In Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity
(University of California Press, 2019), Dr. Laura R. Barraclough
tells a surprising story about the urban American West. Barraclough, the Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor in American Studies at Yale University, writes the history of elite Mexican and Mexican-American cowboys – charros – and how charro culture served as a site of contested national identity in the mid twentieth century United States. In Western cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, and San Antonio, Chicano men and women used charro organizations and events as places where one could assert both Mexican and American, as well as middle- and upper-class, identities. Rather than the archetypical image of a white, dusty, cowboy riding alone across a desolate mesa, Charros
portrays a Western ranching culture that is more urban, more flamboyant, more crowded, and less white than many Americans may assume.
Stephen Hausmann is an Assistant Professor of US History at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He teaches courses on modern US history, environmental history, and Indigenous history and is currently working on his book manuscript, an environmental history of the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.