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UHV faculty member publishes Mexican American anthology with son

A new textbook of Mexican American literature is available thanks to the work of a University of Houston-Victoria faculty member and his son.

Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb, UHV writer in residence and executive director of CentroVictoria, a center for Mexican American literature and culture, worked with his son Ricardo to compile and edit “Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology,” a college textbook that features the work of 50 writers. The anthology includes fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry and plays.

“I am especially proud of this work because it was done alongside my son, Ricardo,” Gilb said. “For me, this kind of work, like ‘Hecho en Tejas’ and ‘Huizache,’ is not about my life or reputation as a writer, but what I do as cultural activism.”

The textbook was published by Bedford/St.Martin’s and is a compilation of writing by the 50 most prominent writers in Mexican American literary history. They include Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Jovita González, Américo Paredes, Luis Valdez, Rudolfo Anaya, Rolando Hinojosa, Sandra Cisneros, Juan Felipe Herrera, Gloria Andaldúa, Josefina Lopez, Lalo Alcaraz, Michele Serros, and Domingo Martinez. A volume like this hasn’t been published in more than 25 years, Gilb said.

“Dagoberto Gilb is one of the leading voices in Mexican American literature, and his efforts to promote that perspective have earned widespread acclaim,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “I am proud to have him as a member of UHV’s faculty, and I look forward to seeing how this anthology will impact higher education and lead to more recognition for Mexican American writers.”

The lack of Mexican American literature studied in classrooms across the nation has troubled Gilb, like many others, for some time, he said. This anthology is an encouraging sign that educational publishing is becoming aware of a national need.

“Mexican Americans are major contributors to the history of the United States and especially the American West,” Gilb said. “It is good for all Americans to understand that, especially because Mexican Americans make up 66 percent of the Latino population and are becoming the dominant community in the West. The numbers are so overwhelming, their history cannot continue to be suppressed and denied to the young, whose lives and culture are often unrepresented in public schools and universities.”

The textbook is available for purchase as a print copy or an ebook. It can be ordered through Bedford/St.Martin’s or through online retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.