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Latino Studies History of the U.S.-Mexico Border
by
Miguel A. Levario

Introduction

New ways of thinking about US-Mexico border history reveal a significant shift from narrowed national narratives to newly conceptualized transnational histories. The field continues to evolve, drawing from the contributions of previous intellectual generations to more-complex and nuanced approaches to borderlands history. Early intellectual and academic pioneers such as US historian Herbert Eugene Bolton, Hubert Howe Bancroft, and John Francis Bannon forged a connection between Anglo and Spanish America. Almost immediately following the contributions made by the aforementioned scholars, many of their Mexican American contemporaries, such as Carlos E. Castañeda, Manuel Gamio, and Américo Paredes, sought to deepen the intellectual and academic scope of the borderlands and documented the histories and narratives of ethnic Mexican culture and identity in Texas and throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. As a result of their contributions, they and others forged a new path of analysis that brought to light the diasporic experiences of ethnic Mexicans in the United States within an academic scope. In the 1960s and 1970s, a fresh perspective offered by Chicano scholars focused on the historical foundations of inequality and racism while continuing the scholarly trajectory of understanding identity and community formation. The intellectual evolution of borderlands history continues to challenge traditional historical narrative and analysis by redirecting the marginal spaces of the borderlands to the center of intellectual and academic discourse. Several scholars argue that it is within the inherent and functioning contradictions and conflict of the US-Mexico borderlands that historians can better assess a nation’s historical narrative. Examining the conflictive nature of competing and coexisting spaces helps scholars understand the complex infrastructure of a transnational society that must look outward, rather than within, to construct its national and transnational narrative. Newer scholarship focusing on the US-Mexico borderlands continues to use regional case studies as experiments for cultural heterogeneity. However, others are bridging the temporal and geographic gap and tying their localized studies within a larger national and international narrative. Borderlands history contains an inherent framework in which contradictions are functional and multiplicity is the status quo. The call for a decentralized national discourse has been initiated, and US-Mexico borderlands history serves as a compass for new ways of understanding human agency and transnational historical narrative.

General Overviews

These selected entries represent a broader dialogue of US-Mexico transnationalism. Meier and Ribera 1993 provides an expansive ethnohistory of Mexicans from their indigenous past to their current place in the United States. Ngai 2005 highlights a poignant shift in understanding national narratives within a transnational context by calling for human agency and transnationalism in historical discourse. Gonzales 2009 emphasizes larger ideological and cultural differences between Mexican American political generations. Montejano 1987 provides a more regional scope of the social history of Texas since 1836, offering a critical review of Mexican and Anglo relations and the state’s long-standing caste system. Hernández 2012 investigates the merging of national narratives and the recognition of historical shifts within the ethnic Mexican community, examining the repatriation and colonization of Mexicans south of the newly designated boundary drawn after the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A general and expansive resource that covers news, research, teaching, and other topics of interest is H-Borderlands.

  • Gonzales, Manuel G. Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States. 2d ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

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    A comprehensive and critical survey of resident and migrant ethnic Mexicans in the United States; emphasizes larger ideological and cultural differences rooted in the different Mexican American and Chicano political generations. The author counters the prevailing revisionist tradition of Chicano historical literature and focuses on an assimilationist political generation that emphasized integration and acculturation.

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  • H-Borderlands.

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    A comprehensive database for research and teaching borderlands history that contains several links to news, grants, syllabi, book reviews, and other online resources that focus on the US-Mexico borderlands region.

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  • Hernández, José Angel. Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of the US-Mexico Borderlands. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511998171Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the history of those who were repatriated into northern Mexico following the US-Mexican War. These resettlements were the core of frontier development. The focus rests primarily on Mexican citizens displaced after the war until the end of the 19th century.

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  • Meier, Matt S., and Feliciano Ribera. Mexican Americans / American Mexicans: From Conquistadors to Chicanos. Rev. ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.

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    Originally written in 1972, an early and important ethnohistory of Mexicans. Begins with their indigenous origin and evolves into their contact with Spanish and Euro-American colonizers, which influenced the formation of a new identity. The concept of race is pervasive and accounts for the central theme in this study.

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  • Montejano, David. Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.

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    This social history of ethnic relations between Mexicans and Anglos in Texas provides a view into the establishment of economic, political, and social infrastructure in the state. By utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that blends a sociological lens with intense historiographical research, a broader scope into race relations in Texas emerges. Winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award.

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  • Ngai, Mae M. “Transnationalism and the Transformation of the ‘Other’: Response to the Presidential Address.” American Quarterly 57.1 (March 2005): 59–65.

    DOI: 10.1353/aq.2005.0015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A brief essay addressing the trajectory of historical scholarship and the role of transnationalism in national histories; emphasizes the role of human agency and a reexamination of marginalized peoples as social actors. Available online by subscription.

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Reference Works

The following selections represent the broad scope by which US-Mexico borderlands history has evolved from a largely Eurocentric approach to the Spanish borderlands to a multifarious and transcending understanding of space, people, and nation-states. The pioneering work of Herbert Eugene Bolton (Bolton 1921) rewrote frontier history and bridged the gap between Anglo-America and Latin America. Bolton’s protégé, John Francis Bannon, wrote what many regard as the one true synthesis of the “Spanish borderlands” (Bannon 1970). Weber 1992 also provides a comprehensive review of the Spanish borderlands, especially pertaining to Spain’s political and military activities in North America. However, ethnic Mexican history and culture find their voice in Castañeda 1976 and Paredes 1958, classic works whose social histories and interdisciplinary approach give voice to marginalized people. McWilliams 1990 provides a general history of the Mexican experience in the United States. Martínez 2006 examines the US-Mexico borderlands as a space of functionality and contradiction that complicates the basic binary of boundaries and borders. Acuña 2010 offers a vast overview of Chicano history that also addresses the complicating factors of race, class, and gender.

  • Acuña, Rodolfo E. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010.

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    Originally published in 1972, the author provides a comprehensive study of indio and mestizo history that begins with the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations and concludes with an examination of issues of labor, immigration, race, and equality for Chicanos in the United States during the last one hundred years.

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  • Bannon, John Francis. The Spanish Borderlands Frontier, 1513–1821. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.

