STANTON SHARP TEACHING SYMPOSIUM
Saturday, February 9, 2008
8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Sponsored by the Clements Dept. of History
Southern Methodist University
9:00-10:30 a.m. SESSION I
"Uncovering the Mexicans in American History"
Professor John Chávez
102 Dallas Hall
Few students realize that the Indian ancestors of modern Mexicans migrated through what is now the Southwest before settling in Mexico. Few know that the “Spanish” pioneers of Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and San Antonio were mostly mestizos later known as Mexicans. Many students are still surprised to hear that some Mexicans defended the Alamo, as well as attacking it. Most are shocked to hear some Tejanos launched a rebellion in 1915 to free South Texas from the United States. Others are similarly amazed to learn that Mexican Americans earned many Congressional Medals of Honor during World War II.
In this session, John Chávez, co-author of Teaching Mexican-American History, reviews sources, theories, and methods used to uncover the roles of Mexicans in the long sweep of North American history, from the pre-contact era to the present. In the process Professor Chávez argues that the “land of immigrants,” the “melting pot,” and similar myths have obscured the presence of Mexicans and their ancestors in the historical narratives of the Southwest and the rest of the United States. Having a clearer understanding of Mexican-American history will help all students and teachers to understand better the recurrent debates over such issues as immigration, affirmative action, and bilingual education.