I research and write on the long-term history of the greater U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the Southwest, the South, and the lands where these regions meet, the Southern Great Plains. My book manuscript, The Erased Homeland: Mexicans, the Southern Great Plains, and America’s Future, engages several fields of history, including Chicana/o, Native American, North American West, Great Plains, Nuevo South, borderlands, migration, labor, civil rights, and colonialism. Overall, my project counters the depiction of ethnic Mexicans as recent immigrants to the United States, making clear their long-term presence in the nation beyond the Southwest and placing them as an integral part of Southern Plains as well as American history.
My work has also concentrated on women’s labor and organizing on the U.S.-Mexico border, African American and Mexican American social justice movements and their coalescing, historical memory, along with the cultural ecology of the Southern Plains. Through the historical connections that a long-dureé approach reveals, I have brought, and continue bring, these various interests together.
Outside of the university setting, I have worked and volunteered in publicly accessible oral history projects as well as preservation projects focused on harnessing historical assets for community-oriented development. My research has also been included within publications for the wider public and historical agencies.