Faculty (Full Time)
Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in suburban Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of California-Riverside, he went on to earn an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. His first novel, Still Water Saints, was published by Random House in 2007 and was named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was published by Random House in March 2013. Alex’s work has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern California Review, Flaunt, The Asian American Review, American Short Fiction, the New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. His awards include a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León.
A founding member of the social media group Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle’s Missing Mexicans, an organization that seeks to highlight and promote the contributions of Latino/a writers and artists, Alex is an active participant in Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Workshop and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He also serves on the board of California Humanities, a statewide non-profit whose aim is “to connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future.” Alex is also the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Arts here at Cal State LA. He lives in El Sereno and is at work on his third novel.
Office: King Hall C-4035
Dr. Ester E. Hernádez earned her Ph.D. in Social Science at UC Irvine and joined CSULA's Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies in 2002. She has published on Salvadoran migration and remittances in social science journals such as the Journal of American Ethnic History and Economy & Society. She received a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship, 2003-2004, CSULA on the theme of "Families and Belonging in the Multi-ethnic Metropolis." Born in El Salvador, she is on the board of directors of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and is the co-editor of the anthology U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles and Communities of Resistance (University of Arizona Press) about 1.5 and second generation Centroamericanas/os and U.S. Central Americans. Her current research is linked to immigrant rights, economic development and cultures of memory.
Office: King Hall B-3023
Dr. Valerie Talavera-Bustillos is a first-generation college student from a working-class background and a fourth-generation Chicana. These two ideas seem contradictory, if my family has been in the US for so long, then why am I the first to go to college? This question has puzzled me since I was in 8th grade at St. Helen’s Elementary school in South Gate. I knew that some of my family members were smart, yet why didn’t they do well in school or at least graduate? Why was my father nervous to speak to my teachers? Why did my mother and her father push me so hard to go to college? Once I experienced life at UC Irvine I realized why we were called “minorities” despite the fact we were on Mexican land! I saw how difficult it can be for students like me to get into college and this is what drove me to study Chicanas in education, how do they get here? Who helps, who doesn’t? My doctoral studies at UCLA, under the guidance and support of Professor Daniel Solórzano I understood the importance of equality and access to higher education for students of color. While Professor Solórzano taught me how to be a scholar, I also learned how important it is to be yourself, especially as a scholar of color and the responsibility it has to our community. His work in and out of the classroom taught me it was ok to bring your passion into your teaching, it is ok to show you care about your research, and especially the students you serve. I have earned tenure at Cal State LA, my academic home where Chicanas/Latinos are the majority of our students. It is with my personal experiences and my academic training that I am motivated to teach, to help students become critical thinkers, understand their role as scholars-in-training and how to best serve our community now and after they graduate.
Office Location: King Hall D1052A
Dr. José G. Anguiano earned his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2012 as part of the first cohort of Chicana and Chicano Studies PhDs in the nation. His research is in the areas of: Chicana/o and Latina/o popular music and culture; sound and listening studies; and music, race and citizenship. His primary focus is listeners and audiences of popular music. Dr. Anguiano’s research documents how popular music links communities of listeners across time and space, and how listening can be an active and creative form of claiming space, citizenship and respect. This research has led to a book project tentatively titled Latino Listening Cultures, which is an ethnographic account of select contemporary Latino listeners in the Southern California region. Dr. Anguiano will be teaching courses for Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies and the Honor's College in literature, music and sound in Chicana/o and Latina/o communities.
Dr. Alejandro Covarrubias, the sixth child of Mexican Immigrants from Jalisco, grew up in Wilmington and La Puente, California. Alejandro is an education scholar that examines the persistence and pervasiveness of racism in American educational policy. His work draws from an intersectional power analysis of institutionalized privilege and oppression of different socially constructed groups, especially in public educational institutions. Dr. Covarrubias specifically studies the impact of an intersectional subordination on the educational outcomes of Asian Americans, People of Mexican Origin, undocumented populations, and working class individuals in distinct racialized spaces. He is especially interested in the experiences of students who have been pushed-out of high school, the policies that lead to disengagement, and the community based organizations that re-engage “dropouts” in alternative public educational settings.
