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CMAS Announces 2013 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture

Posted: April 13, 2013
Abel Valenzuela, UCLA

Abel Valenzuela, UCLA

The Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) will host the 2013 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture on Monday, April 29, 2013. The lecture will take place in the Santa Rita Suite of the Texas Union on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The lecture will begin at 5:00 pm.

CMAS is pleased to announce that Abel Valenzuela, Jr., Ph.D., Chair of the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles will give the 2013 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture.

The title of the 2013 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture is Chicano Studies, Hispanic Studies, Latino Studies (?): Naming and the Future of Chicano Studies. Professor Valenzuela will examine how demographic changes and an increasing pan-ethnic Latino frame bodes for Chicano Studies.  U.S. demographics highlight the increasing share of children and descendants from Latin America, principally from Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish speaking Caribbean, but also increasingly from Columbia, Brazil, and Chile.  Immigrants from Latin America and their U.S. born counterparts have a wide U.S. distribution, increasingly locating in the new destinations of the U.S. South, Midwest, and New England.  College campuses and research universities are creating new programs and departments to meet student demand, attract faculty, and to research the largest "minority" population in the U.S, often referenced as Latino or Hispanic.  Where does Chicana/o Studies fit in a rapidly growing Latino milieu?  Perhaps more importantly, how does Chicano Studies remain relevant in a "post-racial" Obama era, a more diverse student body, and a financially restructured and austere university?

Professor Valenzuela holds a joint appointment in the Cesar E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and the Meyer and Renne Luskin School of Public Affairs. His research is primarily concerned with the issues faced by minorities and immigrants in the United States. His work focuses on three key areas, which are interrelated: 1) immigration and labor markets, 2) poverty and inequality, and 3) immigrant settlement patterns and related services. His work combines ethnographic, in-depth interviews, participant observation, and quantitative methods to document and explain the processes that govern the incorporation of immigrants into U.S. society.  At UCLA, Professor Valenzuela serve as the director of the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty. He teaches courses on immigration and U.S. society, urban poverty and public policy, labor markets, and planning issues in minority communities.

Professor Valenzuela was born and raised in Los Angeles, earned his B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley (1986) and obtained his M.C.P. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) in urban and regional studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For many years, CMAS has sponsored the Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings a prominent speaker from beyond the UT Austin to campus to address the public on a timely topic in Mexican American Studies.

Américo Paredes was a musician, scholar, and folklorist from Brownsville, Texas. Prior to death on Cinco de Mayo of 1999, Dr. Paredes was the Dickson, Allen, and Anderson Centennial Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and English at The University of Texas at Austin.  Among the numerous honors that marked his career are the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Orden del Águila Azteca – Mexico’s highest award given to the citizen’s of other countries. Dr. Paredes’ scholarship on the culture of the people of Greater Mexico helped lay the foundation of our understanding of the people of the Lower Rio Grande Border, and inspired an entire generation of Mexican American Scholars.

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