John Mckiernan-González is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, the Jerome and Catherine Supple Professor of Southwestern Studies, and Associate Professor of History at Texas State University. His first book, Fevered Measures: Public Health and Race at the Texas-Mexico Border, 1848-1942 (2012), treats the multi-ethnic making of a U.S. medical border in the Mexico-Texas borderlands. He co-edited the volume, Precarious Prescriptions: Contested Histories of Race and Health in North America (2013) which examines the contradictions and complexities tying medical history and communities of color together. Mckiernan-González's broad takes on Latina/os in U.S. medical history can be found in American Latinos in the Making of the United States and in Keywords in Latina/o Studies (2017). He has worked collaboratively with the National Museum of American History, the National Minority AIDS Council, the Austin Co-ed Soccer Association, the Workers Defense Project, Hillsborough County ISD, the SSRC – Mellon Mays Advisory, and Whole Women’s Health leading to projects on 1848, Puerto Rican material culture, Latina/o youth in Tampa, translating reproductive rights, soccer and segregation in Texas, and workplace conditions and construction workers in Austin. His next project, Working Conditions: Medical Authority and Latino Civil Rights tracks the changing place of medicine in Latina/o/x struggles for equality. Born in the U.S., he grew up in Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. South, and graduated from Oberlin and the University of Michigan. He brings a migrant eye and experience to his projects in public history, medical history, immigration history and Latina/o studies.
Public Health and the Making of the U.S. Mexico Border
From 1848, federal health authorities have been called on to determine who needs to be protected from disease and illness. When authorities act in a place like Texas where people cross rivers, live, love and work together and consider themselves to be part of their communities and their nations, public health becomes a key site to understand and enact health and disease, citizenship and community, inclusion and exclusion.