a priori blocked. To wander, to move by whim and preference, to freely explore all cultural, socio-political grounded aesthetic and scientific options at hand, to be adventurous in order to one day find ourselves. Under this impulse following him was exhilarating, doing anything together with him was creative.  For a while we explored hand in hand then fashionable philosophies and literary theories we eventually found empty, mere flatus voci adding next to nothing to critical issues and debates of real interest and importance. We knew fashions could be loud for a while until inexorably replaced by other sounds and ultimately lost to a forgetful history.  With enthusiasm our hungry eyes and our inquisitive brains were set elsewhere. There was—there is—another world not only to explore but to create. New tools were needed, free spirits and fresh approaches were in immediate demand. And David was always there pointing at new worlds and urgent needs.  As a spontaneous and joyful outcome we kept walking with our bodies set in all manners of inquisitiveness and worldbuilding, while perambulating with those Latinx real-life experiences and grammatically imagined tenses, making past, present and future meet whenever convenient. We comingled with exhilaratingly new situations and characters, with long and short and illustrated stories, with sounds radically new because deep down originating in sound systems of two different languages, with images hailing from unheard of metaphors and new visions, and with planetary authors devoted to building new spaces and indispensable imaginaries that even today are barely given a whisper in the hallowed halls of the academy. 

David and I never tired in our walks through new territories. He was always eager and ready to set the pace and suggest the paths to follow, never shy of meeting exact minds and bodies along the way. He made the world richer and more exciting.

Gentle friend, sage guide, agile mind, passionate soul, explorer and creator of new venues of knowledge and affection, he gave us all our wings. 

David, our Virgil.

A Call for Tributes In the next issue of Noticias de NACCS I am calling for tributes especially to the lives and works of our colleagues Dr. Gary Keller, Dr. María Lugones, and you may know of others.  If any of you would be willing to write these tributes, please contact me: karleen@naccs.org

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1