Omar Valerio-Jimenez

Professor, History

Omar Valerio-Jimenez, Ph.D.


Summer 2024 Office Hours: TBD.

Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Professor of History, was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and grew up in Taft, Corpus Christi, and Edinburg, Texas. After graduating from MIT, he worked as an engineer for five years before attending UCLA, where he obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees. He has taught courses on borderlands, Latinas/os, immigration, race/ethnicity, and the American West at universities in California, Iowa, New York, and Texas.

His first book, River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands (Duke University Press, 2013), explores state formation and cultural change along the Mexico-United States border during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is a co-editor of The Latina/o Midwest Reader (University of Illinois Press, 2017) an interdisciplinary anthology that examines the history, education, literature, art, and politics of Latinas/os in the Midwest. He is also a co-editor of Major Problems in Latina/o History (Cengage Learning, 2014), which contains scholarly essays and primary sources on the migration and racialization experiences of various Latino populations. His current book project, “Remembering Conquest: Mexican Americans, Memory, and Citizenship,” analyzes the ways in which memories of the U.S.-Mexico War have shaped Mexican Americans’ civil rights struggles, writing, oral discourse, and public rituals. His next project explores the efforts of scholars to challenge the omissions and negative characterizations of Mexican Americans in public school textbooks of several U.S. Southwestern states.

His articles and essays focus on Chicana/o history, gender, comparative racializations, political economy, and Latina/o studies. In addition to publishing articles in the Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, Estudios Mexicanos/Mexican Studies, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and the Annals of Iowa, he has written anthology chapters on Tejanos in the U.S. Civil War, border corridos, Spanish-Mexican women, U.S.-Mexico borderlands culture, the U.S.-Mexico War, and immigration. His journal article, “Racializing Mexican Immigrants in the Heartland: Iowa’s Early Mexican Communities, 1880-1930,” (in Annals of Iowa) won the 2017 Dorothy Schwieder Prize for Best Article in Midwestern History by the Midwestern History Association and the 2017 Mildred Throne-Charles Aldrich Award for most significant journal article on Iowa history by the State Historical Society of Iowa. His article, “Refuting History Fables: Collective Memories, Mexican Texans, and Texas History,” examines the efforts of Mexican American civil rights activists to change the depiction of Tejanos in the state’s textbooks during the 1930s. This article was awarded the 2020 H. Bailey Carroll Award for Best Article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly by the Texas State History Association. His most recent article, “Borderlands History in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly,” appeared in the April 2022 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

He serves on the editorial board of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Studies in Midwestern History, Journal of Texas Archeology and History, and is a series editor of Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Series for the University of Illinois Press. He currently serves as the book review editor for the Journal of American Ethnic History. In support of his research and writing, he has obtained fellowships from SMU’s William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, the Western History Association, UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, the Charles Redd Center, the Newberry Library, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In September 2022, he became Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice for UTSA’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

Among his university and professional service are promoting the humanities, increasing diversity in the academy, and providing student mentorship. He has been involved in several public humanities projects in Greater Mexico by engaging university students with public history projects on immigration and borderlands history and participating in workshops for public school teachers. As a former first-generation university student, he is dedicated to mentoring first-generation and underrepresented college students, and to increasing the diversity of university student and faculty populations.

During the 2023-24 academic year, Valerio-Jiménez will be on research leave with an Award for Faculty from the National Endowment for the Humanities to work on his third book project, "Challenging Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Textbook Reform, and Archive Preservation." He also received support from a Spencer Foundation Racial Equity Research Grant to conduct research on his third book.

Research Interests

  • Borderlands
  • Latina/o
  • American West
  • Immigration

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials