For the first time, a class considering the role of Latinas in American politics will be offered at American University. Govt 485-005 will examine the impact of the Latina/o electorate in shaping state and national politics. After a review of the political histories of the various Latina/o national origin groups, we will study the successes and failures of Latina empowerment strategies. The class will primarily focus on Mexican Americans and Chicanas but will consider the cross-cutting cleavages of race, class, gender and ethnicity in the political struggles of the Latina/o population in the U.S. The career paths of Latinas such as Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Representatives Linda and Loretta Sanchez and Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be presented and discussed. On occasions, guest Latinas from the DC area will visit the class to discuss their personal experiences.
Course Objectives and Goals include examining the complexity of the Latino population and divergent political agendas. This process will help developed an understanding of the historical origins of how Latina/o social and political movements have emerged and changed. We will evaluate the role of movements and activists in policy reform and explore the agency and contributions of Latinas to the process. This class will also examine the contemporary policy issues affecting the Latina population and the impact of the Latino vote. For questions, please contact Linda Mancillas Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.