Author Appearance: Monica Perales
Brazos Bookstore is proud to present author, Monica Perales. On Thursday, November 11, at 7:00 PM Monica Perales will appear at Brazos Bookstore where she will discuss and sign her book Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community.
Company town. Blighted community. Beloved home. Nestled on the banks of the Rio Grande, at the heart of a railroad, mining, and smelting empire, Smeltertown--La Esmelda, as its residents called it--was home to generations of ethnic Mexicans who labored at the American Smelting and Refining Company in El Paso, Texas.
Using newspapers, personal archives, photographs, employee records, parish newsletters, and interviews with former residents, including her own relatives, Monica Perales unearths the history of this forgotten community. Spanning almost a century, Smeltertown traces the birth, growth, and ultimate demise of a working class community in the largest U.S. city on the Mexican border and places ethnic Mexicans at the center of transnational capitalism and the making of the urban West. Perales shows that Smeltertown was composed of multiple real and imagined social worlds created by the company, the church, the schools, and the residents themselves. Within these dynamic social worlds, residents forged permanence and meaning in the shadow of the smelter's giant smokestacks. Smeltertown provides insight into how people and places invent and reinvent themselves and illuminates a vibrant community grappling with its own sense of itself and its place in history and collective memory.
About the author: Monica Perales received her Ph.D. in history from Stanford University in 2004. She has been the recipient of various fellowships including the 2009 Women's Studies Faculty Summer Fellowship, and was the 2006-2007 Summerlee Fellow in Texas History at the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. She holds a B.A. in Journalism (1994) and M.A. in History (1996) from the University of Texas at El Paso.