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Interview: Claudio Iván Remeseira

Claudio Iván Remeseira is the author of “Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook,” (Columbia University Press, 2010) an anthology of essays on the city’s Latino, Latin American & Iberian cultural heritage, and winner of the Latino International Book Award in the category of Best Reference Book in English (2011). Editor-in-chief of “Hispanic New York” (, a blog and social media platform on Latino and Latin American news and culture. And he teaches a seminar for undergrads on the history of Latinos and the Latinization of the U.S. at Columbia University’s Center for American Studies and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

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  • Barbara Bishop-Sand

    Your PBS segment led me to write to you. I attended a Chicago suburban highschool in the early 1960′s. We were able to take a year’s course in Latin American history and culture. It included lit,poetry,political and economic history and music. The political relations of the US in re: Latin America since the late 1700′s was a complete revelation for me. I then graduated, took up a major for a B.A. in Latin American Studies, then went to Chile and Costa Rica for two years as a Fulbright scholar, studying the dynamics of the oiigarchy in land reform. I stayed on to work in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua in a tumultuous time. I returned to earn the M.A. in the area studies program at UCLA (which no longer exists). This is only to say that the need for students in the U.S. to learn about ours and their particular history and culture in the frame of a more nuanced and critical perspective in reiation to other cultures and histories is absolutely essential. Otherwise the continuation of any measure of lively and informed debate and democratic processes will be strangeld.

  • Barbara Bishop-Sand

    Your PBS segment led me to communicate with you. I attended a Chicago suburban high school in the early 1960′s. We were offered a one-year course (in the 3rd year) of either Latin American studies or East Asian Studies. These were all-encompassing in terms of the arts, political history and cultural history. This led me to finally earn a B.A. in Latin American Studies , and to live in Latin America for five years. I received a Fulbright grant to teach in two countries , then I joined the peace Corps for one year. This was the1960′s. I returned to the U.S. and earned the M.A. in the area studies program from UCLA. This high school program led to a far more nuanced understanding of human/political and cultural dynamics . Beyond that we were challenged to think critically about American history within our borders and without. To this day It astonishes me that we have lost so much in our educational institutions that promote understanding and grounding in cultures with which we interact so critically, or from which we originate.
    Thank you for your sympathetic and informed discussion on “Need to Know”

  • Susan Page

    I appreciated his comments and believe he was correct in that we should have a balanced approach to history and literature studies.

  • Gabriel Mark Robles

    What really pisses me off is because of bias and discrimination by the media itself, PBS has to play off a Cubano and Puerto Rican as “people that should know” about the Mexican-American plight. Mexican-Americans dwarf “other” latinos in the U.S.!

  • Joe Doakes

    It appears as though MEXICAN ETHNIC STUDIES is a page from MEIN KAMPF Hitler’s ethnic studies curriculum for building up the egos of Germans by hating the Jews and making Germans feel superior to virtually every other ethnic group in the WORLD.
    I would be interested to see how MEXICAN ETHNIC STUDIES handled the FACT that MEXICANS murdered AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS in TEXAS 1836.

  • Joe Doakes

    In view of the FACT that 95% of all the Africans that were taken from Africa, against their will, to be used as slaves in the Americas were brought to LATIN AMERICA and the CARRIBEAN, I wonder how an AFRICAN AMERICAN ETHNIC STUDIES GROUP would view the HISPANICS who started slavery in 1502?