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History 2327 - Ramos, Lisa: Mexican American History: Home


Research Project – Possible Paper Topics & Historical Debates they address

  1. Chicano Civil Rights Movement and Mexican American Studies courses today: Why are these courses still relevant 50 years later
  2. Olmec People: What is the likely ethnic background of these people, and why does it matter
  3. Ancient Indigenous Roots (Pre-Columbian) of Mexican Americans: In what ways were these cultures just as, if not more, advanced than cultures in other parts of the world
  4. Conquest of Tenochtitlan: How can we tell the story of this conquest in a way that captures both sides: the winners and losers
  5. Tenochtitlan: Why has it come to have multiple meanings, and why is it so important to the history of the Americas
  6. Black Legend and Las Casas – How should Las Casas be remembered- the champion of the American Indians or as a practitioner of “ecclesiastical imperialism?”
  7. Mestizaje and Mexican Americans: Why was the casta system so important, and why does it still resonate in our lives today though this system is no longer used
  8. Minority Groups and Resistance: Pueblo Revolt, 1680. Why did indigenous and African peoples rebel against the Spanish officials of northern New Mexico, and what significance does this event have on the Spanish conquest of the Americas
  9. San Antonio’s Tricentennial Celebration: How can a community rightfully celebrate its founders, and who gets to determine this?
  10. Frontier v. Borderlands v. Border: How have conceptions of the U.S. Southwest changed over time (1500s-1800s), and why
  11. The Spanish Fantasy Heritage and the Spanish Mission System: What was life in these missions really like, and why have certain presentations of the missions been emphasized over others
  12. Mexican Americans’ Indigenous Roots: Why have these roots been suppressed to the point that many Mexican Americans know very little of their indigenous heritage
  13. Create your own topic: Make sure to clear your topic by me before you begin researching

"Cultural Identity Indicating Time in Perpetual Movement" by Eloy Torrez, Los Angeles



(6-10 pages)

The purpose of this assignment is to explore one of the course topics in more depth. Your purpose is to write an argumentative essay on this topic. This means writing an essay where you have a clear, specific, debatable statement at the end of your introduction that explains to readers what you will prove in your essay. The rest of the assignment should focus on giving readers the necessary historical background and explanation of your arguments and supportive evidence for your arguments. After explaining your stance, you should include counterarguments and supportive evidence so readers can appreciate what the other side of the debate has to say. However, you, of course, want to end the paper by driving home your points in the conclusion

Begin by choosing a topic with different interpretations (e.g. Chicano Civil Rights Movement and Mexican American Studies (MAS) courses- Were these courses relevant then, and are they relevant now? If so, why? If not, why not?). Come up with a research question, or use the ones I provided. You can adjust the question as you research and read on your topic.

Start researching this topic on Google Books or Google Scholar. Also, go to the SAC MLC to look for books on your topic. If you don’t find the books at SAC, get a TexShare card from SAC’s MLC, 3rd Floor-Circulation Desk. (Bring your student ID to get the card). Use the TexShare card to check out books from UTSA-Downtown, Trinity, or other university libraries that have a larger library book selection.

Once you’ve got the books, start reading those sections that relate to your research question. Write down relevant quotes, statements, and facts. Start outlining, so you know what arguments you want to make and what evidence (scholarly quotes, statistics, personal anecdotes if appropriate, etc.) you will use. Generally, a combination of evidence make for the strongest papers.

We will have time to draft part of your essay in class, so please be diligent and start researching early. This phase takes time, and don’t be surprised at how many books/articles/websites you will sift through before narrowing your sources down to the most useful for defending your points.

Good Luck!

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Eileen Oliver
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