Omar Valerio-Jimenez and Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez, eds.
The Latino/a Midwest Reader
University of Illinois Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network September 5, 2017 David-James Gonzales
In The Latina/o Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017) editors Omar Valerio-Jimenez, Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez, and Claire F. Fox bring together an exceptional cadre of scholars to dispel the notion that Latinas/os are newcomers to the Midwest. Through seventeen penetrating essays, this collection explores the trajectory of Latina/o migration, their demographic transformation of the Midwest, importance as laborers, neighbors, and community builders, as well as their struggles to obtain social and economic justice. Collectively, the essays within this anthology make several important interventions concerning the distinctiveness of the Midwest in the Latina/o experience and the effect it has had on identity formation and social activism. The presentation of the Midwest as a “border space” (i.e., contact zone) for Latina/o migrants from various parts of Latin America is a central theme that runs throughout the book. This anthology is an essential addition to Latina/o studies scholarship as it challenges the bi-coastal normativity and exclusivity of existing scholarship.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) is a Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California. He is a historian of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, the development of multi-ethnic/racial cities, and Latina/o identity and politics. His research centers on the intersection of Latina/o civic engagement and politics on the metropolitan development of Orange County, CA throughout the 20th century.