Department of History

John Nieto-Phillips

  • Associate Professor, Department of History
  • Associate Professor, Latino Studies
  • Associate Editor, The Journal of American History
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, American Studies Program


  • B.A. at University of California, Los Angeles, 1987
  • M.A. at University of California, Los Angeles, 1992
  • Ph.D. at University of California, Los Angeles, 1997

Contact Information

Ballantine Hall, Rm. 818, Sycamore Hall, Rm. 043
(812) 855-8589


John Nieto-Phillips

I am foremost a U.S. historian with a deep interest in twentieth-century immigration from Latin America, Latina/o education in the United States, and the complexities of "race." In the classroom and in my research, I explore the various means by which Latinas and Latinos have sought "full citizenship" and equality in the schools, in politics, and in public spaces. To that end, my book, The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s (2004), retraces Nuevomexicanas' and Nuevomexicanos' struggle for admission into the Union (statehood) in the face of intense racially-motivated opposition. My current research involves comparing "Americanization" campaigns in New Mexico and Puerto Rico, 1890s-1940s. This project, as well as my previous work, critically examine hispanidad (i.e., pride in one's "Spanish" linguistic, cultural and racial heritage) as a discursive form of resistance to "Anglo America," as well as of accommodation to prevailing racial structures that privilege "whiteness." I am also presently editing an unpublished memoir by Mario Delmonte, a Puerto Rican tobacco worker who arrives in New York in 1925, joins the Postal Battalion during World War II, and goes on to become a Hollywood hairdresser. One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching at Indiana University has been my development of a Service Learning course option that engages my students in volunteer (family literacy) work among Indiana's immigrant communities.

Selected Awards

  • Indiana University "New Frontiers in the Humanities" Faculty Research Grant (2006)
  • Indiana University Trustee's Teaching Award (2005)
  • Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award, NM Historical Society (2005)
  • Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Academy of Education (2003)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Faculty Research Grant (2002)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, New Mexico State University (2000)

Research Interests

  • U.S. Latina/o history
  • Race and citizenship
  • Latin America and Caribbean

Courses Recently Taught

  • Memory and the American Dream: Latino Narratives of Migration and Community
  • Latino Immigration from Mexico and the Caribbean
  • Mexican-American History
  • Latina/o History: Race, Immigration and Citizenship

Publication Highlights


Christopher Schmidt-Nowara and John M. Nieto-Phillips, eds. Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations and Legends. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

John M. Nieto-Phillips. The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004.


"Mémoire et consanguinité: Les origines de l´identité Spanish-American au Nouveau Mexique." Amérique Latine Histoire et Mémoire (Les Cahiers ALHIM), no. 7 (2003): 83-99.

"Spanish American Ethnic Identity and New Mexico's Statehood Struggle." In Erlinda Gonzales-Berry and David Maciel, eds., The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), pp. 97-142.

"Citizenship and Empire: Race, Language, and Self-Government in New Mexico and Puerto Rico, 1898-1917." Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Fall, 1999): 51-74.

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