Dr. Covarrubias has extensive experience in community-based research and community engagement projects. He was the founder and former Executive Director of Los Angeles Communities Advocating for Unity, Social Justice and Action (LA CAUSA), an East Los Angeles non-profit that is widely recognized as a model for meaningful engagement of vulnerable populations in community transformation efforts, especially for those formerly pushed-out of high school. Covarrubias also founded and directed the Institute of Service-Learning, Power, & Intersectional Research (INSPIRE) from 2012-2015, a Watts-based non-profit that sought to produce community driven research projects and build bridges between local universities and community spaces.
Dr. Covarrubias’ research examines the philosophical foundations, pedagogical commitments, and networks of organizations that lead in intentionally engaging those most impacted by unjust relations of power. His research on the gendered experience of Chicano high school “push-outs” draws from the critical race notion of intersectionality, finding that gender is an important factor in the educational experience and outcomes of males of color. Lastly, his quantitative intersectional analysis of educational achievement pushes our understanding of the Chicana/o educational pipeline to previously unexamined areas and offers the innovative methodology of quantitative intersectional analyses.
Prof. Dolores Delgado Bernal earned her Ph.D. from UCLA as a first-generation college student. She was Professor of Education and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah for 18 years, and now shares her time between the Department of Chicana(o)/Latina(o) Studies and the Charter College of Education. Her scholarship draws from critical race studies, Chicana feminist methodologies, and educational studies to investigate educational (in)equity, Latinx educational pathways, feminista pedagogies, and different forms of resistance. She is co-author of Transforming Educational Pathways for Chicana/o Students: A Critical Race Feminista Praxis (2017), co-editor of Chicana/Latina Testimonios as Pedagogical, Methodological and Activist Approaches to Social Justice (2015), and co-editor of Chicana/Latina Education in Everyday Life: Feminista Perspectives on Pedagogy and Epistemology (2006). Some of her awards include American Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award, Mujeres Activas y Letras y Cambio Social’s Tortuga Outstanding Scholar Award, and Critical Race Studies in Education Association’s Derrick Bell Legacy Award. Her biggest award is being mamá to three teenage boys.
Leda Ramos has an M.F.A. from Rutger's University and is an artist teaching Chicanx Latinx art, film, visual media, culture and digital communities at Cal State LA. She is faculty advisor for MEChA de Cal State LA and is a member of Artivists into Action and the Women's March LA Foundation. She is formerly the Director of Technology and Education at the Central American Resource Center –LA (CARECEN), For Families Project Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art – LA (MOCA), College Art Association Fellow at The Getty Research Institute, Multicultural Coordinator at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and educator at the Norton Simon Museum.
Ramos has participated in numerous social justice art projects, exhibitions, publications, and produced films about Central American/Latino immigrants in Los Angeles. She was a member of the collective ADOBE LA (Architects, Artists and Designers Opening Up the Border Edge of Los Angeles) and in 2000, she co-edited the first anthology of the Salvadoran American experience, Izote Vos: A Collection of Salvadoran American Writing and Visual Art, published by Pacific News Service. She has written about her art work for the book, Space, Site and Intervention: Situating Installation Art published by Minnesota Press. Ms. Ramos has a M.F.A. degree from Rutgers University, Diploma from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, B.A., Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
George B. Sanchez-Tello teaches CLS 3770 Environmental Justice at Cal State LA. Before joining the Department of Chicana (o) and Latina(o) Studies, he was hired by the Wilderness Society to create and coordinate the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy, a community organizer program for women and people of color eager to protect Los Angeles' public land. Sanchez-Tello began teaching in 2010 while earning his master's degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge, where he continues to teach. Previous to academia, Sanchez-Tello worked for nearly ten years as a reporter. Recently, his writing on raza and public space has been featured in Land + People, Brooklyn & Boyle and The Trail Posse. In the Summer of 2016, Sanchez-Tello assisted the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory with the Sounds of Cesar Chavez Avenue, a local oral history project.
Michelle L. Lopez, M.F.A. is an educator, curator, grantwriter and community organizer. She holds a B.A. and M.F.A. in Studio Art and an MA in Art History. The focus of her research is pre-Columbian and contemporary cultural studies and activism. Michelle serves as the Finance Director the Chicana feminist artivist group Mujeres de Maiz, an artist organization based in Los Angeles. She also works with the Boyle Heights arts organization Self Help Graphics and Art.
I am an American born Mexican who grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Seeing education as the most direct avenue to improve upward mobility, I focused on the educational success and failures of minorities from underprivileged communities like my own. I set the personal goal of trying to uplift my community by giving back and challenging discrimination and prejudice. I Mastered in Chicano Studies at CSUN, and Mastered in Communication Studies at Cal State LA. I have been a professor for ten years and teach regularly in the Los Angeles Community College District, and at my alma matter Cal State LA. My hobbies include fishing, camping, boxing, mechanics, and enjoying leisurely time with friends and family when I am not busying myself with strategies of empowerment for the community from which I claim membership. Personal goals of mine include preparing my students for success in college and university, and raising the graduation/transfer rate of college/university students. My philosophy is based upon the idea that leadership is the sum of those qualities that enable a person to inspire and to lead a group of people successfully and that the core values of leadership do not change. In short, I am committed to forming leaders from underprivileged communities that will want to make more of a difference, will foster change, build community, take action, communicate vision, understand responsibility, embrace sound ethical direction and decisions for themselves and others when necessary.
Areas of Specialization: voting rights, immigration policy, Latin American populism, democratic theory, feminist theory, criminal justice theory.
Dr. Estrada works with CHIRLA, CARECEN, National Immigration Law Center and California LULAC on a white paper concerning services and policies towards new arrivals in Los Angeles
Professor Jorge N. Leal is an urban and cultural historian whose research focuses on the historical trajectory of transnational Latina/o urban communities in Southern California in the last third of the twentieth-century. In particular, Professor Leal explores the generative articulations of participatory and cultural citizenship and the reshaping of the urban space in South East Los Angeles. Professor Leal first wrote about South East L.A. as journalist assigned to covered Los Angeles politics and the Latina/o cultural beat for publications in Southern California, Mexico, and Spain. Professor Leal holds a Masters in History from California State University, Northridge and is a Ph.D candidate in the History Department at UC San Diego.
As a lecturer for the Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies Department, Professor Leal teaches lower and upper division courses on race, class, gender, and cultural production with pedagogical and analytical emphasis on relational and transnational historical perspectives.
I received my BA degree in Latin American Studies with a minor in Central American Studies. II completed my first MA degree in Chicana/o Studies and I am currently finishing my second MA in History. My area of interest is in ethnic politics, grassroots organizing, and social movements in Latin America. My research focuses on migration, barrio activism, and the transnational experience of Chicana/os and Latina/os in the United States. I use ethnography, oral history, and community pedagogy in my style of teaching as well as in my research. Prior to committing myself to teaching, I was a community organizer with day laborers who taught me the spirit of lucha.
During my free time, I enjoy traveling, watching foreign films, and being with my daughter.
I have taught at Cal State LA since 2013. Prior to teaching at Cal State LA, I worked in the music, television, film, skateboard, and concert-touring industries as a professional writer, branding consultant, and business manager. My experiences with subculture blend into my teaching and inspire my reading selections. Although I enjoyed a stable career in the arts and entertainment, my ethos was such that I remained committed to my academic and intellectual development. During graduate school I recognized that my professional experience translated well in academic contexts and that my academic work affected the way I engage professional contexts. My ethos was forged as a child, as I am the son of scholars who were deeply immersed in the convergent worlds of art, academia, and social activism during what was arguably one of most vibrant periods of cultural flux in Los Angeles.
My pedagogy is informed by Paulo Friere, Mike Rose, Peter Elbow, Sal Castro, Jorge Luis Borges, Gloria Anzaldúa, Roland Barthes, Mike Watt, Kathleen Hanna, Alice Bag, Joseph Harris, Maria Karafilis, Michael Calabrese, and my parents. I am also, however, deeply indebted to Lance Mountain, who taught me to "approach every endeavor from a place of love, empathy, and compassion."
I believe that students make the most gains when they face rigorous, innovative, challenging, and provocative curricula; however, such approaches are most effective when administered in learning environments where students feel safe, respected, and supported. I strive to author safe, collaborative learning communities where students can thrive, build knowledge, and contribute to the traditions of the university.
My pre-doctoral research focuses on the rhetorics of the disenfranchised, autodidactic learning and the literacies of need, specifically the intersectionality of literature, writing studies, the rhetorics of subculture, art, music, and the development of cultural literacies as modes of empowerment among disaffected publics.
