Barbara Driscoll de Alvarado, Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy, Latin American History/Mexican American Studies, University of Notre Dame
Master of Arts, Latin American History, University of Notre Dame
Bachelor of Arts with Honors, Boston State College
Although originally from the Boston area, my passion to learn about Latin America and Latinos in the United States developed during my undergraduate education has brought me many opportunities to learn, work, teach, research and publish about many related topics. From studying in the pioneering Mexican American Graduate Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame to working as a researcher at institutions in both Mexico and the United States and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in both English and Spanish, learning about Latin America has transformed and enriched my professional and personal life. My overall goal for all my students to help them find the educational path that will transform and enrich their lives, whatever the direction that it might take. My personal interests are not far from my professional ones. I am a passionate practitioner and collection of needlework; I study many forms of traditional women's needlework--my dream is to organize courses in the history of needlework.
Courses Taught at Anna Maria:
First Year Experience (Seminar)
World Geography and Cultures I
World Geography and Cultures II
Discovering Humanities I
Discovering Humanities II
Beginning Conversational Spanish I
Beginning Conversational Spanish II
Spanish for Health Care
Spanish for Criminal Justice
Spanish for Outreach Geography of the Americas
Introduction to Native American History
Introduction to Irish History
Contemporary Immigration to the United States
American Urban History
Introduction to Latino Studies
Latin American History through Film, Art and Music
Drug Trafficking in Latin America
My research interests have evolved since completing my doctorate but the following remain as the principal themes:
1. Immigration to the United States, particularly Mexican. While I have researched, written and published about several aspects, the most original contribution is the research published in The Tracks North (published in Spanish by the Mexican government under the title of Me voy pa'Pensilvania por no andar en la vagancia) about the recruitment of Mexican workers during World War II for the war-essential US railroad industry. The study brings together several issues: the employment of Mexican immigrants in non-agricultural industries, administered migration programs, temporary immigration, bilateral migration agreements, among many additional issues.
2. Border Studies. The particular character of the history of Mexican immigration introduced me to the study of borders, especially the US Mexican border. Understanding the border between the US and Mexico adds a unique dimension not only to studying immigration but also to analyzing culture, language, binational urbanism, and increasingly commerce, contraband and drug trafficking. Using the concept of Border Studies also provides an avenue to understanding New England's past since it is a border region; we do not usually think of New England as a border region. In this respect, I am interested in French Canadian migration to New England between the Civil War and the Great Depression, a relatively unknown chapter of the region's history.
3. Second language acquisition. I returned to the United States after having lived in Mexico for more than twenty years just before I accepted my position at Anna Maria. During my time in Mexico, I became fascinated with the process of language acquisition. Although I spoke Spanish before moving to Mexico, living and working in Mexico not only improved my Spanish but it profoundly deepened my understanding and appreciation of language acquisition. I also raised a bilingual-bicultural son which only served to reinforce my interest. I currently writing an article about foreign language pedagogy.
Driscoll, B. (2009). "Moving Beyond Borders Julian Samora and the Establishment of Latino Studies." Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Driscoll, B. (1999). "The Tracks North: Mexican Railroad Workers in the United States during World War II." Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bidwell, J. Driscoll, B. McCarthy, A. (2012). "An Experiment in the Humanities: Transforming a Small New England College around a Humanities Core". SUNY Buffalo Romance Studies Journal.