Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945

Oxford University Press
2
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Twentieth-century Los Angeles has been the locus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between variant cultures in American history. Yet this study is among the first to examine the relationship between ethnicity and identity among the largest immigrant group to that city. By focusing on Mexican immigrants to Los Angeles from 1900 to 1945, George J. Sánchez explores the process by which temporary sojourners altered their orientation to that of permanent residents, thereby laying the foundation for a new Mexican-American culture. Analyzing not only formal programs aimed at these newcomers by the United States and Mexico, but also the world created by these immigrants through family networks, religious practice, musical entertainment, and work and consumption patterns, Sánchez uncovers the creative ways Mexicans adapted their culture to life in the United States. When a formal repatriation campaign pushed thousands to return to Mexico, those remaining in Los Angeles launched new campaigns to gain civil rights as ethnic Americans through labor unions and New Deal politics. The immigrant generation, therefore, laid the groundwork for the emerging Mexican-American identity of their children.
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About the author

George J. Sanchez in Associate Professor of History, University of Southern California.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 23, 1995
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780199762231
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / Minority Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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This volume focuses on the special role that Jews played in reshaping the racial landscape of southern California in the twentieth century. Rather than considering this issue in terms of broad analyses of organizations or communities, each contribution instead approaches it by examining the activity of a single Jewish individual, and how he or she navigated the social terrain of a changing southern California. In particular, this volume is one of the first to take seriously the unique racial/ethnic makeup of southern California for Jewish activism, with a particular focus on the relationship between Jews and Mexican Americans in the area around Los Angeles.The Jewish individuals who are this volume's subjects represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives, ranging from an elected official to an activist lawyer, and from a local businessman to a Democratic Party organizer. The volume culminates with an interview with one of the most beloved of local university rabbis, who has been operating in the ever-changing environment of higher education in Los Angeles over the past thirty years. While its overall message is one of optimism, the volume does not shy away from taking on some of the more vexed issues in the scholarship of racial/ethnic interaction. While Jewish activism in shaping local civil rights is thoroughly discussed, the specific and unequal dynamics of power within the civil rights community is also analyzed. The changing relationship of Jews to whiteness in southern California during the late twentieth century, in both geographic and political terms, shapes many of these ongoing relationships. Finally, the volume provides a unique historical perspective on our understanding of contemporary Los Angeles in all its ethnic complexity, and specifically in thinking through the future of Jewish role in urban southern California.
"Civic engagement has been underrated and overlooked. Koritz and Sanchez illuminate the power of what community engagement through art and culture revitalization can do to give voice to the voiceless and a sense of being to those displaced."
---Sonia BasSheva Mañ jon, Wesleyan University



"This profound and eloquent collection describes and assesses the new coalitions bringing a city back to life. It's a powerful call to expand our notions of culture, social justice, and engaged scholarship. I'd put this on my 'must read' list."
---Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University



"Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina is a rich and compelling text for thinking about universities and the arts amid social crisis. Americans need to hear the voices of colleagues who were caught in Katrina's wake and who responded with commitment, creativity, and skill."
---Peter Levine, CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement)



This collection of essays documents the ways in which educational institutions and the arts community responded to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. While firmly rooted in concrete projects, Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina also addresses the larger issues raised by committed public scholarship. How can higher education institutions engage with their surrounding communities? What are the pros and cons of "asset-based" and "outreach" models of civic engagement? Is it appropriate for the private sector to play a direct role in promoting civic engagement? How does public scholarship impact traditional standards of academic evaluation? Throughout the volume, this diverse collection of essays paints a remarkably consistent and persuasive account of arts-based initiatives' ability to foster social and civic renewal.



Amy Koritz is Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Professor of English at Drew University.



George J. Sanchez is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California.



Front and rear cover designs, photographs, and satellite imagery processing by Richard Campanella.



digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.

This volume focuses on the special role that Jews played in reshaping the racial landscape of southern California in the twentieth century. Rather than considering this issue in terms of broad analyses of organizations or communities, each contribution instead approaches it by examining the activity of a single Jewish individual, and how he or she navigated the social terrain of a changing southern California. In particular, this volume is one of the first to take seriously the unique racial/ethnic makeup of southern California for Jewish activism, with a particular focus on the relationship between Jews and Mexican Americans in the area around Los Angeles.The Jewish individuals who are this volume's subjects represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives, ranging from an elected official to an activist lawyer, and from a local businessman to a Democratic Party organizer. The volume culminates with an interview with one of the most beloved of local university rabbis, who has been operating in the ever-changing environment of higher education in Los Angeles over the past thirty years. While its overall message is one of optimism, the volume does not shy away from taking on some of the more vexed issues in the scholarship of racial/ethnic interaction. While Jewish activism in shaping local civil rights is thoroughly discussed, the specific and unequal dynamics of power within the civil rights community is also analyzed. The changing relationship of Jews to whiteness in southern California during the late twentieth century, in both geographic and political terms, shapes many of these ongoing relationships. Finally, the volume provides a unique historical perspective on our understanding of contemporary Los Angeles in all its ethnic complexity, and specifically in thinking through the future of Jewish role in urban southern California.
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