Pub. Date:
New York University Press
Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

by Alicia Schmidt CamachoAlicia Schmidt Camacho
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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814716496
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 07/24/2008
Series: Nation of Nations Series , #12
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 388
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alicia Schmidt Camacho is Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University.

Table of Contents


A Note on Language


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

Notes Index
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This is a wonderfully written book that should be read comparatively with other migrant histories as a way to move still further in our imaginaries about what we dare to envision for transcending the unjust history we have inherited. Schmidt Camacho has made a valuable contribution in launching this call."-Journal of American Ethnic History,

“A sophisticated, timely, and insightful book that Schmidt Camacho has situated in the middle of one of today’s most important historiographical debates. How are we to understand border crossers whose experiences are more connected to the diasporic consequences of economic transnationalism than to the immigration metanarratives of national incorporation? Schmidt Camacho’s answer lies in her expansion of social theory to place non-rights-bearing people at the center of the conversation rather than on the periphery of the nation-state and its citizenry.”
-Journal of American History


“A sophisticated, timely, and insightful book that Schmidt Camacho has situated in the middle of one of today’s most important historiographical debates.”
-Journal of American History


“A landmark book. . . . Highly recommended.”


“In this beautiful study, Schmidt Camacho demonstrates that Mexican migrant imaginaries affirm in songs, manifestos, poetry, novels, and testimonies visions of justice that exceed the limits of the nation-form and the logics of capital accumulation.”
-Lisa Lowe,author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics

Customer Reviews