Dr. Michaela Mares-Tamayo received her B.A. in Chicana/o Studies and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. Her experience as an M.A. student in Chicana/o Studies at Cal State LA subsequently motivated her to continue on to doctoral studies. She completed her Ph.D. in Race and Ethnic Studies in Education at UCLA, exactly fifty years after her father became the first in their family to graduate from college – also at UCLA.
Dr. Mares-Tamayo has been invited to share her knowledge of holistic student development through staff trainings for the UCLA Center for Community College Partnerships; guest speaking in undergraduate and graduate courses; and in the form of the opening lecture for the Vrije University’s Introduction Days in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Like the majority of her family, her mentorship is rooted in her love of teaching. She has taught at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels. As a Lecturer in the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies, Dr. Mares-Tamayo works to develop students’ critical thinking and writing skills, navigational capital, and ability to do community-engaged research. She is a Visiting Scholar with the UCLA Center for Critical Race Studies, and serves on the Program Committee for the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, Inc. An avid sports fan, Dr. Mares-Tamayo also enjoys talking at length about local community histories, novelas, and her Osito (son).
DJ Lynnée Denise Bonner is an artist and scholar who incorporates self-directed project based research into interactive workshops, music events and performative lectures. She creates multi- dimensional and multi-sensory experiences that require audiences to apply critical thinking to how the arts can hold viable solutions to social inequality. She’s the product of the Historically Black Fisk University, with a MA from the historically radical San Francisco State University Ethnic Studies Department. DJ Lynnée Denise is a Lecturer at California State University’s Pan African Studies and Chicana(o) Latina(o) Studies Department.
Dr. Nora Alba Cisneros received her PhD. in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS) at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She holds a Master of Arts in Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCLA. Raised in Inglewood and a resident of Compton, Professor Cisneros’ teaching, research and service addresses how Indigenous and Chicana/Latina youth use writing as a medium for meaning making, specifically for excavating the deep connections between settler colonialism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy and educational inequities in southern California. Professor Cisneros’ research aims to provide theories and models of writing development in Ethnic Studies courses that re-imagine writing as a community-based multimodal transformative process. She has also developed a diverse repertoire of qualitative research methods and mentors first generation college students as emerging scholars. Professor Cisneros also organizes regional conferences and symposiums that advance the current state of knowledge about the complex challenges that Women of Color encounter in academia. She has presented her work at national conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS).
Omar G. Ramirez’s artistic approach is to animate the narratives of the collaborators, participants, and audiences in his work. His work examines identity, hegemony and individual resistance through a site and situation specific process. His studies at the University of California at Irvine led him to create conceptual art through the use of music, video, performance, and public art installations. His current work and process is a deliberate activation and transformation of space: physical, abstract, or personal. This space becomes the apparatus for discourse over extended periods of time. His process functions to propel collaborators in the exploration, conceptualization, and formation of narratives that foster insight and strengthen participant’s understanding of the subject matter. It is through the use of restorative justice, social engagement art practice, and cultural aesthetics that aid in transforming oral narratives into artifacts & process. Omar is a practicing artist collaborating with incarcerated populations, various communities, local education agencies, and non-government organization. (Photo by Oshún Ramirez)
Dr. “Sonny” Richard E. Espinoza has taught in the field of Chicana/o Studies for more than 15 years at institutions such as UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, UC Irvine, and Cal State LA. At Cal State LA, he also teaches in the Department of TV & Film and the Department of Liberal Studies. He is a passionate educator, scholar, activist, and father, whose research interests include race & mass media, Chicano media, third world cinema, Mexican cinema, American film & television history, and the use of digital media in the service of social justice. His teaching pedagogy consists of the application of critical race theory to the interrogation of mass media for the purpose of developing media literacy and conscientization. He has also taught community engagement courses in the Los Angeles Boyle Heights District, where CSULA students and local youth have collaborated to create media to address social justice and community health issues. He has collaborated with organizations such as the Eastside Heritage Consortium (EHC) and the Los Angeles Conservancy (LAC) to host walking tours of the East Los Angeles community that address its rich cultural and political history and to moderate panel discussions on the legacy of the Chicano Moratorium movement. He is a veteran videographer of the anti-war and immigrant rights movements of the early 21st century, and is currently an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and Native American sovereignty.
