The remarkable economic growth of Las Vegas between 1980 and 2007 created a population boom and a major increase in the ethnic and religious diversity of the city. Today, over 21 percent of the city’s population is foreign born, and over 30 percent speak a language other than English at home. The local court system offers interpreters in 82 languages, and in 2005/2006, for example, more than 11,000 people, originating from 138 countries, were naturalized there as American citizens.More Peoples of Las Vegas extends the survey of this city’s cosmopolitan population begun in The Peoples of Las Vegas (University of Nevada Press, 2005). As in the previous book, this volume includes well-established groups like the Irish and Germans, and recently arrived groups like the Ethiopians and Guatemalans. Essays describe the history of each group in Las Vegas and the roles they play in the life and economy of the city. The essays also explore the influence of modern telecommunications and accessible air travel, showing how these factors allow newcomers to create transnational identities and maintain ties with families and culture back home. They also examine the role of local institutions—including clubs, religious organizations, shops, restaurants, and newspapers and other media—in helping immigrants maintain their ethnic and religious identities and in disseminating national and even regional cultures of origin.More Peoples of Las Vegas adds to our awareness of the rich and varied ethnic and religious character of Las Vegans. In a broader context, it offers thoughtful perspectives on the impact of globalization on a major American city and on the realities of immigrant life in the twenty-first century.
Jerry L. Simich received his PhD from UCSB and is emeritus associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Thomas Wright received his B.A. from Pomona College (1963). He took his junior year in Peru, which began his life-long interest in Latin America. He went to the University of California, Berkeley for the M.A. (1964) and Ph.D. (1971). He is a distinguished professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Wright teaches a variety of courses on Latin America, including a two semester lower division survey of Latin American history. Upper division courses include History of Mexico, History of the Andean Region, Revolution and Reaction in Contemporary Latin America, and The Mexican Revolution. At the graduate level, he offers the colloquium and research seminar on Modern Latin America. He also teaches occasional seminars for the Honors College.
Wright’s research interests focus on twentieth century Latin American political history. His books include Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution (rev. ed., 2001); Flight from Chile: Voices of Exile (co-author Rody Oñate, 1998); Food, Politics, and Society in Latin America (co-editor John C. Super, 1985); and Landowners and Reform in Chile: The Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura, 1919-1940 (1982). Two of these have been published in Spanish translation. He is currently working on a book on state terrorism and human rights in Chile and Argentina.
In addition, he has published journal articles, book chapters, and entries in proceedings and encyclopedias on various Latin American topics.