Winner of the 2009 Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association
2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Migrant Imaginaries explores the transnational movements of Mexican migrants in pursuit of labor and civil rights in the United States from the 1920s onward. Working through key historical moments such as the 1930s, the Chicano Movement, and contemporary globalization and neoliberalism, Alicia Schmidt Camacho examines the relationship between ethnic Mexican expressive culture and the practices sustaining migrant social movements. Combining sustained historical engagement with theoretical inquiries, she addresses how struggles for racial and gender equity, cross-border unity, and economic justice have defined the Mexican presence in the United States since 1910.
Schmidt Camacho covers a range of archives and sources, including migrant testimonials and songs, Amrico Parede’s last published novel, The Shadow, the film Salt of the Earth, the foundational manifestos of El Movimiento, Richard Rodriguez’s memoirs, narratives by Marisela Norte and Rosario Sanmiguel, and testimonios of Mexican women workers and human rights activists, as well as significant ethnographic research. Throughout, she demonstrates how Mexicans and Mexican Americans imagined their communal ties across the border, and used those bonds to contest their noncitizen status. Migrant Imaginaries places migrants at the center of the hemisphere’s most pressing concerns, contending that border crossers have long been vital to social change.
Part I: Border Crossers in Mexican American Cultural Politics
1. These People Are Not Aliens: Transborder Solidarity in the Shadow of Deportation
2. Migrant Modernisms: Racialized Development under the Bracero Program
3. No Constitution for Us: Class Racism and Cold War Unionism
4. Bordered Civil Rights: Migrants, Feminism, and the Radical Imagination in El Movimiento Chicano
5, Tracking the New Migrants: Richard Rodriguez and Liberal Retrenchment
Part II: Border Crossings: Frontiers of New Social Conflict
6. Narrative Acts: Fronteriza Stories of Labor and Subjectivity
7. Migrant Melancholia: Emergent Narratives of the Border Crossing
Afterword: A trave´s de la línea/Across the Line
"Notably, Schmidt Camachos comprehensive interdisciplinary work lends insight into the current immigration crisis, one wrought from more than a century of failed national policiesCamacho offer[s] complementary strategies for rethinking the relationship between history (broadly defined) and cultural production." ~American Literary History
"A landmark book. . . . Highly recommended." ~Choice