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    A critical review of Spain’s institutional and town development in the New World since the 16th century that includes the establishment of the Church and basic civil institutions. Encroachments by foreign invaders, namely the United States, reveal a shift in strategy that would yield to a more defensive approach in community development and population settlement.

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  • Bolton, Hubert Eugene. The Spanish Borderlands: A Chronicle of Old Florida and the Southwest. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1921.

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    A broadly defined Spanish borderland is given that stretches from the Crown’s most northeastern claims to its modest establishments in the West. This study demonstrates that Spanish culture, politics, social mores, and economic systems persist despite the breakup of its once great empire.

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  • Castañeda, Carlos E. Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519–1936. 7 vols. New York: Arno, 1976.

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    This voluminous study reveals meticulous research and painstaking attention to historical detail that extends beyond the confines of the title. The author includes a vast amount of Spanish, Mexican, and US archive materials to provide an analysis of Texas’s transnational cultural history.

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  • Martínez, Oscar J. Troublesome Border. Rev. ed. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.

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    Originally published in 1988 and set in Ciudad Juárez, this early borderlands study highlights a conflictive and complicated relationship between the United States and Mexico. The author outlines a string of examples of American infringement of Mexican sovereignty. This revised edition brings the discussion up to date with information on current issues.

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  • McWilliams, Carey. North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States. Updated by Matt S. Meier. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1990.

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    An updated version of the 1949 publication that is a survey of Mexican and Mexican American history in the United States. Meier brings the reader up to speed on more recent historical events from 1945 through the late 1980s. Topics such as family, education, assimilation, and culture are addressed.

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  • Paredes, Américo. With His Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958.

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    Although a regional study that documents the oral tradition of the corrido of Gregorio Cortez and its circulation, the author provides one of the earliest discussions regarding ethnic identity along the border. The author illustrates a largely independent, resilient, and patriarchal society that is codependent with, but resistant to, outsiders.

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  • Weber, David J. The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

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    A strong and colorful synthesis of Spanish and Native American contact in North America. This study evokes the complex nature of European institutional development in the New World.

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Journals

Journals that accommodate or focus on borderlands history are as wide and dynamic as the field. Although highly notable history journals like the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History are known to publish articles on US-Mexico borderlands history, there are a few journals that focus primarily on the region and/or topic. The Journal of Borderlands Studies originally focused on the US-Mexico border, but over the course of more than a decade it has expanded to a more global scope. The Western Historical Quarterly publishes largely on topics of the North American West and the borderlands. State and regional historical associations that publish quite extensively on border topics are the New Mexico Historical Review and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Texas). From a broader perspective focusing on the interdisciplinary aspect of borderlands studies, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies and the American Quarterly publish on a wide range of topics, including borderlands history.

New Borderlands History

The field’s status has witnessed an evolution since the late 20th century. This has included a call for the inclusion of borderlands history in national historical narratives as well as movement to decentralize national histories by emphasizing transnationalism and borderlands studies. Jackson 1998 offers an ethnohistorical interpretation of Spanish–Indian interaction in northern New Spain. Weber 1986 draws a clear difference in frontier and borderlands scholarship. Poyo and Hinojosa 1988 addresses the need for borderlands history to be included in the national narrative. Sandos 1994 provides a critical review of the academic shift in borderlands studies culminating in the contributions made by David Weber. Griswold del Castillo 1984 argues that borderlands studies should transcend rigid academic categorization and seek a more interdisciplinary approach. Thelen 1992 examines the decentralization of national narratives and the borderlands approach to understanding relations between nation-states. Truett and Young 2004 emphasizes transnational interconnectedness in a collection of essays. Johnson and Graybill 2010 solicits the expertise of northern and southern borderlands scholars to address the transnational trajectory of borderlands studies.

  • Griswold del Castillo, Richard. “New Perspectives on the Mexican and American Borderlands.” Latin American Research Review 19.1 (1984): 199–209.

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    Based on the writings of several borderlands scholars, the author argues that analyses must transcend the boundaries of historical fields, national perspectives, and academic disciplines to better understand the US-Mexico borderlands. The region plays a significant role in the political and economic life of both countries. Available online by subscription.

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  • Jackson, Robert H., ed. New Views of Borderlands History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

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    A collection of seven original essays that offer an ethnohistorical interpretation of Spanish–Indian interaction in New Spain’s northern frontier and reveal the Crown’s varied approaches to managing its vast holdings in New Spain. Each of the contributors offers a unique perspective that includes social, demographic, and economic impacts of Spanish colonization.

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  • Johnson, Benjamin H., and Andrew R. Graybill, eds. Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories. Edited by Gilbert M. Joseph and Emily S. Rosenberg. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

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    The broad scope of this volume incorporates dialogue between scholars of the northern and southern borderlands. Covers a wide range of topics including public health, mixed-race communities, immigration policy and law enforcement, and livestock smuggling.

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  • Poyo, Gerald E., and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. “Spanish Texas and Borderlands Historiography in Transition: Implications for United States History.” Journal of American History 75.2 (September 1988): 393–416.

    DOI: 10.2307/1887864Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors synthesize the expanding literature on US-Mexico borderlands history and argue its significance to the broader US historiography. Much is made of the socioeconomic development of the Spanish borderlands that allows historians to identify continuities across sovereignties. Available online by subscription.

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  • Sandos, James A. “From ‘Boltonlands’ to ‘Weberlands’: The Borderlands Enter American History.” American Quarterly 46.4 (December 1994): 595–604.

    DOI: 10.2307/2713386Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An engaging overview of the contributions made by David J. Weber to borderlands historiography emphasizing the larger importance of borderlands to American history. The author argues that Weber is able to transcend historical periods and regions, thus expanding the field. Available online by subscription.

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  • Thelen, David. “Of Audiences, Borderlands, and Comparisons: Toward the Internationalization of American History.” Journal of American History 79.2 (September 1992): 432–462.

    DOI: 10.2307/2080034Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An endorser of the borderlands approach that seeks to enhance national historical narratives by understanding the value of contact between differing cultures and nation-states. The author argues that a borderlands approach allows for the exploration of how individuals negotiate asymmetrical and unequal relationships when encountering different cultures. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Truett, Samuel, and Elliot Young, eds. Continental Crossroads: Remapping US-Mexico Borderlands History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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    An edited volume that explores how ethnic and gender relations shifted as a once-desolate frontier evolved into the borderlands. This compilation of essays transcends national histories and emphasizes interconnected transnational narratives.

