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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Michael Aguirre Receives Center for Engaged Scholarship Fellowship

AguirreMichael D. Aguirre, a doctoral student in History, has received a dissertation fellowship from the Center for Engaged Scholarship, an organization of social scientists that builds connections between academics and progressive change agents. The $25,000 award recognizes dissertation work that contributes to “a more democratic, more egalitarian, and more environmentally sustainable society.”

Aguirre’s dissertation examines class formations, labor activism, and forms of citizenship during the shift of the global political economy from Keynesianism to the development of neoliberalism from 1964 through 1979. His research focuses on the eastern California borderlands of Imperial County, California, and Mexicali, Baja California Norte, Mexico.

More from Aguirre:

I explore how the termination of the guest worker Bracero Program in 1964 prompted policymakers and business people in the United States and Mexico to invest in unregulated agricultural and industrial regimes, respectively.

By focusing on Imperial County farmworkers and Mexicali industrial workers, I reveal the degree to which workers’ identities were in flux and how organized labor on both sides of the border struggled to negotiate an inclusive transborder politics that mirrored and challenged the international growth and power of capitalism. Utilizing archival research from Mexico, the United States, and oral histories with borderlands residents, I demonstrate how the historical formation of working classes facilitated both the transition toward a borderless capitalist landscape and the simultaneous entrenchment of racial and national borders that were felt, resisted, and co-opted for different needs.

Aguirre is a fellow in the Certificate in Public Scholarship program and a former PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) fellow of Imagining America. He was also an associate editor of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, a contributor to the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project, and a contributor to

Congratulations, Michael!