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Derek Garcia


Mellon Fellow

Affiliation at time of award:
Ph.D. candidate, History
Concordia University

Paulla Ebron, SAR Wenner-Gren Fellow, 2022-2023

Derek Garcia
Photo courtesy of Derek Garcia

The Borders of Knowledge: Voicing Educational Activism at the Colegio Jacinto Treviño, 1969-1976

Garcia explores the memories of the first accredited Mexican American institution of higher education, founded in the US-Mexico borderlands of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Using oral history interviews of men and women and extensive archival data, Garcia argues that these people placed themselves within a larger genealogy of Mexican American social resistance. Garcia’s dissertation draws from the experiences of individuals not typically featured in Chicano and social movement activism; those who walked behind the leaders of walkouts and the communities who worked in the background to support student activists. The lived experiences of former founders, students, and community members trace the afterlife of Chicanx educational activism to the present day, in all its complexities and contradictions. Their personal histories highlight an intimate story of the intercultural, interethnic, and transnational struggle for civil rights between Chicanx and other minority social movements. Foregrounding these voices reveals the socio-historical and gendered relationships that determine what is remembered and forgotten. The Colegio serves as a case-study on how oral history can help interrogate larger questions of ethnicity, gender, class, and education when approaching histories of social movements.