Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Stony Brook University (SUNY)
Website URL
Latino history, 20th century U.S. history, labor, immigration, agriculture, food, U.S.-Mexico border, gender, women's history, Mexican Americans, borderlands
Additional Contact Information
On sabbatical so will be selective with answering emails from media

Personal Info

About Me

I am an Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University (SUNY) and teach classes in U.S. Latino, labor, immigration, and working class history, as well as U.S.-Mexico and global borderlands history.

I was born and raised in a small town in south Texas, and never traveled far from home until I acted against my parents’ wishes and decided to attend Yale University. To make the journey, I applied to every scholarship I could and held multiple work-study jobs. To this day, I consider leaving for college one of the bravest and best decisions I have ever made, both because of the people I ended up meeting and the possibilities it opened up in my life. After graduating, I moved to Stanford University to pursue my doctorate in history, and received my Ph.D. in 2011.

My award-winning first book, Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale University Press, 2016), analyzes the relationships between Mexican Americans, bracero guestworkers, and undocumented immigrants in their struggles for civil and labor rights in California’s Salinas Valley from the 1940s to the present. It was named Best First Book by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and Best History Book by the International Latino Book Awards.

My next book project, which I am researching right now, will examine the lives of Latino food workers in the U.S. Northeast, including and beyond farmworkers. By examining what I think are the tandem processes of the United States’ growing appetite for Latino food and appetite for Latino labor during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this project will advance our historical understanding of how the popularity and permeation of Latino cuisine throughout America has intersected with the acceptance and inclusion of Latino people. When has food allowed Latinos to achieve upward mobility, social acceptance, and political change? By contrast, where and when has Latino food been embraced (but Latino people were not) because of racial or xenophobic backlash? This book contributes something new by explicitly connecting the histories of Latino food, labor, and migration to produce a more comprehensive narrative about how Americans have responded to all three.

Recent Publications


Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale University Press, Lamar Series in Western History, 2016, NEW in paperback 2018)

Selected Articles

“Dutch Plan to Target Youth in Designer Clothes Dangerous Throwback to the Persecution of Zoot Suiters,” Public Seminar, 1 February 2018,

“Our Thanksgiving Meals Are Eaten, But the Fight for Farm Workers’ Rights Is Still On the Table,” Immigration and Ethnic History Society blog, 1 December 2017,

“The Future of Latino San Francisco As Seen Through Murals,” BOOM: A Journal of California, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter 2016), 16-27.

Introduction, “The Future of Chicana Studies,” Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Issue 11 (Fall 2016).

“Slow and Sudden Deaths: Reflecting on the Chualar Tragedy of 1963 and the Persisting Traumas of the Bracero Program,” Diálogo Vol. 19 No. 2 (Fall 2016), 79-85.

“Legal Loopholes Put Lives of Migrant Workers at Risk,” Op-Ed, Detroit Free Press, 15 November 2015,

Media Coverage
Host, New Books in Latino Studies podcast, New Books Network, 2015-present; C-SPAN Segment, “Chicano Authors Discuss Their Books,” 26 February 2016; Guest, radio show, “The Farm Report,” Heritage Radio Network, 14 January 2016.
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Food History, Gender, Politics, Race, Women