The Long UC Santa Barbara Chicana/o/x Movement

From El Plan to El Centro, 1969–2019

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Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

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Abstract

Most social movement scholars assume that the African American Civil Rights and Chicana/o/x Movements lasted no more than ten years. Framing these movements as “short,” rather than “long,” minimizes their complex, radical roots, reinforcing popular misconceptions that they had narrow goals, such as color-blindness. In this article, I utilize a case study approach to examine the long Chicana/o/x Movement on one specific campus—the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The movement on that campus began with the historic El Plan de Santa Barbara Conference in April 1969, and it continued into the 1990s with a ten-day hunger strike. It persisted into the late 2010s when Chicanx/Latinx students mobilized to preserve their beloved “home away from home,” El Centro Arnulfo Casillas.

Contributor Notes

Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published two books, Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Justice (2005) and Starving for Justice: Hunger Strikes, Spectacular Speech, and the Struggle for Dignity (2017). Professor Armbruster-Sandoval is currently working on a new book that examines the Chicana/o Movement in Los Angeles from the late 1970s until today.

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