OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Rosina Lozano

Portrait of Rosina Lozano
Image Credit: Nick Vossbrink

Rosina Lozano is an associate professor of history at Princeton University. Her research and teaching interests include relational studies of race and ethnicity, Latino/a/x History, History of Education, and Borderlands. She is the author of An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States, which was awarded the Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award and the PROSE award in Language and Linguistics. She has also conducted research on voting rights and the relationship between Mexican Americans and Indigenous peoples in the Southwest. Lozano has offered lectures and visited classes at such varied institutions as Brigham Young University, Columbia University’s Teaching College, Cornell University, Duke University, the Naval Academy, Pennsylvania State University, Seton Hall University, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Wabash College, and Yale University. She was honored to be interviewed by Jorge Ramos on Al Punto and to have published in places including the Los Angeles Times and Public Seminar. Lozano is a 2019 recipient of Princeton’s Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

The nation has always been multilingual, and Spanish-language rights, in particular, have remained an important political issue into the present. In the decades after the US-Mexican War, Spanish was visible on a broad array of items: on ballots; on stage, where translators next to political speakers could be seen and were expected; in governors’ proclamations; and in officially sanctioned translations of state laws. In the twentieth century, Spanish became a political language where its speakers and those opposed to its use clashed over what its presence in the United States meant and whether to allow its continuation. This lecture traces the major arguments of Lozano’s book An American Language.
In 1975, Congress passed a seven-year extension to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition to continuing to support the rights of African Americans, especially in the South, to vote and permanently outlawing literacy tests, the 1975 act legislated translations for language minorities. Congress defined language minorities to be Spanish speakers, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives. This talk goes through how Congress made the move from a Black/White law to supporting a broader swatch of the voting public, which included considering how to include Spanish speakers without labeling them as a race.
This lecture offers a broad swath of Spanish language archives that undergraduates, organizations, or academics can use to understand the history of the United States through the eyes of an ethnic minority. These sources offer a glimpse at the way that Spanish language sources can help to explain how new immigrants and those who were enveloped by the United States through the U.S.-Mexican War thought about their citizenship, the broader U.S. community, and others in the Spanish-speaking community. There are regional distinctions to analyze and lots of opportunities to understand how translation may have led to some concepts being lost in translation when they were conveyed to the Spanish-speaking community.