Name: Olga Lazín
Birthday: November 4
College: Bolyaj University, Cluj
Romania (MA in Romania)
Ph.D. in History, UCLA, 2001 U.S.A.
Major: Linguistics
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Book: Nerds: the
invention of the internet
Favorite Movie: Idiocracy
Favorite Food: Greek Food
Favorite Quote: Carpe Diem

My favorite links
* Media
* Links



Visit my blog here




Ph.D. Olga Magdalena Lazín



Field: Latin America
Reseach Interests: Latin America and Globalization in the
20th Century:
1. Impact of Technology & communications to foster the rise of civil society;
2. Rise of free trade blocks to break the negative heritage unmanageable state power;
3. Measurement of economic and social change in the 20 countries of Latin America;
4. Oral history of leaders;
5. Analyis of Elitelore at all levels of society (e.g. presidents, governors, mayors, peasant leaders)
--oral memories of leaders in Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica & Venezuela

Special Methods: oral history and historical statistics.

West Los Angeles College

History 44, June 20-July 28, 2005 

Dr. Olga M. Lazin

Office (310) 488 0061


The Mexican-American in U.S. History Since 1863


M, T, W. Th,  10:20-12:30                 `                                                     

Course I.D. 1213       

Location: CE 203       (UC:CSU - 3 UNITS - same as Chicano History 8)


This course introduces students to the background of the political, social, economic and cultural development of the United States from Reconstruction to the present, with particular emphasis on the contributions of the Mexican-American to the development of the modern United States, as seen by scholars in the USA, Mexico, and the world. At appropriate points, we analyze key events in the history and development of Mexico.


Course Objectives are to examine:


1. concepts of class, ethnicity, gender, indigenismo, nationalism, racialization, sexuality and transnationalism to understanding social interaction and social change among Chicanas/os and between Chicanas/os and other Americans.


2. formation and transformation of Chicano communities.


3. dynamics of individual and group identity among Chicanos.


4. interaction and outcome of the many strategies put forth by Mexican-Americans to determine what place Mexicans and their descendants should occupy in U.S. society and economy.


5. define terminology, including:

            Mexican-American                                          Latino

            Chicano                                                           Indigenous                  

            Hispano (Hispanic in U.S. Census)                Mecha


Required Readings. Selected from:


  1. Gonzales, Manuel G., A History of Mexicans in the United States

Bookstore: Building A-8, tel (310) 287-4560

  1. In-class hand-outs
  2. On-line readings

  Course Grading



  • 30% - 300 pts - Paper: A paper is required on the Gonzales book.

Directions on how to write the papers will be distributed in class.

The paper will receive two grades: one for content and one for form. The grade for content will dominate, but the grade for form will determine whether the paper will receive a “plus” or “minus”. Each paper must be typed, double-spaced, and contain no less than five full pages of text.


·      50% - 400 pts: Oral Participation In Class and Weekly Individual Oral Quiz


Each student must bring to each class a list of 5 questions about the required reading,

From which some of the questions will discussed by the class or in small groups. 

Please type the questions and don’t forget to include your name.


On Thursdays, while small groups are meeting, the instructor will meet individually with each student for 5-10 minutes to discuss/quiz about knowledge of lectures, required readings, and video presentations.


  • 20% - 100 – Bring in weekly one article and one title of film or video pertaining to the subject matter. Include under your name a paragraph on each why each is important.


Attendance will be taken at each class. Poor attendance will affect your grade, as described above. But -- if you are in any way ill, please do not attend class. Telephone and let me know why you are missing class, and your absence will be excused. Obtain lecture notes from one of your classmates. AND: do not assume you are going to be/have been dropped and simply stop coming to class--please contact me to see what may be done.


The coursework is equal to 1000 points, with each assignment worth a specific number of points directly equal to that percentage of the grade.


Guide to Historical “Chronologies”


Historical themes co-exist and juxtapose with one and another, often in “parallel” or “virtual” realities.


            “Order” is imposed artificially by historians on themes that are “disorderly” by nature.  Students must maintain a flexible mind, as if playing a video game of images that do not easily make sense.


            History is not simply an orderly chronology of facts but rather a series of interpretations about what the facts mean, and it is important to be able to jump backwards and forwards in time in order to follow themes. Students in this course must make their own interpretation to understand reality.


  Course Schedule for Reading and Some Examples of Themes

Week 1, 


Course Introduction: Dec. 8, 1863 (Reconstruction Period). Origins of Patriarchy and Women’s Place in History; Role of Machismo in Mexican Culture; Mexican-American War;

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


“A Latin Power Surge”, Newsweek, May 27, 2005.

READ for week 2: Gonzales, Chpts. 1-2


Week 2, 




Visiting Speaker José Molina (Chair, Advisory Board, UCLA Program on Mexico): “Case History of Migrant from Mexico to USA”


Film:  The Mexican Americans


READ for week 3:


“The Hispanic Challenge” by Samuel Huntington, handout, and Gonzales, Chpts. 3,4,5


Week 3, 7/5-7/8

Cultural Expectations & Machismo Changing National Identities at the “Frontier”: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona,    California


READ for week 4: Gonzales, Chpts. 6,7

July 4th is a national holiday, NO CLASS.


Week 4, 7/11-

The Portrayal of the Mexican/Mexican-American in Cinema.


