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About the Book

Sally and Ken Owens Book Award, Western Historical Association

National Association for Chicana/o Studies Book Award, Honorable Mention

There are few places where mobility has shaped identity as widely as the American West, but some locations and populations sit at its major crossroads, maintaining control over place and mobility, labor and race. In Collisions at the Crossroads, Genevieve Carpio argues that mobility, both permission to move freely and prohibitions on movement, helped shape racial formation in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By examining policies and forces as different as historical societies, Indian boarding schools, bicycle ordinances, immigration policy, incarceration, traffic checkpoints, and Route 66 heritage, she shows how local authorities constructed a racial hierarchy by allowing some people to move freely while placing limits on the mobility of others. Highlighting the ways people of color have negotiated their place within these systems, Carpio reveals a compelling and perceptive analysis of spatial mobility through physical movement and residence.

Author Interview

New Books NetworkCollisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race
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UC Press Blog

Author Spotlight: Interview with Owens Book Award Winner Genevieve Carpio, author of Collisions at the Crossroads

"My hope is that Collisions at the Crossroads provides an example of how place-based and mobility-based research can spark new insights into race-making, especially how it unfolds over the 20th century. The spatial-turn and place-based studies were so important to me in graduate school. I see similar potential in mobility (or mobilities) based research. I hope that my book contributes to this exchange."


“Through close attention to the entanglement of race and everyday mobility, Genevieve Carpio shines a brilliant light on a previously unexplored aspect of the contested geographies of Southern California specifically and the American West more generally. Empirically rich, theoretically rigorous, and engagingly written, Collisions at the Crossroads connects the diverse experiences of Japanese citrus workers, Dust Bowl migrants, Latinx drivers of lowriders, and Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Filipino migrants to provide a counter-history of the role of mobility in the American West. For those interested in mobility studies, critical race theory, or the spatial histories of Greater Los Angeles, Carpio has provided a pioneering landmark text.”

Tim Cresswell, author of Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place

Journal of Transport History

"Carpio's attention to people's everyday negotiations with the structures that govern mobility will be of interest to historians of colonial and postcolonial mobility, to cultural historians of bicycles, automobiles, and highways, and to historians of migration, space, and place."

National Association of Chicana and Chicana Studies

"The paradigm that Collisions at the Crossroads provides can help us understand what became of Chican@ Mexican communities across Aztlán and the U.S. and view the resistance strategies of raza communities, and barrio planners to maintain, recapture, and equitably transform  these spaces and places."

Western Historical Association

"Carpio creatively builds a new framework for assessing the construction of racial hierarchies in the West during the 19th and 20th centuries. By assessing mobility structures and patterns within Inland California, Carpio demonstrates that White settler efforts to construct an Anglo Fantasy Past had real ramifications for Indigenous peoples, Hispanic and Latino inhabitants, and Asian immigrants."
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