Save the Date - January 13, 2012 (DOUBLE CLICK FOR CONFERENCE INFORMATION)
The University of Houston, Arte Público Press, through the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program, the Special Collections Department of the MD Anderson Library, and the UH Law Center announce that the papers of Alonso Perales have been acquired and are available for scholarly examination. Alonso Perales (1898-1960) was among the most important organizational figures and public intellectuals of his time, and was instrumental in early 20th century Mexican American political development in Texas. Perales graduated from George Washington University School of Law in 1926, making him one of the earliest Mexican American attorneys to practice law in Texas. He not only had a successful law practice, but helped found the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), served his country in several diplomatic capacities, and was a prolific writer.
The University of Houston and Arte Público Press, through the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program, acquired his papers and archives in 2009, and this treasure trove, which has been cited in significant scholarship, is the source of a scholarly conference to be held at the University of Houston in January 12-13, 2012, by means of solicitations and a call for papers derived from this collection. This conference will be held in conjunction with an MD Anderson-curated exhibit of the papers, correspondence, and other materials from the Perales Collection. Conference sponsors invite proposals from historians, legal scholars, sociologists, literary scholars, and others from any of the humanities and social sciences with an interest in early 20th century Texas political development concerning Mexican, Mexican Americans, and other groups in the state and region, drawn from the collection and other available materials. We invite doctoral students, scholars of all ranks, and independent researchers with interests in this important period, particularly those with interests in the early Mexican American social and political organizations, especially LULAC, Order Sons of America (OSA), and 100 Loyal Citizens. Early work derived from these archives suggests that Mexican American political organizing and social consciousness arose much earlier than has been generally credited in the work of earlier historians, political scientists, and other scholars. Whereas many scholars place these origins in the late 1920s, especially with the events leading up to the 1929 founding of LULAC, in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Perales papers and materials reveal roots to predecessor groups and to events from the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the end of the Porfiriato, and the early 1920s. These family-held papers, now searchable, in microfilm format, promise to fill out the record on the structured role of Mexican American men and women in these mutual aid societies and civic organizations, as well as the behind-the-scenes role of lawyers—in this instance, not primarily as litigators, but as civic leaders and elected officials. Perales also carried on an extraordinary correspondence with many Latino and Latina and other political figures, revealing wide and deep contacts and affiliations. (Examples include Adela Sloss Vento, George I. Sanchez, and Anastasio Somoza.)
We solicit analytic research that makes use of the archive to understand the larger significance of Perales and his papers and we encourage proposals from interested scholars. Arte Público Press also intends to re-issue his two books: Are We Good Neighbors?, which documents cases of racial discrimination, and the two-volume En defensa de mi raza, which compiled many of his essays and speeches on racial discrimination and those of other intellectuals. (En defensa de mi raza is now available in digitized form at www.latinoteca.com.) Perales was also a regular columnist for La Prensa and other Spanish-language newspapers, with columns entitled “Arquitectos de nuestros propios destinos,” which spoke of Mexican-American civil rights issues, and “Por mi religión” which presented issues related to the Catholic Church and its relationship with Mexican Americans, social justice, and civil rights.
The Perales Collection Finding Aid is downloadable at http://archon.lib.uh.edu/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id
=436&q=Alonso+S.+Perales&rootcontentid=96841#id96841. Persons with interests are invited to read the Aid, and to make appointments to review the collection at the Special Collections at MD Anderson or contact the Director of Research, Dr. Carolina A. Villarroel, [ firstname.lastname@example.org ], at the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Program for questions about the collection on microfilm. Anyone with questions may contact UH Law Professor Michael A. Olivas, the conference coordinator [email@example.com, 713-743-2078] to discuss their proposals and the conference. Proposals must be received in Word format at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 30, 2010 and papers must be completed by November 30, 2011. All the papers are expected to draw from the Perales Collection and to constitute original work, which Arte Público Press will publish in its US Civil Rights Series [ www.latinoteca.com] and will record for archival access. The authors of accepted papers will be invited to present them at the conference, scheduled to be held at the MD Anderson Library on January 12-13, 2012. Travel and conference expenses will be underwritten by the conference sponsors.
Please distribute this information widely and post, as appropriate, on professional networks.
Authors in Alonso S. Perales Book Project, Michael A. Olivas, ed. (forthcoming, Arte Publico Press) (draft, 1/30/11)
In addition, we have signed F. Arturo Rosales (Arizona State) to write the full length biography, employing the UH archives, and Emilio Zamora (U of Texas) to edit the out-of-print books by ASP, En Defensa de Mi Raza and Are We Good Neighbors?(to be re-issued, by APP)