Mireya Loza an Assistant Professor in Food Studies at New York University. Her areas of research include Latino history, social movements, migration, food studies and labor history. 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. Loza worked with the NMAH on the Bracero History Project, which produced the Bracero History Archive and the traveling exhibition, "Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942–1964." Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Mexico-North Research Network, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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.