by Gerald E. Poyo

About Gerald E. Poyo

Gerald E. Poyo is O’Connor Chair for the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest and Professor of Latin American and U.S. Latino History at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. His most recent book is_Exile and Revolution: Jose D. Poyo, Key West, and Cuban Independence._


History requires considering the particular and the universal (Ryn 2003). A distinguished body of writing has interpreted many aspects of the particular experiences of the history of persons of Latin American descent in the United States, utilizing a variety of analytical categories including national origin, class, race, gender, culture, and region, to name a few. Only recently are historians taking up the challenge of thinking about Latina/o history with broad and integrative strokes, including crossing national group boundaries to consider the connections and affinities necessary to produce holistic approaches. If the danger of focusing on the affinities is over-generalization and homogenization of particular experiences, understanding the various groups as mutually exclusive is equally problematic. Insofar as affinity may be understood as a continuum from particular group experiences to related or shared experiences, then comprehensive Latina/o historical narratives are surely possible (Goizueta 1992; Gracia 2000).