Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the Publication of Harvest of Empire by Juan González

Endorsed by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS)

Friday, April 3, 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Ethnicity; Immigration and Internal Migration; Latino/a


Juan González’s Harvest of Empire was published in 2000 and left a lasting mark on Latino history. González, a former activist turned journalist, weaved narrative and historical research together to answer why Latinos come to the United States. Gonzalez pointed to U.S. intervention in Latin America as the cause of immigration. This text is a staple reading for introduction to Latino history and introduction to Latino studies courses on campuses nationwide. This panel brings together professors from research-intensive universities, a community college, and a small liberal arts college along with Juan González himself to reflect on the significance of this work.

Session Participants

Chair: Alyssa Ribeiro, Allegheny College
Alyssa Ribeiro is an assistant professor of history and black studies at Allegheny College and specializes in late twentieth-century American urban history, race, and ethnicity. She holds a PhD in history from the University of Pittsburgh, where her dissertation explored black and Puerto Rican relations in Philadelphia from the 1950s through the 1980s. She is currently working on a book manuscript that shows how residents responded to deindustrialization, austerity, and growing political conservatism in the 1970s and 1980s. At Allegheny, she teaches courses on modern US history, African American history, and urban development.

Panelist: Delia Maria Fernandez-Jones, Michigan State University
Delia Fernández is an assistant professor of History at Michigan State University. She is also a core faculty member in the Chicano/Latino Studies Program. Her research centers on how Latina/os make space for themselves in conservative landscapes. Her current manuscript is on Latino labor migration, placemaking, and activism in West Michigan throughout the 20th century. She has published an article on the same topic as well as another piece on Latino laborers’ use of urban and rural space. Her other research and teaching interests include the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in American history. She is currently on the research team for Humanities Without Walls funded project, “Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinxo Placemaking in the Midwest.” Fernández also serves on the Historical Commission for the State of Michigan.

Panelist: Juan Gonzalez, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Juan D. González is an award-winning broadcast journalist and investigative reporter. A two-time winner of the George Polk Award, he is co-host of Democracy Now!, author of "Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America," and a founder of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He spent 29 years as a columnist for the New York Daily News

Panelist: Felipe Hinojosa, Texas A&M University
Felipe Hinojosa is Associate Professor of History and Latinx Studies at Texas A&M University. His teaching and research interests include Latinx and Mexican American Studies, Religion, Social Movements, and Comparative Race and Ethnicity. Dr. Hinojosa serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department, is co-facilitator for the Latinx Studies Working Group (Glasscock Center), and serves on the editorial board for the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, and online moderated forum Latinx Talk. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, Western Historical Quarterly, American Catholic Studies, Acorn, Mennonite Quarterly Review, and in edited collections on Latinx Studies. Dr. Hinojosa’s book, Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) was awarded the 2015 Américo Paredes Book Award for the best book in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies given every year by the Center for Mexican American Studies at South Texas College.

Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville, TX), Professor Hinojosa is passionate about complicating the ways we think about race, religion, and social justice. His current research project investigates how a few and relatively unknown church occupations and disruptions—by groups such as the Puerto Rican Young Lords and Católicos Por La Raza—inspired a Latina/o religious renaissance in the 1970s and laid the foundation for the rise of the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s. In essence, his new project investigates how Latina/o Religious Politics moved from “Occupation to Sanctuary” in the 1970s and 1980s. His work has received funding from the Hispanic Theological Initiative, the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, the Louisville Institute, and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University.

Panelist: John Nieto-Phillips, Indiana University
John Nieto-Phillips is the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of History and Latino Studies at Indiana University. He is editor of the humanities publication Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, which recently was named “Best New Journal of 2018” by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ), and he is the former associate editor of the Journal of American History. Also, he is a former director of the Latino Studies Program at Indiana University, in which capacity he developed two study abroad programs in Spain focused on comparing the history and politics of immigration in Spain and the United States. In terms of his scholarship, Prof. Nieto-Phillips’ research involves the study of language, education, citizenship and identity in U.S. and transnational contexts. He is author of The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s (University of New Mexico Press, 2004), among other publications. His current book project examines the history of Latinx language rights, bilingualism, and the teaching of Spanish in the United States during the twentieth century. To develop this book project, he received funding from the Mellon Foundation as well as the Fulbright Commission to conduct archival research in Spain. In his teaching, mentoring, and administrative roles, Prof. Nieto-Phillips is committed to advancing pathways to education and professional success, particularly for first-gen scholars and persons from underrepresented backgrounds.

Panelist: Antonio Daniel Ramirez, Elgin Community College
Antonio Ramirez is Assistant Professor of History & Political Science at Elgin Community College. He has previously worked as a bilingual social studies teacher in Milwaukee, migrant educator in rural Michigan, and as a worker organizer in Chicago and Zacatecas, Mexico. He and his collaborator and unsigned co-author Kate are raising two children in Elgin, Illinois.