Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

2017 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture

The Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) is pleased to announce that Stephen Pitti, Ph.D., will give the 2017 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. The title of the lecture is, "Mexican American History in Tough Times."

Professor Pitti’s lecture focuses on the importance and influence of Mexican American history as an academic field and a subject of public concern today. He explores the recent interest in Mexican American history, and the venues and places where Mexican American history has recently made an important difference. At a time in which U.S. history is being debated and often misrepresented by policymakers, he describes efforts by scholars and others to emphasize a more accurate portrayal of the Mexican American past in court cases, in discussions of historical monuments and public spaces, in textbooks, and more. He suggests that these efforts have taken on special urgency with the rapid population growth of ethnic Mexican and other Latino communities throughout the United States, and because so many students and educators have insisted upon making Mexican American history more visible in their school curricula. 
In describing how scholars and others have drawn attention to Mexican American history, and how some pundits and elected officials have denied the importance of that history, Professor Pitti anticipates the historical debates and recovery efforts that will be most important in the years to come, and he considers how we might best understand the relationship between Mexican American history and contemporary political struggles.
Stephen Pitti is Founding Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. A Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, he is Professor of History, American Studies, and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, and the Head of Ezra Stiles College. He was a member of the Yale University Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming in 2016–2017. The author of The Devil in Silicon Valley: Race, Mexican Americans, and Northern California (2003) and American Latinos and the Making of the United States (2012), he serves as an editor of the Politics and Culture in Modern America series for the University of Pennsylvania Press, a member of the U.S. Latina and Latino Oral History Journal advisory board, and a member of the Board of Directors of Freedom University in Georgia. Active in public history, he gave testimony to the U.S. Congress in favor of immigration reform in 2007, and in 2011 he was one of three Mexican American historians nationwide to participate in a White House Forum on American Latino Heritage. He worked as an advisor both for the “Bridging Cultures: Latino Americans Project” organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, and for the award-winning “Latino Americans” historical series on PBS. A member of the National Park Service Advisory Board, he chairs the National Historic Landmarks Committee for the National Park Service, serves as a member of the NPS Latino Expert Scholars Panel, and convened the first meeting of the LGBTQ Expert Scholars Panel for the National Park Service in 2014.