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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Myrna Garcia

Picture of Myrna Garcia

Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of American Studies
Latino Studies Program

Office: Ballantine Hall 567
Phone: (812) 855-4745
E-mail: garciamy at


Ph.D., Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego, 2013
M.A., Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego, 2005
M.S., Education, Administration and Supervision, Fordham University, 2001
B.A., Latin AMerican Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1996

Research Interest

I am currently developing my monograph entitled, “¡Raza Si, Migra No! [Community Yes, Immigration Officials No!]: Immigration, Labor, and Community Activism in Mexican Chicago, 1974-1983.” In this work, I document the political activism undertaken by members of the Chicago chapter of the Center for Autonomous Social Action, an immigrant rights organization co-founded in 1968 by Humberto “Bert” Corona and other activists in Los Angeles. The Chicago chapter was founded in 1974. I provide a perspective distinct from immigration and labor studies by highlighting the active, agential, and self-conscious ways in which noncitizens, including the undocumented mobilized for labor rights. The idea of “immigrant as activist” communicates the ways in which some undocumented workers negotiated their legal status. Interdisciplinary conversations expand my exploration of the historical, political, and global dimensions of social movements, im/migration, and labor. The book makes broader connections among historical memory, grassroots politics, and public history. It also makes contributions to Immigration Studies, Labor Studies, and Latina/o Studies.

My second book manuscript, “Vinimos a Trabajar [We Came to Work]: Im/migration, Latinas/os, and Claims of Belonging in a Neoliberal Era, 1968-present,” studies how the changing structure of neoliberalism, the political economy of free markets, capitalism, and privatization in a global context, has unevenly shaped the political, social, and economic lives of Latina/o workers. I examine the experiences of Latinas/os who migrated to Chicago during the late 1960s, the beginning of neoliberal reform, and who continue to reside in the city. The project moves through the decades to finally examine how the global financial crisis of 2008—revealing the limits of global capitalism, as some would argue—has impacted their lives today. The book makes important contributions to American Studies, Labor Studies, Aging/Disability Studies, Latina/o Studies and Ethnic Studies.

Current Courses

  • AMST-A 202 U.S. Arts and Media

Recent Publications

Encyclopedia Entries:
“Citizenship”; “Civil Rights”; “Community Concerns”; “Immigration and Naturalization Services”; “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1965”; “Mexicans,” In Undocumented Immigrants in the United States Today: An Encyclopedia of Their Experience,” edited by Dr. Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO-Greenwood, February 2014.

“Ethnic Studies” and “Positionality,” In The Encyclopedia for Diversity and Social Justice, edited by Dr. Sherwood Thompson, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming (December 2014).

Book Review:
Chicanas of 18th Street: Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago by Ramírez, Leonard G. with Y. Flores, M Gamboa, I. González, V. Pérez, M. Ramírez-Castañeda, and C. Vital. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, edited by Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar, Alexandria, VA: Alexander Street Press, March 2013.

Historias Mexicanas/os: Creating "Home" in Chicago in the 1970," In the Anthology of Mexican and Chicano Writers in Chicago and in the Midwest, edited by María A. Beltrán-Vocal, Paul Martinez, and Irasema Gonzalez, forthcoming.

Academic Awards, Grants and Honors

  • The Reed Foundation, Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund, ($40,000), 2011-2012
  • University of California President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship
  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Institute for International, Comparative, and Area Studies, Travel Grant
  • UCSD, California Cultures in Comparative Perspectives, Research Grant
  • UCSD, Ethnic Studies Research Grant
  • UCSD, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Grant
  • UCSD, Social Sciences Dean’s Fellowship Award
  • UCSD, Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship Award