Academic Historian

Maria L. Quintana is a historian of U.S. and Latin American History with specialization in race and empire, civil rights and labor history, immigration history, and social movements. She is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Sacramento State University. Her book, Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Labor Importation Programs, 1942-1964 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022) interprets U.S. guestworker labor importation and the Mexican Bracero Program through a transborder and global history of labor rights and empire. In the book Professor Quintana investigates these government-sponsored programs as the unexplored consequence of the history of enslaved labor, Japanese American incarceration, the New Deal, the long Civil Rights Movement, and Caribbean de-colonization. In doing so, she advances an interpretation of guestworker programs that moves beyond national borders and U.S.-Mexico relations to understand and underscore their colonial roots and effects. Professor Quintana received her Ph.D. From the University of Washington in 2016, after which she was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. Her research has received numerous awards, including the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars.