Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Sanders, Katrina

First Committee Member

Ogren, Christine

Second Committee Member

Colvin, Carolyn

Third Committee Member

Locke, Leslie

Fourth Committee Member

Harshman, Jason


This dissertation, “Viva La Raza”: Chicano Student Identity and Activism at Predominately White Midwestern Universities, 1970-1979, specifically focuses on Chicano student activism, their understanding of their Midwestern identity, and how they created spaces for themselves at four predominately white Midwestern universities—The University of Iowa (UI); the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UM); the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW); and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (U of I) between 1970 and 1979. This dissertation’s central argument is that Chicano students at these four universities adopted a hybrid identity. They shared the Chicano ideology of reclaiming their Mexican heritage that was emerging in the Southwest because they also felt the negative effects that resulted from the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe. However, they also considered their regional identity because they had to shift the way they organized, demanded inclusion, sought visibility, and persisted at attaining their demands at these four institutions—and unlike in the Southwest, which was physically previously Mexico, the Midwest had no geographical ties to Mexico.

Additionally, Chicano students sought to be visible, not only to their local Midwestern Anglo American campuses and communities, but also to Chicanos in the Southwest. Lastly, due to the activism of Chicano students at these four institutions—especially during the early 1970s—future generations of Chicanos benefited from the increased recruitment of Chicano students and spaces to call home on campus through the creation of Chicano Studies departments and cultural centers.


viii, 185 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 165-185).


Copyright © 2019 Carla Joann Gonzalez