READ for week 5: Article by Huntington on "The Hispanic Challenge” and READ Gonzales, Chpts. 8 and 9


Week 5,


Visiting Lecture: Dr. James Wilkie (Chair, UCLA Program on Mexico): “Los Angeles: Second Largest City of Mexico”

The Changing Face of Racism in USA Since Late 19th-Century.

Chicano Movement in the 1960s-70s.


READ for week 6: Gonzalez, Chpts. 10,11,12.


Week 6,  




Final individual oral discussions/quizzes July 28



 “Words of the Wise”:



2. Obtain notes from another student if you miss class (your responsibility).

3. You are responsible for knowing all material presented in class.

4. Complete the required readings before class as noted below in the "Tentative Schedule."

5. You are responsible for knowing the content of all required readings.

6. You are expected to prepare for class discussions and satisfactorily complete all assignments.

7. Raise your hand so the Instructor may call on you to ask a question or comment on the material.

8. Let us listen carefully to one another, discuss the ideas presented, and not comment on the speaker.

9. Treat others with respect.

10. Please do not engage in side conversations, which can distract class focus.

11. Turn off all cell phones and pagers.



For Students Who Want to Know More Now or in the Future:


1.  Link for Group Discussion: “Hispanics in L.A.”


2. Further Reading:

Recovering History Constructing Race, The Indian, black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans, by Martha Menchaca


From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in the Twentieth-Century America,

by Vicki L. Ruiz


Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945, by George Sanchez




Week 1 Introduction         Lecture Outline Dr. Lazin


The Consequences of the U.S. Mexican War; "Mexico Perdido, 1836_1848"

"Did the Nortenos Support Mexico or the United States?"

"All the Rights of Citizens?: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo"

Read: The English-version of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, at The Avalon Project at Yale University website: <> guadhida.htm

Interactions between Mexicanos and other Americans:


1. The Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521 set in motion three hundred years of colonialism during which the indigenous peoples, the Spanish, and the Africans mixed, clashed, and created cultures and societies far different than those in British North America.


2. From achievement of independence in 1821 until the outbreak of the Mexican American war in 1846, Mexico initiated important changes in its institutional, economic, and political realities which had important NEGATIVE consequences for society and culture as well as the economies of Mexico’s far northern provinces. For example, the Mexican central government required that all goods be shipped through Veracruz and Mexico City (and not direct from the world to Texas or California), thus irrationally driving up the original cost of imports by 400%.


3. The imposition of American rule in Texas, then in California, New Mexico, and Arizona set in motion profound changes for the native Mexican populations, including the acquisition of United States citizenship, substantial property losses, political and economic subordination, and ferocious American attacks on Mexican cultural practices and religious traditions.


4. As the United States economy expanded greatly after 1880, large numbers of Mexican immigrants traveled north to labor in the fields, mines, railroads, and factories. In many cases, immigrants mixed with descendants of the early pobladores and thereby revitalized Mexican culture in the Southwest. Various Americans reacted to the changes in the size and distribution of the Mexican-origin population with racism, nativism, and xenophobia.


5. Due primarily to ongoing immigration from Mexico, the Mexican-origin population has grown appreciably from approximately 100,000 at the turn of the twentieth century to more than twenty million today. We shall therefore pay special attention to what Mexicans, their offspring, and white Americans have had to say about Mexican immigration and its effects on Chicano social life and culture and as well the nation's economy, society, and culture.


6. We shall also emphasize the struggles of everyday men and women as well as of political, social, and civil rights movements to achieve equality and prosperity for Mexicanos in the United States.


7. Finally, we will consider the possible future of Chicanos and other Latinos in the United States subject to transnationalism and the global economy.


Week 2


"Incorporation of Mexicans into the United States, 1863-1900"

"Strangers In Their Own Land?: Land & Politics"



Week 3


"Incorporation of Mexicans into the United States, 1836-1900" "Hewers of Wood & Drawers of Water?:

Race & Labor"

"Whose Citizenship & Culture Did the new Americans Defend?"

"Citizens & Immigrants in Industrial America, 1900'-1920"

"Opportunity?: Mexican Americans & Commercial Agriculture"

"A New Start?: The Making of Mexico de Afuera"-


Week 4

"Citizens & Immigrants in Industrial America, 1900-1920"

"A New Home or Temporary Refuge?: Colonias & Barrios"

"Coping with the Color Line, 1920-1940"

"Can't We All Just Get Along?: Rural Segregation"

Read: "Mexicans or Americans?: Urban Realities"



Week 5

"Opportunity At Last, 1936-1960"

"Are We Mexican Americans?: The Roots of Integration"

"Separate or Apart: Struggles for Educational Equality".


Week 6



"Breaking & Reinforcing the Color Line, 1942-1965"

"Guest Workers or Slaves We Rent?: Braceros & Mojados"

"Americans Afterall?: Middle-Class Mexican Americans"

"The Rise of the Chicano Movement, 1960-1970"

A Promise Betrayed? Mexican American Youth & America


*   Aren't You Grateful?: La Huelga, La Tierra, Mexico Perdido

"The Chicano Movement's Transformations, 1970-1990"


"Did the Movement Die?: Effects of Success & Repression"

"Who Needs the Movement?: Inclusion, Identity & Politics



* "The Browning of America, 1965-2000"

"Why Don't The Mexicans Stay Home?: Mexican Immigration"


"Aren't Guatemalans Mexicans?: Latino Immigration"

"Identity, 1980-2000

"Mejor Solo Que Mal Acompanado?: Political Visions"

"Do Things Remain The Same, the More They Change?"

    With my students.

Olga Magdalena Lazín