Andrew Sandoval-Strausz

Andrew Sandoval-Strausz, associate chair and associate professor of the University of New Mexico’s Department of History, is one of 36 recipients chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ new ‘Public Scholar’ program, an initiative designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience.

The first round of grants totals $1.7 million, of which Sandoval-Strausz will receive $50,400 for his work, “Latino Landscapes: A Transnational History of Urban America since 1950.”

“At a time when immigration tops the nation’s agenda, public understanding of the issue is often based upon misapprehensions about newcomers and their effect on everyday life in the United States,” Sandoval-Strausz said. “I am writing a history of how Latin American migrants settled in U.S. cities and transformed their adopted neighborhoods while also rebuilding their home towns. This will be the first urban history based on this growing interdependence among cities and towns in the Americas.”

Sandoval-Strausz has analyzed the transnational transformation of urban immigrant barrios, beginning with a complete study of Dallas’s Oak Cliff neighborhood and continuing with research in progress on Chicago’s Little Village community. These areas reached their peak population and prosperity around midcentury and then declined as a result of deindustrialization, disinvestment and white racial anxiety.

The author explores how, beginning around 1970, U.S.-born, immigrant, and migrant Latinos were able to repopulate and revive these areas while also helping them become multiracial communities. Sandoval-Strausz has depicted this process as a transnational one with two components. First, it has involved the importation and adaptation of Latin American urban behaviors and structures to the United States. Second, it has included the subsequent export of capital, architecture and organizational energy back to communities in Latin America.

In sum, Sandoval-Strausz has shown how migrantes integrated U.S. cities into a pan-American urban system in which faraway municipalities became tightly bound to one another.