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Leading Historian and Noted Author Tells the Stories of Mexican-American Women
Irvine, Calif., Oct. 22, 2001 -- Vicki Ruiz, a distinguished scholar of Hispanic America, joined the faculty of the history department at UC Irvine this fall as professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies. Ruiz's writing and research focuses on 20th century U.S. history, specializing in Chicana/Chicano studies, oral narratives, gender studies, labor and immigration as well as California and the West.
"Professor Ruiz is one of the leading historians of Chicana/Chicano history in the world, and we are pleased to have her join our faculty," said Ken Pomeranz, chair of the history department. "She essentially created her specific field --the study of Mexican-American women in the U.S. Southwest and Pacific Coast --and earned acceptance for it in the American academy. On a broader level, her work contributes significantly to labor history, women's history, immigration history and the history of the American West."
Ruiz is also noted for her early work that broke ground in the ways it integrated oral histories and the use of conventional archival sources, setting new, higher standards for that type of work. Her most recent book, "From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in 20th Century America," is her attempt to reconcile the "two histories" she grew up with --the history she learned in school and the stories told around the kitchen table by her mother and grandmother.
Many of Ruiz's articles are reprinted or translated into other languages. Her book "Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization and the California Food Processing Industry" is in its fifth edition, and her third edition of "Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History" has been translated into Japanese. Ruiz's ongoing project is a two-volume reference book titled "Latinas in the United States: An Historical Encyclopedia." The work will include about 800 entries on prominent Latinas from the 16th century to the present, along with 500 photographs and essays covering such topics as women in religion, the arts, politics and labor unions, and marriage across cultural and racial lines. The book, to be published in 2003, is co-authored with Virginia Sanchez Korrol, head of Brooklyn College's Puerto Rican and Latino studies department.
Ruiz comes to UCI from Arizona State University where she was chair of the Chicana and Chicano studies department. She previously had served as the Andrew W. Mellon All-Claremont Professor in the Humanities and chair of the history department at Claremont Graduate University. Ruiz participates in numerous professional service organizations and has earned a number of honors and awards. Most recently, former President Clinton nominated Ruiz to the National Council of the Humanities board. Last year, Latina magazine named Ruiz "Latina of the Year" in the field of education for her contributions to Latina history.
Ruiz is among the first generation of Mexican-American women to earn a Ph.D. in history, which she completed at Stanford University in 1982. An advocate of outreach, Ruiz said: "One of the things that attracted me to UCI was the incredible opportunity to participate in the outreach efforts, such as the HOT (Humanities Out There) program, as well as to work with outstanding colleagues in a wonderful intellectual environment."
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