The goal of the Mexican American Studies & Research Center's Working Paper Series is to disseminate recent research on the Mexican American experience. The Center welcomes papers from the social sciences, public policy fields, and the humanities. Areas of particular interest include economic and political participation of Mexican Americans, health, immigration, and education. The Mexican American Studies & Research Center assumes no responsibility for statements or opinions of contributors to its Working Paper Series.


For more information, contact Mexican American Studies at SBS-MAS@email.arizona.edu.

Recent Submissions

  • Chicana/o Students' Engagement with Arizona's "Anti-Ethnic Studies" Bill 1108: Civic Engagement, Ethnic Identity and Well-being

    O'Leary, Anna Ochoa; Romero, Andrea J.; University of Arizona, Department of Mexican American Studies (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2010)
    As an amendment to a Homeland Security Bill in 2008, Arizona Senate Bill 1108, the “Anti-Ethnic Studies” bill, sought to establish that “a primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship” by proposing to eliminate the state’s ethnic-studies programs and ethnic-based organizations characterized as “un-American.” We investigated undergraduate student responses to the proposed amendment to the SB 1108 bill and associations with civic engagement, stress, ethnic identity, and mental well-being (depressive symptoms and self-esteem). Ninety-nine undergraduate students who self-identified as Mexican, Mexican American, or Chicana/o completed an online survey. Their responses indicated that more stress due to SB 1108 was significantly associated with more discrimination stress, lower self-esteem, and more depressive symptoms. We found that students that were more civically engaged in general were more engaged with SB 1108. Students with less positive or examined ethnic identity were more likely to be disengaged with SB 1108. Moreover, even if students felt high levels of stress from SB 1108, their engaged responses buffered them from the potentially negative effect of this proposed measure on self-esteem. In contrast, those who felt stress but were not engaged had significantly lower self-esteem. These findings have important implications for understanding the effect of nativist policy on Chicana/o youth and validate the benefits of civic engagement for the well-being of ethnic minority students.
  • Mujeres en el Cruce: Mapping Family Separation/Reunification at a Time of Border (In)Security

    O'Leary, Anna Ochoa; University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2007)
    In this paper I discuss some of the findings in my study of the encounters between female migrants and immigration enforcement authorities along the U.S.-Mexico border. An objective of the research is to ascertain a more accurate picture of women temporarily suspended in the “intersection” of diametrically opposed processes: immigration enforcement and transnational mobility. Of the many issues that have emerged from this research, family separation is most palpable. This suggests a deeply entrenched relationship between immigration enforcement and the transnationalization of family ties. While this relationship may at first not be obvious, women’s accounts of family separation and family reunification show how, in reconciling these contradictory tendencies, migrant mobility is strengthened, which in turn challenges enforcement measures. In this way, the intersection not only sheds light on how opposing forces (enforcement and mobility) converge but also how each is contingent on the other. This analysis is possible in part through the use of a conceptual intersection of diametrically opposed forces, border enforcement and transnational movement, and thus proves useful in examining the transformative nature of globalized spaces.
  • Viva Emiliano Zapata! Viva Benito Juarez! Helping Mexican and Chicano Middle School Students Develop a Chicano Consciousness via Critical Pedagogy and Latino/Latina Critical Race Theory

    Casas, Martha; University of Texas, El Paso, Teacher Education Department (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2006)
    This article describes how an anti-racist curriculum constructed on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latino Critical Pedagogy (LatCrit) helped Mexican and Chicano middle school students enrolled in an alternative education program to alter their attitudes toward the use of English, and to change their forms of self-identification resulting in the development of a Chicano consciousness. In the beginning of this fourteen-month study, 9.6% of the students identified with the Chicano label. However, at the end of the study, 77% of the class selected the Chicano label for self-identification. Moreover, this investigation bridges the theoretical concepts of Critical Pedagogy to everyday practice in a middle school classroom. In short, the tenets of this theoretical framework were applied in the design and the implementation of the curriculum.
  • Flexible Labor and Underinvestment in Women’s Education on the U.S-Mexico Border

    O’Leary, Anna Ochoa; Valdez-Gardea, Gloria Ciria; González, Norma; University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center; Colegio de Sonora, Urban and Environmental Studies Program; University of Utah, Department of Education, Culture and Society (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2005)
    For the past 35 years, borderland industry has opened employment opportunities for women in the community of Nogales, Arizona. However, the expansion of free trade with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has aggravated economic instability by promoting the flexible use of labor, a practice that women have increasingly accommodated. Case studies of women engaged in the retail and maquiladora industries illustrate the interplay between flexible employment, reproduction, and education. These cases suggest that a strong connection between flexible employment and reproduction is sustained by ideologies that see these as mutually complimentary. At the same time, the connections between education and employment and reproduction activities are notably absent or weak. We argue that investing in the education of women, which could lead to more predictable employment, is in this way subverted by regional economic instability. The alienation of education from the other two realms of women’s activities works to the advantage of flexible employment practices and advances the underdevelopment of human capital on the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Social Exchange Practices among Mexican-Origin Women in Nogales, Arizona: Prospects for Education Acquisition

