Excerpt from Theorizing César Chávez, a science-friction book-in-progress

By Sonny Boy Arias


Most of the time, book titles aren’t very telling. For instance, when you first read the title of this book, Theorizing César Chávez, you might think this is yet another historical biography (narrativization) of a great man revealing new details about his life; au contraire, this is not by any means a new slant on an old theme. This book is not a historical chronology at all as it takes on a new tack in the form of a social psychological study of science as well as philosophical treatise, a tractatusabout a new form of science, if you will, one that in many ways is not about the traditional views, actions and significant activities in César’s life as a charismatic leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Rather this book is an analysis of “what if” scenarios, as in, “What if we took César Chávez’s values and beliefs and use them to theorize or to re-envision both true and meaningful fictionalized accounts in his life?” To some extent this is a treatise in turning César’s values back on themselves as a method for understanding the man, embattled civic values and particularly his subconscious mind. In so doing, this allows for a method of applying his values in developing a lens to view and analyze his future Self; the Self that never was but might very well have been.

caesarThis work presents an intriguing account of how it is that César Chávez’s paradigm for looking (infused with his values and beliefs) provides new intersections for the examination of the logic and reasoning behind modern day scientific thinking both as it is perceived and communicated especially to young people with little knowledge of who he was or what he stood for. This is a reflection in hopes of rousing young people and others alike to think about César Chávez in ways they never considered before. This approach has required the author to produce un-orthodox narratives that exceed the normative conventions of interpreting the life and times of César Chávez and his personal pursuit in the training of the imagination.