NEH banner

[light] [dark]

[Return to Query]

Products for grant FT-255079-17

FT-255079-17
The Contentious Evolution of Hispanic Identity during the Chicano Movement in New Mexico, 1962-1974
Monica Varsanyi, CUNY Research Foundation, John Jay College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-255079-17

Race, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936 (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Race, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936
Abstract: In the midst of the Great Depression, Governor “Big Ed” Johnson of Colorado declared martial law along the state’s southern border with New Mexico to prevent the entry of “aliens and indigent persons” into his state. In this paper, I present previously unexplored archival records that detail Johnson’s plans for the border blockade, deportations, and concentration camps; explain how Johnson’s plans played into the nativist union busting attempts of the Great Western Sugar Company; and detail the reactions to these plans of both Hispanic and Anglo residents of Colorado and New Mexico. I argue that Johnson’s blockade not only placed a literal, militarized boundary between the more Anglo state of Colorado and the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico, but also created the circumstances in which the social boundary between who belonged and who fell outside of citizenship was vigorously contested. The debates over Johnson’s Border Blockade tell us much about struggles over the racialization process of Mexican immigrants and Hispanos in the New Deal Southwest, and offer us an important window into understanding the evolution of ethnic politics in the past and into the present.
Author: Monica Varsanyi
Date: 5/10/2018
Location: Advanced Research Collaborative, Graduate Center, City University of New York

The 'Alien Menace'? New Mexico's Response to the Colorado Migrant Blockade of 1935-1937 (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The 'Alien Menace'? New Mexico's Response to the Colorado Migrant Blockade of 1935-1937
Abstract: In the midst of the Great Depression, Governor “Big Ed” Johnson of Colorado declared martial law along the state’s southern border with New Mexico to prevent the entry of “aliens and indigent persons” into his state. In this paper, I present previously unexplored archival records that detail Johnson’s plans for the border blockade, deportations, and concentration camps; explain how Johnson’s plans played into the nativist union busting attempts of the Great Western Sugar Company; and detail the reactions to these plans of both Hispanic and Anglo residents of Colorado and New Mexico. I argue that Johnson’s blockade not only placed a literal, militarized boundary between the more Anglo state of Colorado and the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico, but also created the circumstances in which the social boundary between who belonged and who fell outside of citizenship was vigorously contested. The debates over Johnson’s Border Blockade tell us much about struggles over the racialization process of Mexican immigrants and Hispanos in the New Deal Southwest, and offer us an important window into understanding the evolution of ethnic politics in the past and into the present.
Author: Monica Varsanyi
Date: 5/3/2018
Location: Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

The Colorado Border Blockade of 1935-1937: Race, Territory, and Exclusion (and some thoughts on archival research in Geography) (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Colorado Border Blockade of 1935-1937: Race, Territory, and Exclusion (and some thoughts on archival research in Geography)
Abstract: In the midst of the Great Depression, Governor “Big Ed” Johnson of Colorado declared martial law along the state’s southern border with New Mexico to prevent the entry of “aliens and indigent persons” into his state. In this paper, I present previously unexplored archival records that detail Johnson’s plans for the border blockade, deportations, and concentration camps; explain how Johnson’s plans played into the nativist union busting attempts of the Great Western Sugar Company; and detail the reactions to these plans of both Hispanic and Anglo residents of Colorado and New Mexico. I argue that Johnson’s blockade not only placed a literal, militarized boundary between the more Anglo state of Colorado and the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico, but also created the circumstances in which the social boundary between who belonged and who fell outside of citizenship was vigorously contested. The debates over Johnson’s Border Blockade tell us much about struggles over the racialization process of Mexican immigrants and Hispanos in the New Deal Southwest, and offer us an important window into understanding the evolution of ethnic politics in the past and into the present.
Author: Monica Varsanyi
Date: 4/25/2018
Location: Department of Geography, Rowan University

