The Portal to Texas History 2021 Research Fellowship Awardee - Bobby Cervantes

The Portal to Texas History 2021 Research Fellowship Awardee

Bobby Cervantes

Project Title

Las Colonias: The Housing of Poverty in Modern Americas

Project Description

This project historicizes the thousands of chronically under-resourced Texas border communities (las colonias) where today a half-million people live in one of the greatest concentrations of American poverty. Through property records, oral histories, and government archives, it explores how mid-twentieth-century landowners devised extra-legal schemes targeting Mexican migrant workers. It further contends that over the several decades when the once-small migrant settlements transformed into ready-made housing markets, the U.S. and Mexico initiated broad economic liberalization policies that accelerated colonia construction.

Biography

A Rio Grande Valley native, Bobby Cervantes is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at the University of Kansas. His research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Organization of American Historians, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, among others. From 2018 to 2021, he was assistant editor of American Studies, the quarterly interdisciplinary journal of the Mid-America American Studies Association. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.