The Discovery of Hispanic Child Labor in Agriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas: A Life Geography Approach
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© 2016 by American Association of Geographers. A life geography approach is used to analyze the production of social science knowledge regarding Mexican-origin child agricultural workers in south Texas during the early 1940s. The protagonist in this article, Amber Arthun Warburton, worked for the U.S. Children’s Bureau during the early 1940s and authored one of many reports analyzing conditions of children in U.S. agriculture. She was the first social scientist to report on labor relations in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, with particular attention to working and educational conditions of Mexican-origin children. Two aspects of Warburton’s unpublished work—her analysis of child labor in terms of Marx’s reserve army of labor and her description of living conditions through fieldwork—are examined here. The experience of Amber Warburton suggests how educated women, facing discrimination in academia, navigated personal and bureaucratic challenges while generating social knowledge, offering comparison to experiences of female geographers working outside academia.
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