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  • Weber, David J. “Turner, the Boltonians, and the Borderlands.” American Historical Review 91.1 (February 1986): 66–81.

    DOI: 10.2307/1867235Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author reexamines the Frederick Jackson Turner thesis and argues that, although it serves as a basis for frontier scholarship, it has little direct influence on borderlands scholarship. A stark contrast is drawn within this assessment between frontier and borderlands scholarship. Available online by subscription.

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Regional Histories

The US-Mexico borderlands historical narrative is a cohesive patchwork of regional studies. Although a principal lens is focused on specific areas along the border, a tie to larger transnational discourses is demonstrated through extensive international archival research and complex theoretical frameworks. Bancroft 1884–1889 is one of the earliest regional studies on the present-day southwestern United States in the late 19th century. Camarillo 2005 serves as one of the first studies to focus on the development of Mexican American society in southern California since the Mexican–American War of 1846. Kearney and Knopp 1995 argues the unique conditions and characteristics of US-Mexico borderland twin cities. Haas 1996 examines the long history of race, ethnicity, and community in southern California. Shadows at Dawn is an extensive online resource for focusing on interethnic violence in southern Arizona and northern Mexico that provides primary documents and lesson plans. Morgenthaler 2004 sheds light on a sparsely populated and studied area, the Big Bend region of Texas, and exposes interdependent communities that overcome boundary limitations. Through a more localized lens, Timmons 2005 examines the history of El Paso as a microcosm of other border cities.

  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of the North Mexican States and Texas. 2 vols. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1884–1889.

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    A pioneering work on the Spanish borderlands that connects Anglo-America with Latin America and adjusts the axis of study to a north–south paradigm as opposed to the traditional east–west frontier approach. Utilizing a largely Anglocentric approach, this work serves as a base for the various trajectories of borderlands historiography.

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  • Camarillo, Albert. Chicanos in a Changing Society: From Mexican Pueblos to American Barrios in Santa Barbara and Southern California, 1848–1930. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2005.

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    Originally published in 1979, this study is considered one of the pioneering works on Mexican American history. The author demonstrates a heterogeneous experience among Chicanos and their complex relationship with American society.

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  • Haas, Lisbeth. Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769–1936. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

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    A broad examination of Spanish and American conquests of the American Southwest. The author unveils a long history of ethnicity, race, and community development in southern California centered on rural society and social change. A multiethnic historical lens provides a glimpse into social and cultural interactions in the region.

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  • Jacoby, Karl. Shadows at Dawn.

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    An online resource to the author’s book, Shadows at Dawn (New York: Penguin, 2008), that provides direct digital access to some primary sources, oral histories, and classroom lesson plans. The database also provides some sociological and anthropological discussions on Arizona and its people.

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  • Kearney, Milo, and Anthony K. Knopp. Border Cuates: A History of the US-Mexican Twin Cities. Austin, TX: Eakin, 1995.

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    An engaging overview of the rare phenomenon of adjacent sizeable cities that run along the US-Mexico border, which developed largely because of geographic isolation from their centers of power. The authors argue that the emergence of the twin-city phenomenon is a result of the codependent relationship between the United States and Mexico.

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  • Morgenthaler, Jefferson. The River Has Never Divided Us: A Border History of La Junta de los Ríos. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

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    A comprehensive study of one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the Chihuahua Desert that occupies the basin formed by the conjunction of the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos. The author narrates a history of a remote region that, despite national policies, continues to coexist with its southern neighbor.

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  • Timmons, Wilbert H. El Paso: A Borderlands History. 2d ed. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 2005.

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    A unique look into life in the isolated region of New Spain’s northern frontier. The crux of the study rests largely on the dueling cultural traditions between the Spanish Mexican north and the Anglo-American south.

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Race and Ethnicity on the Border

The topics of race and ethnicity are essential to a broader understanding of US-Mexico borderlands history. As people transgress the artificial boundaries dividing nations and states, race appears as a principal method of identifying “other.” Since its beginnings as a rigorous academic field, borderlands history has highlighted and complicated notions of race among various ethnic groups present in the US-Mexico border region. Foley, et al. 1977 discusses ethnic relations in south Texas. De León 1983 offers one of the earliest discussions on the racialization of Mexicans living in Texas during the 19th century. Horne 2005 brings to light the unique and contradictory position of African Americans, who as soldiers were stationed to secure the border from Mexican transgressions but as a community suffered one of the most violent periods in their history as lynchings and other crimes against African Americans surged. Arredondo 2008 examines ethnic identity among Mexicans arriving in Chicago on the heels of the Mexican Revolution. Delgado 2012 provides an overview of the triangular migratory paths of Chinese migrants during the Exclusion Era. Benton-Cohen 2011 discusses the racialization of national identities and the criminalization of immigrants in southern Arizona in the early years of the 20th century. Mora 2011 discusses assimilation and citizenship after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Menchaca 2002 examines the legacy of racial discrimination toward ethnic Mexicans and Native Americans.

  • Arredondo, Gabriela F. Mexican Chicago: Race, Identity, and Nation, 1916–39. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.

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    This study undertakes the rigid definitions of “American” and the underlying assumptions of assimilation. The author contends that Mexicans in Chicago forged a unique identity influenced by revolutionary rhetoric to work collectively with other ethnic minorities to fight prejudice in Chicago.

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  • Benton-Cohen, Katherine. Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

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    Nativist fervor permeated Arizona’s southern border at the turn of the 20th century. Racial definitions and social categories such as family, manhood, and wages were rigidly defined as the mining industry expanded in the wake of World War I.

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  • De León, Arnoldo. They Called Them Greasers: Anglo Attitudes toward Mexicans in Texas, 1821–1900. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983.

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    An unprecedented study into the historical legacy of racial tensions between Anglos and ethnic Mexicans in Texas as well as the Texas historiography that often demonized Mexicans. The author utilizes a psycho-historical approach that demonstrates that Anglos viewed Mexicans as antagonists in their theater of dominance.

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  • Delgado, Grace. Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the US-Mexico Borderlands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.

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    An examination of the Chinese diaspora and the triangular migratory paths of Chinese migrants during the Exclusion Era along the US-Mexico borderlands. The author navigates global labor networks that reveal a complex predicament for many Chinese laborers living between spaces and illegally in the United States.

