The Emergence of Mexican America

Recovering Stories of Mexican Peoplehood in U.S. Culture

211 pages

14 illustrations

May, 2006

ISBN: 9780814775585



Also available in


Literary Studies

Part of the Critical America series


John-Michael Rivera is Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

All books by John-Michael Rivera

Winner of the 2006 Thomas J. Lyon Book Award in Western American Literary Studies, presented by the Western Literature Association

In The Emergence of Mexican America, John-Michael Rivera examines the cultural, political, and legal representations of Mexican Americans and the development of US capitalism and nationhood. Beginning with the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 and continuing through the period of mass repatriation of US Mexican laborers in 1939, Rivera examines both Mexican-American and Anglo-American cultural production in order to tease out the complexities of the so-called “Mexican question.” Using historical and archival materials, Rivera's wide-ranging objects of inquiry include fiction, non-fiction, essays, treaties, legal materials, political speeches, magazines, articles, cartoons, and advertisements created by both Mexicans and Anglo Americans. Engaging and methodologically venturesome, Rivera's study is a crucial contribution to Chicano/Latino Studies and fields of cultural studies, history, government, anthropology, and literary studies.


  • “Offers an eloquent and compelling account of nineteenth and twentieth century cultural production—one that resituates Mexicanos at the center of thinking about U.S. nation-making during the nineteenth century and beyond. . . . This stunning new text promises to reshape literary and theoretical work in American Studies.”

    —Mary Pat Brady, author of Extinct Lands, Temporal Geographics: Chicana Literature and the Urgency of Space

  • “Discussions of Latino cultural citizenship and public culture have a distinguished and stimulating lineage in the work of major figures such as Renato Rosaldo, Rina Benmayour, and William Flores. With his new book that introduces literary history into the discussion, we must now add the name of John-Michael Rivera.”

    —José E. Limón, author of American Encounters: Greater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics of Culture

  • “The book’s research base is impressive, and Rivera’s reading of his sources is sophisticated, nuanced, and informed by the latest scholarship in ethnic, literary, sociological, and historical studies.”

    —Ernesto Chavez, University of Texas at El Paso

  • “In elegant (and enviable) prose, Rivera’s work calls for continued inquest into the role of stories, land, and memory in the formation of current Mexican political collectivities.”

    Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies