Chicano Essay Topics

  • Cinco de Mayo: Victory of the Mexican Army over France
  • Personal Autobiography and My Similarities with Characters from Hispanic American Novelists
  • An Analysis of, "In Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture" by Frederick Jameson
  • The Three Archetypal Roles for Women in Mexican and Chicana Cultures
  • Asian American Experience
  • Wedding Traditions
  • Segregation: The Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Judy Bacas Murals
  • Suffering and Assimilation
  • Seeing More Than Black and White
  • Guatemala and Spanish Cultures
  • Testosterone's Effects on Biology and Behavior
  • Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez
  • Cumbia in Mexican Culture
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • The Origin of Migrant Farmworkers
  • Bless Me, Ultima: The Cultural Distress Of A Young Society
  • The Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP)
  • Los Angeles; A Diverse Metropolis
  • Speech Communities
  • Guatemala and Spanish Cultures
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower and Civil Rights Act
  • His 135 Week 9 Final Project
  • Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima: A Psychological Critique of Religions
  • Youth Gangs Across the Globe
  • Health Care for Migrant Farm Workers
  • The Social, Economic, and Political Implications of the Conquest and Colonization of the Americas
  • Prison Gangs: Gangs and Security Threat Group Awareness
  • Heritage as an Idea of Oneself in Bless Me Ultima and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
  • The Legal and Historical Rationale of Bilingual Education
  • Code Switching and Modern Language Mixing
  • Latino Dual Identity
  • Racism in the Unites States
  • "Green Chile" Explication
  • Reaching My Students Through Real World Experiences
  • The Cariboo Cafe
  • Teen Pregnancy among the Latino Community
  • Development of African American Studies
  • El Norte Critical Analysis
  • Chapter 5 Outline
  • The Issue of Immigration: The Hispanic-American Diversity
  • Differences Between Island and Mainland Puerto Ricans
  • Elementary Statistics Project
  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty that ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.
  • Speaking Spanish in the USA
  • Mexican Americans and Immigrants During the Great Depression
  • I Just Wanna Be Average
  • Nutrition in Elderly People
  • Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez: Book Critique
  • The Sons of Guadalupe
  • Intercultural Communication
  • The Benefits of Spanish Speaking Home and English in School
  • The Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez
  • Native Community Life in Invasion by Benjamin Percy and The Barrio by Robert Ramirez
  • Comparing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Adolf Hitler
  • Criminalization of Poverty in Capitalist America
  • Mi Vida Loca
  • Anzaldúa’s Genre Borderlands
  • Brown: The Last Discovery Of America
  • Hispanic Groups in USA
  • Apa Style Lite for College Papers
  • Frq Analysis
  • Diversity Within English
  • American Me
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Borders and Boundries
  • AIS paper 2
  • Recovering History, Constructing Race: the Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans
  • Mendez vs Westminster
  • Race, Class and Gender through Family
  • American History and World War II
  • Canada's Chinatown and the Critical Race Theory
  • Latinos, Politics, and American Cinema
  • Illegal Immigrants of American Society
  • Race & Ethnicity in Our Society
  • Midterm Review
  • Black Is My Favorite Color by Bernard Malamud
  • Does Language Equal Power and Does It Define You as a Writer?
  • Mexicans in the United States
  • Analysis of "Zoot Suit"
  • Barrio Boy
  • Why Street Gangs Exist
  • Is The Education System Excluding Minorities?
  • Music - The Hip-hop Movement
  • The Evolution of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement
  • The Marijuana Grower's Guide
  • Educating English Language Learners: History of Lau vs. Nichols


Order and emphasis of core topics may vary from instructor to instructor.

I. Introduction to Chicano Studies

A. Chicano/a Studies as a field of scholarly inquiry

B. History and culture as a dynamic processes

C. Main historical periods in Chicano History

1.Pre-Columbian era, pre- 1519

2.Spanish colonial era, 1521-1821

3.Mexican independence and nationalism, 1821-1846

4.Anglo period, 1846-1960s

5.Diversity and modern Chicano issues

II. Historical roots of Chicano culture and society

A. Pre-Columbian period

1. Human evolution in Mesoamerica

a. Ecological adaptation

b. Agricultural adaptation

c. Sociocultural life

2. Mesoamerican civilization and societies






3. Aztec civilization, society and social order

a.History – Chichimecas to Tenochtitlan

b.Social hierarchy

c.Land system and the calpulli

d.Artisan production

e.Alliances and trade


g.Culture, religious practices and education

4. Spanish conquest

a.Spanish society and culture – Reconquest – 16th century

b.Background to exploration and discovery

c.Hernan Cortes versus Moctezuma and the legend of Quetzalcoatl

d.The fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan

e. The legacy of conquest in the Chicano worldview

B. Spanish colonialism in Mexico – 1521 – 1810

1. Cross-fertilization of Spanish and Aztec societies

a.The Columbian exchange

b.Religious syncretism – Virgin of Guadalupe


d.The forging of the “cosmic race”

2. Economy and Social order

a.Gold, encomienda and repartimiento

b.Hacienda system and debt peonage

c.Social role of hacendados

d.Life of debt peons

e.Castas, mestizaje and the social hierarchy

3. Culture

a.Daily changes in indigenous ways of life

b.Introduction of Catholicism

1.Cultural aspects of mestizaje

c.Indigenous resistance to Spanish culture

d.Women and family life 

4. Color and racism

a.Spanish ethnocentrism

b.Race and social class

c.Effects of racism

d.The flexibility of mestizaje

C.The making of Mexican nationalism – 1810-1840s

1. Politics and the break up of the colonial social order

a.Influence o indigenous elites – caciques

b.Influence of the age of Enlightenment

c.Bourbon reforms and imperial crisis

d.Liberals versus conservatives

e.El grito de Dolores and the war for independence

f.Rise of caudillo

g.Post-war instability in Mexico

2. Class – Mexican society under criollo rule

a.Conservatives versus liberals

b. Social groups and economic enterprises in the north

c. Break up of California missions

d. Hispanics and indigenous in New Mexico 

e. Cattle ranching in California and the Californios

3. Culture – rise of a Mexican identity

a.The decline of cultural imperialism

b.Mexican influence in California and New Mexico

c.Increasing mestizaje and its challenge to racism

4.The break-up of Mexico and a new system for Mexican-Americans

a.Anglo-American expansion – Manifest Destiny

b.Annexation of Texas

c.Mexican American War

d.Mexican resistance and social banditry

e.Treaty of 1848

f.Anglo expropriation of Mexicans’ lands

g.New cultural blending in US Southwest and California

h.Economic growth and Mexican labor 

D. Anglo-American period – 1846-1960s

1. Social order and social classes in the United States

a.Industrialization and economic expansion

b.Chicano role in the economy

c.Mexican Revolution and immigration

d.Chicano discrimination in the workplace

e.Chicanos in trade unionism

f.Chicanos on the margin of political process

2. Culture – assimilation versus nativist acculturation

a.American versus Mexican culture

b.Strategies and problems of Mexican adaptation to American culture

c.Syncretism – pachucos


e.American work ethic versus Mexican celebration

f.Cultural imperialism and educational practices

3. Race and racism

a.Roots of prejudice and discrimination

b.Tejano versus Anglo culture

c.Anglo violence toward Tejanos

d.White supremacists in California

e.Institutional racism and public barriers

f.Chicano reactions to mistreatment – reverse racism

g.The continuation of mestizaje

E. The Chicano movement of the 1960s-70s

1. Roots of Chicano resistance and organization

2. Precursors of change

a. Black Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s 

b. Johnson’s War on Poverty 

c. The Vietnam War.

3. Chicano political organizations, groups and actions

a.The Brown Berets

b.United Mexican American Students

c.Los Angeles high school walk outs

d.La Raza Unida Partido

e.Chicano moratoriums of the 1970s

f.Association of Mexican-American Educators

g.Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan – MECha

h.August 29 Moratorium

i.Diversity within the movement

4. Chicano cultural expression


b.Mestizaje to Chicanismo

c.Chicano arts

d.Educational transformations

III. Selected contemporary social, economic and/or cultural issues related to Mexican Americans

A. Economic principles of Mexican immigration

1. Reasons for immigration

2. History of Mexican immigration to US

a.The Mexican Revolution and economic expansion in the US, 1910 – 1929

b.The Depression and the Bracero program, 1930 – 1964

c.Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and increased Mexican immigration

d.Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Amnesty and increased restrictions

e.Immigration Act of 1990 and limits on family-sponsored immigration

3. Racism and increased risks for undocumented immigrants crossing the border

4.Selected personal accounts/case studies

B. Mexican immigrants in the US today – social and economic issues

1.Economic and demographic profiles

2.Income and poverty

3.Settlement patterns

4.Wage assimilation

5.Economic impacts of immigration

6.Undocumented immigrants


8.Selected personal accounts/case studies

C. Mexican immigrants and cultural development in US urban centers

1.Becoming Mexican-American/Chicano/a

2.Settlement patterns

3.Divided loyalties

4.New nationalism, Mexican style

5.Religious adaptations

6.Music and growth of mass culture

7.The rise of communities

8.Ambivalent Americanism

D. The education of Mexican Americans

1.Educational profiles

2.Secondary education

3.Bilingual education

4.College education

5.California Community Colleges and Chicanos Studies

6.Education, language and empowerment

7.Economic incentives to invest in education

8.Social and cultural factors affecting the decision to invest in education

9.Selected personal accounts/case studies

E. Mexican Americans in the labor market

1.Employment patterns

2.Occupational patterns

3.Annual income

4.Wages, human capital and discrimination

5.Selected personal accounts/case studies

F. Mexican Americans toward the middle class

1.Income distribution

2.Factors affecting poverty rates

3.Public assistance

4.Mexican americans as an exception to the underclass model of poverty

5.Wealth and asset accumulation

6.Mexican American home ownership

7.Selected personal accounts/ case studies

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