Care is Political: Social Movement Activism and the Production of Space
In the contemporary United States, nonprofit organizations serve as central conduits of urban reform and welfare provision including legal, health and job assistance for racialized neighborhoods. My book project examines how nonprofit organizations negotiate urban racial subjects’ relationship to state institutions and social movements. Based on over two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Oakland, CA and archival research at six different sites, I argue that nonprofit organizations are a powerful vehicle in the remaking of contemporary racial subjectivities and citizenship. The manuscript lays out this argument by tracing how in the 1960s and 1970s, state officials, philanthropic program officers, and activist crafted the architecture for Latino nonprofits that channeled urban activism from the streets into institutionalized organizations. I demonstrate how federal agencies and private philanthropy produced constraints and possibilities for these institutions. The manuscript analyzes the formation of Latino nonprofits to reveal the contemporary spatial, demographic, and political effects these organizations produce in immigrant neighborhoods. My research shows how nonprofit productive powers shape transnational migrant circuits, produce architectural sites that market neighborhoods as Latino, and link undocumented migrants to alternative avenues of belonging.
Migration and Informal Labor
I have conducted much research on Latino immigration and community formation. My article in Latino Studies analyzes the construction of racialized forms of difference between indigenous and non-indigenous workers, based on an examination of their solicitation practices at day labor hiring zones. Bridging the literatures on immigrant illegality and Latino racialization, I argue that unauthorized migrants experience illegality differently based on how they are initially racialized in their home country, which ultimately effects their migration and settlement in a new country. My 2012 Du Bois Review article, based on my book project, argues that 1960s Oakland Mexican American organizations demanded federal antipoverty funding by challenging the conflation of racial inequality and poverty with African American disadvantage. As these articles show, my work centers both historical and contemporary Latino racial formations, and their dynamic interrelationships.
Latino LGBT Organizations and the Politics of the Closet
My next book project examines how recent changes in gay rights has impacted processes of transnational migration and Latino community understandings of sexuality. Drawing from a blend of archival research, interview data, and oral histories, the project investigates the political formation of Latino LGBT organizations. It also includes analysis of Spanish media framing of homosexuality and fieldwork that studies how gay migrants incorporate into existing queer Latino spaces. This project challenges immigration scholarship that rarely takes up the role of sexuality in shaping Latino communities and political cultures. By centering sexuality in Latino politics, this project can help to answer broader questions about the complexity of mobilizing intersectional identities in both institutional and community settings.