An award-winning scholar at the University of California, Irvine, Vicki Ruiz is the author, editor, or coeditor of several books, including From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America (1998); with Ellen Carol DuBois, Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women's History (4th edition, 2008); and, with Virginia Sanchez Korrol, Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia (2006). A past president of the OAH, the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, she is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians as well as a recipient of the 2014 National Humanities Medal for pioneering the history of twentieth-century Latinas.
Why does Latino history matter? Contrary to media depictions of Latinos as people who arrived day before yesterday, there exists a rich layering of nationalities and generations. Whether carving out a community in St. Augustine in 1565 to reflecting on colonialism and liberty during the 1890s to fighting for civil rights through the courts of the 1940s, Spanish-speaking peoples made history within and beyond national borders. Bringing out larger themes, debates, and sources, this presentation focuses on three historical moments pivotal to re-imagining an American narrative with Latinos as meaningful actors—1848 (the U.S.-Mexican War), 1898 (the Filipino-Cuban-Spanish-American War), and 1948 (the Latino G.I. Generation).