Mireya Loza is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the American Studies Program. Her areas of research include Latinx History, Social Movements, Labor History and Food Studies. Her book, Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom (2016), examines the Bracero Program and how guest workers negotiated the intricacies of indigeneity, intimacy, and transnational organizing. She is currently carrying out research for her second book project tentatively titled "The Strangeness and Bitterness of Plenty: Making Food and Seeing Race in the Agricultural West, 1942-1965."
Loza's research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Mexico-North Research Network, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgetown she was a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and an Assistant Professor in Food Studies at New York University.
Lessons from the Bracero History Project
From 2005-2009 the National Museum of American History embarked on one of its most ambitious collecting project focused on documenting experiences around the Bracero Program, the largest US guest worker program. This talk focuses on the dilemmas of documenting memory for the Bracero History Archive and the reception of the National Museum of American History’s exhibit, “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-64.” The present day political and social context in which these oral histories were collected left indelible marks on how the program is remembered. The retelling of bracero history also reveals contemporary concerns with the role that Mexican agricultural workers play in American society and sheds light on the national dilemma of immigration reform.