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Verónica Martínez-Matsuda

Associate Professor

Verónica Martínez-Matsuda received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from The University of Texas at Austin. Her most recent article, "For Labor and Democracy: Competing Visions of Migrant Farmwork, Social Reform, and American Civil Rights in the 1940s," appeared in The Journal of American History (Sept. 2019) and was awarded the 2020 OAH Binkley-Stephenson Prize for the best article in the JAH during the preceding calendar year. Martínez-Matsuda is also the author of Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020), which was awarded the 2021 OAH (with co-sponsorship by the Labor and Working-Class History Association) David Montgomery Award for the best book in labor and working-class history.

Dr. Martínez-Matsuda's research agenda is motivated by the following central questions: How do those excluded from the legal and everyday rights of American citizenship because of their political status, racial identity, or class standing as low-wage workers, express civic membership and claim national belonging? And, in their actions to envision, articulate, and secure their civil rights, how do these marginal actors shape the political and sociocultural meaning of American citizenship? While her expertise in Chicanx Studies grounds most of her research, Martínez-Matsuda's work engages in a broader race-relational methodology and cross-regional framework. She is concerned with how agricultural workers’ experiences of disenfranchisement have varied and yet informed one another across different historical junctures, places, and relative to their specific circumstances of noncitizenship, racial subjugation, and economic exploitation. Her current research, Farmworkers' Sweat Equity: The Self-Help Housing Movement and Investment Against Migrant Poverty, further advances our understanding of how, for farmworker families, housing rights were intimately tied to the civil rights fight for decent wages, human dignity, and full citizenship. This book will explore the history of a rural cooperative housing movement for farmworker families and other rural poor citizens in the United States beginning in the early 1960s.

Martínez-Matsuda's research has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian, and the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation), among other institutions.

Professor Martínez-Matsuda's teaching fields of interest and expertise include: U.S. Modern Social and Cultural History, Labor and Working-Class History, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the War on Poverty, Immigration/Migration History, Latinx Studies, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Studies, and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies.

Before joining the faculty at UC San Diego, Martínez-Matsuda taught for over ten years at Cornell University’s school of Industrial Labor Relations in the department of Labor Relations, Law, and History. At Cornell, she was also a member of the Graduate Faculty in the fields of American Studies, Latin American Studies, Latinx Studies, and Asian American Studies. She has received numerous teaching awards, including the 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.


  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program. The University of Pennsylvania Press, “Politics and Culture in Modern America” book series, 2020.

         *Winner of the OAH’s 2021David Montgomery Award for the best book in American Labor and Working-Class History.


  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. “For Labor and Democracy: Competing Visions of Migrant Farmwork, Social Reform, and American Civil Rights in the 1940s,” Journal of American History, 106, no. 2 (September 2019): 338-361.

         *Winner of the OAH’s Binkley-Stephenson Award for the best article in the JAH during the preceding calendar year.
  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. “‘A Transformation for Migrants:’ Mexican Farmworkers, the Federal Government, and Health Reform During the New Deal Era,” in Precarious Prescriptions: Contested Histories of Race and Health in North America, edited by Laurie B. Green, John McKiernan-González, and Martin Summers, Minnesota University Press, 2014.



  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. Review. Enrique M. Buelna, Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2019), in Journal of American Ethnic History, (Winter, 2021).
  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. Review. Linda Allegro and Andrew Grant Wood, eds., Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland: Changing Social Landscapes in Middle America (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013), in LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, 12 (December, 2015).
  • Martínez-Matsuda, Verónica. Review. Don Mitchell, They Saved the Crops: Labor, Landscape, and the Struggle Over Industrial Farming in Bracero-Era California (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012), in LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, 10.3 (Fall, 2013).


  • Book Manuscript. Farmworkers’ Sweat Equity: The Self-Help Housing Movement and the Investment Against Migrant Poverty.
  • Journal Article. “‘The Poor Build Their Homes with Sweat:’ Farmworkers, Rural Poverty, and the Fight for Affordable Housing in the 1960s.”
  • Journal Article. “The Impact of World War II ‘Enemy Alien’ Relocation and Internment on Japanese American Farmers and Farmlands.” 
  • Journal Article. “‘Curing our Community:’ Mexican American Nurses and Home Management Supervisors in Public Health Work, 1920-1960.”