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Faculty and Staff

José Angel Hernández
Associate Professor


Phone: (713) 743-3126
Office: Agnes Arnold Hall 643

J.A. Hernández, PhD in History from The University of Chicago in 2008, is also a graduate of The University of Houston (MA 2000) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (BA 1997). Before joining the Department of History at UH, he was an Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMASS) where he taught for six years. Professor Hernández has also taught college courses at DePaul University and at The University of Chicago.  

Hernández's connections to The University of Houston date back two decades (1998) when he first attended Graduate School in the Department of History and as a Graduate Fellow with the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS).  In 2013 he returned to the UH as a CMAS Visiting Scholar and then accepted a position the following year as an Associate Professor of History. In 2017, CMAS awarded Hernández a Faculty Research Grant for his ongoing project, “Back to Mexico Movements during the Porfiriato." 

Recently, Professor Hernández was awarded a Fulbright US Scholar award to research the Colonial Archives of Cebu City and Manila, Philippines for the Academic Year 2019. This is Hernández's third Fulbright Fellowship. His long-term project is titled "Comparative Colonizations on a Global Scale" and seeks to compare the varied experiences, effects, and expressions of Spanish Colonization in Asia with that of the Americas and the Carribean. 


Professor Hernández's teaching interests include courses like "Philosophies of History" and "History of Histories: Capstone Course on Historiography."  

Courses Offered 

HIST: 4336: History of Histories: Capstone Seminar on Historiography

HIST: 4340: Philosophies of History

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Research Interests

Professor Hernández's research focuses on the analysis of Mexico's evolving colonization and immigration policies and practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly regarding migrants and Mexican Americans who returned south to settle and colonize the northern frontier.

His first book, Mexican American Colonization During the Nineteenth Century: A History of the US-Mexico Borderlands (2012), was published by Cambridge University Press. It received two prestigious book awards: the inaugural William M. LeoGrande Prize for the Best Book on U.S.-Latin American Relations in 2013, presented by The School of Public Affairs and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University, and the 2013 Américo Paredes Book Award, bestowed by the Center for Mexican American Studies at South Texas College.

In 2024, Professor Hernández published his latest book, Colonizing Ourselves: Tejano Back to Mexico Movements and the Making of a Settler Colonial Nation, which takes a global to granular approach to the question of settler colonization in Mexican history. He argues that Mexico, like its northern neighbor, is a settler colonial state but the colonization process evolved in a unique way because of the country’s growing diasporic population following the Mexican-American War (1846–48). Specifically, contemporaries described the Mexican colonization policies that were adopted and implemented as autocolonization. Unlike settler colonial states that relied on attracting millions of settlers from abroad, especially from Europe, Mexico received less than 1 percent of these nineteenth-century immigrants. This fact, coupled with the growing migration of farmers and laborers northward toward the United States, compelled various Mexican administrations to address labor emigration in numerous ways, culminating in the passage of the 1883 Land and Colonization Law. The case of Luis Siliceo illustrates how this logic was employed to stymie migration across the international boundary by giving preferential treatment to any Mexican in the United States who was willing to return and resettle in the republic.

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Selected Publications


Articles and Book Chapters

  • El México Perdido y Anelado: The Prose of Settler Colonialism Amidst the Diaspora,” In Writing/Righting History: Twenty Five Years of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, Clara Lomas and Antonia Castañeda, Eds. (The University of Houston: Arte Público Press, 2020): Pgs. 185-224.

       Premio, Mejor Artículo en Ciencias Sociales, Mexico Section; LASA, 2019.