UChicago Graduate Student panel on Latino/a Studies | April 20, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015 | 4:30pm

CRES Talks presents a UChicago Graduate Student panel on Latino/a Studies moderated by María E. Balandrán-Castillo


(in order of presentation)

Christina Flores, History

El Patroncito, Don Sotaco, y El Gobierno: The State’s Role in the Decline of the United Farm Workers, 1965-1980

Abstract:  In September of 1965, California farmworkers initiated a five-year battle against a powerful agricultural industry that had long grown accustomed to cheap, tractable, and highly racialized labor. Utilizing traditional Mexican American familial networks, and a multiracial framework tailor-made for the progressive ethos of the 1960s, during the Delano Grape Strike the UFW effectively organized one of the most innovative and viable labor movements in the history of the United States. And yet, despite ensuring historically unprecedented gains for California farmworkers, by 1980 the UFW was conceding key provisions of its union contracts, and today, of the roughly 1 million hired farmworkers in the United States, only 4,443 are UFW members, and a mere 2% are members of any union. While recent scholarship on the UFW has primarily shifted blame for the union’s decline on César Chávez, the nationally-celebrated founder and leader of the union, my project will focus on the role state actors and agencies from every level of the American government played in facilitating the UFW’s ultimate decline in the latter half of the 1970s. A thorough investigation of local law enforcement procedures and injunctions, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service will demonstrate that local, state, and federal interventions in farmworker-grower relations detrimentally affected the UFW’s organizational drives throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Only when viewed within this larger historical narrative of state repression and grower-state collusion, I will conclude, can the recent death of farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes be properly understood as the “Latino Ferguson Moment.”

ImageEl Malcriado: La Voz del Campesino, No. 4.

Alfredo Gonzalez, Political Science

Other than Honorable: The Decline of Citizenship for Service

Abstract:  People have successfully made claims for legal American citizenship by evoking their military service. For non-citizens, military service during a time of war is linked to citizenship as a prerequisite to advancing and supporting federal legislation that enables non-citizens to acquire the franchise of legal American citizenship. However, after World War II, the U.S. shifted its position on citizenship for service policies by implementing Section 328 of the 1952 Immigration Nationality Act (INA), which required non-citizen service members to meet a three year time in residence threshold. Non-citizens can no longer receive immediate legal citizenship in exchange for their military service. How can we explain the decline in exchanging citizenship for military service? Why did the policy of citizenship for service shift from immediately granting non-citizens legal citizenship for their military service to reduced residency requirements in order to apply for naturalization? How has the military both reified and complicated the racial order and the racial requirements for citizenship? To better understand the mechanisms driving the shift in citizenship for service policy requires a thorough interrogation of longer historical factors that can highlight potential causal patterns between the racial order, military service, and the creation of naturalization policy.


Francisco Najera, History

A Betrayal of Our Faith: Solidarity & Anti-Imperialism in the 1980s Sanctuary Movement

Abstract:  The Sanctuary Movement aiding refugees of the Guatemalan and Salvadoran civil wars in the 1980s has mainly been understood as a humanitarian and human rights effort carried out by organized religious communities in the United States in defiance of immoral U.S. immigration law. Many have tried to emulate its success in changing the perceptions of the American public as to the plight of refugees, particularly in the current debate over undocumented immigration. However, this humanitarian lens on the Sanctuary Movement has obscured the larger focus of solidarity with the people of Central America, and anti-imperialism more generally.  As part of their aim to end U.S. military intervention in Central America, in 1982 the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America (CRTFCA) joined and eventually became the national coordinator of the Sanctuary Movement, by request of their more visible colleagues in Arizona. While the CRTFCA had only formed as an organization the year prior, its members had deep roots in the anti-war movement and in other anti- imperialist causes. With mounting pressure from the Reagan administration punctuated by the 1986 Sanctuary Trial, in-fighting eventually caused individuals, churches, and organizations within the Sanctuary Movement to choose between claiming a humanitarian focus, and a political one related to anti-imperialism.  Based on research in the CRTFCA organizational archives, this paper aims to place the Sanctuary Movement squarely within the anti-imperialist framework that it became disassociated with after the Sanctuary Trial. This research has implications for a myriad of important historical topics, including the legacy of the anti-war movement and the New Left, as well as the viability of the Religious Left in the United States. It also aims to examine the Sanctuary Movement from a transnational viewpoint, as opposed to the myopic view of a movement that only takes Central American refugees into account after they have crossed over onto U.S. soil. 


This venue is physically accessible and has a gender-neutral restroom. Please contact the CSRPC at 773.702.8063 with any questions or accommodation requests.