A Thriving Department

John Derbyshire, a frequent contributor to National Review, has made a surprising discovery: San Francisco State University has a department of Raza studies, and the department has thirteen full-time faculty members.
Derbyshire writes on NRO’s The Corner:

What goes on in a Raza Studies Department? Let them tell us.
“Roberto [Rivera] is presently finishing a book on Liberation Discourse which examines the semantics of counter-hegemony in the philosophies of Gustavo Gutierrez and Paulo Freire.”
[Prof. Tomas Almaguer] is currently completing work on a book manuscript entitled Border Men: Gender and Sexuality in the Life Histories of Chicano Gay Men, which will be published by the University of California Press.
[Prof. Teresa Carrillo]’s teaching and research interests reflect her fascination with Latinos as political actors in a constant interaction with local, national and transnational political forces …
In Systems of Elections, Latino Representation, and Student Outcomes in Central California and Faculty, Managers, and Administrators in the University of California, 1996 to 2002,[Assistant Professor Belinda] Reyes explores ethnic diversity in higher ed and k-12 and the potential consequences of under-representation.
[Writing Specialist Alejandro Murguia]’s memoir The Medicine of Memory: A Mexica Clan in California, University of Texas Press, has been nominated for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing.
[Dr. Nancy Raquel Mirabal] teaches courses in the history of Latina/os, Caribbean diasporas, Afro-Latina/o diasporas, theory and methods, gender and sexuality, and oral history.

Publications by [the aforementioned Asst. Prof.] Martinez include: … “Real Women and Their Curves: Letters to the Editor and a Magazine’s Celebration of the ‘Latina body'” in Latina/o Communication Studies Today, Ed. Angharad N. Valdivia (2008) …
Felix [Kury] is Program Director and Faculty Advisor for Clinica Martin-Baro SFSU-UCSF … a student-organized free clinic operating Saturdays out of CARECEN (Centro de Recursos Centroamericanos) in the Mission District of San Francisco … Clinica’s model is based on Liberation Theology …
[Velia Garcia] teaches Raza 485 — Criminalize Raza Youth, Introduction to Raza Studies, La Raza Women, Issues in Political Economy, Race, Crime and Justice, Sociological Perspectives and Step-to-College …
Currently, [Brigitte Davila’s] area of focus is law and public policy, with an emphasis on community activism.
[Jose Cuellar’s] recent publications include: “Chicanismo” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures (2001); “El Saxofon in Tejano and Norteno Music” in Puro Conjunto! An Album in Words and Pictures. U of Texas Press (2001); “Cesar E. Chavez” and “Farm Labor” in Pollution — A toZ …”
[Prof. Carlos Cordova] presently teaches Raza 280 Acculturation Issues of La Raza; Raza 320 Raza Art History; Raza 460: Central Americans in the U.S.; Raza 450: Indigenismo: Indigenous Cultures and Personality; and Raza 440: Caribbean Cultures and Spirituality.

Derbyshire notes that California and its public university system are going through the worst financial crisis in their history, but he confidently predicts that SFSU’s bulging department of Raza (our race) studies will not have to worry about losing faculty. He writes: “The departments of Medicine, Business, and Engineering will be closed down first.”


  • John Leo

    John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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