Event Title

Sí, Me Afectó: The Women of Bracero Households in Michoacán, 1942-1964

Location

King Building 237

Start Date

4-27-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 2:20 PM

Abtract

Between 1942 and 1964, the U.S. and Mexico made a series of agreements collectively referred to as the Bracero Program. The Mexican men, "Braceros," who were contracted in this program worked in agriculture and industry across the U.S. In my research, I study the lives of ten women in the Mexican state of Michoacán whose husbands, brothers, or fathers worked as Braceros. I examine how these women negotiated patriarchal expectations at this particular moment in Mexican history. Oral testimonies from the women of Bracero households indicate that they negotiated their husband's absence by taking on nontraditional economic roles while also reinforcing traditional social values. Though they hoped that the Bracero Program would assist them economically, they also recognized that the ensuing disruption of Michoacán's peasant family structures was a threat to their livelihood. The women of transnational families thus took pains to defend the household against claims of loss of patriarchal control.

Keywords:

Mexican history, transnational families, transnational labor migration, labor history, Mexican feminist history, oral history, women's work

Notes

Session III, Panel 10 - Gendered | Labor
Moderator: Tamika Nunley, Assistant Professor of History

Major

History

Advisor(s)

Shelley Lee, History

Project Mentor(s)

Danielle Terrazas Williams, History

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Apr 27th, 1:00 PM Apr 27th, 2:20 PM

Sí, Me Afectó: The Women of Bracero Households in Michoacán, 1942-1964

King Building 237

Between 1942 and 1964, the U.S. and Mexico made a series of agreements collectively referred to as the Bracero Program. The Mexican men, "Braceros," who were contracted in this program worked in agriculture and industry across the U.S. In my research, I study the lives of ten women in the Mexican state of Michoacán whose husbands, brothers, or fathers worked as Braceros. I examine how these women negotiated patriarchal expectations at this particular moment in Mexican history. Oral testimonies from the women of Bracero households indicate that they negotiated their husband's absence by taking on nontraditional economic roles while also reinforcing traditional social values. Though they hoped that the Bracero Program would assist them economically, they also recognized that the ensuing disruption of Michoacán's peasant family structures was a threat to their livelihood. The women of transnational families thus took pains to defend the household against claims of loss of patriarchal control.