Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms

Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms

by Ismael García-Colón

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Overview

Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire is the first in-depth look at the experiences of Puerto Rican migrant workers in continental U.S. agriculture in the twentieth century. The Farm Labor Program, established by the government of Puerto Rico in 1947, placed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers on U.S. farms and fostered the emergence of many stateside Puerto Rican communities. Ismael García-Colón investigates the origins and development of this program and uncovers the unique challenges faced by its participants.

A labor history and an ethnography, Colonial Migrants evokes the violence, fieldwork, food, lodging, surveillance, and coercion that these workers experienced on farms and conveys their hopes and struggles to overcome poverty. Island farmworkers encountered a unique form of prejudice and racism arising from their dual status as both U.S. citizens and as “foreign others,” and their experiences were further shaped by evolving immigration policies. Despite these challenges, many Puerto Rican farmworkers ultimately chose to settle in rural U.S. communities, contributing to the production of food and the Latinization of the U.S. farm labor force.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520325791
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Series: American Crossroads , #57
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ismael García-Colón is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the College of Staten Island and CUNY Graduate Center. He is a historical and political anthropologist with interests in political economy and oral history, and the author of Land Reform in Puerto Rico: Modernizing the Colonial State.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction

PART ONE
THE FORMATION OF THE AGRARIAN LABOR REGIMES

1 • The Making of Colonial Migrant Farmworkers
2 • Establishing the Farm Labor Program
3 • Implementing Contract Migration

PART TWO
MANAGING HOPE, DESPAIR, AND DISSENT

4 • Pa’lla Afuera and the Life Experiences of Migrants
5 • Labor Camps as Prisons in the Fields
6 • Puerto Ricans in the Rural United States
7 • Labor Organizing and the End of an Era

Epilogue

Notes
References
Index

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