Catherine Nolan-Ferrell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, History

Catherine Nolan-Ferrell, Ph.D.


Summer 2024 Office Hours: Contact by email for an appointment: 

Catherine Nolan-Ferrell, Associate Professor of History, received an A.B. from Cornell University, an M.A. from Tulane University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Nolan-Ferrell's research interests are in migration, citizenship, and national identity in Modern Mexico and Guatemala, as well as the history of gender in Latin America. Her book, Constructing Citizenship: Transnational Workers and Revolution on the Mexico-Guatemala Border, 1880-1950, (the University of Arizona Press, 2012), focuses on how laborers who worked in the coffee industry along the Guatemalan/Mexican border developed an understanding of nationality, particularly after the implementation of agrarian reforms in the late 1930s.

Her current book project, Migrants or Refugees? Violence and Forced Migration in Southern Mexico and Guatemala, 1950-2000 investigate the causes and impacts of Guatemalan migration into southern Chiapas. It addresses how nations, institutions, and individuals both shaped and responded to mass violence. By examining the historical contexts of forced migration, her research shows how impoverished indigenous workers from northwestern Guatemala who worked in Chiapas, Mexico, used direct and indirect knowledge of labor migration to seek safety. It also explores how migrants navigated social systems that defined them as necessary migrant workers, dangerous immigrants, or helpless refugees.

Research Interests

  • Modern Mexico and Guatemala
  • Migration
  • Refugees
  • Citizenship and Nationality

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials