This lecture examines the lives and histories of Latinx seafood worker communities along the coast of the U.S. Northeast throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Focusing on industries related to desired commodities such as sea cucumbers and lobster, it argues that Latinx laborers–both citizen and migrant–have historically shaped patterns of aquaculture as well as agriculture in this country. In the process, these workers have experienced various forms of neglect and invisibility ranging from occupational safety hazards to broken promises in guestworker contracts to xenophobic protests of their presence by residents of seaside towns.
Lori A. Flores is Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University, where she teaches courses on the histories of Latinx people in the United States, American labor and immigration, the U.S. West, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. She is the author of Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale, 2016), which was named Best History Book by the International Latino Book Awards and Best First Book by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. She is also the new co-editor of the completely-revised 4th edition of The Academic’s Handbook, which offers valuable advice essays from a diverse array of scholars and will be published by Duke University Press in 2020.