03/22/2013 01:31 pm ET

Chicano Scholars Conference Has Eye On Texas Legislature

Amid what members say are legislative attacks on academic freedom, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies' conference got under way Thursday in San Antonio.

In a three-day meeting, an estimated 700 scholars from the United States, Mexico and Europe will take part in more than 75 sessions, across a swath of subjects from transnational migrations and educational achievement gaps to early 20th-century modernity and Our Lady of Guadalupe as international icon.

Top of mind, however, are how their work in English and history departments and specialized or interdisciplinary programs will be affected by budget cuts, legislative changes and assaults on ethnic studies — as evidenced in the conference's theme, “Advancing from Sea to Shining ¡Sí!: Learning from our Past, Defending our Rights in the 21st Century.”

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