JAEH Archive / Vol. 40, No. 1, Fall 2020

Journal of American Ethnic History

Vol. 40, No. 1, Fall 2020

Table of Contents


Hispanic Racialization, Citizenship, and the Colorado Border Blockade of 1936

By: Monica W. Varsanyi


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 citizenship 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.

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Counter-Propaganda and Spy Fever: Germans in Washington, DC, During World War I

By: Stefan Manz and Mark E. Benbow


During the First World War, the German immigrant community in Washington, DC, came under particular pressure due to its proximity to politically and strategically sensitive institutions. Accusations of sabotage and “hyphenated” loyalty led to an atmosphere of suspicion, suppression, internment, and expulsion. Ethnic leaders produced counter-propaganda to feed both their compatriots and the American public with alternative narratives of warfare. This work argues that these bellicose pro-German utterances aggravated tensions with the host society. Within a theoretical framework of diasporic connectedness, this article shows that reverberations of war affected civilians in places far removed from the frontlines. Studying the totality of war must include the study of diasporas and “enemy minorities.”

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Palestinian American Women and Marital Choices Across Generations

By: Enaya Hammad Othman


This paper examines Palestinian women’s marriage preferences and the ways they incorporate national/cultural elements into their self-initiated marriage process in order to mitigate the reactions of their families and local community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Marriage decisions among Palestinians in diaspora are a complex affair defined by notions of nationalism, kin relations, and religion, with their inherent gendered aspects. These notions reveal an array of actions and choices that testify to the ways in which women build strategies to deal with their realities and increase their agency. Their access to higher education, careers, and residences in multi-cultural locations allow them to redefine gender roles and control their marriage choices. Intermarriage outside their ethnic and national groups, increase in marriage age, and marriage processes that are self-initiated yet devised and presented in the form of customary marriage patterns emerge as visible phenomena among second-generation Palestinian Muslims. The decreasing number of suitable potential spouses drives a considerable number of Palestinian American women to look outside their national and ethnic group for marriage partners, thereby prioritizing their universal, religious identity as Muslims over Palestinian ethnic identity. This study uses oral interviews and community observation to examine how Palestinian Muslim women maintained some symbolic customary practices and challenged others by conceptualizing, utilizing, and modifying their group cultural and religious values in order to expand the boundaries of their gender roles and increase their power in negotiating marriage choices.

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Under the Starry Flag: How a Band of Irish Americans Joined the Fenian Revolt and Sparked a Crisis of Citizenship by Lucy E. Salyer

By: Mary C. Kelly

The Global Edge: Miami in the Twenty-First Century by Alejandro Portes, Ariel C. Armony

By: Alex Stepick

A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America by Kirsten Fermaglich

By: David A. Gerber

The Peyote Effect: From the Inquisition to the War on Drugs by Alexander S. Dawson

By: Kevin Feeney

A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture by Shachar M. Pinsker

By: Ted Merwin

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton

By: Emily Skidmore

Ingrained Habits: Growing Up Catholic in Mid-Twentieth-Century America by Mary Ellen O'Donnell

By: James Emmett Ryan

Barbed Voices: Oral History, Resistance, and the World War II Japanese American Social Disaster by Arthur A. Hansen

By: Franklin Odo

Scandinavians in Chicago: The Origins of White Privilege in Modern America by Erika K. Jackson

By: Anna M. Peterson

Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People by Deborah Dash Moore, Jeffrey S. Gurock, Annie Polland, Howard B. Rock, Daniel Soyer

By: Matthew H. Brittingham

Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration by Connie Y. Chiang

By: Shana Bernstein

High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration by Amy Bhatt

By: Smitha Radhakrishnan

Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture by Justin A. Nystrom

By: Elizabeth Zanoni

The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania: A Varied People by Judith A. Ridner

By: H. Tyler Blethen

Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the Rise of the World's Largest Immigration Detention System by Carl Lindskoog

By: Jana Lipman