The Portal to Texas History 2019 Research Fellowship Awardee - Laura Lee Oviedo

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The University of North Texas Libraries invite applications for the 2020 The Portal to Texas History Research Fellowship. Research using the Portal is relevant to studies in a variety of disciplines including history, journalism, political science, geography, and American studies. We encourage applicants to think creatively about the opportunities that research with large digital library collections can enable. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate the greatest potential for publication and the best use of The Portal to Texas History.

The Portal to Texas History 2019 Research Fellowship Awardee

Laura Lee Oviedo

Project Title

Belonging in Nation and War: Latinas and the Politics of Identity, Militarization, and Labor/s in Texas and Puerto Rico during World War II

Project Description

Belonging in Nation and War draws on oral histories, material culture, archival sources, and ethnography to provide a transnational history of Latina labor/s and military participation in Texas and Puerto Rico as important tools for survival, opportunities, and civil rights for Latinxs during and after World War II. Laura Lee Oviedo examines how the ideological, cultural, and institutional processes of militarization helped construct ideas of race, citizenship, sex and public health, labor/s, and nation. This dissertation considers how U.S. colonialism and empire in Texas and Puerto Rico, including their geo-political importance to U.S.-Latin American relations and hemispheric defense influenced wartime policies that shaped Latina’s relationship to family, community, and nation.


Laura L. Oviedo is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University who grew up along the U.S.-Mexico border in Pharr, Texas. She is currently a Smithsonian Pre-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow in the Division of Political and Military History at the National Museum of American History. Specializing in 20th century American history, her research employs an intersectional lens and interdisciplinary methodology to examine the relationship between war, identity, citizenship, labor, and civil rights. In addition to her dissertation, Laura’s oral history interviews with the distinguished Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment aka the Borinqueneers, Congressional Gold Medal recipients for their service in the Korean War, will be deposited as the first Latino military history collection in the NMAH Archives.