UT Wordmark Primary UT Wordmark Formal Shield Texas UT News Camera Chevron Close Search Copy Link Download File Hamburger Menu Time Stamp Open in browser Load More Pull quote Cloudy and windy Cloudy Partly Cloudy Rain and snow Rain Showers Snow Sunny Thunderstorms Wind and Rain Windy Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter email alert map calendar bullhorn

UT News

U.S. Latino and Latina WWII Conference at UT Austin invites public and scholars to discuss war’s impact

Dozens of nationally renowned scholars will be featured during a two-day conference at The University of Texas at Austin May 26 and 27 focusing on contributions and issues concerning U.S. Latinos and Latinas and World War II.

Two color orange horizontal divider

AUSTIN, Texas—Dozens of nationally renowned scholars will be featured during a two-day conference at The University of Texas at Austin May 26 and 27 focusing on contributions and issues concerning U.S. Latinos and Latinas and World War II.

The conference will include roundtable discussions with men and women of the World War II generation who will talk about their own interpretations and recollections of the war and its impact on U.S. Latinos. In a more informal setting, there will be sessions for short presentations by anyone who wants to address an aspect of the topic. A selection of academic papers from the conference will be edited into a volume for later publication.

The conference will be in the Lila B. Etter Alumni Center on the UT Austin campus. Registration and a fee are required for admission to the conference. The early registration fee through April 14 is $55 and the standard registration fee thereafter through May 12 is $65. Late registration after May 12, including on-site registration, is $75.

More than 30 scholars from throughout the country will focus on various aspects of the Latino experience in the United States, including civil rights advancements resulting from the WWII experience.

Beyond the academic presentations, time has been set aside to hear from people who lived during the WWII and others who can speak informally about that generation of men and women.

“The five professors who selected the academic presentations were extremely pleased with the high quality of submissions,” said Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, conference co-chair and an assistant professor in the department of journalism. “We received entries from people we academics consider giants in their respective fields: Rafael Chabrán, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Richard Griswold del Castillo, Jorge Rodriguez Beruff, Jose Limón, Rita Sanchez, to name but a few. Also, we are getting an opportunity to showcase graduate students still working on their dissertations. This will be a wonderful celebration of some of the outstanding and ground-breaking research about U.S. Latinos and Latinas.

“It also has been very rewarding to see how the larger Latino community has wanted to be involved,” Rivas-Rodriguez said. “As we went along, we realized this went beyond the confines of an academic conference and that the gathering would be enriched greatly by involvement of the general community.”

Rivas-Rodriguez said the conference is a component of the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project at UT Austin. The World War II generation of Latinos and Latinas was largely responsible for many of the civil rights advancements of U.S. Latinos, including school desegregation, voting rights and public accommodations. They formed organizations, like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American G.I. Forum, that were instrumental in fighting for Latino rights. For the Puerto Rican community, it was the generation that fought in the war, saw the mainland United States for the first time and began a mass migration to the mainland. As individuals, U.S. Latinos made tremendous strides for their people and for their families, she said.

The stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas do not appear often in academic or popular accounts produced during the war years, or even in recent representations of the period. The project is dedicated to recording stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas of the World War II era so that future generations will have a better appreciation of the many contributions by Hispanics who came of age in a difficult time.

Support for the conference has been provided by the A.H. Belo Corp. Foundation and three UT Austin entities: the College of Communication, the department of journalism and the Center for Mexican American Studies.

For more information, contact the conference co-chairs, Rivas-Rodriguez at (512) 471-1924, or Dr. David Montejano, director of the Center for Mexican American Studies, (512) 475-7237.