Faculty and Staff


Neil Foley

The Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History
Hispanic/Mexican Borderlands
Mexican American/Latino History

Dallas Hall Room 302

Educational Background

Ph.D., American Culture, University of Michigan, 1990
M.A., American Culture, University of Michigan
M.A., English and American Literature, Georgetown University
B.A., English, University of Virginia 

Research Interests

Professor Foley's current research centers on the changing constructions of race, citizenship, and transnational identity in the Borderlands, Mexico and the American West; Mexican immigration; and comparative civil rights politics of African Americans and Mexican Americans. He is the author of The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas (Berkeley, 1997); Quest for Equality:The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity (Harvard, 2010), and Mexicans in the Making of America (Harvard, 2014). He has co-authored (with John R. Chávez) Teaching Mexican American History (2002) and he is also the editor of Reflexiones:  New Directions in Mexican American Studies (1998).

He is the co-editor of New York University Press series, American History and Culture, and served on the selection jury for the Pulitzer Prize in history in 2004. Professor Foley is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and has lectured extensively in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. For a number of years he lived and taught in Mexico (Mexico City), Germany (Berlin, Heidelberg, Stuttgart), Spain (Salamanca, Zaragosa), and Japan (Misawa; Naha, Okinawa). He also spent two years living on aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea where he taught sailors of the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet in its Program for Afloat College Education (PACE).

Awards, Fellowships, and Honors

  • Texas Institute of Letters, Most Significant Scholarly Book Award, 2011, for Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity (Harvard, 2010).
  • Finalist, William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America, 2011, for Quest for Equality.
  • A Huffington Post Best Social and Political Awareness Book of the year for 2010, for Quest for Equality.
  • Organization of American Historians, Frederick Jackson Turner Book Prize, for the best book on a “significant phase of American history,” 1998, for The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas  (Berkeley, 1997). 
  • American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, for “best book on the American West,” 1998.
  • Southern Historical Association, Charles Sydnor Book Award, for “a distinguished book in Southern history,” 1998.
  • Western Historical Association, Robert G. Athearn Book Award, for “best book on the twentieth-century West,” 1998.
  • Texas Historical Commission, T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award, for a historical study “based on original research,” 1998.
  • Robert W. Hamilton Book Award, University of Texas, 1998, first place, for a book representing “the highest honor of literary achievement” among all books published by University of Texas faculty in 1997. 
  • Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America, 1998.
  • Finalist, Lillian Smith Book Award, Southern Regional Conference, for a book “worthy of recognition because of its literary merit, moral vision, and honest representation of the South, its people, problems, and promises,” 1998.
  • Southern Historical Association, Fletcher M. Green and Charles W. Ramsdell Award, for the “best article published in the Journal of Southern History” in 1996 and 1997.

Courses Taught 

Professor Foley’s teaching fields include 19th and 20th century U.S. History; Borderlands/Southwest History; Mexican American and Latino History; The American West; Immigration, Citizenship, and Transnational Identity in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands; African American and Latino Civil Rights Politics in the 20th Century; and Legal, Labor, and Political History of the American Southwest. 

Last updated 04/10/14