April 20-24, 2022
NACCS: 50 Years of Activist Scholarship
Registration is now open for Members!
Come celebrate and reflect on 50 years of Activist Scholarship!
In March of 1972, a group of Social Science scholars representing their Chicano caucuses in the field met at the Southwestern Social Science Association conference in San Antonio, TX and discussed the need for a Chicano organization of scholars. They were at the nascent stage of creating the intellectual arm of the Chicano movement. Fifty years later, the Chicana/o/x community has its intellectual base of scholar-activists in an organization now called the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS).
Always committed to the community, NACCS has been at the vanguard of social justice activist scholarship. Providing a critique of racist academic tendencies and offering a forum for the challenging of mainstream white supremacist academy, NACCS in its earliest form encouraged scholarship that centered on Chicanos. Since its founding, some Chicana and Chicano scholars grappled with the racism, sexism, and homophobia of mainstream society, with our students often taking the lead. In 1984, the Chicana Caucus was formed to challenge patriarchy and sexism specifically within the then-named NACS. The Chicana Caucus sponsored the formation of the Lesbian Caucus in 1992, which also eventually led to the formation of the Joto Caucus (eventually becoming the Joteria Caucus). By 1996, the National Association for Chicano Studies renamed itself to confirm equal status in gender and became the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS). By the new millennium, heterosexism was part of the critique of its scholarship and activism. Today, with its recognition of the continued need to challenge injustice within society, NACCS has moved its scholarship beyond narrow conceptions of gender and acknowledges a Chicanx identity not rooted in destructive binary assumptions. Always a part of the social justice movement, NACCS has used its platform to challenge racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and cisgenderness in its scholarship and activism. The organization has consistently sought to remain and be a part of the activist Chicana/o/x community by contributing supportive statements and providing scholarship critiquing social inequality.
Unwilling to let mainstream academia be the only space of scholarship, NACCS, like its diverse sister organizations, was formed out of the student activist and labor movements of the 1960’s and they all converged in their experiences in higher education often as the only Chicana or Chicano in traditional department as graduate students. NACCS has evolved, changed, fought, and flourished in its 50 years of activist scholarship and is still in many ways the intellectual arm of the Chicano Movement.
The original five themes for the first conference held a year later by the National Caucus of Chicano Social Scientists (1973), entitled “A New Direction for Social Science,” were the following:
- Social science research by Chicanos must be much more problem-orientated than traditional social science has been. . . .
- Social science research projects should be inter-disciplinary in nature. . . .
- Social science as practiced by Chicanos should break down the existing barriers between research and action. . . .
- Chicano social science must be highly critical, in the double sense of rigorous analysis and a trenchant critique of American institutions. . . .
- Chicanos must be careful not to unduly limit the scope of our investigations. . . .