The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 357
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2003 Whither Tejano History: Origins, Development, and Status 357
as work habits, survival means, family structure, entrepreneurial spirit,
and internal conflicts; in short, these were the very topics that attracted
the "new social historians."
The "new immigration history," which took issue with old positions
advanced by such authorities as Oscar Handlin, informed more effec-
tively the way in which immigrants retained much of their cultural past
while at the same time ably adjusting to the contingencies of the
American landscape. Among other things, historians found explanations
as to how Texas Mexicans retained loyalty to the old country and its con-
ventions up to the time of World War II, how different levels of cultural
adjustment could occur without communities being thrown into disar-
ray, and how immigrants were able to superimpose imported philoso-
phies (about labor organizing and the functions of mutualistas, for exam-
ple) onto the culture they elaborated in Texas.25
"Women's history" similarly gained a following in Texas. Its emer-
gence as a recognized and legitimate subject of research in time proved
a boon for Tejano history itself. Martha P. Cotera became one of its
early pioneers with a book titled Diosa y Hembra: The History and Heritage
of Chicanas in the United States (Austin: Information System Development,
1976), which fell into the category of "contribution history." While
Cotera's scope did not limit itself to Texas, it had nevertheless placed
Tejana history in context, so that the field made discernible progress by
the late 198os. Borrowing heavily from "women's history," which focuses
on family relations, employment, feminist ideology, leadership roles,
and lesbian life, as well as the larger U.S. historiography on gender, the
writings on Tejanas by the 1990s were rapidly proliferating.26 Among the
most recent works on Tejanas is that of historian Emma P6rez, whose
book The Decolonial Imaginary turns to "diasporic studies" to give feminist
", See, for instance, Emilio Zamora, The World of the Mexican Worker zn Texas (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1993); Arnoldo De Le6n, Ethnzczty zn the Sunbelt: Mexzcan Amencans
zn Houston (Houston: Mexican American Studies Center, 1989); Carole Christian, "Joining the
American Mainstream Texas' Mexican Americans During World War I," Southwestern Histoncal
Quarterly, 92 (Apr, 1989), 559-595; Benjamin Mirquez, "The Politics of Race and Assimilation.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, 1929-1940," The Western Political Quarterly, 42
(June, 1989), 355-375, and Roberto R. Trevifio, "Prensa y Patna: The Spanish Language Press
and the Biculturation of the Tejano Middle Class, 1920-1940," Western Histonrcal Quarterly, 22
(Nov., 1991), 451-472
2 Cynthia E. Orozco, "The Origins of LULAC and the Mexican American Civil Rights
Movement in Texas with an Analysis of Women's Political Participation in a Gendered
Context, 1910-1929" (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1992), Irene
Ledesma, "Unlikely Strikers: Mexican American Women in Strike Activity in Texas,
1919-1974" (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1992); Valerio-Jimenez, "Indios Birbaros,
Divorcees, and Flocks of Vampires"; Teresa Palomo Acosta and Ruthe Winegarten, Las
Tejanas: 3oo Years of History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003). See further the numer-
ous entries on women in Ron Tyler, Douglas E. Barnett, Roy R. Barkley, Penelope C.
Anderson, and Mark F. Odintz, The New Handbook of Texas (6 vols.; Austin: Texas State
Historical Association, 1996).
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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/m1/425/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.