Lee Bebout, Arizona State University and John McKiernan-Gonzalez, University of Texas at Austin

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar
Friday, February 15, 2013

3 to 5 pm

“Chicana/o Studies and the Whiteness Problem or Towards a Mapping of Whiteness on the Border”
Lee Bebout, Arizona State University

This paper calls for the creation of a focused and sustained dialogue between Chicana/o studies and critical whiteness studies.  I argue that Chicanas/os have had a historically unique and complex relationship to whiteness.  Ultimately, this essay will lay the foundation for the broader project through identifying the “whiteness problem” of Chicana/o studies, exploring the discontinuities between the fields of Chicana/o studies and critical whiteness studies, exposing the unique relationship between Chicanas/os and whiteness, unearthing a “Chicana/o school” of whiteness studies, postulating a dynamic set of practices in which whiteness is fashioned beside and against representations of Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and the border.

Working Conditions: Latino doctors, Medical Authority, and Civil Rights in Texas, 1900-1963
John McKiernan-Gonzalez, University of Texas at Austin

Working Conditions: Medical Authority and Latino Civil Rights, interweaves Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Latino situations to tell a larger story about the tangled knot linking medical authority and American identity. This project will examine the intersection of Latino civil rights projects with American medical institutions. From 1865 to the 1964 civil rights act, state medical associations, the AMA, and the United States Public Health Service helped build medical structures regulating the place of Latinos and other racial minorities in the United States. This paper will examine the ways Latina/o communities and Latina/o physicians both negotiated and challenged these racial boundaries in medical institutions in Texas, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, trying – as with the Young Lords and the Lincoln Hospital takeover – to turn hierarchical medical authority into a tool for civil rights. By looking at the ambivalent place of medical authority in American civil rights movements, Working Conditions will help trace the historical conditions that allow professional ambition and community solidarity to coexist, cooperate, and come into conflict.

Commentator: Benjamin Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Cost and registration information: 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.