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  • Foley, Douglas E., Clarice Mota, Donald E. Post, and Ignacio Lozano. From Peones to Politicos: Ethnic Relations in a South Texas Town, 1900–1977. Mexican American Monographs 3. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977.

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    An ethnohistory of a small south Texas community at the turn of the 20th century confronting larger problems of economic inequality and racial discrimination between Anglos and ethnic Mexicans. The authors offer a complex interpretation of life along the Texas-Mexico border and shed light on its diverse realities.

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  • Horne, Gerald. Black and Brown: African Americans and the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

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    American dependence on black soldiers serving along the border staged a heated debate between white supremacy and national security. The author utilizes two biographical case studies revealing the complexity of border society and its role within the process of African American civil rights and identity.

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  • Menchaca, Martha. Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

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    An interdisciplinary look into the historical and social construction of the ethnic Mexican, examining interethnic past through the Spanish conquest and American annexation. The author demonstrates an underlying legacy of racial discrimination against ethnic Mexicans in New Spain, Mexico, and the United States.

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  • Mora, Anthony P. Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848–1912. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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    A regional study of southern New Mexico that sheds new light on the complexities of drawing boundary lines and claiming citizenship affecting the full incorporation of Mexicans into either national sphere.

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Sexuality and Gender

Pioneering scholarship in sexuality and gender along the US-Mexico border not only offers a purview into individual sexuality but also provides a wider scope to include definitions of gender, nationalism, sexuality, family structure, and race. A number of scholars tackle the difficult task of unveiling and recovering these silent voices and successfully shed light on how the US-Mexican border serves as a filter, obstacle, and deterrent for the multiple categories of “undesirables” arriving at the ports of entry. Luibhéid 2002 examines the immigration officer’s role in protecting the heterosexual and patriarchal structure of family life from foreign sexual deviants. Stern 2005 unveils the expansive eugenics movement and restrictive immigration policies set forth by individual states and the United States as a whole to promote a superior race of people. Ruiz 2008 underscores the work experiences of Mexican and Mexican American women in the 20th century as they assimilate and acculturate into American society. Barr 2007 reexamines Spanish–Indian relations in North America. Gutiérrez 1991 examines marriage, courtship, and honor codes in New Spain’s northern frontier. Gardner 2009 explores the shaping of America’s understanding of immigrant women. Frost 1983 provides an early study on sex work and the sex industry in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

  • Barr, Juliana. Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

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    This critical reexamination of Spanish–Indian relations in North America results in a reconstructed world of Native American dominance and European accommodation, resistance, and perseverance. Social, political, and economic status was determined largely along gender rather than racial lines, as was the case with European constructions of power.

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  • Frost, H. Gordon. The Gentlemen’s Club: The Story of Prostitution in El Paso. El Paso, TX: Mangan, 1983.

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    A social history of brothels, prostitution, and the “sporting” life along the border in El Paso during the 19th and 20th centuries captured through photographs, newspaper clippings, police reports, and oral histories. The author offers a candid look into the underworld of sex work in the borderlands.

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  • Gardner, Martha. The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870–1965. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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    An engaging exploration of how racialized, gendered, social, and moral anxieties shaped the public’s understanding of immigrant women. The study begins with the first federal immigration act prohibiting the entry of suspected Asian prostitutes and ends with the immigration-reform measures of the mid-1960s.

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  • Gutiérrez, Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500–1846. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.

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    This study demonstrates that marriage and intimate relations were vital to Spain’s conquest of its northern frontier. The author views these interactions largely from the perspective of Pueblo Indians. A complex web of sexual politics, gender identity, religion, and social status reveals the intricacies of Spanish and Native American relations.

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  • Luibhéid, Eithne. Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

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    An analysis of border policing by immigration officers at the US southern border revealing the biased policies underscored in the 1917 Immigration Act. The author contends that the US border became the center for constructing and contesting sexual identity to protect the country’s heteropatriarchal system.

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  • Ruiz, Vicki L. From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. 10th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    One of the first full studies of Mexican American women in the 20th century that reveals the unique struggles many of the women faced in their communities and at home. It becomes very clear that many Mexican and Mexican American women exercised extreme agency in their workplace, homes, and political activism.

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  • Stern, Alexandra Minna. Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

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    Utilizes a lens into eugenics in the United States, offering a revealing look into the practice of involuntary sterilizations and fumigation throughout the 20th century. In the early years of the 20th century, eugenicists exercised a policy for better breeding that would serve as a model for the rest of the country.

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Militarization, Violence, and Border Security

For many, the border represents a migratory zone; however, recent scholarship on border security, militarization, and policing has shed light on the long history of enforcing and defining boundaries between nations and communities. Much of the literature focuses on the 20th century as border law enforcement reflected stricter and comprehensive federal policies targeting immigration, smuggling, and labor. Guidotti-Hernández 2011 provides a case-study approach to understand the role of violence in shaping national identities. Hernández 2010 sheds light on the history of the US Border Patrol’s humble beginnings and difficult responsibilities as the country’s first federal law enforcement agency charged with implementing border policies. Leiker 2010 gives voice to the African American military experience along the US-Mexico border in the early decades of the 20th century. Ettinger 2009 examines the changing methods of border enforcement agencies throughout the 20th century. DeLay 2008 examines the effects of Native American violence on economic, political, and cultural developments along the border. Nevins 2001 analyzes the repercussions of increased militarization along the US-Mexico border in the 1990s. St. John 2011 examines the crystallization of the US-Mexico western boundary in the early 20th century. Young 2004 examines Catarino Garza’s south Texas revolt.

  • DeLay, Brian. War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the US-Mexican War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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    An engaging overview of the economic, cultural, and political developments within native communities and their effect on 19th-century nation-states dealing with devastating attacks by various Indian warriors on both sides of the boundary. The series gave credence to US arguments favoring the capture of Mexican territory.

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  • Ettinger, Patrick W. Imaginary Lines: Border Enforcement and the Origins of Undocumented Immigration, 1882–1930. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009.

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    An examination of the ever-changing border enforcement efforts curbing illicit activity along America’s boundaries throughout the 20th century. The author demonstrates that there is a long history of the phenomenon of illegally smuggling humans and drugs into the United States through its “backdoors.”

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  • Guidotti-Hernández, Nicole M. Unspeakable Violence: Remapping US and Mexican National Imaginaries. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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    A dynamic approach to the history of racialized and gendered violence in the US-Mexico borderlands. The author utilizes a case-study approach to demonstrate that violence was fundamental to US, Mexican, and Chicana/o nationalisms. The retelling of these individual case studies produces specific versions of nationhood.

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  • Hernández, Kelly Lytle. Migra! A History of the US Border Patrol. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

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    A colorful and extensively researched look into the history of the US Border Patrol and its evolution from a humble outfit of former Texas Rangers and military veterans into a professional organization. The author argues that the Border Patrol manipulated its responsibilities of enforcing immigration laws into a policy of policing Mexicans.

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  • Leiker, James L. Racial Borders: Black Soldiers along the Rio Grande. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2010.

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    Based on African American soldiers’ experiences along the Texas-Mexico border, this study examines the complexities and ironies of American race relations. This study also establishes the military’s role in transforming the fluid frontier into a restricted border delineating national and racial categories.

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  • Nevins, Joseph. Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the US-Mexico Boundary. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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    An interdisciplinary study on the establishment of border enforcement along the US-Mexican divide throughout the 20th century and culminating with Operation Gatekeeper. An expansive overhaul of border enforcement and security along the San Diego/San Ysidro-Tijuana border in the mid-1990s altered local, state, and federal relations.

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  • St. John, Rachel. Line in the Sand: A History of the Western US-Mexico Border. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

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    Significant attention is offered to the social, political, and institutional foundations of the western portion of the US-Mexico border. The author reveals how the boundary changed, over time, from an artificial line on a map to a clearly marked and regulated divide between the United States and Mexico.

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  • Young, Elliot. Catarino Garza’s Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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    A critical analysis of a south Texas revolt led by Catarino Garza that sheds light on the cross-border alliances of ranchers, merchants, laborers, and disgruntled military men in the late 19th century. The author argues that the rebellion played a major role in the rising nationalism in the border region.

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Labor

Labor is the pillar of borderlands scholarship and at the heart of US-Mexican relations. Labor historians continue to challenge and rethink the economic, political, and social factors that push and pull workers to the United States and, in some cases, back to Mexico. Zamora 2009 synthesizes the migratory experiences of Mexican workers during World War II. García 1981 examines the role of Mexican laborers in the industrialization of the southwestern United States. Cohen 2011 examines American reactions to workers arriving in the United States under the Bracero Program during World War II and later. Hart 1998 examines the role of the working class in the industrialization of both Mexico and the United States. Mize 2010 studies the effect Mexican migrant laborers have had on US and Mexican economies since World War II. Guerin-Gonzales 1994 examines the removal of Mexican workers and residents from the United States and returning them to Mexico during the Great Depression. Rodríguez 2011 provides a lens with which to scrutinize the Mexican labor network between Texas and the midwestern region of the United States. Evans 2007 provides an economic history on the manufacture and trade of twine from Mexico to the United States.

  • Cohen, Deborah. Braceros: Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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    An engaging overview of the Bracero Program, launched at the beginning of World War II, between the United States and Mexico. The author examines the American reaction to these workers and what both countries hoped to gain from such an initiative.

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  • Evans, Sterling. Bound in Twine: The History and Ecology of the Henequen-Wheat Complex for Mexico and the American and Canadian Plains, 1880–1950. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007.

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    An engaging economic history based largely on the manufacturing and trade of Mexican twine to farmers in the United States and Canada. This commercial relationship demonstrated a double dependency on Mexico’s fibrous plants by both the Great Plains and Canada, and affected transnational agriculture, ecology, and the economies of North America.

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  • García, Mario T. Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880–1920. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.

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    This study of migration and economic development along the US-Mexico border demonstrates that ethnic Mexicans played a critical role in the industrial development and modernization of the borderlands. Although a regional study, its extensive research and thematically broad scope extend beyond its geography to reach larger transnational activities.

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  • Guerin-Gonzales, Camille. Mexican Workers and the American Dreams: Immigration, Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900–1939. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994.

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    This study examines the repatriation of more than one million Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans during the Great Depression. The author outlines the resistance efforts made by Mexicans and the resulting constructions of national and ethnic identity within the Mexican and Mexican American community.

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  • Hart, John Mason, ed. Border Crossings: Mexican and Mexican-American Workers. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

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    A collection of essays that address the social, cultural, political, and economic links between Mexicans and Mexican Americans in North America. The volume explores the historical development of the working class and their connection to industrial development in both countries.

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  • Mize, Ronald L., and Alicia C. S. Swords. Consuming Mexican Labor: From the Bracero Program to NAFTA. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

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    A candid analysis of the history of Mexican migration to the United States from 1942 to the present day; reveals that Mexican workers have been actively encouraged to migrate northward during periods of labor shortages and are just as easily turned back during economic downturns.

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  • Rodríguez, Marc Simon. The Tejano Diaspora: Mexican-Americanism and Ethnic Politics in Texas and Wisconsin. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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    A unique examination of the migratory labor network that operated between south Texas and the Midwest during the 1960s and 1970s. Notions of citizenship, ethnic identity, and social and political movements emerge with new meanings as ideologies and rhetoric transcend the confines of the southwestern United States and appear in the Midwest.

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  • Zamora, Emilio. Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2009.

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    A truly transnational study of the experiences of Mexican workers, emphasizing their transition from the rural agricultural sector to industrialized urban areas seeking better-paying jobs and social mobility during the mid-1900s. Prejudice and discrimination handicapped this transition, and the author investigates Mexican and American federal intervention on behalf of workers.

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Migration

Migration is a principal area of concern in borderlands scholarship. Scholars continue to expand and reimagine the trajectories of these areas of study by delving deeper into Mexican sources, complicating the south-to-north axis with cyclical migration, and the role of identity and citizenship within a transnational migratory context. Gamio 1971 provides one of the earliest studies in Mexican migration into the United States in the early months of the Great Depression. Cardoso 1980 studies Mexican immigration patterns to the United States since the late 19th century. Gonzalez 2006 offers a reexamination of diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and Mexico and demonstrates that Mexican migration differs from European migration to the United States. Henderson 2011 studies the origins and evolution of the movement of people from Mexico into the United States. Délano 2011 examines the significance of the Mexican diaspora in both the United States and Mexico. Gutiérrez 1999 provides a historiographical framework for understanding Mexican assimilation into American consumer culture. Balderrama and Rodríguez 2006 recounts the repatriation of more than a million Mexicans during the Great Depression. Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994 uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the factors that contribute to migration over time.