Dr. Espinoza received his doctoral degree in Critical Studies at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and has published on Latinos in Hollywood and Mexican comedic icons Cantinflas and Tin Tan. His current research focuses on the visual documentation of the Chicano Moratorium movement.
A public historian, Dr. Lani Cupchoy earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, M.A. from California State LA, and PhD. from the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on public culture, oral history, gender, and community engagement, particularly through social and cultural expressions by people of color. She is an artist-photographer-filmmaker and an elected member of the Board of Education at Montebello Unified School District, the third largest public school district in Los Angeles County, where she helped initiate an Ethnic Studies requirement TK-12. She has authored several publications including “Fragments of Memory: Tales of a Wahine Warrior” in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2010: 35 and “Youth Fight Childhood Obesity and Diabetes Through School-based Gardening and Student-Run Farmers’ Markets” in Community Greening Review, Vol. 16, 2011: 8. Her article, which appeared in Yes! Magazine entitled “The Fifth-Graders Who Put Mexican Repatriation Back into History Books,” captures the story of Bell Gardens Elementary school teacher Leslie Hiatt and her students who inspired Assemblymember Cristina Garcias’ AB 146 into a law requiring that the unconstitutional deportation of Mexican-Americans during the 1930s be included in California textbooks. Focusing on Hiatt and her students, Lani’s latest documentary, Truthseekers illuminates the power of youth activism, community engagement, and ethnic studies.
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Olga García Echeverría, M.F.A., is a Chicana creative writer and instructor of language arts. During the past 20 years, she has worked with a wide variety of students, from immigrant adults to K-12 and college students. At the college level, she has taught English Composition, Poetry, Literature, and Creative Writing. Olga is the author of Falling Angels: Cuentos y Poemas. Her essays and poems have appeared in publications such as Lavandería: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Words, U.S. Latino Literature Today, Telling Tongues: A Latin@ Anthology on Language, Los Angeles Water Works: Histories of Water and Place, Wonder & Awe, The Sun Magazine, Bird Float, Tree Song: Collaborative Poems by Los Angeles Poets. In 2013, she was selected by A Room of Her Own (AROHO) as the Touching Lives Fellow, given to women writers who have demonstrated significant contributions to students. In the spring of 2015, she was a finalist for AROHO’s Orlando Literary Prize in the genre of Creative Non-fiction. Olga has shared her cucaracha-obsessed-Spanglish poesía with live audiences in communities, libraries, and bookstores throughout the Southwest, in Nueva York, Minneapolis, North Carolina, Mexico City, Cuba, and France. Currently she teaches Modern Mexican Literature at Cal State LA and creative writing to 5th graders in the Los Angeles area. She also writes for La Bloga, a collective Latino blog site that focuses on art, literature, and community. She has a BA in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Texas at El Paso, and an honorary degree in code-switching from La Universidad Autónoma de Lenguas Desbordadas.
Dr. Helen Burgos Ellis is a native of El Salvador. She has a Ph.D. in Art History and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA. In the M.A., Ellis’s research focused on modern Latin American literature and history and in the Ph.D. she trained as an art historian specializing in pre-Columbian and early colonial art of Latin America. Her research interests include pre-Columbian and early colonial art, Mexican literature and history (from pre-Columbian to modern), indigenous peoples, Nahuatl, maize and other plant imagery in indigenous art, domestication of maize, history of science, interaction between art and science in both the Americas and early modern Europe, and material culture in the Spanish empire and early modern Europe.
Dr. Ellis is in the process of completing her book titled, Aztec Science: Plant Sexuality and the Domestication of Maize in the Codex Borgia. The book relates the scientific literature on maize (corn) domestication to the analysis of maize and related imagery in the Codex Borgia to offer a brand new interpretation. She argues that the Codex Borgia and other indigenous artifacts reflect information about pollination, plant sexuality, and the domestication of maize. She conducted extensive archival, museum and field research in indigenous communities throughout Mexico with the help of a Fulbright-Hays/IIE Fellowship 2011–12 generously funded by the Mellon Foundation.
Dr. Ellis is a lecturer in the Department of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies at both CSULA and UCLA where she teaches courses on indigenous art and modern Mexican and Mesoamerican literature. She also works as a Research Assistant in the Scholars Program at the Getty Research Institute.
