Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at San Antonio
Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at San Antonio
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
AREAS OF TEACHING
Omar Valerio-Jiménez is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, to working-class parents, and grew up in Taft, Corpus Christi, and Edinburg, Texas. After graduating from MIT, he worked as an engineer for five years before attending UCLA, where he obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees in United States history. He has taught courses on borderlands, Latinas/os, immigration, race/ethnicity, and the American West at universities in California, Iowa, New York, and Texas.
His first book, River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands (Duke University Press, 2013), explores state formation and cultural change along the Mexico-United States border during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is a co-editor of The Latina/o Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017) an interdisciplinary anthology that examines the history, education, literature, art, and politics of Latinas/os in the Midwest. He is also a coeditor of Major Problems in Latina/o History (Cengage Learning, 2014), which contains scholarly essays and primary sources on the migration and racialization experiences of various Latino populations. His current book project, “Remembering Conquest: Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship,” analyzes the ways in which memories of the U.S.-Mexico War have shaped Mexican Americans’ civil rights struggles, writing, oral discourse, and public rituals. His next project explores the efforts of scholars to challenge the omissions and negative characterizations of Mexican Americans in public school textbooks of several U.S. Southwestern states.
His articles and essays focus on Chicana/o history, gender, comparative racializations, political economy, and Latina/o studies. In addition to publishing articles in the Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, Estudios Mexicanos/Mexican Studies, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and the Annals of Iowa, he has written anthology chapters on Tejanos in the U.S. Civil War, border corridos, Spanish-Mexican women, U.S.-Mexico borderlands culture, the U.S.-Mexico War, and immigration. His journal article, “Racializing Mexican Immigrants in the Heartland: Iowa’s Early Mexican Communities, 1880-1930,” (in Annals of Iowa) won the 2017 Dorothy Schwieder Prize for Best Article in Midwestern History by the Midwestern History Association and the 2017 Mildred Throne-Charles Aldrich Award for most significant journal article on Iowa history by the State Historical Society of Iowa.
His most recent article, “Refuting History Fables: Collective Memories, Mexican Texans, and Texas History,” examines the efforts of Mexican American civil rights activists to change the depiction of Tejanos in the state’s textbooks during the 1930s. He serves on the editorial board of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Studies in Midwestern History, Journal of Texas Archeology and History, and is a series editor of Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Series for the University of Illinois Press.
My research addresses im/migration, relational race and ethnicity, and the nineteenth century. In my first book, River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands (Duke University Press, 2013), I examined the transformations in racialization and ethnic identity due to jurisdictional changes in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Mexico-Texas borderlands. My second book, “Remembering Conquest: Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship” (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press), analyzes the effects of racialization, immigration, and whiteness claims on collective memories of the U.S.-Mexico War (1846-48), which motivated civil rights campaigns among several generations of Mexican Americans. In my next book project, “Challenging Exclusion in Education: Mexican Americans and School Reform,” I explore immigration and racialization through textbook reform and archive preservation efforts of Mexican American scholars and activists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
PROJECTS AND EXHIBITIONS
My current book project, “Remembering Conquest: Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship,” explores the collective memories of the U.S.-Mexico War as a motivation for civil rights campaigns among several generations of Mexican Americans throughout the U.S. Southwest during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It analyzes efforts by mutual aid societies, journalists, and civil rights organizations to desegregate public schools, curb lynchings of ethnic Mexicans, and expose criminalization despite incremental racial gains in the electoral, public school, and judicial systems.
In my next book project, “Challenging Exclusion in Education: Mexican Americans and School Reform,” I explore textbook reform and archive preservation efforts by Mexican American scholars and activists in the early twentieth century. Despite limited regional victories in school segregation lawsuits, most Mexican Americans continued attending segregated schools. Activists believed Eurocentric history textbooks were not only biased, but helped justify contemporaneous discrimination against Mexican Americans, including the denial of suffrage, non-representative jury service, the lack of Mexican American elected officials, segregated schools, and limited access to public places.
“Tejano History: A Reflection,” by John Phillip Santos, Becoming Texas Podcast, Institute of Texan Cultures, November 2, 2021.
“History professor Omar Valerio-Jiménez uncovers the hidden figures of Texas history,” by Milady Nazir, UTSA Today, October 7, 2021.
“UTSA stopped displaying ‘Come and Take it’ flag at football games and now faces criticism from its Board of Regents,” by Kate McGee, The Texas Tribune, September 14, 2021.
“‘My dear students’ – a gentle Texas historian’s proudest legacy,” Commentary by Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, August 11, 2021.
“‘Offensive and anti-Mexican’: UTSA addresses calls to remove its ‘Come and Take it’ sign,” by Malak Silmi, San Antonio Express-News, August 9, 2021.
“Latin@s in the Midwest,” Latin@s Stories, Ohio Habla Podcast, December 8, 2020, https://soundcloud.com/ohiohabla/omar-valerio
“Liberals Envisioned a Multiracial Coalition. Voters of Color Had Other Ideas,” by Michael Powell, New York Times, November 16, 2020.
“‘A Part of Us Died:’ Along the U.S.-Mexico border, a coronavirus crisis,” by Silvia Foster-Frau, San Antonio Express-News, August 1, 2020.
“‘History That’s Been Written Doesn’t Include Everyone’ — The History Of The RGV,” Fronteras program, Texas Public Radio, September 27, 2019.
“‘River of Hope’ – The Conquests of the Rio Grande Valley,” Fronteras program, Texas Public Radio, September 20, 2019.
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