Traversing boundaries: Chinese, Mexicans, and Chinese Mexicans in the formation of gender, race, and nation in the twentieth-century U.S. -Mexican borderlands

Julia Maria Schiavone Camacho, University of Texas at El Paso


This work tracks the spatial movements of Chinese men, Mexican women, and Chinese Mexicans from Sonora, through the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands, to China, and then back to Sonora and various other parts of Mexico. Following the paths people traveled as a result of the cross-race connections they formed and the criminalization of those ties, I argue that the complex connections Chinese and Mexicans formed in Sonora and the social and geopolitical borders they crossed helped shape the culture of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands in the twentieth century. While other scholars have provided much insight into the formation of the anti-Chinese movement in Sonora and its spread to other areas of Mexico, my work focuses on relations among Chinese and Mexicans and the ways many people defied anti-Chinese logic. Utilizing a borderlands gender approach, this project adds to the literature in Borderlands, Mexican, United States, Women's, Chicano/a, and Asian American History. ^ Chapter 1 explores the broad range of daily, neighborly, cooperative, personal, and economic connections that Chinese and Mexicans formed in Sonora during the early twentieth century. Focusing specifically on economic arrangements and romantic unions among Chinese men and Mexican women, Chapter 2 addresses the profound split between people who forged ties with Chinese and those who organized against them in the state. Chapter 3 examines the ways Chinese men and Chinese Mexican families confronted the mass expulsion of Chinese during 1931-1933, the culmination of the anti-Chinese movement. While the majority of Chinese---and often the families they had formed---left Sonora, some stayed with permission from authorities or by hiding. Chapters 4 and 5 address the experiences of Mexican women and Chinese Mexican families in China and the repatriations of the late 1930s and the early 1960s. Illuminating the little known history of Mexicans and Chinese Mexicans in China and their struggles to return to Mexico, this dissertation expands our notions of the Mexican Diaspora and the increasing presence of Mexico in the global political arena after the 1930s. Chapter 6 explores contemporary Chinese Mexican identity and the historical and cultural memory of Chinese in Sonora. ^

Subject Area

History, Asia, Australia and Oceania|History, Latin American|History, United States|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Hispanic American Studies

Recommended Citation

Schiavone Camacho, Julia Maria, "Traversing boundaries: Chinese, Mexicans, and Chinese Mexicans in the formation of gender, race, and nation in the twentieth-century U.S. -Mexican borderlands" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3214013.