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Michigan State University

Chicanx/Latinx Studies Research Guide

Starting Points - Background Reading

Chicanx & Latinx Studies is a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary field. Research from the field encompasses a wide range of subject areas. Below are just a few examples of starting points that maintain a Latinx Studies focus. Depending on the subject area of your research, it is a good idea to check out resources within that area as well. 

Glossary of Terms

Consider the keywords you are using when searching. This list is originally created by Dr. Rachel Stein, Research & Instruction Librarian at Tulane University. Click here to visit her research guide

Latino, Latina, Latin@

Commonly used adjectives in books, book chapters, articles, and mass media that allow gender binaries of masculine (o), feminine (a), and masculine/feminine (@). Latino as an adjective reflects the acceptance of the -o ending in Spanish to describe a group of people that includes men, or as a default when gender is not specified. Latin@ is used to encompass masculine and feminine. 
Latinx, Latine Latinx and Latine both reject the gender binaries of masculine/feminine to embrace gender neutrality. Latine is a more recent development that reflects a preference to use the "e" rather than "x" as a gender-neutral ending because it is easier to pronounce in speech. Both tend to be used in progressive and activist-leaning publications, whether academic or popular/mass media. 
Hispanic Term used by the U.S. Government to collect census data, thus a common keyword in demography, politics and media. It is also a term that many use to self-identify, along with the Spanish hispano/s
Hispanic-Americans Key term to use when looking for books, since this continues to be the standard Library of Congress Subject Heading used to catalog books about Latines in the United States. 

Chicano, Chicana, Chicanx, Chicane

Refers to Mexican-Americans, particularly in relation to activist movements of the 20th century.

Mexican-American(s)

Cuban-American(s)

Venezuelan-American(s)

etc.

Hyphenated nationalities are commonly used across publications and in Library of Congress Subject Headings.
Puerto Rican(s) Commonly used across publications, including Library of Congress Subject Headings
Boricua Refers to Puerto Ricans. It is derived from the Taíno word Boriken and is used to affirm Puerto Ricans' devotion to the island's Taíno heritage. Search as a keyword rather than a subject heading.
Nuyorican Used to identify New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent. The term derives from a combination of "New York" and "Puerto Rican". Search as a keyword rather than a subject heading.

Cubans --- United States

Mexicans --- United States

Venezuelans --- United States

Colombians --- United States

etc.

Try subject searches for nationality AND United States when looking for academic resources. 
Afro-Latino, Afro-Latina, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Latine Terms used to describe people of African and Latin American descent. Not a Library of Congress Subject Heading. 
African-American(s) Library of Congress Subject Heading that may be used in combination with others for books about Afro-Latines. 
Black(s) Library of Congress Subject Heading that may be used in combination with other for books about Afro-Latines.

 

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