Lyrianne González

History Ph.D. Candidate


I am a mid-20th-century historian studying U.S. foreign labor relations, U.S.-Mexico relations, U.S. labor history, borderlands, immigration, migration, and child and family history.

Committee: Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, María Cristina García, Raymond B. Craib

My work has received support from the Mellon Foundation, Cornell Summer Graduate Student Fellowship in Digital Humanities, Humanities New York Community Partnership Grant, and Smithsonian's Latino Museum Studies Program.

You may read more about my experience below:

Lyrianne González is a fourth-year History Ph.D. Candidate minoring in Latino Studies. She graduated from California State University, Northridge in 2019 with a double major in Psychology and Chicana/o Studies. As an HSI Pathways/Mellon Student Fellow, she examined the trajectories of children of Braceros by putting archival material concerning education into conversation with oral histories. At Cornell, her research has expanded to investigating the racial and generational legacies of U.S. agricultural guestworker programs. In 2020, she was selected to take part in the University of Texas at Austin’s Voces Oral History Summer Research Institute, where she learned how to conduct oral histories effectively and ethically and make her research publicly accessible. She has worked with Black Farmers United of New York State by collecting oral histories of Black farmers to bring attention to the disparities they have faced. In the summer of 2021, Lyrianne was awarded the Cornell Summer Graduate Student Fellowship in Digital Humanities. Through this fellowship, she created a publicly accessible digital humanities project that maps guestworker migratory flows: their origin countries and receiving U.S. states. You may visit the project here. Most recently, she was a 2021 Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program fellow, where she honed in on her Latinx Studies and Public History interests. As the Fall 2021 Public History Initiative Graduate Fellow and Co-Director of The History Center/Cornell University Oral History Fellowship, Lyrianne is thrilled to bring the skills she has gained from her past public history experience and guide undergraduates interested in the field.

Research Focus

I study the racial and generational legacies of U.S. guestworker programs. I do so by examining archived federal and political records concerning the regulation of various guestworkers groups and putting them into conversation with oral histories of guestworkers and their descendants. Temporary foreign agricultural worker programs create and perpetuate racial division and generational poverty, playing a key role in the historical disenfranchisement of several groups and what Cedric J. Robinson called racial capitalism. Thus, the narratives of the descendants of former guestworkers require cognizance of their struggle to overcome a structure designed to prevent social mobility. The U.S.’ continued reliance on temporary foreign agricultural workers (H-2A Program), begs the importance of understanding the generational and racial legacies of such programs. By addressing broader issues of oppression, as well as questions of belonging, my research is situated in several fields, including 20th century U.S. labor, immigration history, and race relations.


González, Lyrianne. Review. Sarah Coleman, The Walls Within: The Politics of Immigration in Modern America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), in Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring 2022).

González, Lyrianne. “Listening to Migrant Workers and Material Culture,” Cornell Public History Initiative, Website, Cornell University, September 2021.

González, Lyrianne. “Joy and Aspirations: How Black Female Farmers Revolutionized How I Approach Oral Histories,” Humanities New York Community Partnership Grant, Society for the Humanities’ Rural Humanities, Website, Cornell University, August 2021.

González, Lyrianne E. “Centering Climate Disaster: A Labor Immigration Driving Force.” Latin American Literary Review 48, no. 96 (Summer 2021): 119–22.