In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Chicana/o Ethnography

  • Introduction
  • Early Writings on Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the United States
  • Chicana/o Ethnography and the Chicano Movement
  • Chicana/o Ethnographic Theories and Methods
  • Chicana/o Identity Formation
  • Chicano Youth
  • Chicanos and Education
  • Ethnographies on US Mexican Communities
  • Chicana Ethnographies

Latino Studies Chicana/o Ethnography
Pablo Gonzalez, Xóchitl Chávez
  • LAST REVIEWED: 31 July 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 July 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0139


Chicana/o ethnography is a subfield of Chicana/o anthropology and sociocultural anthropology. There are two ways of looking at the term Chicana/o ethnography: one, as the work conducted and written by self-identified Chicana/o anthropologists and social scientists; two, as the anthropological work produced on Chicanas/os and US-based ethnic Mexicans. Chicana/o ethnography emerges in the late 1960s with the Chicano Power movement in the United States. With the entry of Chicana/o PhDs in the social sciences and in particular anthropology during the 1960s, the field of cultural anthropology became the site of contested counter-narratives by racialized groups in the United States. Those self-identifying as Chicana/o and receiving degrees in the social sciences ushered in a critique of anthropology’s colonial and imperial legacy. In particular, conducting ethnographic fieldwork and writing ethnographies on US ethnic Mexicans by non-Mexicans came under scrutiny by Mexican Americans. Although there have been Mexican and Mexican American social scientists that have studied US Mexican communities since the late 19th century, the emergence of Chicana/o ethnography is situated out of political struggle both in Chicana/o communities and in universities throughout the United States. Since then, Chicana/o ethnography has evolved to include ethnographic studies on expressive culture and folklore, identity formation, transnational migration and communities, community studies, US-Mexico borderlands studies, social movements, and (il)legality and subject formation. Accordingly, this bibliography begins with initial texts and works that contested the ways in which anthropologists and social scientists initially viewed the US Mexican population and the politics of conducting research in Chicana/o communities. This bibliography emphasizes the field of Chicana/o anthropology as it pertains to the production of ethnographic work by Chicana/o anthropologists and the ethnographic work on Chicana/o communities, cultures, and experience. It does not encapsulate all of the ethnographic work conducted by Chicana/o social scientists in fields other than anthropology nor does it include all the ethnographic work conducted on Chicana/o lives by social scientists. Instead, it also incorporates several key works by social scientists that further the field of Chicana/o anthropology and sociocultural anthropology.

Resources, Book Presses, and Journals That Publish Chicana/o Ethnographic Research

The published intellectual work of Chicana/o ethnographers has an over fifty-year history. While Mexican Americans have published their work in a broad array of venues, since the Chicano Movement period of the late 1960s we have seen a concerted effort for Chicanas/os to create venues where they can peer review their work and speak on issues affecting the Latino and Mexican American community. The first of these journals was El Grito. First published in 1967 by founder Octavio Romano V, an anthropologist at UC Berkeley, El Grito was a venue for Chicano intellectuals and social scientists to write essays on a wide range of topics. Of importance are the journals dedicated to critiquing the social sciences. Although El Grito lasted only until 1973, it inspired the creation of such publishing presses as Quinto Sol and Aztlan. By 1970, the journal Aztlan had ushered in a new moment in Chicano studies. Since then, the journal has been the premier venue for Chicano research. Although these early journals opened a venue for Chicano intellectual writing, they often neglected the works of Chicanas. Journals in the coming decades would open opportunities for Chicanas to publish their work. The Chicana/Latina Studies journal is one such venue. Coming out of MALCS, a Chicana and Latina intellectual organization, the journal publishes in different formats and topics. Other disciplinary journals, in particular, in anthropology, have been places for Chicana/o ethnographers to publish book reviews, notes from the field, and peer-reviewed articles. These journals include American Anthropologist, American Ethnology, City and Society, and Current Anthropology. Finally, several academic book presses have published the work of Chicana/o and Latina/o ethnographers consistently. This list continues to grow, but of particular interest are UC Press and the book press out of the University of Texas.

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