The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
intra-racial and intra-ethnic subtleties and divisions. It should be of great interest
to a wide range of scholars, especially those who study the intersection of race,
class, ethnicity, and gender.
Southwest Texas State University GREGG ANDREWS
From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. By Vicki L.
Ruiz (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Pp. xvi+240.
Acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
ISBN 0-19-511483-3. $30.00, cloth).
Vicki Ruiz's account of women of Mexican descent in the United States ad-
dresses several important issues: gender and sexual identity, immigration, labor,
and political life. Throughout, she focuses attention on the conflicts that Mexi-
can women have faced and the strategies they have developed in negotiating a
place in private and public life in America.
In six chapters and an epilogue, Ruiz, professor of history and Chicana-Chi-
cano studies at Arizona State University, lays out the complex terrain occupied
by Mexican women, whose indigenous and mestiza ancestors arrived in the bor-
derlands as part of Spanish expeditions to Texas and other Southwestern states.
Ruiz dates Mexican women's presence in the Southwest to the Coronado expedi-
tion of 1540. Her documentation of their lives in the twentieth century begins at
the border and moves north through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado,
and California. In chapters dealing with such topics as Christian Americaniza-
tion, inter-generation and male-female differences of opinion on the conduct of
women, and labor and political activism, Ruiz succeeds in bringing overdue at-
tention to the long ignored or, at best, marginalized history of Mexican women
in this country.
Some of Ruiz's findings and assertions about Mexicanas have been discussed
elsewhere by other writers: their rebuffing of the Americanization proffered by
Protestant missionaries, their molding and wielding of political power, their sub-
jection and challenge to patriarchal authority. Yet the value of Ruiz's own ex-
ploitation of these themes is evident, for she provides a broad, coherent
overview, between the covers of one book, of significant aspects in Mexican
women's modern history. Moreover, her discussion of major issues in their lives
contains many research seedlings for future historians of Mexican women in
America to take up in other books.
Rulz devotes some time to Tejana labor activism in three periods: the Depres-
sion (the Pecan Shellers strike in San Antonio), the Chicano Movement (the
Farah strike in El Paso), and the more recent battle against conglomerates (the
Levi-Strauss plant in San Antonio). In addition, she discusses the importance of
such Tejanas as Sara Estela Ramirez, Emma Tenayuca, Soledad Pefia, and Jovita
Idar-all part of the history of the state of Texas.
Ruiz's book is of special value for two groups of readers: historians, who must
grapple with gender issues if they are to write more in-depth works on Mexican
Americans, and individuals who are new to the study of Mexican women's lives
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/299/?rotate=270: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.