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Special Collections looks at AZ history

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ASpecial+Collections+is+hosting+Becoming+Arizona%3A+A+Valentine+State%2C+in+commemoration+the+Arizona+centennial.+There+will+be+a+lecture+series+that+addresses+how+hispanic+heritage+has+influenced+culture+and+politics+in+the+southwest+United+States.%0A
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Special Collections is hosting Becoming Arizona: A Valentine State, in commemoration the Arizona centennial. There will be a lecture series that addresses how hispanic heritage has influenced culture and politics in the southwest United States.

UA Special Collections will host a lecture today to address the progression and development of the Valentine state over the last 100 years.

Arizona is celebrating its centennial today, as it became the 48th state to join the U.S. in 1912. To commemorate this occasion, Special Collections will host a discussion titled “The Sleeping Giant vs. the Politics of Fear: Arizona’s Hispanic Society in the Twenty-First Century” today in the Special Collections reading room at 7 p.m. Tom Sheridan, a research anthropologist and anthropology professor, will give the lecture, which will look into how Hispanic heritage has influenced culture and politics in Arizona.

“What we want to do for this lecture is to look at Arizona in the present and future,” said Erika Castaño, Special Collections assistant librarian and archivist. “We think this is good to do that, as well as look at the past.”

The lecture will also discuss how the Hispanic community has grown in the last 10 years and how that affects the political culture and economy of Arizona. In the last decade, the Hispanic population in Arizona has grown from 24 to 34 percent, according to Sheridan.

“I will be talking about how I think the Arizona Legislature has mounted the worst assault on Mexican people and Mexican culture and society since early statehood,” Sheridan said, adding that if Hispanics can organize in proportion to their numbers, Arizona politics will change in the next 10 years.

Sheridan, whose book “Arizona: A History” is being revised and republished to fit the Arizona centennial this year, has extensively researched the culture and the people who have lived in Arizona dating back 11,000 years. Sheridan said he hopes people who attend his lecture will be able to understand more about Latino culture in Arizona history and recognize it as important today in regards to contemporary topics of race and politics.

“The people who are proud to be Mexican are no different than American citizens that are proud to be Irish or Italian,” Sheridan said. “Being proud of your ethnic background does not mean you are not proud to be an American.”

This lecture is the second in a three-part series about Arizona’s history. The first lecture, which was presented last November, discussed the history of Latina/Latino literature. The third lecture will take place at 7 p.m. on March 28 in Special Collections, and will talk about important female figures in Arizona history. The entire lecture series correlates to the exhibit “Becoming Arizona: The Valentine State,” which presents documents and artifacts from Arizona’s history leading up to statehood.

“The exhibition we have (in Special Collections) goes up to statehood, and the lecture series is meant to cover more current issues or events that are going in Arizona,” said Verónica Reyes, associate librarian for Special Collections.

“I’m hoping with the exhibit, people will go away with what happened prior to statehood,” Reyes said. “And with the lecture series, I hope they can take away some exciting nuggets that happened from statehood to present.”

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