Lorena Chambers

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Professional Title

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, History & American Culture

Department(s)

American Culture
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA)
History

About

My work is a study of power and the politics of gendered representation of Mexican Americans in US culture. In analyzing racial and ethnic inequality, I use the lenses of cultural diplomacy between the U.S. and Mexico, live performance, and historical events like world's fairs, Wild West shows, and early silent film. In these entertainment forums, racist narratives of the humble Mexican laborer and the dandified Mexican musician became rooted in American cultural tropes, leading to a gendered visuality about Mexicans that denied them entry into the American polity.

The forthcoming book will inform current public debates about inequality by tracing the racialization of Mexican performers and the resulting asymmetric relations of power that still stand today. Images of race and ethnicity that emerged in late nineteenth-century US entertainment bridges historic and current racial formations, highlighting the role of popular culture and statecraft in lessening the political access of ethnic Mexican communities in the United States. With particular attention to gender, race, and commerce, this study begins with the 1893 Columbian Exposition and pauses at the start of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

Research Interests

humanities
digital studies
ethnicity
performance
transnational media