Center Kicks Off Year of Events on Mexican Revolution's Centennial

A series on the 1910 revolution began Nov. 16 with a conference organized jointly by the Center for Mexican Studies and the just-opened Los Angeles branch of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

Center Kicks Off Year of Events on Mexican Revolution

David Hayes-Bautista

Though November of next year, the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies will host about one public forum per month on campus assessing the impacts of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 on politics, society, education, migration and the arts. The series began on Nov. 16, 2009, with a conference organized jointly by the just-opened Los Angeles branch of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, featuring scholars from both institutions; the UCLA International Institute and Latin American Institute, which houses the center, were also cosponsors.

Upcoming public events include film screenings and discussions, a May 2010 symposium on U.S.-Mexican migration and an October meeting about the 1910 revolution's impacts on literature. The coming year's events also mark the bicentennial of the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21).

Delivering the keynote speech at the Nov. 16 conference was David Hayes-Bautista, an author and UCLA professor of medicine. Currently at work on book that treats the history of Mexico-U.S. migration in eight "waves," Hayes-Bautista used demographic data to show that "Californios" living on what had been Mexican land before 1848 were, by late 1910, quickly being replaced by a third generation who spoke little Spanish and had much weaker ties to Mexico and Central America. In effect, northern migration sparked by the 1910-20 upheavals in Mexico (the sixth wave since 1769), "kept Latinos from becoming Italians" in their patterns of assimilation, he said.

Continuing his story, Hayes-Bautista pointed out that births, not immigration, are driving the rapid growth of California's Latino population today. Wave eight "pretty much ended in 1990," according to data in the book-in-progress.

During the morning session, two UNAM historians offered perspectives on the pre- and post-revolutionary periods, speaking in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation provided by the center. Topics for the afternoon sessions included revolution in Mexican literature. Some papers will be made available on the center's website.