Dr. Reina C. Rodriguez is the daughter of a fierce Chicana from Boyle Heights and an amazing apa from Buenavista, Colima, MX. My life was shaped by these two powerful teachers and the many more that I encountered throughout my academic journey. After leaving Boyle Heights at the age of 5, my family moved to Baldwin Park where I attended local public schools. I enrolled in community college and eventually received my Associate’s degree from Rio Hondo College. When I transferred to Cal State LA to major in Chicana/o Studies, I didn’t realize it, but my life would change forever. I fell in love with the field. I found my voice reflected in the texts, I was introduced to language that allowed me to describe my social world and my family’s experience in the U.S. My professors pushed me to ask critical questions and allowed me to connect my life outside Cal State LA with what we discussed in class. When I finished my BA, I decided I would continue on to purse a Master’s degree in Chicana/o Studies at Cal State LA. During that time, I was encouraged by my cohort of colleagues and my amazing faculty mentors to pursue a PhD. I was accepted to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies program where I studied under, Edén Torres. While in Minneapolis, I taught courses in the Chicano Studies and Feminist Studies departments at the University of Minnesota. I also taught courses in Women’s Studies at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. I was also fortunate enough to be connected to El Colegio High School where I taught Ethnic Studies to local South Minneapolis youth. My doctoral dissertation, "Chicanas/os in Contested Spaces: Communal Forms of Resistance and the Creation of Underground Calmecacs," is truly a labor of love dedicated to the many teachers, students, community members and familia that helped me believe in myself, my voice and my story. Returning to Cal State LA to teach Chicana/o Latina/o Studies was very exciting because it felt like returning home in many ways. Teaching is my favorite part of academia. I enjoy helping students carve out their own space in the academy and witnessing the magic that happens when they find their voice and begin to write their own story in the field. I am a proud Xicana feminista, mamá, student, teacher and lover and defender of intersectional social justice for all folks. I also teach in Liberal Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Cal State LA.
Dr. Daniel Topete is a Chicanas and Chicanos Studies scholar. He received a Ph.D. in American Studies in 2016 from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He also received a Bachelors and Masters in Chicano Studies from California State University, Los Angeles in 2006 and 2009, and wrote a Master’s Thesis titled Undocumented Music: Belonging and Citizenship through Los Angeles based Hip-hop. His work focuses on Artivism, Chicana/o Latina/o Education, construction of the Nation, Assimilation, Chicana/o Social Movements, and Gender performance. He taught in American Studies and Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota from 2009 to 2015, and began teaching for CHS and CLS in Fall 2015. Dr. Topete completed his dissertation enttitled Taking Back Mi Lengua: Spanish Rock, Space, and Authenticity in Chicana/o Barrios & Academia, and he is currently completing his first publication.
Roberto (Beto) Flores currently lives in South Pasadena, California with his wife Cynthia Mata-Flores who is an academic advisor at USC. Beto, has 5 daughters, 2 sons and 15 grandchildren. Roberto is a life-long community scholar and activist for human rights, especially the right of people of color to self-determination. Dr. Flores is currently part of the coordinating committee of the Eastside Cafe in El Sereno, a collective of collectives, whose goal is the study and facilitation of local autonomy. The Eastside Cafe defines Autonomy as the community’s natural tendency towards independence, interdependence, and self-determination. The ultimate goal of Autonomy is local self-sustenance and self-governance as part of networks of autonomous communities.
Beto was born and raised in La Colonia, on the eastside of Oxnard, which consisted of mainly migrant farmworkers and working class blacks. Roberto’s mother and father initially worked as farmworkers then packing house workers. In 1959, the family set up a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, where Beto and where of his 13 siblings, at one point in its 45 year existence, helped. Beto worked at the restaurant while he went to school and also continued to work in the fields.
Beto’s interest in education began early. While a junior at Santa Clara High School, Beto co-founded several local tutorials in Colonia. Initially he felt the Chicanx and Black children of Oxnard needed help adjusting to the US school system. By the time he graduated from high school, he was convinced that it was the school system that failed poor children of color. His observations were that the system’s main pedagogical goal was assimilation better known today as ethnic cleansing. The school system failed because assimilation is in total antagonistic dissonance with the interests, values, life and cultures of Black and Chicanx families.
