Publication Date

2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Feurer, Rosemary A.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Department

Department of History

LCSH

American history||Labor relations||Hispanic American studies||Migrant agricultural laborers--Middle West||Migrant labor--Middle West||Foreign workers, Mexican--Middle West||Mexican American migrant agricultural laborers--Middle West

Abstract

As recent scholarship and even popular works and documentaries demonstrate, the United States public is largely unaware how our food ends up on our table. While some popular works found in bookstores explore where our food comes from, these works rarely analyze the role of labor and specifically the system of the migrant farmworker stream. Workers in the field make possible the complex process from the growth of produce to the selling of food to consumers. By the 1960s, communities and states in the Midwest reacted to editorialized and documented condemnation of the living and working conditions of migrant farmworkers as seen in films like Harvest of Shame, as well as national concerns over the civil rights of minorities. In analyzing the migrant stream of the Midwest before the international and national changes of the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1993, this work expands upon a part of the migrant experience that is rarely detailed. While national factors influenced the structure of the migrant stream in the Midwest, this study argues that the crops, communities, and corporations of the Midwest migrant stream also played a distinctive role in the national story of the migrant stream. In analyzing the structure of power in the Midwest migrant stream through the roles of farmworker families, national and state governments, growers, farmworker unions, agribusinesses, and Catholic organizations, this dissertation enhances our understanding of the Midwest through the lens of gender, resistance, manipulation, agency, communities, and control. Specifically focusing on the Mexican migrant farmworkers who came primarily from Texas, Florida, and Mexico to the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Indiana as laborers during the 1960s to 1993, my dissertation explores the importance of gender, governments, agribusinesses, farmers, and migrants in shaping the Midwest migrant stream.

Comments

Advisors: Rosemary Feurer.||Committee members: Stanley Arnold; Barbara Posadas.

Extent

320 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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