Laura K. Muñoz

Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies Profile Image
Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies History laura.munoz@unl.edu 402-472-2414 618 Oldfather Hall
JOINED THE DEPARTMENT

2018

BIO

I study the people and histories of Mexican American, Chicanx and Latinx communities in the United States with an emphasis on race, gender and education in the American West. I often say, as I learned from la raza in Indiana, that “Aztlán is everywhere.” Understanding this movement and migration of Mexican-heritage people within North America, and particularly the place we know today as the United States, has intrigued me since I was a young person and learned about my own history as a daughter of the borderlands. This concern informs my inquiries about recovering and recuperating Chicanx/Latinx history, especially in places and among populations who remain understudied. In my current book project, “Desert Dreams: Mexican Arizona and the Politics of Educational Equality,” I explore how Mexican Americans embraced public schools as a conduit to political access and cultural preservation in the face of Americanization in the century following the Mexican American War. It reveals how they challenged the structure of “Juan Crow,” the unofficial segregation of Mexican-heritage people in the North American West. It also explains how their civil rights politics would influence the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and significantly alter children’s lives across the nation for generations.

Prior to joining UNL, I held the Joe B. Frantz Associate Professorship of American History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi — a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution in my hometown.

COURSES TAUGHT

HIST 111 - U.S. History after 1877

HIST 112 - History of the U.S. Present

HIST 250 - The Historian’s Craft

HIST/ ETHN 357 - Mexican American History

HIST/ETHN 397 - Special Topics: U.S. Latina/o History (Honors)

ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

“Civil Rights, Educational Inequality, and Transnational Takes on the US History Survey,” History of Education Quarterly 56, no. 1 (February 2016), 140-148.

Romo v. Laird: Mexican American School Segregation and the Politics of Belonging in Arizona,” Western Legal History 26, nos. 1-2 (2013), 97-132.

“Ralph Estrada and the War against Racial Prejudice in Arizona,” in Leaders of the Mexican American Generation: Biographical Essays, ed. Anthony Quiroz (Denver: University of Colorado Press, 2015), 277-299.

“Hijacks and Hijinks on the U.S. History Review Committee,” with Julio Noboa (University of Texas, El Paso), in Politics and the History Curriculum: The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation, ed. Keith A. Erekson (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 41-60.

SELECTED HONORS AND AWARDS

William and Edwyna Gilbert Award for the Best Article on Teaching History, American Historical Association, 2017.

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Washington, D.C., 2011.

Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize, History of Education Society, 2007.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2006

B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1992

EXPERTISE/AREAS OF STUDY

Chicana/o History;
North American West;
The History of Education;
Oral Narratives;
Latina/o Studies

LINKS

2017 Gilbert Award

AERA Presidential Panel on Mexican American Equal Educational Opportunity (see Muñoz at 17:31)