In 1966, Beto was admitted to UCLA. It was lonely at UCLA since Beto was one of 19 Chicanx students out of 35,000 students. Beto was active helping to establish UMAS 1967, then MEChA In 1969. In 1967, Beto co-founded the Oxnard Brown Berets, that mainly focused on educational issues and on police brutality. In 1969 Beto helped found Colegio Quetzalcoatl, an educational and Art & Culture collective that set up cultural dance and music classes for the Colonia community. On August 29, 1970, a contingent of Oxnard Beret participated in the August 29 Moratorium Against the War. On September 19, 1970, the Oxnard Brown Beret, in coalition with other Ventura County community based organizations, participated in carrying out Ventura County’s September 19 Moratorium Against the War in Vietnam.
In 1971, Beto received a BA in Anthropology (UCLA), briefly (71-72) taught at CSUN and was an EOPS counselor at CSUF (72-73). In the Fall of 73, Beto joined Teacher Core and spend 2 years in Salinas were he was involved with the community and because of that was dismissed from the Salinas School District then reinstated after community pressure. It was there that he became active with the Eastbay Labor Collective, a Marxist-Leninist collective and was part of the establishment of August 29 Movement, a Marxist Leninist organization. In 1979 Beto was part of the merger between ATM-ML and IWK-ML (a Chinese American based in SF and NY) then for the next 10 years was a member of the League of Revolutionary Struggle. During that period, Beto worked in machine shops and was a member, a shop steward and eventually Vice President of OCAW local 1-895 in Oxnard where he worked and organized with his brothers Joe and Carlos. Then in 1977 Beto moved to Los Angeles and worked at Angelus Can, a United Steelworkers Union shop, where he became a shop steward.
In 1990 Beto made a switch back to education and worked at Loyola Marymount University as Assistant Director of Chicanx-Latinx Student Services. At LMU Beto, along with students, co-founded the Westside Café, a traveling venue that set up cultural/educational events with up and coming artist. All the funds raised from Westside Café events went to Leticia A undocumented students which later became AB 540 students.
On January1, 1994 Roberto watched images of the Zapatista uprising with amazement and inspiration. Five days later, Beto joined a mainly Chicanx Peace Observation team and went to San Cristobal, Chiapas and Ocotzingo, two of the municipalities that were taken over by the Zapatistas. This was the beginning of now a 22 year study and interest in Local Autonomy.
In 1990, Beto was invited to be an assistant editor of inmotionmagazin.com where you can find some of Beto’s writing on autonomy. In 1996, Roberto was granted a Fulbright Fellowship, which allowed him to be an observing participant (in contrast to a participating observer) with Zapatista civilian bases and continue to relate to the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional) and the Zapatista base communities and their process. During that year, Beto also worked closely with Big Frente Zapatista from Los Angeles in the effort to set up the historic 1997 Encuentro Chicanx-Zapatista; a seven-day gathering with workshops and collective performances between 120 mostly LA based Chicanx community artists and Zapatista artists. Our colega, Omar Ramirez was one of those Chicano artists.
In 2001, Beto was part of a Sandia Sunday; a process of discussions and reflections from which came the notions to set up the Eastside Café as a community space in El Sereno that would help facilitate local community autonomy.
Roberto has taught at Cal State LA in Chicanx-Latinx Studies for 10 years.
In 2006, Beto received a doctorate from the University of Southern California in International and Intercultural Education. His dissertation is titled “Chicanxs and Zapatistas Walking and Learning Together: A Case Study of Informal Education”. Today, Dr. Beto Flores continues to be interested in Anti-systemic Movements and the Development Non-Statist Democracies, Community Self Research and Self-Determination,vChicanx History in a Pluri-ethnic and Pluri-cultural context, Horizontal Autonomy and the Localization of Self-Determination, and Local Autonomy within Local Trade Unions.
Office: King Hall C-3059
Office: King Hall B-3023
I was born in Guadalajara, México, but grew up in Tijuana, thus on the crossroads of the Mexico-U.S. border. I received my B.A. and M.A. degrees from San Diego State University, a campus that honored me in 1975 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. My studies at UCLA led to a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, with a doctoral dissertation on Mexican historian Edmundo O’Gorman. My dissertation was written under the direction of Argentine philosopher Aníbal Sánchez-Reulet, a former student of Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. I began teaching in the Department of Chicano Studies in the fall 1974 on a part-time basis, and joined the Chicano Studies faculty in 1976 as assistant professor and Acting Department Chair. In 1994 I began my joint appointment in the English Department. I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in literature (Chicano, European, Latin American, Mesoamerican, Mexican), and have directed numerous master’s theses in both departments. My courses generally have an emphasis on the novel, short fiction, the essay, and on narrative myths (when Mesoamerican).
