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Maxine Baca Zinn: 1942—: Sociologist

Educational Experiences

Baca Zinn played the clarinet as a child and earned a band scholarship to attend Texas Western College (which later became the University of Texas at El Paso). Baca Zinn thought she would escape the discrimination she felt in Santa Fe, but instead it was even more intensified in El Paso. Baca Zinn tried to participate in college activities, but was left out because of her ethnic heritage. In particular, she participated in the rush activities of several sororities but was very disappointed that she did not get an invitation to actually join one. A school administrator later told her very bluntly that Mexicans were simply not accepted into sororities.

At a Glance . . .

Born Maxine Baca on June 11, 1942, in Santa Fe, New Mexico; married, Alan Zinn; children: one son. Education: California State College, B.A., 1966; Univ. of NM, M.A., 1970; Univ. of OR, Ph.D., 1978.

Career: Univ. of NM, instructor, New Careers Program, 1969-71, instr of Sociology, 1970-71; Univ. of MI at Flint, instr of Sociology and Chicano Studies, 1975-78, asst prof. of Sociology, 1978-80, assoc. prof. of Sociology, 1980-86, program faculty for the Master of Liberal Studies in American Culture, 1978-90, prof. of Sociology, 1986-90; Univ. of MI, faculty assoc., Survey Research Center, 1979-81; Memphis State Univ., visiting scholar, Center for Research on Women, 1984;, Univ. of CA at Berkeley, visiting prof. of Sociology 1986; Memphis State Univ., research prof. in residence, Center for Research on Women, 1987;Univ. of DE, distinguished visiting prof. in Women's Studies, 1988-89; Univ. of CT, guest prof. of Sociology, 1988; Radcliffe College, visiting scholar, Henry A. Murray Research Center, 1997; MI State Univ., senior research assoc., Julian Samora Research Institute, 1990−, prof. of sociology, 1990–.

Memberships: American Sociological Assn; Natl Chicano Council on Higher Education; Midwest Sociological Assn; Sociologists for Women in Society; Society for the Study of Social Problems; Text and Academic Authors Assn; Western Social Science Assn.

Awards: Faculty Achievement Awd for Scholarly Achievement, Univ. of MI Flint, 1983; Distinguished Faculty Award, MI Assn of Governing Bds, 1983; Academic Women's Caucus Sarah Goddard Power Award, Univ. of MI Ann Arbor, 1988; Outstanding Alumnus Award, Dept. of Sociology, Univ. of NM, 1993; Meyers Center Book Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, 1997; Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship and Research Awd, American Sociological Assn, 2000; Jessie Bernard Career Award, American Sociological Assn, 2000.

Addresses: Office— Dept. of Sociology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824-1111.

After her second year of college Baca Zinn married her high school sweetheart, Alan Zinn. Her husband was an art student in Los Angeles, so Baca Zinn left El Paso and transferred to California State College (now California State University) in Long Beach. During her third year of college, Baca Zinn gave birth to their son, Prentice. In order to manage her family life and education at the same time, she and her husband divided their household responsibilities, and Baca Zinn continued going to college part-time. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology in 1966. While her husband was still in school, Baca Zinn took a job as a fourth grade teacher in a Catholic school for two years.

In 1968 the young family moved back to New Mexico so that Baca Zinn could pursue a master's degree in sociology. She was not sure of the career path that she wanted to take, but she was interested enough in the subject matter to want to continue her studies. "I didn't understand the maze of academia," Baca Zinn told Contemporary Hispanic Biography (CHB). However, she knew that a master's degree was the next step for her. Baca Zinn received a fellowship to study at the University of New Mexico. Her time studying there was "one of the most positive experiences I've ever had," she told CHB. The social climate of the United States in the late 1960s was one of activism and Baca Zinn joined the movement in full force. At the University of New Mexico she learned to blend the progressive social movements of the time with progressive scholarship.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Carlos Watson Biography - Was a Student Journalist to Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) BiographyMaxine Baca Zinn: 1942—: Sociologist Biography - Educational Experiences, Determined To Set The Record Straight, Challenged Mainstream Sociology, An Inspirational Teacher