José Angel Hernández, associate professor of History, is a winner of the inaugural William M. LeoGrande Prize for the best book on U.S.-Latin American Relations published during the 2011-12 academic year. The award is given by the School of Public Affairs and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.
Hernández was recognized for his work, “Mexican American Colonization during the Nineteenth Century: A History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” published by Cambridge University Press. The book reinterprets 19th-century Mexican American history, examining Mexico’s struggle to secure its northern border with repatriates from the United States, following a war that resulted in the loss of half Mexico’s territory. Hernández suggests that these resettlement schemes centered on developments within the frontier region, the modernization of the country with loyal Mexican American settlers, and blocking the tide of migrations to the United States to prevent the depopulation of its fractured northern border. Through an examination of Mexico’s immigration and colonization policies as they developed in the 19th century, the book focuses primarily on the population of Mexican citizens who were “lost” after the end of the Mexican-American War of 1846–48 until the end of the century.
Hernández joined the History Department in 2007 after teaching at DePaul University and the University of Chicago. He has received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Trustee Fellowship, Fulbright-Hayes Dissertation Fellowship, and the Center for Mexican American Studies Fellowship from the University of Houston.
The William M. LeoGrande Prize was established last year to honor his tenure as dean of American University’s School of Public Affairs from 2003-12.