My work lies at the intersections of race, gender, culture, and citizenship. My first book, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939, explored the ways in which race is constructed relationally and regionally. In that work, which garnered the Noris and Carol Hundley book prize of the PCB-American Historical Association, I argued that race must be understood comparatively in order to see how the laws, practices, and attitudes directed at one racial group affected others. Fit to Be Citizens? demonstrates how both science and public health shaped the meaning of race in the early twentieth century. My second book, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts, examines Mexican immigration--from 1924 when immigration acts drastically reduced immigration to the U.S. to 1965 when many quotas were abolished--to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what I describe as an immigration regime that defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the U.S. about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity. Through the use of a relational lens, How Race Is Made in America also shows that racial scripts are easily adopted and adapted to apply to different racial groups.
Faculty-in-Residence, University of Bologna, Italy, April 2009; American Studies Association delegate chosen to participate in the annual Japanese Association for American Studies conference at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, sponsored by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, 2007; Ford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2003-2004; Prize for Promise, Finalist, 2002. The prize is a $100,000 award that recognizes young women of exceptional ability, ambition, intelligence, and dedication within their field of expertise.
Chicana/o History (350 student lecture course); Dimensions of Culture: Diversity (350 student lecture course, Thurgood Marshall College, Freshmen course); Gender and Immigration (senior seminar and graduate seminar); The History of Race in the United States; Race and the City (core upper division course for; Race, Disease and Globalization; Race, Health and Inequality (upper division and graduate seminar); Masters Theses Preparation (graduate seminar); Multicultural Pedagogy (Teacher Credential Program)