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Beyond the Book

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 halftones, 1 maps, notes, bibl., index

Sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University

ISBN  978-1-4696-0974-4
Published: August 2013


Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico

By Deborah Cohen

Awards & Distinctions

2012 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award in Agricultural History, Agricultural History Society

Finalist, 2012 David J. Weber-Clements Prize, Western History Association

Honorable Mention, CLR James Book Award, Working Class Studies Association

At the beginning of World War II, the United States and Mexico launched the bracero program, a series of labor agreements that brought Mexican men to work temporarily in U.S. agricultural fields. In Braceros, Deborah Cohen asks why these migrants provoked so much concern and anxiety in the United States and what the Mexican government expected to gain in participating in the program. Cohen creatively links the often-unconnected themes of exploitation, development, the rise of consumer cultures, and gendered class and race formation to show why those with connections beyond the nation have historically provoked suspicion, anxiety, and retaliatory political policies.

About the Author

Deborah Cohen is associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.


"This is an important contribution to the history of relations between Mexico and the U.S. Recommended. Graduate students and above."

"Enlightening and thought provoking."
--Journal of American History

"A wonderful read, one that might be assigned to graduate students or undergraduates in a wide range of classes. Any course that deals with the history of race, ethnicity, labor, or gender, in the United States or Mexico, will benefit from reading Cohen’s book."
--American Historical Review

"These narratives are interesting and important to understand. . . . [Cohen] has found such a rich group of ethnographic to help her tell them."
-- Journal of Historical Geography

"Cohen brings [braceros’s] actions to the forefront by allowing them to tell their stories in their own words, capturing the workers’ struggles and souls as they navigated the demands of the program. . . . The book encourages readers to consider migrants’ views of how their actions shaped immigration policies at the national and transnational level."
--Western Historical Quarterly

"Cohen’s careful consideration of bracero subjectivities will enrich our understanding of the expansiveness of the mid-twentieth century Mexican immigrant experience."
--New Mexico Historical Review

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