  • Balderrama, Francisco E., and Raymond Rodríguez. Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. Rev. ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

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    The authors recount the mass deportation of more than a million immigrants back to Mexico during the Great Depression. Scapegoating of Mexican immigrants was pervasive, and the authors reveal the extensive methods utilized by federal, state, and local agencies to execute the removal of Mexicans from the United States and back to Mexico.

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  • Cardoso, Lawrence A. Mexican Emigration to the United States, 1897–1931: Socio-economic Patterns. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1980.

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    An early study of Mexican immigration to the United States since the late 1800s. Discusses contributions to community, agricultural, and railroad development as high-demand workers. The author argues that migratory patterns by Mexican workers were formed by social and economic factors in Mexico during the Industrial Age.

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  • Délano, Alexandra. Mexico and Its Diaspora in the United States: Policies of Emigration since 1848. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511894848Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study underscores the significance of the Mexican diaspora, in both the United States and Mexico, due to its size, economic power, and growing political activism across borders. The author understands the bilateral relationship between the two countries and delves deeper into Mexico’s stake in defending migrants’ rights and engaging diaspora.

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  • Gamio, Manuel. Mexican Immigration to the United States: A Study of Human Migration and Adjustment. New York: Dover, 1971.

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    This study was supported by early-20th-century concerns regarding the mass migration of Mexicans to the United States. A snapshot of Mexican migration to the United States sheds light on the processes of movement, assimilation, acculturation, and identity formation in the early 20th century.

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  • Gonzalez, Gilbert G. Guest Workers or Colonized Labor? Mexican Labor Migration to the United States. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2006.

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    At the center of this study lies the dispelling of the myth that Mexican migration mirrors earlier European migrations. The author demonstrates that Mexican migration is a direct result of US economic domination over Mexico through its control over important industries in that country.

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  • Gutiérrez, David G. “Migration, Emergent Ethnicity, and the ‘Third Space’: The Shifting Politics of Nationalism in Greater Mexico.” Journal of American History 86.2 (September 1999): 481–517.

    DOI: 10.2307/2567042Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An engaging historical analysis of the assimilation by Mexicans into American consumer culture transcending time and space. The author points out that the stark reality of a continuing immigration flow and a growing resident population will reshape ethnic Mexican identity, community, and culture. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Henderson, Timothy J. Beyond Borders: A History of Mexican Migration to the United States. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444394962Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey of the origins and evolution of Mexican migration into the United States from the early 20th century to the modern day grounds this study. A binational lens is focused in order to attain a broader assessment of the multiple factors contributing to the “push-pull” cycle between both countries.

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  • Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette. Gendered Transitions: Mexican Experiences of Immigration. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

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    This unique overview is an interdisciplinary study of the process by which men and women recreate families and develop communities in their new countries. The author argues that people migrate as a result of changes in familial and social networks.

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Diplomacy

Conflict, accommodation, and division are a reflection of the ever-changing diplomatic and political history between the United States and Mexico. Current scholarship seeks to provide a more variegated approach to diplomatic exchanges that demonstrate serious social, economic, and political consequences. Werne 2007 delves into the complex diplomatic exchange between the United States and Mexico when establishing the boundary between the two countries after the American-Mexican War of 1846–1848. Thompson 2007 examines the conflictive and violent period preceding the American-Mexican War. Eisenhower 1995 examines American military involvement during the Mexican Revolution. Shafer and Mabry 1981 analyzes the impact of immigration and oil on diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico. Hall and Coerver 1988 provides a view into the diplomatic exchanges between the two countries and the effects of the revolution for both countries. McCrossen 2009 addresses transnational consumerism and the exchange of needed goods.

  • Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention! The United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1913–1917. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

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    A military and diplomatic history of the US involvement in the Mexican Revolution of 1910, beginning with President Woodrow Wilson’s desire to remove Victoriano Huerta from power in 1913, to the Punitive Expedition in 1916. The author pens a patriotic narrative of American military exploits during this period.

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  • Hall, Linda B., and Don M. Coerver. Revolution on the Border: The United States and Mexico, 1910–1920. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988.

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    The Mexican Revolution of 1910 is the catalyst to conflictive and divisive diplomatic exchanges between the United States and Mexico. The authors argue that although the driving forces behind this conflict were political and military, the events of the crisis had social and economic outcomes with broad geographical effects for both countries.

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  • McCrossen, Alexis, ed. Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States–Mexico Borderlands. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.

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    A collection of essays by historians and anthropologists that reveal the exchange of the national and transnational as well as the contrast of scarcity and abundance in the US-Mexico borderlands region peering through the lens of consumer culture. The topics covered by this volume provide insight into the historical and contemporary aspects of capitalism, nationalism, transnationalism, and consumerism.

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  • Shafer, Robert Jones, and Donald J. Mabry. Neighbors: Mexico and the United States—Wetbacks and Oil. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981.

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    A historical examination of diplomatic, political, and economic relations between Mexico and the United States through an understanding of the impact of immigration and oil for both countries. The study begins in the early 19th century and ends with a contemporary discussion on the major issues plaguing both countries.

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  • Thompson, Jerry D. Cortina: Defending the Mexican Name in Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007.

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    A critical lens into Juan Nepomuceno Cortina’s crusade against the American “invasion” and the US usurping of Mexican land and legal rights in south Texas. The author highlights a complex and violent period of resistance and worsening race relations along the ambiguously defined international boundary.

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  • Werne, Joseph. The Imaginary Line: A History of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, 1848–1857. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 2007.

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    Based on the work of a group of military and civilian surveyors, this microhistory delves into the complex process of defining the abstract notion of boundaries separating nation-states. The author draws from manuscripts, government documents, memoirs, and other sources to chart the intersection of individual lives, politics, and geography.

