College of Humanities & Fine Arts

History's 2020 Adelante Scholars

Three History Students Become Part of the Inaugural Class of Adelante Research Grant Recipients

During summer 2020, three History students--Vivian Hernandez, Jose Valadez, and Juan Vega--became part of the first class of Adelante research grant recipients. The Adelante Pipeline to Postbaccalaureate Program is funded by a five-year, $2.9 million grant (Title V “Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions”) from the Department of Education to support Latinx and low-income students to prepare for, apply to, and successfully attain master’s degrees and teaching credentials. Roughly twenty such grants were made, and HFA’s History Department is proud that its students landed three of them.

Read below for more information on our students and their projects.

"The Impact of Contraception and Declining Fertility Rates on Mexican Women since 1968"

Vivian Hernandez

Faculty mentor: Dr. Steve Lewis

Vivian Hernandez hails from Hollister, CA, and will be entering her junior year. A first-generation college student, she has lofty goals and hopes to attain a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Latin American history and eventually become a university professor. Her research passion is the history of women in twentieth-century Mexico. Her Adelante project has two phases and will provide grounding for her future projects. During summer 2020, she is familiarizing herself with the major themes in the historiography about women in postrevolutionary Mexico. In the fall, she will focus her energies on the 1960s and 1970s, tumultuous decades when Mexican women became active in student politics, openly challenged traditional gender roles, launched feminist movements, and began to limit their fertility. When women’s fertility rates dropped from about seven live births to less than three in the span of just twenty years, they experienced additional and transformational changes in the ways that they perceived themselves and participated in the economic and political life in the country. The historiography is surprisingly thin on this topic and Vivian is poised to make a real contribution. 

Vivian Hernandez, History student

“The Chicanx Art Movement: New Visions, Community, and Self-Determination in Modern America”

Jose Valadez

Faculty mentor: Dr. Shawn Schwaller

Jose Valadez is a first-generation college student from Santa Ana, California. He graduated from Chico State in spring 2020 with a B.A. in History, and he’s entering the teaching credential program in the fall of 2020. As part of the Adelante program, and with the help of his faculty mentor Dr. Shawn Schwaller, he plans to further explore the relationship between Mexican American identity and Chicano murals in the late twentieth century United States, the topic of his History 490W: Historical Research essay completed in the spring of 2020. Jose is particularly interested in how Chicano murals shaped and reflected Mexican American notions of community, how they related to the Chicano Movement, and the way in which they publicized histories left out of mainstream traditional narratives. Jose’s long-term goal is to achieve a master’s degree in education and work as a teacher and a counselor or principle at his alma mater and serve as a positive role model for Latinx and low-income students.

Jose Valadez, History student 

“Exiled From Eden?: Reexamining the Summer Institute of Linguistics’ Legacy and its Expulsion from Mexico, 1935-1981”

Juan Vega

Faculty mentor: Dr. Steve Lewis

Juan Vega hails from Stockton and has already compiled an impressive record as an historian at Chico State. He is currently in the Master’s program in History. His thesis project examines the Mexican government’s decision to dissolve its decades-long contract with the controversial U.S.-based Protestant missionary organization, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), in 1979. The thesis considers the mechanisms the Mexican government employed to improve the lives of indigenous people, incorporate the marginalized, and maintain control over an increasingly dissatisfied populace. Juan’s research incorporates and interrogates the secondary literature concerning the SIL’s activity in Mexico. He has also located several hundred documents from archives in Mexico and the United States, specifically, the Archivo General del Estado de Oaxaca, the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City, the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada in Mexico City, the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia also in Mexico City, the Cameron Townsend Archive in Waxhaw, North Carolina, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. Taken together, his source materials suggest that the Mexican government had little choice but to rely on the SIL’s missionary linguists in remote, indigenous regions in Mexico where the institutions of the Mexican state were nowhere to be found. In the tumultuous 1970s, the Mexican government’s reliance on the SIL became a political liability. The government of president José López Portillo publicly expelled the SIL in 1979 but privately allowed the SIL to continue working in rural Mexico because the missionary linguists were as indispensable as they were politically reliable.

 Juan Vega, graduate student