Thursday, September 12, 2013

"How I Met my Grandmother: Using Family Stories to Uncover Community History."

On Wednesday, October 23 at noon, Monica Perales will speak in the Conference Center in the Student Services Building. The title of her talk is "How I Met my Grandmother: Using Family Stories to Uncover Community History."

Dr. Perales will tell the story of the research she conducted for her award winning book, Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community. In that book, Dr. Perales utilized her grandmother's photographs and oral histories with family and friends, as well as many other historical records, to place her grandmother's story of immigration, Americanization, community, and neighborhood women's activism in historical context.  The talk focuses on Dr. Perales'  attempt to learn more about the community of which her grandmother was a part. Her presentation focuses on how everyday folks found ways to navigate a world shaped by industrial labor, poverty, and racial discrimination.

About Dr. Perales:
Monica Perales is associate professor of history at the University of Houston, and is the Assistant Director and Graduate Program Coordinator for the UH Center for Public History.  She received her Ph.D. in history from Stanford University in 2004, and holds a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in history from The University of Texas at El Paso. Her book, Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community (University of North Carolina Press, September 2010), received the Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book in North American Urban History from the Urban History Association.  She is also co-editor of Recovering the Hispanic History of Texas (Houston: Arte P├║blico Press, 2010).  Her 2008 article “Fighting to Stay in Smeltertown: Lead Contamination and Environmental Justice in a Mexican American Community” (Western Historical Quarterly, Spring 2008) received the Article Award from the Oral History Association. Professor Perales has been the recipient of various fellowships including the 2006-2007 Summerlee Fellowship in Texas History at the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.  She serves as a member of the boards of the Labor and Working Class History Association, the Urban History Association, and Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Perales’s general research and teaching interests include Chicana/o labor and social history, memory and history, immigration, race and ethnicity in the American West, Borderlands, and oral history.  She is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the intersections of ethnic Mexican women’s labor and food in the U.S. Southwest through a from 1900 to 1960.

Sponsored by the Center for Diversity Studies