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Mexican Revolution

Mexican Revolution scholarship is experiencing a revival of sorts in the 21st century as several monographs explore the role of the US-Mexico borderlands during one of the 20th century’s most tumultuous time periods. Sandos 1992 examines the political and social strife in south Texas in the early 1900s. De Léon 2012 is an edited volume that provides a varied look into civilian and military experiences along the Texas-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Welsome 2006 provides a comprehensive narrative on the Punitive Expedition from 1916 to 1917. Stout 1999 examines the Mexican Revolution from the perspective of Mexican soldiers and diplomats. Harris and Sadler 2009 examines the role of secret agents, espionage, and law enforcement during the Mexican Revolution. Raat 1981 studies Mexican rebel activity in the United States in the early 20th century. Romo 2005 provides a regional look into El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, as center stage to revolutionary activity at the turn of the 20th century. Johnson 2003 studies social rebellion in the early decades of the 20th century and shows that ethnic Mexicans, influenced by political rhetoric and oppression, sought justice through political organization and, at times, violence for integration and acceptance.

  • De Léon, Arnoldo, ed. War along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012.

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    This volume engages a number of topics that include racial violence, the revolution’s economic impact, agriculture and labor, and diplomacy. Collectively the articles underscore the dynamic nature of the Mexican Revolution and its direct ties to the United States, and more specifically to border communities on both sides of the boundary.

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  • Harris, Charles H., and Louis R. Sadler. The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.

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    An intriguing look into the secret world of espionage, munitions deals, recruitment, and propaganda in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, stemming from the Mexican revolutionary movement at the turn of the 20th century. This study examines one of the least-known aspects of the Mexican Revolution.

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  • Johnson, Benjamin Heber. Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.

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    By using the Plan de San Diego as a frame of reference, the author highlights the cycle of violence between the Texas Rangers and ethnic Mexicans. In retaliation to the violent oppression of ethnic Mexicans, many organized politically to seek the protection of American institutions and utilize their rights as citizens of the United States.

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  • Raat, W. Dirk. Revoltosos: Mexico’s Rebels in the United States, 1903–1923. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1981.

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    A unique look at Mexican rebel activity in the United States in the early 20th century as it affected US immigration policy, diplomacy, and commercial interests with Mexico. The revoltosos used American territory to organize and undermine the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and succeeding governments.

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  • Romo, David Dorado. Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juárez, 1893–1923. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos, 2005.

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    The author focuses on various case studies and significant actors in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez at the turn of the 20th century to demonstrate a grassroots element to revolutionary buildup. A truly interdisciplinary study that is a snapshot of the tangled web of cosmopolitan border living in the early 20th century.

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  • Sandos, James A. Rebellion in the Borderlands: Anarchism and the Plan of San Diego, 1904–1923. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

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    An examination of the various political and social demonstrations in south Texas influenced by the rumblings and events of the Mexican Revolution. The author focuses in part on the rise of anarchist rhetoric promoted by the Flores Magón brothers who led their political rebellion from their headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

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  • Stout, Joseph Allen, Jr. Border Conflict: Villistas, Carrancistas and the Punitive Expedition, 1915–1920. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1999.

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    This study is one of few examinations of American intervention during the Mexican Revolution from the perspective of Mexican soldiers and diplomats. The author offers an innovative interpretation of the revolution’s leading figures, Francisco Villa and Venustiano Carranza, and their relationships with the United States, their rivals, and their revolutionary ideologies.

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  • Welsome, Eileen. The General and the Jaguar: Pershing’s Hunt for Pancho Villa, A True Story of Revolution and Revenge. New York: Little, Brown, 2006.

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    A colorful narrative of General John J. Pershing’s pursuit of Mexican general Francisco Villa in 1916. Pershing, armed with the accoutrements of a modern army, and Villa, on the defensive with only remnants of his former outfit, fulfill the opposing roles of this melodrama within the larger stage of the Mexican Revolution.

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Citizenship

Transnational communities consist of people navigating a complex bureaucratic network composed of policies, laws, social and political nativist rhetoric, and historical circumstances that complicate or impede their full integration into the nation-state. Molina 2006 provides an overview of the eugenics movement and how it shaped the meaning of race and citizenship for ethnic Mexicans. Ngai 2005 offers a comprehensive review of the legal history of unauthorized immigration throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Menchaca 2011 provides a historical precedent to current immigration debates. Meeks 2007 examines ethnoracial categories in Arizona’s borderlands. Romero 2010 examines Chinese migration through Mexico and into the United States during the Exclusion Era. Vélez-Ibáñez 1996 offers a broad overview of identity formation and community building by ethnic Mexicans throughout the southwestern United States.

  • Meeks, Eric V. Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007.

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    This study examines how ethnoracial categories and identities such as Indian, Mexican, and Anglo were formed in Arizona’s borderlands between 1880 and 1980. Interethnic kinships and cultural ties were disrupted and altered with the influx of Anglo-Americans, the development of an industrial economy, and annexation.

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  • Menchaca, Martha. Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants: A Texas History. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.

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    In the 19th and early 20th centuries the majority of the Mexican immigrant population resided in Texas. The author examines US-Mexico relations following the Civil War; anti-immigration organizations and rhetoric since the 19th century; and distinctions made between Afromexicanos, Native Americans, and mestizos.

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  • Molina, Natalia. Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

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    The author demonstrates how public health initiatives and the eugenics movement shaped the meaning of race in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Various case studies in Los Angeles are examined to unveil how local health officials constructed public health concerns to dehumanize and demonize immigrants.

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  • Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

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    A close reading of the most restrictive US immigration policies in the early 20th century is given. The author outlines the origins of the “illegal alien” in the American legal and social contexts and explains how and why illegal migration developed into the central problem in US immigration policy.

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  • Romero, Robert Chao. The Chinese in Mexico, 1882–1940. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010.

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    Roughly sixty thousand Chinese entered Mexico during the Exclusion Era, resulting in Mexico’s second-largest foreign population. The author utilizes both American and Mexican sources to formulate a truly transnational scope on the global Chinese diaspora of the time.

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  • Vélez-Ibáñez, Carlos G. Border Visions: Mexican Cultures of the Southwest. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996.

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    A broad overview that analyzes the generations of ethnic Mexicans that moved north and attempted to create community and identity primarily in the southwestern region of the United States. The author demonstrates a constant reaffirmation of unique cultural identity through familial and immigrant ties.

