Raúl A. Ramos, associate professor in the University of Houston department of history, is the winner of the inaugural NACCS-Tejas Book Award from the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Tejas Foco (state branch). The NACCS-Tejas award recognizes an outstanding, single-authored non-fiction book written by scholars in any number of disciplines that best addresses a significant subject related to the state's Mexican community.
"I'm delighted to receive the recognition from the NACCS-Tejas Foco," Ramos said. "This comes at an important time for understanding the historic significance of ethnic Mexican people in the state. NACCS plays a critical role in supporting academic research and dialogue around race and ethnicity in Texas."
Ramos is the author of "Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio," which explored the story of Texas' identity, not from a romantic view of battles and heroes, but from a perspective of cooperative connections between settlers in San Antonio ("Bexareños"), indigenous groups and Anglos.
"Identities are complicated, not simple or black and white," Ramos said. "Everyone has a complicated family history and personal story. History needs to paint a story that makes room for that variety."
Ramos teaches classes in Chicano/a history to 1910, History of the American West, Texas to 1865 and Borderlands History. Currently, he is researching Mexican Independence parades and Fiestas Patrias in the American Southwest during the early 20th century.
"Professor Ramos received a unanimous vote from the committee for his publication's original interpretive framework, as well as the excellent narrative used to recount the lives of all the various social groups that inhabited Texas and Tejano society during the early- to mid-19th century," said the University of North Texas' Roberto R. Calderón, who chaired the awards committee. "This is a history that is inclusive, rather than exclusive. It provides the kind of historical literature needed as the state's rapidly changing demography demands a new way of viewing our past, present and future."
The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies serves academic programs, departments and research centers that focus on issues pertaining to Mexican Americans, Chicana/os and Latina/os. Formed in 1972 at the height of the Chicana/o movement, the NACCS provided a space where Chicana/o scholars, students and community activists could develop their talents in higher education.
The award was presented as part of the organization's annual conference taking place this year in Austin. The award carries a $200 prize.
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For more information on the UH department of history, visit http://www.class.uh.edu/hist/default.asp.
For more information on Ramos' book Beyond the Alamo, visit http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-8181.html