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MAS 10A: Mexican American History, from the Pre-Columbian Era - 1870s

Time: MW 10:30 - 11:45am
Location: Sweeney 435


In this course, we will study the roots of Mexican American history from pre-Columbian times through the aftermath of the Civil War. With racial and geographic ties that long predate the nation's founding, Mexican Americans have had an important historical presence in the US and have played a dynamic role in shaping what it means to be "American." In fact, Mexican Americans currently constitute nearly 10% of the US population, and a full 25% in the state of California. Nevertheless, they are commonly perceived to be only recent arrivals to this country and their contributions often have been minimized, if acknowledged at all.

Rather than focus exclusively on the "who," "what" and "when" of history, together we will focus on the many "why"s and "how"s: Why did the past unfold as it did? Why does focusing on Mexican American culture challenge our assumptions about US history? How do the forces of race, class and gender shape this era of US history? And finally, how are historical narratives created, and what purpose(s) are they meant to serve?