Dr. Lilia Fernández is Associate Professor in the Department of History. She holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, a Master's degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She is affiliated with the Latino/a Studies Program, the Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, and the Comparative Studies Department.
Professor Fernandez’s research interests include Latino/a history, immigration, race and ethnic identity formation, urban renewal and gentrification, and women’s history. Her recent book , Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2012), documents the overlapping migrations of Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans to Chicagoin the post-World War II period. It explores their migration, community formation, and social activism in a period of tremendous social, economic, and physical restructuring in the mid-twentieth century. Brown in the Windy City is the first history to explore these populations comparatively and in relation to one another. The book locates Mexicans and Puerto Ricans within the field of urban history both literally in the physical geography of the city as well as figuratively within what was a primarily black-and-white social landscape. Ultimately, she argues that Latinos/as played a critical role in social, economic, and political development of the city during these years.
Professor Fernandez has been awarded various fellowships from such institutions as the Ford Foundation, the University of California, San Diego and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has published articles on Latino/a education, Latino/a youth culture, and community displacement of Mexican Americans in Chicago. Her essays include “Of Migrants and Immigrants: Mexican and Puerto Rican Labor Migration in Comparative Perspective, 1942-1964,” Journal of American Ethnic History 29, no. 3 (2010): 6-39. She is also the author of an essay on nativism and xenophobia in the Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration edited by Immanuel Ness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) as well as an essay on "Race, Immigration, and Civil Rights During the Reagan Administration," in The Companion to Ronald Reagan edited by Andrew Johns (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).
Dr. Fernandez teaches courses including:
Modern U.S. History survey
Mexican American History
Introduction to Latino/a History
Senior Seminar: Urban History
Senior Seminar: History of Chicago
Immigration and Migration in U.S. History
Introduction to Historical Thought and Method
Graduate reading courses and writing seminars in Modern U.S. History
In 2011, she won the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award from The Ohio State University.