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Economy and Commerce

The links between the United States and Mexico are rooted in their economic and commercial interdependence. Borderlands scholarship focusing on the economic and commercial relationship between the two countries transcends the basic understanding of the movement of goods and people due to economic factors. It explores issues of ethnic and national identity, community development, culture, and labor. Chávez 1984 provides an intellectual and economic history of Mexican self-perception in the wake of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Alonzo 1998 provides an analysis of Mexican ranching traditions in south Texas. Reséndez 2004 demonstrates that New Mexico and Texas developed an economic and social identity largely tied to American markets and trade prior to its annexation in the mid-19th century. Brooks 2002 examines the captive exchange economies among Native Americans and Spaniards during the colonial period. Truett 2008 examines how capitalists and diplomats sought to transform the Arizona-Sonoran frontier into a modern and industrialized region. Mora-Torres 2001 reviews the process of state building and emergent capitalism in northern Mexico since its war with the United States and leading up to the revolution in 1910. Walsh 2008 intersects several themes to address the transnational economic and political forces influencing northern Mexico’s infrastructure development after the Mexican Revolution. Tutino 2012 analyzes the economic and social legacies of New Spain in Mexico and the United States.

  • Alonzo, Armando C. Tejano Legacy: Rancheros and Settlers in South Texas, 1734–1900. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

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    An analysis of Tejano ranchers and settlers in south Texas from the colonial period to 1900, tracing the complexity of Mexican-Anglo cultural and social exchange. The author demonstrates how Tejanos adapted to change and maintained control of their properties through the 1880s.

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  • Brooks, James F. Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

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    An examination of the captive exchange economies among Native Americans and Spaniards throughout the colonial period until the end of the 19th century. The author reveals slavery’s vital role in intercultural trade, alliances, and status among the various Native American groups, and to their resistance to foreign intervention.

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  • Chávez, John R. The Lost Land: The Chicano Image of the Southwest. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

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    A wide-ranging intellectual history of Mexican self-perception in the wake of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that delineates the social, cultural, and economic changes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The author argues that the Chicano perception of the Southwest is unique because of their long-standing presence in the region.

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  • Mora-Torres, Juan. The Making of the Mexican Border: The State, Capitalism, and Society in Nuevo León, 1848–1910. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

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    An engaging analysis of how the processes of state building, emergent capitalism, and growing linkages to the United States transformed northern Mexico in the period following the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago in 1848 and leading up to the first shots of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

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  • Reséndez, Andrés. Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 1800–1850. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    The author argues that Mexico’s northern frontier developed an international economic and social identity largely tied to the United States prior to its annexation in the mid-19th century. National identities were in constant flux because of isolation from Mexico City and economic relationships with New Orleans and other American cities.

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  • Truett, Samuel. Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the US-Mexico Borderlands. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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    Along the Arizona-Sonoran border, Americans and Mexicans transformed this once desolate region into a mining and industrial giant in the early 20th century. The author demonstrates how capitalists and politicians tried to tame the wild frontier within a transnational context by transplanting familiar comforts and social norms.

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  • Tutino, John, ed. Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012.

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    A radical departure from traditional borderlands and national historical narrative; examines state development by placing the Mexican at the center of US history. This volume unfolds the economic, social, and cultural legacies of New Spain to emphasize its influence in the shaping of Mexico and the United States.

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  • Walsh, Casey. Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008.

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    This study intersects multiple themes, disciplines, and perspectives to draw a better understanding of transnational economic and political forces between Mexico and the United States. The Lower Rio Grande Valley irrigation zone on the border with Texas and northern Tamaulipas, Mexico, was the stage to make cotton the basis of the national economy in Mexico.

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Community Building

Transnational communities have a long history of organizing across borders to promote and advance their social and political agendas for equality, civil and labor rights, and recognition within the United States and Mexico. Because of the proximity of the two countries and interconnected communities, ethnic Mexicans are able to garner the attention of both governments and constituents to their political and social causes. The scholarship reflects this dynamic transnational quality of Mexican communities along the US-Mexico border. Perales 2010 provides a case study in community building along the Texas-Mexico border. Gómez-Quiñones 1994 examines changes in social and political identities along the border from a Mexican perspective. Samora 1971 provides personal narratives of Mexican migrants to the United States. Deutsch 1989 grapples with the social and cultural strategies by Anglo and Hispanos as they jockeyed for political, economic, and social dominion in the American Southwest. Anzaldúa 2007 provides a theoretical framework to border identity. Fregoso 2003 provides a theoretical and historical framework to Chicana and Mexican representation in US and Mexican culture.

  • Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 3d ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 2007.

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    Not a traditional historical monograph, but a staple in borderlands studies nonetheless. The author offers a complex and engaging exploration of the heterogeneity of borderlands communities and the marginal person that exists in a constant state of transition, ambivalence, and conflict.

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  • Deutsch, Sarah. No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880–1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

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    A social history of a power struggle for rights to land, political agency, and cultural identity between local Hispanos and later-arriving Anglos into northern New Mexico. The author demonstrates a unique social and cultural setting that provides a certain level of accommodation and self-preservation for local families.

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  • Fregoso, Rosa Linda. MeXicana Encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

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    A theoretical framework is established outlining the dynamic and contradictory representation of Mexican and Chicana women in American and Mexican culture. The author analyzes cultural practices and symbolic forms that shape social identities within and across boundaries.

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  • Gómez-Quiñones, Juan. The Roots of Chicano Politics, 1600–1940. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

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    A synthesis of borderlands history from a Mexican perspective that offers a new interpretation of a wide range of subject matter that includes politics, gender, ethnicity, and cultural and social change. Through the lens of social and cultural interaction, the author is able to demonstrate changes in identity and political consciousness.

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  • Perales, Monica. Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

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    A focused study on the American Smelting and Refining Company in El Paso, Texas, that draws from the author’s familial records, local newspapers, and company records to reconstruct his unique community of laborers and residents. Community development rests at the heart of this historical narrative.

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  • Samora, Julian. Los Mojados: The Wetback Story. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971.

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    A candid look into the lives and trials of Mexican migrants entering the United States that reveals a variable impact on community demographics, economies, and family structure. This study is one of the earliest narratives of Mexican immigrants from their perspective while presenting a brief history on the greater role they serve in the American society.

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LAST MODIFIED: 03/19/2013

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199913701-0018

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