Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the U.S.-Mexico Border

In her new book, Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies and History at the University of California, Irvine, uncovers a previously hidden history of transnational, Bracero family life. Join us at her free, public book talk on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 12:00-1:30pm, in the Charles E. Merrill Lounge. Light refreshments will be served.

March 18, 2015

By , Coordinator, Politics of Forced Migration Research Cluster 

Structured to meet employers’ needs for low-wage farm workers, the well-known Bracero Program recruited thousands of Mexicans to perform physical labor in the United States between 1942 and 1964 in exchange for remittances sent back to Mexico.  As partners and family members were dispersed across national borders, interpersonal relationships were transformed.  The prolonged absences of Mexican workers, mostly men, forced women and children at home to inhabit new roles, create new identities, and cope with long-distance communication from fathers, brothers, and sons.

Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, Abrazando el Espíritu (University of California Press, 2014) uncovers a previously hidden history of transnational family life.  Ana Elizabeth Rosas reveals intimate and personal experiences to show how Mexican immigrants and their families were not passive victims but instead found ways to embrace the spirit (abrazando el espíritu) of making and implementing difficult decisions concerning their family situations—creating new forms of affection, gender roles, and economic survival strategies with long-term consequences.

Ana Rosas headshotAna Elizabeth Rosas, Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies and History at the University of California, Irvine, earned her doctorate in History from the University of Southern California, and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, among them the Organization of American Historians Huggins Quarles Award and the University of California Irvine's Community and Civic Engagement Program's Engaged Faculty Award.  Her historical investigation of the Mexican immigrant family experience in Mexico and the United States has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Huntington Library, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, and Stanford University Bill Lane Center for the American West.


This free, public lecture is cosponsored by the Chicano Latino Research Center's Politics of Forced Migration Research Cluster, Center for Labor Studies, History Department, Colleges 9 and 10, and Merrill College.