As the century comes to a close, critical Latina/o theory has branched off from Critical Race Theory. This article considers how this burgeoning body of scholarship finds its roots in a long tradition of Chicana/o activism and scholarship, particularly the work of Chicana/o Studies scholar-activists. In the critical study of issues of enduring significance to the greater Latina/o community, we owe a deep intellectual debt to the generations of scholarship focusing on Chicana/os in the United States.
This praise might strike some knowledgeable observers as odd. Chicana/o Studies developed with an exclusive focus on the subordination of persons of Mexican ancestry in the United States and still adheres generally to the view that investigation of the histories of other Latin American national origin groups is beyond its scope. In contrast, LatCrit theory from its inception has attempted to focus on the commonalities of the experiences of all persons tracing their ancestry to Latin America. We contend that, despite these differences in perspective, Chicana/o Studies offers important lessons for LatCrit theorists scrutinizing the legal system's treatment of all Latina/os.
To this end, Part I of this article considers the link between Chicana/o Studies activism and Latina/o legal scholarship. Part II analyzes how LatCrit theory finds its intellectual roots in Chicana/o Studies scholarship. In this analysis, we establish the relationship between Chicana/o Studies activism and scholarship, which blossomed as a result of the 1960s Chicano Movement, and LatCrit theory. We also demonstrate how the Chicana/o Studies model helps us think about some vexing challenges posed to LatCrit theorists. Finally, we highlight a rich body of Chicana/o Studies scholarship on which future critical Latina/o scholarship may build in critically analyzing how law affects the Latina/o community.
University of Miami Law Review
Kevin R. Johnson & George A. Martinez, Crossover Dreams: The Roots of LatCrit Theory in Chicana/o Studies Activism and Scholarship, 53 U. MIAMI L. REV. 1143 (1999)