Raza Hosts Chicano Studies Symposium

Two scholars and about 20 University students gathered Saturday afternoon to discuss the future of ethnic studies at Harvard during the first ever Chicano Studies Symposium.

The symposium, which was organized by RAZA, Harvard's Mexican-American/Chicano/Latino student organization, included lectures in Harvard Hall and Boylston Auditorium.

The discussions focused on the current state of Chicano and ethnic studies at Harvard and the possible development of a department or committee devoted to these areas of study.

"We felt that Chicano studies is not well represented at Harvard," said RAZA President Sergio J. Campos '00. "The symposium was a good introduction to the Chicano scholarship that is going on out on the West Coast."

Currently there is no formal department or program in ethnic studies at Harvard. Courses related to ethnic studies are included in a list published in Courses of Instruction and in an ethnic studies brochure distributed through University Hall.


The symposium featured one panel discussion and two speeches that included both students and Latino scholars.

Although only 20 students attended the symposium, Campos said he was optimistic about the results.

"The group was small enough so that we could carry on some really good conversations on the topics that interested us most," Campos said.

The day began with a student panel discussion on ethnic studies activism. The panel included Billy Gonzalez, a graduate of Yale and current student at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Miguel Segovia, a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, Michael K. Tan '01, a member of the Academic Affairs Committee, RAZA Treasurer Macarena M. Correa '00 and Campos.

Both graduate students talked about their lives as Chicano students at other universities and compared their experiences to their time at Harvard.

In a separate event Deborah Pacini-Hernandez, a visiting professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, spoke about perceptions of the ethnic studies movement.

She described the movement's aim as generating a more inclusive program which would serve students who want to learn more about diversity in America and othersocieties.

The final speaker at the symposium was GeraldResendez, the chair of the Chicano studiesdepartment at California State University atNorthridge.

Campos characterized Resendez as a "foundingfather of Chicano studies."

Resendez helped establish the first Chicanostudies department in the nation 30 years ago atNorthridge and has served as its chair for twodecades.

Resendez spoke about his efforts to found thedepartment and advised Harvard students on how togo about creating their own Chicano studiesdepartment at the College.

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