Anita Huizar-Hernández is an Assistant Professor of Border Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. She received her Ph.D. in Literature (Cultural Studies) from the University of California, San Diego where she specialized in Literatures and Cultures of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, with an emphasis on Arizona. Her research examines how narratives, both real and imagined, have shaped the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the Southwestern borderlands in general, and Arizona in particular. Her manuscript, Forging Arizona: The Peralta Grant and the History of Mexican American Identity in the West, looks back at a bizarre nineteenth century case that tested the limits of how the meaning of borders are produced and perceived. In the aftermath of the U.S.-Mexico War and the creation of the current border, an ex-Confederate soldier named James Addison Reavis endeavored to literally forge new borders by falsifying documents in order to invent a man named Miguel Peralta, the so-called Baron of Arizona, and attribute to him what would have been the largest Spanish land grant in the U.S. Southwest, which Reavis dubbed the Peralta Grant. Reavis then forged documents to invent an heiress to the Peralta Grant, an orphan from California named Sofia, who was none other than Reavis’s own wife. Though ultimately unsuccessful, Forging Arizona argues that the creation and collapse of Reavis’s Peralta Grant plot as well as its subsequent fictionalization and eventual disappearance from the national imaginary reveal the mechanisms by which narratives, both real and imaginary, forge borders.
Huizar-Hernández, Anita. "The Specter of Statehood: Inventing Arizona in Charles D. Poston’s Building a State in Apache Land and Marie Clara Zander’s 'The Life of an Arizona Pioneer,'" MELUS 42, no. 2 (2017): 53–78.
Huizar-Hernández, Anita. "'The Real Geronimo Got Away' Eluding Expectations in Geronimo: His Own Story; The Autobiography of a Great Patriot Warrior," SAIL 29, no. 2 (2017): 49-70.
Huizar-Hernández, Anita. "Papers Please: Toward a Politics of Personhood in Arizona and Beyond," Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies 42, no. 1 (2017): 225-238.