Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Information Studies

First Advisor

Joyce M Latham

Committee Members

René Antrop-González, Laretta Henderson, Hope A Olson, Michael Zimmer


Ethnicity, Intellectual Freedom, LatCrit, Mexican American Studies, Race, Tucson


This dissertation critically examines historical and contemporary traditions and practices at an intersection of Library and Information Studies (LIS) and K-12 education to identify barriers and limitations to intellectual freedom related to race and ethnicity. It presents a qualitative case study, first documenting the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program, a public K-12 ethnic studies program in Tucson, Arizona between 1998 and 2012. Next, it details actions that led to the dismantling of the program, including Arizona officials designing and passing two laws that put financial pressure on the district to end the MAS program in 2012. Finally, it explains the local, state, and national LIS communities’ engagement with the program and their responses to the district removing books from classrooms and ending the MAS program through 2014. Research data includes interviews of MAS teachers, students, Tucson community members, and LIS professionals; and historical and contemporary documents related to the case (e.g., news items, press releases, legal documents, statements and resolutions). Latinx Critical Race (LatCrit) theory, a theoretical framework that reveals embedded and normalized discrimination based on Latinx identity and experiences (e.g., race, ethnicity, language, nationality, citizenship), was applied through document analysis. This dissertation reveals limitations of the LIS concept of intellectual freedom and related professional practices, specifically related to race and ethnicity.