My dissertation entitled, "Braceros on the Boundaries: Activism, Race, Masculinity, and the Legacies of the Bracero Program," focuses on the historically largest guest worker program in the United States through interdisciplinary case studies grounded in past and present day struggles of bracero communities. From 1942-1964, the Bracero Program facilitated over 4.5 million temporary labor contracts issued to male Mexican workers, known as braceros, enabling them to work in the industries of the US that suffered labor shortages during and after World War II. To study this experience, my methodology incorporates oral histories, archival research, and ethnographic fieldwork. The first chapter examines the historic transnational activism of braceros through the organization Alianza de Braceros Nacionales de Mexico en los Estados Unidos (ABNM). In this chapter I trace the role of the ABNM in US-Mexico labor history by specifically examining how transnational activism emanating from Mexico is situated within union organizing in the US. The second chapter explores the racial and ethnic diversity within Bracero communities through indigenous populations. Employing the oral histories of Mixtec, Zapotec, Purhepecha, and Mayan communities, this chapter exposes ethnic, inter- and intra-racial tensions during the program. The third chapter examines gender relations among bracero families, constructions of masculinity, and the complex forms of sexual desire among braceros working in the US. My fourth chapter is an ethnographic chapter on the transnational efforts of the contemporary Bracero Justice Movement. The main goal of this movement is to recuperate the back wages taken in the form of a 10% deduction of each paycheck from every bracero. Together these chapters add to the existing scholarly literature of the Bracero Program while expanding the analytical frameworks to include a complex analysis of race, activism, and gender.
"Braceros on the Boundaries:Activism, Race, Masculinity, and the Legacies of the Bracero Program"
American Studies Theses and Dissertations.
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