In this article, Juan Flores provides a historical and theoretical context for the study of Latino ethnicities. Presently, Latino Studies is at a paradoxical crossroads. While students at elite private colleges are clamoring for such programs, many public colleges and universities are cutting and consolidating Latino Studies programs virtually out of existence. As the battle to create, or preserve, Latino Studies departments rages on, the author points out the theoretical transformations that have occurred over the past twenty five years. One of the biggest differences between past university movements and present ones is the manner in which the demands have been framed by students. Very few of the earlier student mobilizations called for "Latino Studies" per se; rather, the early initiatives, which usually called for "Puerto Rican Studies" or "Chicano Studies," corresponded more directly to the political struggles for justice located within particular Chicano and Puerto Rican communities. This change in the framing of Latino Studies coincides with the more transnational and global character of Latino ethnic groups. In addition, the theoretical insights provided by feminist, post-colonial, and race theories, as well as lesbian and gay studies, have added a level of complexity that was not present in the early days of Chicano or Puerto Rican studies. Flores concludes with a call for an opening of the theoretical space within Latino Studies curricula, and the universities that house them, to allow room for these new complexities, thereby taking advantage of a unique moment in the history of Latino Studies.

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