The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 154
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
perhaps the most engaging and thoughtful discussion and critiques of key works
by "institutional historians" Mario Garcia, Juan G6mez Quifiones, David
Montejano, and Carlos Mufioz, all considered standards in twentieth-century
Tejano/Chicano history (p.14). Mendoza's work is informed by post-Chicano
movement, feminist analysis.
Mendoza posits literature as history and history as literature, blurring the lines
of traditional disciplinary categories. He notes, "The principal objective of this
study is to examine the different understanding of history produced by literary
narratives when they are read against historical narratives" (p.19). He also inves-
tigates how Chicano social scientists (i.e. those mentioned above) involved in
the Chicano movement have written about the political history of Chicanos.
Since Chicano literary writers have also written about "historical, cultural, and
social relations," he seeks to assess the various discourses in twentieth-century
Chicano literature vis-a-vis power relations. He argues against the idea that histo-
ry is fact and literature is imaginary and "moves from historical representations
of periods that are structured around specific notions of ideology, identity, and
political power to fictional representations of individual lives that often subvert
fixed notions of identity and power" (p. 28).
Mendoza addresses one version of periodization/paradigm in Chicano histo-
ry. These include the "Creation Generation" (1848-1900); Migrant Generation
(1900-1930); the Mexican American Generation (1930-1960); and the
Chicano Generation (1960-75) (p. 23) Unfortunately, as a specialist in litera-
ture, Mendoza is not fully versed in the broad range of how different
Chicano/Spanish Borderland historians conceptualize periodization in Chicano
history or Chicana history. Still, one of his major contributions is his writing
against the application of an outdated generational model, which was influ-
enced by Chicano movement nationalism. His is the first truly critical analysis of
the generational model, a model we have seen in some works by historians
Arnoldo DeLe6n, Francisco Rosales, and younger historian George Sainchez.
The literary works he analyzes includes writers Jovita Gonzalez, Americo
Paredes, Tomas Rivera, Alejandro Morales, Sara Estela Ramirez, Oscar Zeta
Acosta, Cherrie Moraga, Guillermo G6mez-Pefia, Rub6n Martinez, and Teresa
Acosta, most of whom are/were from Texas. Mendoza makes extensive use of
the works of Teresa Acosta, a "poet who disagrees with a monolithic construc-
tion of history produced by both mainstream and Chicano historians" and
used here as an author writing against the male-stream (p. 14). Texas histori-
ans know of her work as a historian and author of a forthcoming book on
Tejana history. Mendoza is the first Chicano studies specialist to study Acosta
in a book-length work.
Mendoza chose to use some of the major texts written by men which he
argues have been privileged sites of power. He mentions the recent work by
Emma Perez, another major deconstructive work of Chicano history, but does
not engage her work, probably because his own project was almost published.
Likewise, there is little discussion of Chicana historians and Chicana history par-
adigms. The work of Vicki Ruiz is noticeably absent here; Chicana history and
historiography await analysis, including questions raised by sexuality and region.
Mendoza succeeds in identifying the limitations of a generational paradigm
and shows that generational histories can be "totalizing narratives" since "they
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/182/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.