The Colorado Border Blockade of 1935-1937: Race, Territory, and Exclusion (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Colorado Border Blockade of 1935-1937: Race, Territory, and Exclusion
Abstract: In the midst of the Great Depression, Governor “Big Ed” Johnson of Colorado declared martial law along the state’s southern border with New Mexico to prevent the entry of “aliens and indigent persons” into his state. In this paper, I present previously unexplored archival records that detail Johnson’s plans for the border blockade, deportations, and concentration camps; explain how Johnson’s plans played into the nativist union busting attempts of the Great Western Sugar Company; and detail the reactions to these plans of both Hispanic and Anglo residents of Colorado and New Mexico. I argue that Johnson’s blockade not only placed a literal, militarized boundary between the more Anglo state of Colorado and the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico, but also created the circumstances in which the social boundary between who belonged and who fell outside of citizenship was vigorously contested. The debates over Johnson’s Border Blockade tell us much about struggles over the racialization process of Mexican immigrants and Hispanos in the New Deal Southwest, and offer us an important window into understanding the evolution of ethnic politics in the past and into the present.
Author: Monica Varsanyi
Date: 4/19/2018
Location: Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Understanding contemporary immigration politics in New Mexico and Arizona: The Chicano Movement (1962-1975) as critical juncture (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Understanding contemporary immigration politics in New Mexico and Arizona: The Chicano Movement (1962-1975) as critical juncture
Author: Monica Varsanyi
Author: Doris Marie Provine
Abstract: Over the past fifteen years, there has been an explosion of immigration policy-making at the state level, with some states taking an anti-immigrant stance while others support immigrant integration. What explains this variation? In this project, we focus on Arizona and New Mexico, which provide ideal comparative cases for study because of their many similarities. Located in the southwest desert region of the United States, they share a common geographical history. They were, to a large extent, part of the same jurisdictional territory in the mid-1800s, and they attained statehood the same year (1912). Both states border Mexico, as well as each other. Yet New Mexico and Arizona have taken widely divergent paths in the realm of immigration enforcement and immigrant integration over the past decade. Their differences reflect the patchwork of approaches that has developed across the country, with these states representing the far ends of the spectrum: a harsh, anti-immigrant enforcement-oriented model in Arizona, and a pro-immigrant incorporation model in New Mexico. We hypothesize that these divergent approaches have roots deeply anchored in the racial political economies of these states, stretching from the territorial period (mid-1800s to 1910) to statehood (1912), and into the present. In this paper, we focus specifically on the Chicano Movement (1962-1975), which we argue is a critical juncture for the development of contemporary immigration politics in both states. Despite the Chicano Movement’s shared inspirations and aspirations across the Southwest, each state’s racial and political history shaped the Movement in important and specific ways, leading to widely divergent outcomes. Our analysis suggests that every political movement is local, indelibly shaped by its socio-political environment, and that local conditions shape and constrain social movements in important ways.
Date: 11/8/2018
Conference Name: Social Science History Association

Hispanic Racialization, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936 (Article)
Title: Hispanic Racialization, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936
Author: Monica W. Varsanyi
Abstract: In April of 1936, Governor Edwin “Big Ed” Johnson of Colorado declared martial law in a one-mile strip along the state’s southern border with New Mexico, claiming that an invasion of “aliens and indigents” threatened the well-being of Colorado and its citizens. In addition to literally placing a militarized boundary between the more Anglo state of Colorado and the heavily Hispanic state of New Mexico, Johnson’s blockade also heightened contestations over the social boundary between who belonged and who fell outside of citizen- ship and belonging. Those crossing the New Mexico–Colorado border for work included Mexican immigrants as well as New Mexican Hispanics who were long-time US citizens, most of whom were racialized as undesirable foreigners by many Anglo residents. Interestingly, during the blockade, many native-born Hispanics in New Mexico and Colorado also characterized Mexican immigrants in a negative light, while simultaneously and vigorously asserting their belonging as Spanish American citizens of the United States. The scholarly literature on the racialization of Hispanics has generally approached Mexican-origin people as a unitary group, explored their racial identity in contrast to Anglos, and, less often, taken into account tensions over racialization as they played out between different Hispanic groups. In response, this article details how Johnson’s blockade contributed to the racialization—by both Anglos and Hispanics—of Mexican immigrants and Hispanics in the Southwest during the New Deal Era. This case study also offers a rare example of a state’s attempt to usurp the federal government’s plenary power over immigration during the twentieth century, a time when the federal government’s control over immigration was relatively unquestioned.
Year: 2020
Primary URL: https://doi.org/10.5406/jamerethnhist.40.1.0005
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of American Ethnic History


Permalink: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/products.aspx?gn=FT-255079-17