Latina Labors, Latina Biographies: Examining the Next Generation of Latina Legacies

Solicited by the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA). Endorsed by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and Women and Social Movements in the United States,1600–2000

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Gender and Sexuality; Labor and Working-Class; Latino/a


This panel unites six scholars for a conversation, or plática, about the study of Latina labor histories. Central to this discussion are the themes of labor and biography. Panelists will explore the process of writing histories of Latina labor through biography and discuss their approaches to uncovering the histories of work, immigration, food, indigeneity, race, motherhood, and sexuality. As a session that brings together perspectives from history, Latinx studies, American studies, and Indigenous studies as well as scholarship from experts who focus on Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Central American experiences, participants in the roundtable and audience members will gain a dynamic and multidisciplinary perspective on the field of Latina labor histories. Together, the scholars in this session will consider the importance of the person to the study of Latina 

Session Participants

Chair: Lori Flores, Stony Brook University, State University of New York
Lori A. Flores is Associate Professor of History at SUNY Stony Brook, where she teaches courses on the histories of Latinos in the United States, American labor and immigration, the U.S. West, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. She is the author of tGrounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement, which was named Best History Book by the International Latino Book Awards and Best First Book by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. She has written about the historical and contemporary situations of Latinos, labor, and immigration for publications such as The Washington Post, Food52, Public Seminar, ColorLines/RaceForward, PopMatters, and The Detroit Free Press, and is a podcast host for the New Books Network. She is currently working on a new book about the history of Latino food workers in the U.S. Northeast from 1940 to the present.

Panelist: Emma B. Amador, University of Connecticut
Emma Amador is an Assistant Professor of History and Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her work focuses on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans, and U.S. Latina/o/x History with an emphasis on women, gender, and race. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from UConn, and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently a Humanities Institute Faculty Fellow at the University of Connecticut and she previously held a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the History Department (2016-2018). Amador is completing a book manuscript, Contesting Colonialism: Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Welfare in the 20th Century that explores the history of welfare, territorial social citizenship, and struggles for social rights in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora. She also has research published in Modern American History, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, and ILWCH: International Labor and Working-Class History. Her work has received support from Brown University, the SITPA Scholar Mellon Program at Duke University, the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, Hunter College, and the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan.

Panelist: Tiffany Jasmin Gonzalez, Tulane University
Tiffany Jasmin González is the Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's History at Tulane University. Her research insects in in Latina/o history with a focus on twentieth century U.S. politics, labor, social movements, and women & gender. González is currently at work on her manuscript titled, "Representation for Change: The Rise of Latina Leaders in American Government from the Twentieth to the Twenty-First Century," which explores the labor of Latina organizers and politicians who fought for election and inclusion into the Democratic Party. Her work has garnered support and recognition from the Organization of American Historians, the Western History Association, the Coalition for Western Women’s History, and the American Association of University Women. González has published research with Latinx Talk (Oxford University Press)and U.S. Latina and Latino Oral History Journal (UT Press).

Panelist: Sarah McNamara, Texas A&M University
Sarah McNamara is Assistant Professor of History and core faculty in the Latina/o/x, Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on Latinx, labor, women and gender, and immigration histories in the modern United States. She is at work on her first book, “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964.” McNamara has published in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Labor: Studies in Working Class History, and contributed to the edited volume, 50 Events that Shaped Latino History. Beyond her historical work, McNamara is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing research on labor, Latinx, immigration, and women and gender with a broad audience. She has written for Public Seminar, The Washington Post and published an ethnopoetic piece about the experience of undocumented activists in the U.S. South with South Writ Large. McNamara is dedicated to student and community activism. At Texas A&M, McNamara acts as the faculty to sponsor to CMSA, previously the DREAMAct Club, which advocates for DACA and undocumented students at Texas A&M through collective action and university administrative change. McNamara’s work has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Wilson Foundation, and the American Association of University of Women, among others.

Panelist: Sandy Placido, City University of New York, Queens College History Department
Sandy Plácido is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York, and the inaugural Dominican Studies Scholar at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at The City College of New York. Her research and teaching examine social movements in the Americas, with a special focus on the contributions of women and people of African and Caribbean descent. Her book manuscript emphasizes the influential role of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in Cold War-era decolonization struggles by centering the life of Ana Livia Cordero, a physician who forged connections between anti-imperialist movements across the Third World. This book will be the first in-depth study of Cordero's life and work, and Plácido worked to preserve Cordero's archival collection at Harvard's Schlesinger Library. Plácido is also working on a co-authored volume with the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute that focuses on women who fundamentally shaped Dominican society from the early 1800s to the present. Plácido received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University, and she has received support for her research from the Ford and Mellon Foundations.

Panelist: Yuridia Ramírez, Latina/o History
Yuridia Ramírez is a Ford Foundation Fellow and Assistant Professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ramírez earned her PhD in history from Duke University with a certificate in Latin American Studies. She also holds a BA in history and journalism from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and an MA in history from Duke University. Currently, Ramírez is working on her book manuscript, tentatively titled Indigeneity on the Move: Transborder Politics from Michoacán to North Carolina, a historic and interdisciplinary analysis of a diasporic indigenous community and their transforming sense of indigeneity. Her work in racial and indigenous histories, as well as in diasporic communities and decoloniality, also have informed her dedication to community organization efforts. Ramírez served as the North Carolina organizer with United We Dream and has organized in refugee and immigrant communities in both Minneapolis, MN, and Durham, NC. She has worked with K-12 students, young adults, and families, thinking critically about racism, violence, and injustice, while developing a vision for a collective community. As an oral historian whose parents have been Mexican immigrant factory workers for more than thirty years, Yuri has personal experience with and an intellectual commitment to migrant workers and their families.