How Race Is Made in America examines Mexican Americans—from 1924, when American law drastically reduced immigration into the United States, to 1965, when many quotas were abolished—to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what Natalia Molina describes as an immigration regime, which defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the United States about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity. Molina demonstrates that despite the multiplicity of influences that help shape our concept of race, common themes prevail. Examining legal, political, social, and cultural sources related to immigration, she advances the theory that our understanding of race is socially constructed in relational ways—that is, in correspondence to other groups. Molina introduces and explains her central theory, racial scripts, which highlights the ways in which the lives of racialized groups are linked across time and space and thereby affect one another. How Race Is Made in America also shows that these racial scripts are easily adopted and adapted to apply to different racial groups.
About the Author: Natalia Molina
Professor Natalia Molina’s work lies at the intersections of race, gender, culture, and citizenship. Professor Molina is the author of two award winning books. Her first book, Fit to be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939, explored the ways in which race is constructed relationally and regionally. In that work, which garnered the Noris and Carol Hundley book prize of the PCB-American Historical Association, she argues that race must be understood comparatively in order to see how the laws, practices, and attitudes directed at one racial group affected others. Fit to Be Citizens? demonstrates how both science and public health shaped the meaning of race in the early twentieth century. Her second book, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts, examines Mexican immigration–from 1924 when immigration acts drastically reduced immigration to the U.S. to 1965 when many quotas were abolished–to understand how broad themes of race and citizenship are constructed. These years shaped the emergence of what she describes as an immigration regime that defined the racial categories that continue to influence perceptions in the U.S. about Mexican Americans, race, and ethnicity. Through the use of a relational lens, How Race Is Made in America demonstrates that racial scripts are easily adopted and adapted to apply to different racial groups. Professor Molina served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Diversity and Equity. She previously served 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 on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the University of California’s President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. She also serves on the board of California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and recently concluded a five-year term on the American Quarterly, the flagship journal in American Studies, editorial board.
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