UA'S National Prize For Excellence in Mexican American Studies Given To Pioneer of Chicana Feminista Pedalogy

March 14, 2019

The award, co-created by the University of Arizona Department of Mexican American Studies, will be given to Professor Dolores Delgado Bernal at a March 30, 2019, dinner fundraiser benefiting MAS graduate students.

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Photo of Delgado Bernal
Dolores Delgado Bernal

The Saber es Poder Academic Excellence Award in Mexican American Studies, now in its second year, recognizes a distinguished scholar whose work has demonstrated sustained excellence and long-term commitment to advancing our understanding of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrant populations in the United States. The award also recognizes contributions in the areas of teaching, community engagement and the promotion of social justice.

This annual award, which comes with a $10,000 prize, grew out of a grassroots collaboration between the University of Arizona’s Department of Mexican American Studies, the local nonprofit Fundación México, and the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson.

This year’s award recipient is Dolores Delgado Bernal, chair of the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

About Dolores Delgado Bernal

Dolores Delgado Bernal, who earned her Ph.D. from UCLA as a first-generation college student, investigates educational (in)equity, Latinx educational pathways, feminista pedagogies, and different forms of resistance.

Her co-authored and co-edited books include: Transforming Educational Pathways for Chicana/o Students: A Critical Race Feminista Praxis (2017), Chicana/Latina Testimonios as Pedagogical, Methodological and Activist Approaches to Social Justice (2015), and Chicana/Latina Education in Everyday Life: Feminista Perspectives on Pedagogy and Epistemology (2006). 

Delgado Bernal’s awards include the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association; the Tortuga Outstanding Scholar Award from Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, and the Derrick Bell Legacy Award from Critical Race Studies in Education Association.

“Few Chicanx scholars are unfamiliar with the work of Dolores Delgado Bernal. Her work has validated the unique viewpoints of many Chicanx scholars, who now routinely examine the intersection of gender, class, and ethnicity,” said Anna Ochoa O’Leary, head of the UA Department of Mexican American Studies.

Ochoa O’Leary said that in the mid-to-late 1990s, Delgado Bernal’s work provided trail-blazing pathways to unlocking how working-class families in neighborhoods and barrios in California mobilized entire communities to advance the education of Chicanx and language minority students.

“Her work set into motion the development of new generations of scholars who became empowered—and empowered others,” Ochoa O’Leary said.

“I want to thank the Mexican American Studies Department at the University of Arizona and the community organization, Fundación México, for the honor of being selected for the Saber es Poder Award and for initiating an award that recognizes contributions in the areas of community engagement and the promotion of social justice,” Delgado Bernal said. “These are contributions that should be at the core of higher education institutions. With much work ahead of us, I humbly receive the award in the name of all the colegas, students, familias, and community activists I have worked with and learned from over the last 30 years.”

Awards Dinner Also Benefits Students and Honors Community Members

An awards celebration will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2018, at Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 E 2nd St, Tucson. Tickets for the event, which includes a no host bar, dinner, and live entertainment, are $75. Learn more information or to purchase tickets.

Proceeds from the awards dinner go toward the MAS-Fundación México Graduate Student Endowment Fund, which helps fund the research projects of graduate students in the UA Department of Mexican American Studies.

The event will also recognizes the contribution of members of the Tucson community who have worked to open worlds of possibility for others through education. This year’s honorees are Ramona Grijalva, for her lifetime commitment to literacy and learning, and Roni Capin Ashford-Rivera, author of the companion books to Disney’s animated film, “Coco.” 

“Saber es Poder” /“Knowledge is Power”

An estimated 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican-origin reside in the United States, including 11.4 million who were born in Mexico, and 22.3 million born in the U.S. who self-identify as Hispanics of Mexican origin.

“Although there has been much research on the issues facing these populations, and Mexican American or Latinx or Chicanx Studies are now common in many American universities, there has been no recognition of the researchers who contribute to these areas of study,” said Ochoa O’Leary, explaining why the UA partnered to create this award in 2017.

The UA Department of Mexican American Studies is committed to contemporary applied public policy research on Mexican Americans and works collaboratively with community agencies in promoting leadership and empowerment of Mexican Americans within the state and the nation. It is also one of the few institutions in the country that offers a B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in the discipline.