    O'Leary, Anna Ochoa; University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2004)
    This paper summarizes quantitative and qualitative findings from a 1999 study of Mexican-origin households in Nogales, Arizona. An important finding shows that women’s educational progress is facilitated with social support, and more importantly, that a household’s investment in the education of its members is significantly raised with the increase in the education attainment level of the female head of household. These findings form the premise for arguing that by systematically building on existent cultural frameworks for social support that advance women’s educational progress, the chances for educational attainment for all Mexican-origin persons are improved.
  • Of Information Highways and Toxic Byways: Women and Environmental Protest in a Northern Mexican City

    O'Leary, Anna Ochoa; Pima Community College, Department of Social and Cultural Studies (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2002)
    Women’s involvement in collective struggles for environmental quality has surged in recent years, as has research focusing on this phenomenon. Consistent with this research, a feminist lens is useful in revealing a model of community struggle that features women’s activities and strategies to expose environmental insult. I use a case study of community protest in Hermosillo, a city in the Mexican state of Sonora, to feature social networks as a means of politicizing the placement of a toxic waste dump six kilometers outside the city. A feminist perspective reveals these social networks to be more than a way to mobilize resources. It allow us to see the ways in which gender interacts with globalized relations of power, political ecology, and environmental policy, and to validate a creative way in which women can out-maneuver the gendered constraints to political participation. An analysis of how social networks served in this particular struggle suggests that they are an important component in the process through which women gained voice and authored oppositional discourse in contexts where these have been previously denied, and ultimately deconstructed the political authority that sanctioned the dump.
  • LULAC and Veterans Organize for Civil Rights in Tempe and Phoenix, 1940-1947

    Marín, Christine; Arizona State University (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 2001)
    World War II had a dramatic impact on Americans, including Mexican Americans in Arizona. It challenged families and communities to make sacrifices during wartime. Mexican Americans served in large numbers and with distinction in the war, and after it ended they sought to defend their rights as Americans, and to eliminate the discriminatory behavior and acts that kept them within ethnic boundaries. The segregation at Tempe Beach, the “brilliant star in Tempe’s crown,” and its “No Mexicans Allowed” policy, initiated in 1923, was one of them. Another ethnic boundary was the segregated housing policy for veterans established by the City of Phoenix in 1946. In Tempe and Phoenix, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 110, led by Placida Garcia Smith, and the American Legion Thunderbird Post 41, led by Ray Martinez, were at the front lines in the fight against racism and discrimination in the 1940s. Mexican Americans confronted public elected officials over racist practices and policies of exclusion, and utilized the court system to provide them equal justice under the law. They exercised their right to seek equality after years of segregation, and to secure their civil rights as Americans. Their actions are examples of American-style civic activism, a devotion to the United States and the ideals of freedom and democracy. The search for that freedom and holding the government accountable to its laws and ideals are what drove LULAC Council 110 and American Legion Thunderbird Post 41 as they organized and agitated for the civil rights of Mexican Americans in Tempe and Phoenix during the 1940s.
  • The Influence of Cultural Values On Self-Efficacy in Reducing HIV Risk Behaviors

    Estrada, Antonio L.; Estrada, Barbara D.; Quintero, Gilbert; University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies & Research Center; University of Arizona, Southwest Institute for Research on Women (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1999)
    This study seeks to examine the influence of key cultural values like machismo, familism, traditionalism, and religiosity on self-efficacy in reducing HIV risk among Mexican-origin IDUs. The purpose of this examination hinges on the importance of including cultural concepts/values not only to facilitate process, but also to add a cultural dimension to an HIV/AIDS intervention that may facilitate attitudinal and behavioral change as well. The findings suggest that culturally innovative approaches can facilitate HIV/AIDS risk reduction among male Mexican-origin drug injectors. The importance of key cultural values like machismo is underscored by its association with HIV risk reduction for both sexual and injection related risks. Intervention programs must identify strategies to incorporate cultural values in their research and evaluation of intervention efficacy. Culturally innovative approaches hold the promise of substantially reducing HIV risk behaviors among Hispanic drug injectors, and may hold promise for other populations affected by HIV/AIDS as well.
  • Mexican American Women and Social Change: The Founding of the Community Service Organization in Los Angeles, An Oral History

    Apodaca, Linda M.; California State University, Stanislaus, Ethnic and Women's Studies Department (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1999)
    The Community Service Organization, a grassroots social service agency that originated in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, is generally identified by its male leadership. Research conducted for the present oral history, however, indicates that Mexican American women were essential to the founding of the organization, as well as to its success during the forty-six years it was in operation. This paper is a history of the founding of the CSO based on interviews with eleven Mexican American women and one Mexican American man, all of whom were founding members.
  • The Education of Immigrant Children: The Impact of Age at Arrival

