From the Chair

by Deena J. González, Ph.D., Chair, NACCS, 2023-24

Senior University Fellow & Professor of History

Portrait of Deena J. Gonzalez, Chair of NACCS

Post-conference updates

The Denver conference (spring, 2023) provided opportunities for NACCS to sustain its intellectual mission and its presence in communities. From attendance at the Museum, site of the noche de cultura, to patronizing locally-owned Latino businesses, the members of NACCS reflected our ongoing interest in creating spaces to discuss our communitarian, academic, political, social, and economic interests.

The above are what our preamble names explicitly as our primary purpose as an organization. With over fifty (50) years of conferences held, including in Mexico, our goal as an organization was been to create the energy we needed for our first in-person conference following the pandemic, and to exchange scholarship in its multiple commitments from mentoring to community engagement.

The ongoing goals of NACCS include the creation of knowledge as much as supporting initiatives designed for access and accessibility to formal education. One out of every five high school students in the US today is Latino/a. That number will soon reach 25%. The reality creates focus for some Caucuses and Focos on k-12/20 educational access; it means that Amicus Briefs against Colorado’s anti-GLB

Amendment 2 and against Arizona’s anti-Mexican American Studies in K-12 law advance our presence and acknowledge our expertise in this important arena required to create a pipeline from early education to advanced, higher education.

The organization, NACCS

The Denver conference of 2023 signaled our ability to return to pre-pandemic status; our conference registration was robust (see the Treasurer’s annual report/summation on the website) and our membership list rose. The membership is still below prior numbers, but if it rises again with out 2024 San Francisco Conference, we might be better able to lock in our growth and sustainability. Many academic organizations suffered a decline in memberships and registrations from 2020 – 2022 and universities also began using the pandemic modes of conferencing, in virtual space rather than in person, as a way to make up for budget deficits. Members of academic organizations rely on conferences for many things, including job interviews, unveiling new books at the book exhibitions, addressing specific organizational needs, and for in-person connections and forging life-long relationships. The collegiality that conferences assist cannot be measured, but it is an aspect of the work conducted in person and is missing in virtual spaces; similarly as part of our mission, connections and relationships to one another, given that we are often minoritized in higher educational settings, becomes an important feature of the annual conference.

NACCS relies on volunteers to stand for election to the National Board and pays two part-time positions for work related primarily to technological communications, conference planning, responses to institutional requests, and maintaining websites, pages, and the financial records of the association. The NACCS bylaws give position descriptions for these officers of the organization ( Nine(9) Board members meet mostly monthly and tackle issues and required documents to pay the two part-time staff positions, to respond to requests for information about Chicana/o Studies, and to illicit support or input from the Focos (chapters) and Caucuses, as these form the body of the organization.

The critical work of NACCS is only as strong as the members in their respective Focos and Caucuses, so please do attend them and help organize local or regional events to sustain NACCS. A great deal of time on the National Board is also spent adhering to the bylaw descriptions of our respective assignments and responsibilities and to ensuring timely reporting and organization for a successful annual conference. There are many who want NACCS to do more, but without a full-time, dedicated staff or Board members who do not teach, chair other organizations or important university committees, conduct research and apply for grants and funds to support their scholarship, let alone volunteer in numerous community organizations, the NACCS officers must narrow their duties and commitments  to the pressing issues, including sustaining the organization’s working committees’ structure and helping to plan the annual conference.

The Future of NACCS

This topic is foremost in the minds of the current National Board as it is among more senior colleagues whose expertise lies in the growing intellectual field, Chicano/a/x Studies. The publications and prizes awarded to Chicana/o/x-content books, performances, and artistic production is rising and volumes emerge from many sectors, including organizations abroad who focus on Chicano/a/x Studies in such countries as Spain, Germany, Ireland, and England. The reflections of one group of senior Chicano/a Studies colleagues will lead to a published volume after their multiple meetings addressing precisely this topic of the future of Chicana/o/x Studies over time. NACCS will benefit from their collected works and ideas; concerns raised about the annual conference, the venues, the themes or topics guiding each conference, and the work of the Focos and Caucuses in proposing resolutions to strengthen the organization are important. One example from the Denver 2023 Conference that was forwarded as a resolution originating in the Chicana Caucus, and subsequently was voted on by the members of NACCS, calls for an external audit of the organization. Assuming that surveys or polls will be part of what external reviewers are likely to determine as fundamental to our health, please stay tuned to learn more about this project. The NACCS Board is also assigned an internal audit, which the same resolution required. Structuring such an audit and raising funds for an external one are next tasks being actively pursued. The future of NACCS as an organization that serves multiple roles is the driver of these action items underway and are important to our sustained efforts to keep an organization that has passed the half-century mark to remain vibrant, responsive, and central to the lives of those who practice Chicana/o/x Studies.

Important reminders

Please renew your annual membership to NACCS (membership runs on a fiscal year calendar, July 1 to June 30th of the following year). We are calling on senior scholars and NACCS Scholar awardees to consider renewing their membership. We also ask the members of NACCS to ask for institutional support and to purchase ads in our annual program or in listing jobs for a fee on our website. Ads can include personal messages of congratulations for a promotion or a book award from another organization or from a press. Please ask your press to acknowledge your award or book release in this way.Consider accessing NACCS’ Facebook page as well for information about key dates. Most of this information, from membership renewal to conference and hotel registration, is on our website:

Fall 2023, Vol. 49 No. 1

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation