Angie Diaz, 2014

Angie Diaz graduated in 2014 with the Certificate in Latino/a Studies in the Global South. Her senior honors thesis in the History Department was titled "Interstitial Resistance in the Role of Puchiquismo in (Re)Shaping Chicanidad in Houston," which earned her the Gilder-Lehrman History Scholar Award. This prize recognizes 15 top History students nationally. Angie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in American Studies, following a gap year that will include teaching English and American Culture in China and possibly working with Americorps.

What was your favorite Latino/a Studies course?
By far, my favorite course in the program has been the LSGS Capstone taught by Antonio Viego. Entitled “Back to the Latino/a Future,” the course was an interdisciplinary education on the structures that face Latinos/as in the United States. More than that, it instilled the question of how I could claim my ethnic identity as a point of resistance within this larger narrative. The five-person course became a community, one where we could discuss subtle, routine discrimination we’d all experienced and expand upon it within the context of neoliberalism, (critical) race theory, or whatever it was we were learning about that week. I constantly find myself returning to the lessons of this class, both academically and daily life.

How did your interest eventually evolve into a decision to pursue the certificate?
The first time I registered for classes, in the summer before my freshman year, I read the entire aces catalog. Glazing over the math sections, I spent days trying to map the perfect schedule. When I stumbled across “Intro to LSGS,”

I had no idea what Latino/a Studies or the Global South entailed, but the course seemed to address questions I had been struggling with (what seemed like) all my life. The course made me feel less isolated during my first semester away from home, while also introducing me to a language by which to negotiate being Latina, Chicana, Tejana etc. . . . at Duke. From the first course onward, I knew I wanted to complete the certificate.

How has Latino/a Studies changed and/or shaped your understanding of how society works?
Latino/a Studies has been my unpublicized movimiento, a means to grope for a self-regard that does yet exist. History is my journey to the future, a return to symbolic sites of Chicano/a pride and resistance. In these spaces, I learned that the conversations of home were infused with caló, the language of los pachucos. Participants and producers in the 1940s Mexican American youth subculture of pachuquismo, pachucos/as enacted a racial-ethnic identity of resistance beyond the scope of identity politics. Yet, the power of their struggle was lost to me until Duke. While Texas exposed me to erasure and exclusion, Latino/a Studies gave me a language in which to relay these experiences. Rather than wax nostalgic for an anti-identity politics, the LSGS certificate has empowered me to break the linear progression of thought associated with Latinos/as – all in the hope of fostering communities that encompass my identity as a Latina and Tejana, without containing them to mere terminology.