Exploring Boyle Heights through the eyes of George Sanchez

Friday, April 16, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Latino/a; Local and Community History; West


This panel brings together four distinguished historians to reflect and engage with George Sanchez’s new book on the history of Boyle Heights from the eighteenth century to the present. It is both a personal history because Sanchez was born there and a career-long professional endeavor. Sanchez has worked on this book for over two decades. Larger themes in the text, such as race and space, transnationalism, and ethnic and urban studies, stretch across the work of all of these intellectuals.

Session Participants

Chair: Rachel Leah Klein, University of Southern California
Rachel Leah Klein is a first-year PhD student in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Previously, she was a staff writer at Salon covering race, gender, criminal justice and culture, as well as a professional dancer with the Harlem-based dance company Forces of Nature. Her research explores the transnational nature of the carceral state through the lens of disrupted motherhood and family separation. She is also a member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.

Panelist: Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University
Matthew Frye Jacobson, Ph.D., Brown University, 1992, is William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History. He is the author of seven books on race, politics, and culture in the United States: Odetta’s One Grain of Sand (2019); The Historian’s Eye: Photography, History, and the American Present (2019); What Have they Built You to Do?: The Manchurian Candidate and Cold War America, (with Gaspar Gonzalez, 2006); Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in Post–Civil Rights America (2005); Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (2000); Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (1998); and Special Sorrows: The Diasporic Imagination of Irish, Polish, and Jewish Immigrants in the United States (1995). He also served as creator, writer, and lead researcher for A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation (Hammer & Nail Productions, 2019). The film garnered a Golden Telly Award in the category of General Television Documentary (2019). His teaching and research focus on race in U.S. political culture 1790–present, including U.S. imperialism, immigration and migration, popular culture, Civil Rights, and the juridical structures of U.S. citizenship, in addition to Documentary Studies and Public Humanities.

Panelist: Natalia Molina, University of Southern California
Natalia Molina is the author of two award winning books, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939, which garnered the Noris and Carol Hundley book prize of the PCB-American Historical Association, and How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts. She extends her work on racial scripts in her co-edited volume, Relational Formations of Race: Theory, Method, and Practice. She continues to explore the themes of race, space, labor, immigration, gender and urban history in her book in progress. With the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship, she is expanding her award-winning article, “The Importance of Place and Place-makers in the Life of a Los Angeles Community: What Gentrification Erases from Echo Park” into a book. During her tenure at the University of California, Professor Molina served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Diversity and Equity. She has also served twice as the Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities and before that as the Director for University of California Education Abroad Program in Granada, Córdoba, and Cádiz, Spain. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Panelist: George Joseph Sanchez, University of Southern California
George J. Sanchez is professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at USC. His academic work focuses on both historical and contemporary topics of race, gender, ethnicity, labor, and immigration. He was President of the American Studies Association from 2001-2002, and he currently serves as President-elect of the Organization of American Historians. He also serves as director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy at USC, which focuses on issues of racial and ethnic diversity in higher education, as well as on issues of civic engagement.