Professor honored for writing history book
Monica Perales, winner of the Kenneth Jackson Award, will be honored at the Urban History Association biennial conference which will be held in New York City in October 2012.
Perales, an associate professor at UH, was named the recipient of the Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book in Urban History for her book, “Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community”. Her book is based on the history of the Mexican-American working community in the American Smelting and Refining Company of El Paso. Smeltertown was demolished in the 1970s after city officials declared it a health hazard.
“Smeltertown is a fitting winner of the Kenneth Jackson Prize, which recognizes the best book in US urban history for 2010,” Martin V. Melosi, a UH history professor, said. “The award, given annually by the Urban History Association, is the most prestigious in the field, which speaks to the high scholarly achievement Dr. Perales has attained.”
For Perales, the story of Smeltertown is personal because her friend’s grandparents were among the workers who lived in the community, which its residents called La Esmelda. Perales had the opportunity to talk to her friend’s grandmother, drawing upon some of her childhood memories for the book.
Perales earned a degree in journalism in 1994 and a master’s in history in 1996 from the University of Texas at El Paso, continuing her education to earn a doctorate in history from Stanford University in 2004. She has also received various fellowships, including the 2009 Women’s Studies Faculty Summer Fellowship and the 2006-2007 Summerlee Fellowship in Texas History at the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.
Perales is currently working on a manuscript that explores the multiple meanings of Mexican motherhood on the border during the Progressive Era. Her investigation explores issues of race, gender, nationality, community and identity on the border.