MTA – A.K. Sandoval-Strausz’s BARRIO AMERICA: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City
March 13, 2021
Meet the Author on Zoom
In his new book, BARRIO AMERICA: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City, award-winning historian and son of immigrants A.K. Sandoval-Strausz challenges the idea that the so-called “Creative Class” was most responsible for reviving the city. He argues instead that it was actually Latino newcomers who most dramatically transformed entire city neighborhoods.
Drawing on dozens of oral histories with migrantes themselves, Sandoval-Strausz illuminates how Latin American immigrants imported three distinctive urban traditions – a preference for walking over driving, a penchant for public space, and small entrepreneurship – that have reshaped American cities into the thriving metropolies they are today. Focusing on the largest immigrant barrios in in two of the nation’s largest cities: Chicago’s Little Village and Dallas’s Oak Cliff, he argues that although urban barrios are portrayed as decaying districts plagued by crime and disorder, in reality, areas with growing immigrant populations have become some of the most dynamic, stable, and safe neighborhoods in their cities.
A.K. Sandoval-Strausz is Director of Latina/o Studies at Penn State University. He was born in New York City to immigrant parents, received his B.A. at Columbia, and went onto the University of Chicago for his Ph.D. He teaches courses in Latina/o Studies, immigration, and urbanism. He is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar and a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians.