American Latino Theme Study Author Biographies

About the Authors


American Latinos and the Making of the United States: An Introduction

Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and director of the University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. She is an award winning filmmaker, whose titles include Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican and War in Guam. Negrón-Muntaner is also the founder of Miami Light Project's Filmmakers workshop and is a founding board member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Her books include Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture and None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era. In 2005 Hispanic Business magazine named her one of the "100 most influential Hispanics" and in 2008 the United Nations recognized as a global expert in Latin/o American studies. She received her M.A. from Temple University and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, is a founding member of the New York History Academy, and is history consultant at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. The recipient of the 2012 Inter-University Program for Latino Research Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Sánchez-Korrol's publications include From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, and the three volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. She heads the Latinas in History, interactive website project, and authored the forthcoming historical novel, Feminist and Revolutionary: The Story of Emilia Casanova. Dr. Sánchez Korrol received her Ph.D. in History from Stony Brook University, State University of New York.

Core Essay

The American Latino

Stephen J. Pitti, Ph.D., is Professor of History and American Studies, Director of the Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, and Master of Ezra Stiles College at Yale University. He teaches courses in Latino studies, ethnic studies, Western history, 20th-century immigration, and civil rights. Pitti is the author of The Devil in Silicon Valley: Race, Mexican Americans, and Northern California and is working on two books: The World of Céasar Chávez and Leaving California: Race from the Golden State. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies from Stanford University.


A Panorama of Latino Arts

Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Ph.D., is an Independent Scholar of Latin American and U.S. Latino arts and culture and is located in San Antonio. He was formerly Associate Director of Creativity and Culture at the Rockefeller Foundation. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University. His major works include Houston Hispanic Artists: New Views, Modern Chicano Writers: A Collection of Critical Essays, and Towards a Shared Vision: U.S. Latinos and the Smithsonian Institution. He was awarded the Joseph Henry Medal by the Smithsonian Institution in 1998. In 2007, the Mexican government bestowed "The Order of The Aztec Eagle" on him citing his life work in fostering cultural understanding between the United States and Mexico through the arts and humanities. In 2009, he was named Senior Fellow, Hemispheric Institute at New York University. In 2009-2011, he was Senior Advisor to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino. He received his Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Washington.

Business and Commerce

Entrepreneurs from the Beginning: Latino Business & Commerce since the 16th Century

Geraldo Cadava, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of History and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern University where he specializes in the United States–Mexican border region and Latina and Latino populations in the United States. His forthcoming book, The Heat of Exchange: Latinos and Migration in the Making of a Sunbelt Borderland, addresses the rise of cultural and commercial exchanges between Arizona and Sonora as a result of World War II. His next two projects will be about Latino conservatism and the construction of the U.S.–Mexico border. He received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University.


Demanding their Rights: The Latino Struggle for Educational Access and Equity

Victoria-María MacDonald, Ed.D., is Unit Chair and Assistant Professor of Minority & Urban Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research examines how historical legacies impact policy, access, and equity for contemporary Latino and African American students. MacDonald is the author of numerous works including Latino Education in the United States: A Narrated History, 1513-2000 (2004). Her latest article (with student Benjamin P. Hoffman) is "Compromising La Causa?: The Ford Foundation and Chicano Intellectual Nationalism in the Creation of Chicano History, 1963-1977" in History of Education Quarterly (May 2012). She received her B.A. in History with honors from Wellesley College and Ed.M. and Ed.D. degrees from Harvard University. A Spencer postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education supported her research on Latino educational history.

Empires, Wars, Revolutions

The Latino Crucible: Its Origins in 19th Century Wars, Revolutions, and Empire

Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Ph.D., is the Preston & Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor in United States History and the College, University of Chicago. His field specialties include race and ethnicity in American Life, Chicano/Latino studies, Indian–White relations in the Americas, social and economic history of the Southwest, and Mexican Immigration. His major works include Mexican Home Altars, Contested Eden: California before the Gold Rush, and When Jesus Came the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846. His 1993 article, "Community, Patriarchy and Individualism: The Politics of Chicano History" in the American Quarterly was awarded the Western History Association's Ray Allen Billington Prize. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin.


Coming Home to Salsa: Latino Roots of American Food

Jeffrey Pilcher, Ph.D., is a Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in the history and culture of Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and the history and culture of food. His major works include Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food; Food in World History; The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City; and ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. He received his Ph.D. in History from Texas Christian University.


An Historic Overview of Latino Immigration and the Demographic Transformation of the United States

David Gutiérrez, Ph.D., is a Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego, and Academic Senate Distinguished Teacher and Vice-Chair, Academic Affairs. He teaches Chicano history, comparative immigration and ethnic history, and politics of the 20th century United States. His major works include Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans; Mexican Immigrants and the Politics of Ethnicity; Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants in the United States; and The Columbia History of Latinos in the United States since 1960. His current research is focused on immigration, citizenship, and non-citizenship in 20th–century American history and the demographic revolution, 1970s to the present. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford University.

Intellectual Traditions

Envisioning and Re-visioning the Nation: Latino Intellectual Traditions

Nicolás Kanellos, Ph.D., is the Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Literature at the University of Houston. He is the founder and director of the nation's oldest and largest non-profit publisher of Hispanic literature in the United States, Arte Público Press. He is also director of the major national research program, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage of the United States, which aims to identify, preserve, study, and make accessible tens of thousands of Latino literary documents written from the colonial period to 1960 in the area that has become the United States. His major works include A History of Hispanic Theater in the United States: Origins to 1940 and Hispanic Literature of the United States: A Comprehensive Reference. He received his Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Texas.


