Magdalena Barrera

Interim Vice Provost forMagdalena L. Barrera

Faculty Success


Current Research Activities

I have two areas of research. The first examines representations of Mexican Americans in early twentieth century American cultural production. Through this work, I ask, “How can we use literature, music, and photography as windows into understanding discourses of citizenship and race in the early 1900s?” My second area explores the retention and mentoring of Latinx and other historically undeserved faculty and students in higher education. In this area, I ask, “How can we widen academic pathways for underrepresented scholars and create greater equity within the university system?”

What contributed to your research interests?

I am a third-generation Mexican American, the granddaughter of men recruited from Mexico to work on Midwestern American railroads. I am deeply interested in exploring the issues my grandparents faced then they came to the US in the 1910s. Moreover, I was a first-generation college student whose academic trajectory was transformed by my encounters with Chicano cultural studies.

How does your research relate to current issues?

Both of my areas of research speak to contemporary issues. Today’s discourses around immigration, citizenship, and race echo the same discussions and debates from 100 years ago. And increasing numbers of Latinx scholars are pursuing advanced degrees. Everything I research relates directly to our experiences today.

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