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Historian and Author Vicki L. Ruiz to Discuss Latino History at Swarthmore College

Historian and Author Vicki L. Ruiz to Discuss
Latino History at Swarthmore College

by Anita Pace

Vicki L. Ruiz, author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in 20th Century America and Dean of the School of Humanities, Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, will present a lecture at Swarthmore College Monday, Sept. 15, 4:30 p.m. in Kohlberg Hall, Scheuer Room. Her talk, "Nuestra América: Latino History as United States History" is free and open to the public.

The lecture offers a focused state of the field bringing out larger themes, debates, and sources. Why does Latino history matter? Contrary to media depictions of Latinos as people who arrived the day before yesterday, there exists a rich layering of nationalities and generations. Whether carving out a community in St. Augustine in 1565 to reflecting on colonialism and liberty during the 1890s to fighting for civil rights through the courts of the 1940s, Spanish-speaking peoples made history within and beyond national borders.

Professor Ruiz emphasizes three historical moments pivotal to re-imagining an American narrative with Latinos as meaningful actors—1848 (the U.S.-Mexican War), 1898 (the Filipino-Cuban-Spanish-American War), and 1948 (the Latino G.I. Generation).

Vicki Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez Korrol recently co-edited the three-volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, which received a Best in Reference Award from the New York Public Library. Her most recent collections include the fourth edition of Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women's History in which she is sole editor and Memories and Migrations: Mapping Boricua and Chicana Histories, co-edited with John Chávez. A fellow of the Society of American Historians, Ruiz is a member of the national advisory board for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. She is past president of the American Studies Association and the Organization of American Historians.