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The Other California

Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands

Verónica Castillo-Muñoz (Author)

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The Other California is the story of working-class communities and how they constituted the racially and ethnically diverse landscape of Baja California. Packed with new and transformative stories, the book examines the interplay of land reform and migratory labor on the peninsula from 1850 to 1954, as governments, foreign investors, and local communities shaped a vibrant and dynamic borderland alongside the booming cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, and Santa Rosalia. Migration and intermarriage between Mexican women and men from Asia, Europe, and the United States transformed Baja California into a multicultural society. Mixed-race families extended across national borders, forging new local communities, labor relations, and border politics.
Verónica Castillo-Muñoz is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 
"The Other California is an ambitious book packed with new and transformative stories of Mexico's northern borderlands. In particular, by digging deep into the Mexicali Valley and broadly setting the historical frame for agrarian land reform in Mexico while fearlessly engaging in an analysis of the relationships between land, labor, gender, race, migration (regional and transnational), and citizenship, The Other California reveals the complexities and contingencies that made Mexicali one of the most diverse and productive regions of the Mexican borderlands."—Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles

"Verónica Castillo-Muñoz provides a fascinating and richly detailed account of the ethnic and gender dynamics shaping transnational labor migration and land redistribution in northern Mexico. Her innovative attention to indigenous communities, Asian farmers, and Mexican migrant workers to the United States as central actors in Mexico’s agrarian reform is pathbreaking."—Heidi Tinsman, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine

"Skillfully depicting the Baja California borderlands as a multiracial and transcultural space, this book stands out in several ways: attention to Mexican, mestiza, and native women as laborers, activists, family, and community leaders; recognition of the significant presence of Asian immigrants (mostly Chinese and Japanese men) as protagonists in frontier development; and close examination of Mexico's revolutionary land and agrarian reform under the ejido program, especially for Mexican families deported from the United States during the Depression years of the 1930s—all of which make this book a revelation!"—Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History, American Studies, and Ethnic Studies, Brown University

"This is borderlands history at its best.  The Other California offers a deeply-researched, humanized view of Baja California and its border-crossing communities, showing how natives and newcomers turned the power of states, markets, and politics to local advantage in one of the most vulnerable contact faces on the continent.”—Samuel Truett, Associate Professor of History, University of New Mexico

"Long before globalization and NAFTA, the Mexican border state of Baja California, as Castillo-Muñoz demonstrates, was defined by its international character. Like its northern neighbor, Baja California as we know it today was forged through a process of interracial marriage, commerce, quests for land, and, yes, the all-too-familiar unequal and discriminatory treatment of women, indigenous communities, and immigrants from Asia who made Mexico their home, and Mexicans their kin."—Geraldo L. Cadava, author of Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland

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