The three essays in this forum examine the ways in which individuals have sought to reconcile sociocultural differences between those at the fringes of American society and those at the center. Two concepts embody this effort. One is the bridge concept—the idea that those with dual identities would serve as links between the two sociocultural worlds. The other concept, that of the cultural broker, refers to someone who actively seeks to mediate the differences between the two groups. The essays in this cluster use the two concepts to analyze the ways in which individuals in three disparate places—the American West (California), a U.S. colony across the Pacific (the Philippines), and the American Southwest (New Mexico)—served as bridges and brokers in their efforts to negotiate the imbalance of power between dominant and subordinate groups.
Lynne Marie Getz, professor of history at Appalachian State University, is the author of Schools of Their Own: The Education of Hispanos in New Mexico, 1850–1940 (1996); “Lost Momentum: The Impact of World War II on Educational Progress for Hispanos in New Mexico” in Mexican Americans and World War II, ed. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez (2005); and “Partners in Motion: Gender, Migration, and Reform in Antebellum Kansas and Ohio” in Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies (2006). Her current research project is a study of families, migration, and memory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Judith R. Raftery is professor of history at California State University, Chico. Her publications include Land of Fair Promise: Politics and Reform in Los Angeles Schools, 1881–1941 (1992); “Gender and Politics in Los Angeles: Caroline S. Severance” in The Human Condition in California, ed. Clark Davis and David Igler (2002); and “Missing the Mark: Intelligence Testing in Los Angeles Public Schools” in Urban Education in the United States: A Historical Reader, ed. John Rury (2005). She is currently completing a book manuscript, “American Nation Building in the Philippines: Education, Gender, and Race.”
Eileen H. Tamura is a historian and professor of education at the College of Education, University of Hawaii. Her works include Americanization, Acculturation, and Ethnic Identity: The Nisei Generation in Hawaii (1994); “African American Vernacular English & Hawaiʻi Creole English: A Comparison of Two School Board Controversies,” Journal of Negro Education (2002); and an edited book, The History of Discrimination in U.S. Education: Marginality, Agency, and Power (2008).
1 The authors would like to thank the anonymous readers for their help in improving and sharpening the arguments made in this forum.