Ph.D., History, Yale University
M.A., M.Phil., History, Yale University
B.A., with distinction, Anthropology and Ethnicity, Race, & Migration, Yale University
I am an interdisciplinary historian of migrations in the Americas and the world. My first book, Corazon de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), includes five historical case studies of largely-forgotten communities: the Mexicans and Mexican Americans who, since 1910, have arrived into landscapes traditionally understood to be black-and-white (Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina). The book won the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians among other distinctions, and has a companion website with primary sources, corazondedixie.org.
My current project, "Guest Worker: A History of Ideas, 1919-75," illuminates common and disparate ways officials in both sending and receiving states envisioned 'temporary' migrant workers. More importantly, it deeply probes migrants’ own visions of labor migration's role in their lives and shows how their choices and perspectives joined policymakers' to establish the state-managed temporary worker as a seemingly intractable feature of the modern world. To tackle global questions while centering workers' own interpretations and experiences, I focus on three contemporaneous migration case studies: Mexico-U.S., Spain-France, and Malawi-South Africa. I have presented on this research at the Universities of Giessen (Germany) and Bern (Switzerland) as well as the Latin American Studies, International Studies, Society for French Historical Studies, and American Studies associations' conferences, and it has received support from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the American Philosophical Society. In addition to this monograph, I am working with German scholar Christoph Rass on a project recasting the Mexico-U.S. Bracero Program as a product of transatlantic conversations among intellectuals, policymakers, and migrant activists during the interwar period. Rass and I also co-lead, with Peter Schneck, the Translations of Migration research group.
I teach graduate and undergraduate courses on race and immigration in the United States and globally, including Race & Ethnicity in the U.S. West and Migrants and Refugees in Modern World History, as well as the survey of Modern World History since the Age of Revolution. I am particularly proud of the bilingual Latinxs in the Americas course I developed together with my colleague Claudia Holguín Mendoza. This class gives students with basic Spanish abilities the opportunity to read primary sources from Latinx history in their original Spanish and Spanglish.
I believe history has much to contribute to the public sphere. I co-founded the Nuestro South public history project with support from the Whiting Foundation and in collaboration with Erik Valera and LatinxEd. I have written opinion pieces for Time.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times among others, and have shared insights on immigration with reporters from Univision.com, NPR, and other outlets. On campus, I was faculty lead in the development of UO's first Dreamer Ally Training, which has now trained more than 400 faculty and staff in ways to bring greater sensitivity, respect, and confidentiality to their interactions with undocumented and Dreamer students.
Prior to joining academia, I worked in the immigration policy arena. From 2001-2 I worked in the administration of Mexico’s President Vicente Fox as a speechwriter and researcher for the cabinet-level Office of the President for Mexicans Living Abroad. I have also worked as a translator, paralegal, project manager, and policy researcher at immigration-related agencies in New Haven and Los Angeles.
I joined the UO History department in 2013 after four years as an Assistant Professor of International Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910, University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
Book companion website with primary sources for teaching: http://corazondedixie.org
"In Sickness and in Health: Migrant Citizenships in the Postwar Years," Migrant Knowledge blog, German Historical Institute (2020).
“Introduction: Immigration History and the End of Southern Exceptionalism,” special issue, “Multi-ethnic Immigration and the U.S. South,” Journal of American Ethnic History, 2019.
“La Revolución Institucional: The Mexican New Deal in the U.S. South, 1920-80,” chapter invited for Shaped By the State: Toward a New Political History of the 20th Century, ed. Lily Geismer, Brent Cebul and Mason Williams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.
“Dispatches from the ‘Viejo’ New South: Historicizing Recent Latino Migrations,” Latino Studies 10:1-2, special issue, “Latinos in the U.S. South,” May 2012.
“Mexican nationalisms, Southern racisms: Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the U.S. South, 1908-1939.”American Quarterly 60:3, special issue, “Nation and Migration—Past and Future,” September 2008.
For further publications and pdfs, see my academia.edu page.
Awards and prizes
Winner, Merle Curti Award for best book in U.S. social history, Organization of American Historians (2016)
Co-winner, CRL James book award, Working Class Studies Association (2016)
Honorable Mention, Theodore Saloutos Book Award for best book in immigration history, Immigration and Ethnic History Society (2016)
Honorable Mention, Deep South Book Prize, Summersell Center for the Study of the South (2016)
George Washington Egleston Prize for best dissertation in American history, Yale University (2009).
Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, 2020-21
Multi-Country Research Grant, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, 2018-19
Franklin Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2018-19
Norman H. Brown Faculty Fellowship, University of Oregon, 2016-18
Weatherhead Fellowship, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM, 2011-12
National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award, 2011-12
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2010
Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, 2003-4
“Trump’s latest immigration restriction exposes a key contradiction in policy,” The Washington Post (Made by History column), June 23, 2020.
"Four questions to ask before you co-teach,” with Claudia Holguín Mendoza, Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2017.
"Historians on Trump's first 100 days in office," Time.com, April 27, 2017
“Trump’s anti-immigration policy rooted in ’90s California,” The San Francisco Chronicle, Zocalo Public Square, and Ventura County Star, May 12, 2016.
"McCrory's Real Legacy on Latino Immigration," The Raleigh News & Observer, November 23, 2015
"What Trump Doesn't Know About Southern Conservatives and Immigration," The Atlantic, August 7, 2015
“A Heavy Price to Ending Birthright Citizenship,” The Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2010
"In Sickness and in Health: Migrant Citizenships in the Postwar Years," Migrant Knowledge blog of the German Historical Institute, February 7, 2020.
"Defining El Sur Latino," Southern Foodways Alliance blog, May 16, 2017.
"African Americans and Immigrants' Rights in the Trump Era," UNC Press Blog #immigration roundtable, April 6, 2017.
“2016: The year nativism conquered the South,” Immigration and Ethnic History Society blog, December 29, 2016.
"Oregon immigration experts say Donald Trump's executive order is little more than racial scapegoating," The Oregonian, April 23, 2020.
“Cómo las banderas de Honduras en la valla fronteriza refuerzan el discurso antiinmigrante de Trump,” Univision.com, May 1, 2018.
"Mexican Migration to the Deep South," by Beth English, Working History: Podcast of the Southern Labor Studies Association, December 7, 2016.
“How the Olympics helped lure Latinos to Atlanta,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 15, 2016.
"Exploring the Corazón de Dixie with Julie M. Weise," by Karen L. Cox, Pop South: Reflections on the South in Popular Culture (blog), January 18, 2016
Interview on Mexican immigration to Georgia and the U.S. South, Georgia Public Broadcasting's On Second Thought, January 7, 2016 (starts at 30:00)
Interview on Corazón de Dixie by Lori Flores, New Books in Latino Studies Podcast, December 17, 2015
Interview on Mexican immigration in the South and the U.S., WUNC radio's The State of Things, Chapel Hill, December 10, 2015
Interview on Corazon de Dixie research and bilingual Latino history teaching, UO Today, Oregon Humanities Center, March 2015
"A Tale of Two Immigration Politics in Maryland and Virginia," Al-Jazeera America, November 3, 2014
"Residents Uneasy about Immigrant Shift Into Suburbs," NPR All Things Considered, October 19, 2014
Radio interview about immigration reform, Bill Carroll show, KFI AM, Los Angeles, 2013
“Immigration reform may solve longterm care worker shortage,” Healthcare Finance News, March 12, 2013
“Immigration reform could increase California tax revenue, shift worker base, experts say,” The Long Beach Press-Telegram, January 28, 2013
Interview, Charter Local Edition on CNN Headline News, September 2010
In Conversation with Javier Díaz de León, Consul of Mexico in Atlanta, sponsored by Atlanta History Center, September 29, 2020
"ABAC Hosts Immigration Panel," The Tifton Gazette, Tifton, Georgia, October 8, 2017
"Corazón de Dixie: La Historia de los Mexicanos en el Sur," Qué Pasa-Mi Gente, Charlotte, January 21, 2016
“Mexican Archives and the Search for Old Immigrants in ‘New’ Destinations,” Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences, March 2, 2012