Psychology from the Margins


The authors of this paper use a liberation psychology framework to explore the career trajectory of Alfredo Castañeda (1923-1981), the first Latinx individual to earn a Ph.D. in psychology and the first Mexican American to hold a full professorship in the United States. Castañeda experienced a prolific career in teaching and research that began by investigating universal elements in children’s learning and anxiety and ultimately transformed into an emphasis on multiculturalism, cultural strengths, advocacy, and social justice. A combination of data was used to inform the current project, including interviews from Castañeda’s former graduate students, published obituaries and memorial tributes, and Castañeda’s published and unpublished works. Liberation psychology tenets are applied to his career trajectory to highlight the underlying parallel process of psychological liberation, particularly in the realm of accessing cultural strengths inherent within traditional Latinx values.



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