A leader in Latino humanities studies

UTA partners with leading Hispanic-serving research universities on Crossing Latinidades projects

Thursday, Jun 09, 2022 • Jeff Carlton : Contact

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The University of Texas at Arlington, alongside some of the nation’s other top Hispanic-serving research universities, are working together on cross-regional projects in Latino humanities studies. The projects, funded by a $5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aim to expand research opportunities for a growing number of Latino students and support a national cohort of doctoral students in Latino humanities.

Institutions participating in the projects are members of a newly announced Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities (HSRU) comprising all 20 of the nation’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions that also are designated as R1 doctoral universities with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The HSRU Alliance aims, by 2030, to double the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled and increase by 20% the number of Hispanic faculty members at its 20 universities.

UTA faculty are working on several Mellon Foundation-funded projects as part of a national initiative in Latino humanities studies called “Crossing Latinidades: Emerging Scholars and New Comparative Directions.” Among the projects:

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From left, Joshua Newton, Ariadna Reyes-Sanchez and Cristina Salinas

  • Joshua Newton, a Ph.D. student in planning and public policy in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA), will participate in a research group studying how Latino communities confront environmental injustices and adapt to extreme climate events across the U.S. He also received a fellowship to attend the Crossing Latinidades Summer Institute in Latino Humanities Studies Methodologies and Theories at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Ariadna Reyes-Sanchez, assistant professor in CAPPA, is part of a broad collaborative project with University of California at Irvine and University of Illinois-Chicago on how low-income Latinx communities experience and adapt to climate change in Texas, California, and Illinois.
  • Cristina Salinas, associate professor of history, is working with a team of scholars from the University of California at Riverside and the University of Arizona to map the political participation and activism of Chicana and Mexicana women in South Texas and Arizona.

“UTA’s participation in the Crossing Latinidades initiative showcases our commitment both to expanding cross-disciplinary research opportunities on issues impacting our Latino communities and to engaging our diverse community of researchers and scholars,” said Jennifer Cowley, UTA president. “UT Arlington is among the most inclusive research institutions in the nation, and I’m proud that our engagement in Latino humanities projects with peer institutions will bring more diverse perspectives into the academic landscape.”

A previously announced Crossing Latinidades project at UTA involves Department of Modern Languages faculty Jinny Choi, Sonia Kania, Fernando Melero-García and Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez evaluating Latino studies within the context of heritage language and creative writing curriculum. In addition, under the leadership of CAPPA Interim Dean Maria Martínez-Cosio and Christian Zlolniski, director of UTA’s Center for Mexican American Studies, UTA is contributing to several initiatives, including a working group focused on curriculum for Spanish as a heritage language and another dedicated to the intersection of creative writing and social justice.

UTA earned the Hispanic Serving Institution designation in 2014, meeting criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education. UTA most recently earned a designation as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions as defined under the Higher Education Act (HEA) for colleges or universities with an undergraduate enrollment that is at least 10 % Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander.