In this collection of innovative, thought-provoking essays, established and emerging scholars consider the sea changes taking place within Chicana/o scholarship, the shifting racial and political boundaries of Chicana/o communities, and new perspectives on America’s culture wars
Chicana/o history has reached an intriguing juncture. While academic and intellectual studies are embracing new, highly nuanced perspectives on race, class, gender, education, identity, and community, the field itself continues to be viewed as a battleground, subject to attacks from outside academia by those who claim that the discipline promotes racial hatred and anti-Americanism. Against a backdrop of deportations and voter suppression targeting Latinos, A Promising Problem presents the optimistic voices of scholars who call for sophisticated solutions while embracing transnationalism and the reality of multiple, overlapping identities.
Showcasing a variety of new directions, this anthology spans topics such as growth and reassessment in Chicana/o history manifested in a disruption of nationalism and geographic essentialism, the impact of legal history, interracial relations and the experiences of Latino subpopulations in the US South, race and the politics of religious history, transborder feminism in the early twentieth century, and aspirations for a field that increasingly demonstrates the relational dynamics of cultural production. As they reflect on the state of their field, the contributors offer significant insights into sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science, education, and literature, while tracing the history of activism throughout the last century and debating the very concepts of “Chicano” and “Chicano history.” Although the political landscape is fraught with closed-off rhetoric, A Promising Problem encourages diversity of thought and opens the possibilities of historical imagination.
- Chapter One. Looking In while Stepping Out: Growth, Reassessment, and the Promising Problem of the New Chicana/o History (Carlos Kevin Blanton)
- Chapter Two. The Accidental Historian; or, How I Found My Groove in Legal History (Michael A. Olivas)
- Chapter Three. Moving beyond Aztlán: Disrupting Nationalism and Geographic Essentialism in Chicano/a History (Lilia Fernández)
- Chapter Four. Chicana/o History as Southern History: Race, Place, and the US South (Perla M. Guerrero)
- Chapter Five. Sacred Spaces: Race, Resistance, and the Politics of Chicana/o and Latina/o Religious History (Felipe Hinojosa)
- Chapter Six. Chicanas in the US-Mexican Borderlands: Transborder Conversations of Feminism and Anarchism, 1905–1938 (Sonia Hernández)
- Chapter Seven. Eastside Imaginaries: Toward a Relational and Transnational Chicana/o Cultural History (Luis Alvarez)
- Select Bibliography of Recent Publications in Chicana/o History
"While the essays [in A Promising Problem] represent the broad spectrum of Mexican American history, all authors speak to each other by referencing each other's work and pointing out common findings across chapters. This technique makes for a much more integrated and tightly-woven anthology than is common among such books, indicating that much thought went into crafting the study."
Bulletin of Spanish Studies
“[A Promising Problem's] essays offer fresh insights that make this edited collection a worthwhile read.”
Pacific Historical Review
“This volume makes a forceful and convincing intervention in the fields of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies by expanding the geographic and theoretical scope to better reflect the nuanced, complex, and interrelated lives of the population. The authors propose a variety of new and important directions for scholarship that promise to mold our historical understanding.”
Rául Ramos, University of Houston, author of Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821–1861
“Blanton is to be commended for taking on the task of challenging orthodoxy and complacency in this thoughtful collection.”
David G. Gutiérrez, University of California, San Diego, author of Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity