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Galarza Lecture

Photo of Ernesto Galarza

Ernesto Galarza

Galarza Lecture

The Galarza Lecture series is an annual event that honors the memory of Ernesto Galarza, a man of vision who was a community leader, an activist, and a scholar. His work was associated with Stanford from his graduate studies in Latin American history to his work with a community health center in San Jose. Galarza blended the toughness of an organizer with the tenderness of a poet and writer of children’s stories. Ernesto Galarza spoke both to the suffering inflicted on Chicanos in the United States and to the hope held for future generations. Perhaps the lectures in his name can renew Galarza’s vision for those of us who have followed after.

To see upcoming and past Galarza Lectures, please see the Ernesto Galarza Lectures page.

About Ernesto Galarza

Ernesto Galarza (1905-1984)

Born in Jalcocotán, Nayarit, Mexico, on August 15, 1905, Dr. Ernesto Galarza came to the United States when he was 8 years old. One of Stanford’s first Chicano alumni, Galarza received a Master’s degree in Latin American History and Political Science in 1929. After graduation he married Mae Taylor and eventually went on to complete a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 1944.

An intellectual, civil rights and labor activist and scholar, he was a pioneer during the decades when Mexican Americans had few public advocates. As a youth, Dr. Galarza worked as a farm laborer in Sacramento and he dedicated his life to the struggle for justice for farm workers and the urban working-class Latinos, and to changing existing educational philosophy and curricula in the schools.

During the 1950’s, Dr. Galarza helped build the first multiracial farm worker union, which set the foundation for the emergence of the United Farm Workers Union. His civil rights legacy also includes the founding of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

In 1979, Dr. Galarza was the first U.S. Latino to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include: Strangers in our Fields (1956), Merchants of Labor (1964), Spiders in the House and Workers in the Fields (1970), Barrio Boy (1971), Farm Workers and Agribusiness in California (1977), and Tragedy at Chualar (1977). Galarza’s papers and archives are housed in the Department of Special Collections at Stanford.


The Ernesto Galarza Prizes for Excellence in Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research

This annual prize was initiated in 1986 to pay tribute to the pioneering scholarly work published by Dr. Ernesto Galarza, a Stanford alumnus who is generally regarded as the “Dean of Chicano Studies.” Through his research and activism on behalf of Chicanas/os that spanned five decades, Dr. Galarza inspired others to write about the condition of Latina/o people in the U.S. and his example inspired others to follow in his footsteps to promote social justice and equality. The Galarza Prizes are awarded to Stanford undergraduates and graduate students whose research reflects the spirit of Dr. Galarza.

A $250 prize for an undergraduate research paper (10 to 20 pages in length) and a $500 prize for a graduate student paper (20 to 40 pages in length) are typically awarded at the annual Ernesto Galarza Lecture. Papers should focus on some specific aspect of the Chicana/o/x and/or Latina/o/x experience. Faculty are encouraged to nominate student papers for consideration and/or students may submit papers directly to the Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Program's Galarza Prize Selection Committee. The Selection Committee will follow up on any faculty nomination by requesting those nominated to submit their papers.

Submission dates will be announced in early March. All papers submitted should include a brief cover letter and should be submitted by the due date to:

Professor Guadalupe Valdés

MC 3096

Arturo Islas, Jr. Prize

The Islas Prize was established in 1993 by the parents of Arturo Islas in memory of their son. Professor Islas was an integral part of the Stanford community as an undergraduate, a graduate student, and from 1970-1991, an esteemed member of the faculty in the Department of English.

The Islas Prize is awarded to a senior whose accomplishments at Stanford best exemplify the intellectual interest, background, and values of Arturo Islas, Jr. Preference for this prize is given to students in the humanities or social sciences. The selection of the prize recipient is based on outstanding academic achievement, a demonstrated intellectual interest in Chicana/o-Latina/o studies (broadly defined), a commitment to advancing opportunities for Chicana/o/xs and Latina/o/xs in higher education, and an interest in pursuing graduate studies. All or most of these criteria are used to select the prize recipient.

The Islas Prize carries a $1,000 cash award and is to be announced at the Ernesto Galarza Commemorative Lecture and Awards Dinner each year.

Submission dates are announced in early March. Once announced, please submit a letter of nomination by the submission due date to:

Professor Guadalupe Valdés

MC 3096