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2016 Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award

Reconceptualizing the Teaching of Mexican American Contributions in U.S. History: A Case Study on Mendez v. Westminster 

Maribel Santiago, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI


Maribel Santiago’s dissertation, written as three separate articles, considers how students in U.S. history classes examine Mexican American contributions and speaks to the complexity of history and how we make sense of the past.  The dissertation challenges the reader to consider how U.S. history curricula and teachers represent and inquire into Latino/a contributions. It builds upon the idea that the collective memory of the past is difficult to countermand, but that the use of inquiry can help create a "non-essentialist" perspective of the past, which can have ramifications for how we view race and history. Lastly, the third article of the dissertation deftly examines the unique and complex racial identity of Mexican-Americans and how it shapes their understanding of history.

Santiago presented a session on her dissertation research on Friday, December 2, 11:15am–12:15pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first generation college student, Santiago double majored in history and Chicano Studies at UCLA and earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University under the advisement of Dr. Sam Wineburg. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University.

About the NCSS Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award