Latino Workers

Zaragosa Vargas, Ph.D., is the Kenan Eminent Professor in the Department of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He specializes in Latino history and American labor history during the 19th and 20th centuries that covers working class history; work, race, gender, and class; the history of working women; and transnational labor migration. His major works include Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to the Present Era; Labor Rights Are Civil Rights: Mexican American Workers in Twentieth-Century America; and Proletarians of the North: Mexican Industrial Workers in Detroit and the Midwest, 1917-1933. He received his Ph.D. degree in History from the University of Michigan.


Latinos and the Law

Margaret E. Montoya, J.D., is a Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for UNM Health Sciences Center. Her current work in health sciences focuses on increasing faculty diversity and inclusion through mentoring and leadership programs. She is part of the teaching team in the Cultural Competence curriculum in the School of Medicine. One of her major works is "Mascaras, Trenzas y Greñas: Un/Masking the Self While Un/Braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse," which connects autobiographical narratives with legal analysis and focuses on resisting the cultural assimilation that often comes with higher education. She received her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.


More Than 200 Years of Latino Media in the United States

Félix Gutiérrez, Ph.D., is a Professor of Journalism and Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on racial diversity and the media and "Voices for Justice: 200 Years of Latino Newspapers in the United States," documenting the issues covered by U.S. Latino newspapers and journalists since 1808. His major works include Racism, Sexism, and the Media: Multicultural Issues into the New Communications Age and Spanish-Language Radio in the Southwestern United States. He is the 2011 recipient of the Lionel C. Barrow, Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research and Education by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He received his Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University.


Fighting on Two Fronts: Latinos in the Military

Lorena Oropeza, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California at Davis. She is author of ¡Raza Sí! ¡Guerra No!: Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam Era and Co-editor of the anthology Enriqueta and the Chicano Movement: Writings from El Grito del Norte. She is currently writing a history of the Alianza land-grant movement in New Mexico employing the theme of memory and history. Convinced that Chicana/o history is a central part of American history, she serves on the editorial board of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Culture and Politics where an article she wrote reassessing the role of land-grant leader Reies Lopez Tijerina appeared in the 2008 inaugural issue. She received her Ph.D. in History from Cornell University.

New Latinos

Late-20th Century Immigration and U.S. Foreign Policy: Forging Latino Identity in the Minefields of Political Memory

Lillian Guerra, Ph.D., is the author of many scholarly essays as well as three books, Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico; The Myth of José Martí: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth-Century Cuba; and Visions of Power: Revolution, Redemption and Resistance in Cuba, 1959-1971. Her creative writings include contributions to the works of renowned photographers Alex Harris and Cathryn Griffith, as well as two collections of Spanish-language poetry, one published in Quito, Ecuador, and the other in Havana, Cuba. The daughter of Cuban exiles who came to the United States in 1965, she has lived, researched, and taught courses in Cuba over the course of 38 visits in the last 15 years. From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Guerra lived in Cuba for the first time and in addition to researching her dissertation, she came to know more than a hundred close relatives in Cienfuegos, Havana, and Pinar del Río. Dr. Guerra taught Latin American history at Bates College for four years and Caribbean history at Yale University for six years. She is currently an Associate Professor of Cuban and Caribbean History at the University of Florida, Gainesville. A graduate of Dartmouth College, she received her Ph.D. degree in History from the University of Wisconsin.

Religion and Spirituality

Endurance and Transformation: Horizons of Latino Faith

Timothy Matovina, Ph.D., is a Professor of Theology and the Executive Director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in U.S. Latino theology and religion. His most recent books are Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America's Largest Church and Guadalupe and Her Faithful: Latino Catholics in San Antonio, from Colonial Origins to the Present. He offers presentations and workshops on U.S. Catholicism and Latino ministry and theology throughout the United States. He received his Ph.D. in Religion and Culture from The Catholic University of America.

Science and Medicine

American Science, American Medicine, and American Latinos

John Mckiernan-González, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin. His research focus includes Latina/o history, the social and cultural history of medicine, public history, and American immigration histories. His book, Fevered Measures: Public Health and Race at the Texas-Mexico Border, 1848-1942, examines how Texas border residents and migrants responded to the ways public health authorities drew medical borders across their communities. He has worked in the National Museum of American History, as well as the HIV division of the Cook County Department of Public Health. Parts of his public history efforts can be seen at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Onda Latina / Mexican American Experience web portal. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan.


Beyond the Latino Sports Hero: The Role of Sports in Creating Communities, Networks, and Identities

José M. Alamillo, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Chicano/a Studies Program at California State University, Channel Islands. His research focuses on ways in which Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have used culture, politics, sports, and forms of leisure to build community solidarity, construct gender and ethnic identities, and forge inter-ethnic relations with other groups in order to advance politically and economically. His major works include Latinos in U.S. Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity and Acceptance, and Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Mexican American Labor and Leisure in a California Town. He received his Ph.D. in the Comparative Cultures Program at the University of California, Irvine.

Struggles for Inclusion

Demanding Equal Political Voice...And Accepting Nothing Less: The Quest for a Latino Political Inclusion

Louis DeSipio, Ph.D., is a Professor of Political Science and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include how democratic nations, particularly the United States, incorporate new members, especially because international migration has made most democracies home to large numbers of non–citizens just as those countries are seeking to incorporate ethnic and racial populations that were excluded or incompletely incorporated in the past. His major works include Making Americans, Remaking America: Immigration and Immigrant Policy; Counting on the Latino Vote: Latinos as a New Electorate; Beyond the Barrio: Latinos and the 2004 Elections; and Muted Voices: Latinos and the 2000 Elections. He received his Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Last updated: March 17, 2016