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Beyond The Alamo: UH Prof Takes On Texas History and Identity

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May 28, 2008-Houston-
The complexities of identities are at the heart of a new offering by University of Houston history professor Raúl Ramos, who begins a discussion on Texas identity in his book "Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861."

"When people talk about this part of Texas-the Alamo, San Jacinto-they call it the ‘birthplace of Texas,'" Ramos said. "But Texas wasn't born then. It was around for more than 100 years. There was a lot of history before that."

Ramos tells the story of Texas' identity, not from a romantic view of battles and heroes, but from a perspective of cooperative connections between settlers in San Antonio ("Bexareños"), indigenous groups and Anglos. Ramos, who teaches Chicano/a history, history of the American West and Texas history, divides his discussion into two sections: the mixing of indigenous, Mexican and the "American immigrant" peoples, followed by the emergence of the political and ethnic turbulence that forged Texas.

The discussion is topical given current debate on immigration. Ramos says Texas history seems to stop at the border, but doing so loses sight of the connection to the bigger picture and the web of cultural connections. He says the story of Texas speaks to current divisive debates on race, immigration and ethnicity. To that end, he renames the Texas Revolution, the "War of Secession" and Texas colonists "immigrants."

"These terms take on a different context," Ramos said. "It's the War of Secession because that's what was actually happening, but in current Texas there is no way to discuss that."

Ramos will read excerpts from the book and sign copies from 2 - 5 p.m., Saturday, June 7 at Casa Ramirez, 241 W. 19th St. He also will answer questions.

"Identities are complicated, not simple or black and white," Ramos said. "Everyone has a complicated family history and personal story. History needs to paint a story that makes room for that variety."

For more information about the UH department of history, visit www.class.uh.edu/hist/.

For more information about "Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821- 1861," visit http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-8181.html.

WHAT: Beyond the Alamo:  Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861
Reading and book signing
WHEN: 2 - 5 p.m., Saturday, June 7
WHERE: Casa Ramirez
241 W. 19th St.
Houston, TX 77008
WHO: UH history professor Raúl Ramos

 

 

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