The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 352
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
part of a generation of U.S. scholars then raising new questions and in
the process reinterpreting the American past.9 Throughout the country,
this cohort at the national level became advocates for what came to be
labeled the "new social history."10 The approaches associated with the
new social historians primarily interested in non-elites were to augur
well for inquiries into the Mexican American past in Texas, for now
scholars could take cognizance of Tejanos and examine them as subjects
that had contributed to the making of the Lone Star State.
Though scholars have engaged in their frequent reconsideration,
refinement, and updating, numerous premises anchored Tejano history
during its incipient stage." Pioneers in Tejano history sensed an obliga-
tion to the goals of the Chicano movement, for they either had partici-
pated in it or they recognized that their careers had been made possible
by movement activism. They thus sought to provide empirical support for
part of the rhetoric of Chicanismo. Anglo American scholars, themselves
a product of the age and sensitive to societal injustice, chimed in with
solid research that produced dissertations, articles, and books (a small
but influential group of Anglo historians has always made up the ranks of
"Tejano history"). This sense of duty led both to search for Tejano heroes
and to look for incidents of resistance against white oppression and
exploitation.12 Seeking to demolish the myth of Mexican docility, early
probes into the Tejano past discovered many examples of self-initiative
Tejanos undertook to improve themselves."s If Chicano militants blamed
racism for the plight of Tejanos, furthermore, then practitioners of
' Lest any important early historians be left out of a listing, consult Arnoldo De Le6n, "Estudios
Tejanos: A List of Historical Literature on Mexican Americans in Texas," Southwestern Hstorcal
Quarterly, 98 (Jan., 1995), 457-470. That bibliography would include all these early writers.
O1 For a brief discussion of "new social history," see Buenger and Calvert, "Introduction," in
Buenger and Calvert (eds.), Texas Through Time, xiv-xv.
11 The last major assessment of Tejano historiography was De Le6n, "Texas Mexicans:
Twentieth Century Interpretations." This essay follows up on that article.
12 Historians rediscovered Gregorlo Cortez in Americo Paredes, "With Hzs Pistol on His Hand":
A Border Ballad and His Hero (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958; reprint, 1971), and Juan N.
Cortina, who was anthologized in Pedro Castillo and Albert Camarnllo (eds.), Funa y Muerte: Los
Banddos Chocanos (Los Angeles: Aztlhn Publications, 1973). Labor history provided topics for
research, and findings also pointed to resistance to oppression. Examples of these pioneering
works include Victor B. Nelson Cisneros, "UCAPAWA Organizing Activities in Texas,
1935-1950," Aztldn, 9 (Spring and Summer, 1978), 71-84. Non-Tejanos who contributed to
that early literature included George N. Green, "ILGWU in Texas, 1930-1970," Journal of
Mexican Amencan Hstory, 1 (Spring, 1971), 144-169; and Richard R. Bailey, "The Starr County
Stnke," Red River Valley Historncal Revzew, 4 (Winter, 1979), 42-61.
11 The search produced essays such as Jose E. Lim6n, "El Primer Congreso Mexicanista de
1911: A Precursor to Contemporary Chlcanismo," Aztldn, 6 (Spring and Fall, 1974), 85-117.
Inspired by the movizmento, Anglo scholars joined the challenge to find examples in the contem-
porary era. Results included books by John S. Shockley, Chicano Revolt in a Texas Town (Notre
Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1974), and Douglas E. Foley, et al., From Peones to
Politicos: Ethnic Relations in a South Texas Town, 900oo-1977 (Austin: Center for Mexican American
Studies, University of Texas Press, 1977).
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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/m1/420/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.