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Why ethnic studies programs exist at all.
"As an interdisciplinary scholarly field, ethnic studies is about self-respect and self-determination. It’s about racialized groups -- workers, students, scholars, organizers and others -- refusing to be viewed or gazed upon from a Eurocentric paradigm as inferior or less than. It’s about rejecting the scholarly practice of being objects of studies. Instead, we demand to be the subjects in this equation. As subjects, we don’t need outsiders writing our stories, narrating our histories and planning our futures. As subjects, we, too, create knowledge!"
From “The Right to Ethnic Studies in Higher Education,” by Alvaro Huerta.
What's the difference between Latino Studies and Latin American Studies?
We get that question a lot. Together, we think of ourselves as two parts of the same story...
One part exists south of the border, teeming with life, tradition, and challenges of its own. But our story, the Latino Studies story, begins en el otro lado. Central to our mission is the interdisciplinary study of what it means to be a Latino in the U.S. today, invoking policy and law, history and activism, and the social sciences and the arts in the production of knowledge about the great beauty and burden of the Latino experience. Our faculty and students engage in topics ranging from the environmental toll of the surveillance infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border, to the evolution of spiritual practice among Latinos and its parallels with 21st century American political and social change, considering each in the context of immigration, race, gender, sexuality, social class, and so on. Students' personal experiences are a vital part of the process by which, together with professors who also share in this collective history, our courses redress the omissions of textbooks and finally let communities of color be seen and heard.
Even in today’s hostile climate, we boldly tell the stories of Latinos past and present. From the faculty we hire to the events we organize, from the conferences we hold to the new research we support and produce, we believe what distinguishes Latino Studies at UT the most is our commitment to fearless scholarship. By being open to topics like sexual and mental health in Latino communities, and including those voices too often pushed outside the margins of our Latino pride, like queer and trans Latinos, we are doing the real, hard work of getting to know ourselves, for it is only with audacity that we can dare to imagine a better future for Latinos. So long as we exist, our students will always find a place to hear the stories never told, and leave with the nerve to go on and write new ones.