    González, Arturo; University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies & Research Center (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1998)
    The family reunification provision in U.S. immigration laws allows foreign-born children of immigrants to enter the U.S. and attend American schools. The total number of school years completed by immigrant children, however, is affected by their age at arrival. Age at arrival also affects the percentage of schooling that is attained in the U.S. This implies that immigrants with more U.S. schooling will earn more than other immigrants, holding total education constant, as long as the returns to U.S. schooling are greater than the returns to foreign schooling. Using data from the 1980 and 1990 Census, I find a negative relationship between age at arrival and education for Mexican, European and Pacific Islander and other immigrants that arrive shortly after the start of the first grade. Mexican immigrants as a whole, however, lose tile greatest amount of education from delayed entry. Estimates of the returns to American schooling indicate that those with at least a high school diploma benefit from additional years in U.S. schools. However, the added tax revenue from the increased earnings is not always greater than the cost of additional years of American schooling. Only for Mexican immigrants is it the case that the tax revenues outweigh the fiscal costs of more American education.
  • Beyond Access to Health Care: Institutional and Cultural Barriers Experienced by Mexican Americans in a Southwestern Community

    Estrada, Antonio L. (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1996)
  • José Rangel Cantú: South Texas' Fiery Radio Warrior

    Larralde, Carlos (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1995)
  • Utilizing the Informal Economy: The Case of Chicago's Maxwell Street Market

    Balkin,Steven; Morales, Alfonso; Persky, Joseph; Roosevelt University; University of Arizona, Department of Sociology; University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Economics (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1994)
  • Selections from A Frontier Documentary: Mexican Tucson, 1821-1856

    McCarty, Kieran; The University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies & Research Center (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1994)
  • Motivators for Colon Cancer Prevention Among Elderly Mexican Americans

    González, Judith T.; California State University, Fresno (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1990)
    This final report documents the theoretical development and preliminary empirical testing of a model that predicts the conditions under which Hispanics will seek preventive health care. Research shows that Hispanics delay preventive care, resulting in higher morbidity and mortality rates for serious diseases such as cancer. Since many serious diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer can be prevented or treated more effectively if detected early, it is crucial to understand the motivating forces behind Hispanics’ preventive health behavior. The Hispanic model, which is an extension of the Health Behavior in Cancer Prevention Model developed by Atwood, et al. (1986), includes as core variables environmental barriers to access and English-language proficiency, as well as social support, health beliefs, self-efficacy (or perceived skill), health locus of control, and health values. This correlational descriptive study employed snowballing sampling methods and consisted of 199 Hispanics between 49 and 94 years of age. Measures consist of multi-item scales whose content follows that of the Parent Project. The final instruments showed reliability (Alphas between .69 and .95), although the model testing was limited by the exclusion of some constructs that did not demonstrate reliability. The outcome of predisposition to self-care was predicted by utilization barriers to care, Chance Health Locus of Control, and General Health threat, resulting in an R-square of .07. The findings dealing with dietary preferences and preferred dietary modifications also have great implications for interventions aimed at preventing colon cancer among Hispanics. The practical health policy applications of the model are also discussed.
  • National Origin Based Variations of Latino Voter Turnout in 1988: Findings from the Latino National Political Survey

    Arvizu, John R.; University of Arizona, Department of Political Science (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1994)
    The Latino community in the United States, currently estimated at over 23 million, is projected to become the largest minority group in America within the next fifteen years. However, insufficient national-level data on Latinos has resulted in relatively few studies being published on the voting behavior of this increasingly important group. Using data drawn from the first national probability sample of Latinos, the Latino National Political Survey, this paper addresses selected socio-demographic indices correlated with voter turnout. The logistic regression model empirically demonstrates the importance of distinguishing among subgroups and identifies the life-cycle effect as a principle determinant of voter turnout.
  • U.S. Immigration Authorities and Victims of Human and Civil Rights Abuses: The Border Interaction Project Study of South Tucson, Arizona, and South Texas

    Koulish, Robert E.; Escobedo, Manuel; Rubio-Goldsmith, Raquel; Warren, John Robert; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Arizona; Pima Community College; University of Wisconsin-Madison (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1994)
  • Predictors of Breast Self-Examination Among Mexican American Women: A Path Analytic Model

    González, Judith T.; California State University, Fresno (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1990)
    This paper is a test of several hypothesized predictors of frequency of breast self-examination among low-income Mexican American women. Current research points to several factors as important predictors of preventive care. Among these are self-efficacy – one’s perceived capacity to perform a given action – and social support from significant others. For Mexican Americans, environmental barriers to health care are important factors. While findings are inconclusive regarding the role of language proficiency as a predictor of preventive care, the model includes this as a hypothesized predictor of frequency of breast self-examination. The findings show a strong relationship between self-efficacy and frequency of breast self-examination. Barriers to health care have a weaker direct effect upon breast self-examination. The effects of English-language proficiency are indirect and mediated by self-efficacy.
  • El Orgullo De Ser: Mexican American/Latino Applied History Programs, Exhibitions and Museums

    Ríos-Bustamante, Antonio; The University of Arizona (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1990)
  • Tierra No Mas Incognita: The Atlas of Mexican American History

    Ríos-Bustamante, Antonio; University of Arizona (University of Arizona, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, 1990)

View more