Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Professor of History, was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and grew up in Taft, Corpus Christi, and Edinburg, Texas. After graduating from MIT, he worked as an engineer for five years before attending UCLA, where he obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees. He has taught courses on borderlands, Latinas/os, immigration, race/ethnicity, and the American West at universities in California, Iowa, New York, and Texas.

His first book, River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands (Duke University Press, 2013), explores state formation and cultural change along the Mexico-United States border during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is a co-editor of The Latina/o Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017) an interdisciplinary anthology that examines the history, education, literature, art, and politics of Latinas/os in the Midwest. He is also a co-editor of Major Problems in Latina/o History (Cengage Learning, 2014), which contains scholarly essays and primary sources on the migration and racialization experiences of various Latino populations. His current book project, “Remembering Conquest: Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship,” analyzes the ways in which memories of the U.S.-Mexico War have shaped Mexican Americans’ civil rights struggles, writing, oral discourse, and public rituals. His next project explores the efforts of scholars to challenge the omissions and negative characterizations of Mexican Americans in public school textbooks of several U.S. Southwestern states.

His articles and essays focus on Chicana/o history, gender, comparative racializations, political economy, and Latina/o studies. In addition to publishing articles in the Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, Estudios Mexicanos/Mexican StudiesSouthwestern Historical Quarterly, and the Annals of Iowa, he has written anthology chapters on Tejanos in the U.S. Civil War, border corridos, Spanish-Mexican women, U.S.-Mexico borderlands culture, the U.S.-Mexico War, and immigration. His journal article, “Racializing Mexican Immigrants in the Heartland: Iowa’s Early Mexican Communities, 1880-1930,” (in Annals of Iowa) won the 2017 Dorothy Schwieder Prize for Best Article in Midwestern History by the Midwestern History Association and the 2017 Mildred Throne-Charles Aldrich Award for most significant journal article on Iowa history by the State Historical Society of Iowa. His article, “Refuting History Fables: Collective Memories, Mexican Texans, and Texas History,” examines the efforts of Mexican American civil rights activists to change the depiction of Tejanos in the state’s textbooks during the 1930s. This article was awarded the 2020 H. Bailey Carroll Award for Best Article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly by the Texas State History Association. His most recent article, “Borderlands History in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly,” appeared in the April 2022 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

Among his university and professional service are promoting the humanities, increasing diversity in the academy, and providing student mentorship. He has been involved in several public humanities projects on Greater Mexico by engaging university students with public history projects on immigration and borderlands history, and participating in workshops for public school teachers. As a former first-generation university student, he is dedicated to mentoring first-generation and underrepresented college students, and to increasing the diversity of university student and faculty populations.

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