Teaching at Cal State L.A. for more than 40 years has been a most rewarding experience in my life. I have worked with colleagues, staff, and students on various international conferences; founded the Chicano Studies Publications Center (1976-1984), with two journals (Campo Libre and Escolios). I have also produced plays on campus (Bodas de sangre, by Federico García Lorca; and Bless Me, Ultima, a play adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me, Ultima). As project director of the annual Gigi Gaucher-Morales Memorial Conferences, I have organized with fellow colleagues conferences on Mesoamerica, Octavio Paz, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Carlos Fuentes and, most recently, on Rudolfo Anaya, Mariano Azuela, and Américo Paredes. My publications range from book reviews and articles to books on Chicano and Mexican writers, as well as on Mesoamerican civilization and on humanism, critique, and modernity (for more specific information, visit my additional website [see below]). I have been very lucky: Cal State L.A. has honored me with an Outstanding Professor Award (1990), and with the President’s Distinguished Professor Award (2010).
For more specific information, visit my additonal website www.robertocantucv.blogspot.com.
Office: FA - 230
Professor David Diaz retired from the department 2015
Dr. Diaz is an expert in both urban planning and environmental impact analysis. His research interest focus on the intersections of ethnicity and class in relation to federal and local redevelopment policy. He works with community based non-profit groups in relation to urban policy and gang intervention programs. Dr. Diaz obtained his Ph.D. in Urban Studies from UCLA. He is a contributing columnist to La Opinion, Los Angeles’ leading Spanish language newspaper.
Dr. Diaz is the author of, Barrio Urbanism Routledge, 2005, a pioneering project linking conventional urban policy issues, conflicts between the planning profession and Chicanas/os, and the historical urbanization of Chicanas/os in the Southwest. Dr. Diaz is also developing a field research project in the community of Lincoln Heights focusing on the cross-cultural issues related to the significant in-migration of working class Asians into a traditional Chicana/o barrio.
Dr. Louis R. Negrete joined the Mexican American Studies Program in 1969, thus becoming one of the founding faculty of the Department of Chicano Studies. He served several terms as Department Chair and was principal academic adviser for most of his tenure on campus. He wrote the first department academic programs with general and teacher options, and also wrote the Master of Arts Degree program in Mexican American Studies.
Dr. Negrete taught undergraduate courses and graduate seminars. His students were encouraged to evaluate academic theory based on their own experience and observation, and to explore ways to create democracy in local neighborhoods and to learn skills for community organizing. He served as principal academic adviser of several M.A. thesis projects.
Dr. Negrete published articles in the Journal of Comparative Cultures, La Causa Política: A Chicano Politics Reader, Borderlands Journal, Aztlán Journal, and in Contemporary Sociology. In addition, he published articles in newspapers such as Los Angeles Times, La Opiniόn, and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and presented papers at professional and community conferences, including interviews for radio and television.
In 1993 he was the recipient of the Campaign For Human Development Empowerment award. This is the highest award given annually from the Office of Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to an individual whose life and work embodies action towards empowerment of the poor and commitment to institutional change that breaks cycles of poverty. Dr. Negrete also served as an officer of the campus California Faculty Association (CFA). The CSULA Alumni Association honored Dr. Negrete with the Distinguished Faculty Alumnus Award in 2000.
Dr. Negrete retired in June 2001, but continued to serve Cal State L.A. as a member of the President’s Associates that funds student scholarships, and as Vice President of the CSULA Friends of the Library Advisory Board. In June 2005 he was elected President of the CSULA Emeriti Association, and was also separately elected Delegate-at-Large on the State Council of the CSU Emeriti And Retired Faculty Association (CSU-ERFA) through 2008. Based on his faculty leadership and experiences at Cal State L.A., and direct participation in community service, Dr. Negrete published a book titled Chicano Homeland: The Movement in East Los Angeles for Mexican American Power, Justice and Equality (2016).
Office: King Hall C-4069