As evidenced by many of the conversations featured on this podcast, scholarship on the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands composes a significant and influential genre within the field of U.S. Western History and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies. Geographically rooted in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico, or Greater Mexico, publications in this subfield explore a broad range of themes including: migration and labor, citizenship and race, culture and identity formation, gender and sexuality, politics and social justice, just to name a few.
This episode features a conversation with two historians of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: Kelly Lytle Hernandez
, author of Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol
(UC Press, 2010), and John Mckiernan Gonzalez
, author of Fevered Measures: Public Health and Race at the Texas-Mexico Border, 1848-1942
(Duke University Press, 2012). My discussion with Kelly and John focuses on their exemplary scholarship to explore how historians conceptualize, investigate, and explain the history of the U.S.-Mexico Border region. In particular, we discuss how the U.S.-Mexico border exists in the minds of policy makers, bureaucrats, low level officials, businessmen and the public at large, as more than a fixed political boundary. Indeed, competing notions of who and what the border is supposed to control has historically shaped ideas about race, public policy, and law enforcement practices throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region. In addition to their existing work, we discuss their forthcoming publications which signal exciting new directions in the field of Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies and U.S. History in general.
This conversation was recorded during a session of the 109th annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association held earlier this month in Kona, Hawaii.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) is a Doctoral Candidate in History at the University of Southern California. He is a historian of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Civil Rights, and Latino Identity & Politics. DJs dissertation examines the influence of Mexican American civic engagement and political activism on the metropolitan development of Orange County, CA from 1930 to 1965.