Even before the U.S. existed as a republic, people from "Hispanic" and Indo-America have been incorporated into the culture, history, life, and occupational fabric of the United States. Yet, forces, figures, and factions in larger society frequently perceived Latin American heritage people as members of an "alien" culture. Through histories of coercion, migration, labor recruitment, family networks, religious conversion, wars of occupation, economic need, political exile, education inequities, electoral participation, and unimaginative representations in film, fiction, and broader popular culture, millions of people from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, and the rest of Latin America have somehow become American, while still remaining outside the national community. This 3-point undergraduate lecture course will examine the process of departure and arrival-the historical forces pushing and pulling people from Latin America to the United States. We will also examine how "Spanish," "Latins," "Hispanics," and "Latinos" adjust, integrate, assimilate, resist, and adapt to the many forces that affect their lives in the U.S. over the last century and a half, creating new ethnic, racial and local identities in the process. By studying the experience of Latinos/as and Latin American immigrants with an eye toward patterns of second-class citizenship, identity formation, ethnic culture, community maturation, labor struggles, and social mobility, we will map out the heterogeneous mosaic of Latin American and Caribbean diasporas in the U.S. Due in large part to ongoing immigration from Mexico, the Mexican-origin population has grown appreciably from approximately 100,000 at the turn of the twentieth century to thirty-five million today (10% of the overall U.S. population and about 65% of the collective Latino community). We shall therefore pay special attention to what ethnic Mexicans, their offspring, and other Americans have had to say about the Mexican American experience and its effects on Latino/a social life as well as the nation's economy, society, and culture. Naturally, Puerto Rican, Cuban American, Hispanic Caribbean, and Central/South American communities in the United States will be examined as well. The study of Latino history is a young discipline, with many gaps and grey areas. It also exists in a complex and tense dialogue (often a monologue) within broader U.S. history. During the last two decades as the Latino population has ballooned to 56 million (1 in 6 Americans or 18% of the total population), there has also been a boom in research and writing in this field. Indeed, we will be taking advantage of some of its products, although its fruits are still uneven. This class is taught in mostly the modern period (after 1750) within United States history so it can count toward the history major or concentration. Where the course points may be applied depends on a student's field of specialization within their major or concentration. The course can also serve as three elective points toward degree progress.
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