From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement is the most comprehensive history ever written on the meteoric rise and precipitous decline of the United Farm Workers, the most successful farm labor union in United States history. Based on little-known sources and one-of-a-kind oral histories with many veterans of the farm worker movement, this book revises much of what we know about the UFW. Matt Garcia’s gripping account of the expansion of the union’s grape boycott reveals how the boycott, which UFW leader Cesar Chavez initially resisted, became the defining feature of the movement and drove the growers to sign labor contracts in 1970. Garcia relates how, as the union expanded and the boycott spread across the United States, Canada, and Europe, Chavez found it more difficult to organize workers and fend off rival unions. Ultimately, the union was a victim of its own success and Chavez’s growing instability.
Mapping Latina/o Studies brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to discuss the dynamic field of Latina/o Studies. Drawing on media studies, communications, history, education, literature, anthropology, popular music, and sociology, this collection explores the limits and possibilities of the category of Latinidad. The volume includes scholars who support the continuity of nation-specific identities and areas of study such as Chicano and Dominican Studies, in conversation with scholars who not only work within Latina/o Studies as a pan-ethnic, pan-national category but also explore the inevitable transnationality of a category whose people and culture flow across national borders.
A World of its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 traces the history of intercultural struggle and cooperation in the citrus belt of Greater Los Angeles and explores the social and cultural forces that helped make the city the expansive and diverse metropolis that it is today. As the citrus-growing regions of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys in eastern Los Angeles County expanded during the early twentieth century, the agricultural industry there developed along segregated lines, primarily between white landowners and Mexican and Asian laborers. Initially, these communities were sharply divided. But Los Angeles, unlike other agricultural regions, saw important opportunities for intercultural exchange develop around the arts and within multiethnic community groups. Whether fostered in such informal settings as dance halls and theaters or in such formal organizations as the Intercultural Council of Claremont or the Southern California Unity Leagues, these interethnic encounters formed the basis for political cooperation to address labor discrimination and solve problems of residential and educational segregation. Though intercultural collaborations were not always successful, Garcia argues that they constitute an important chapter not only in Southern California’s social and cultural development but also in the larger history of American race relations.
Chapters in books:
- “Social Movement Unionism and the ‘Sin Fronteras’ philosophy in farm worker organizing: A New Paradigm for American Labor” (with Mario Sifuentez) in New Directions in Labor History edited by Daniel Katz and Richard Greenwald (forthcoming, New Press)
- “The Importance of Being Asian: Growers, the United Farm Workers and the Rise of Colorblindness” in 25th anniversary of Omi and Winant’s Racial Formations edited by Daniel Hosang and Laura Pulido (forthcoming, UC Press)
- “Chicano Activism,” in Heather Thompson (ed.) Speaking Out with Many Voices. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010.
- “Intraethnic Conflict and the Bracero Program during World War II” in Vicki Ruiz and Donna Gabaccia (Eds.) American Dreaming, Global Realities: Rethinking U.S. Immigration History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
- “Cain contra Abel: Courtship, Masculinities, and Citizenship in Southern California, 1942-1964,” in James, Campbell, Matthew Guterl, and Robert Lee (Eds.) Race, Nation, and Empire in American History Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
- “The “Chicano” dance hall: Remapping public space in Post-World War II Greater Los Angeles,” in Cameron McCarthy, et. al. (Eds.) Sound Identities: Popular Music and the Cultural Politics of Education, Peter Lang, New York, 1999, pp. 317-341.
- “Memories of El Monte”: Intercultural dance halls in post-World War II Greater Los Angeles,” in Joe Austin and Michael Willard (Eds.) Generations of Youth, New York University Press, New York, NY, 1998, pp. 157-172.
- “Cesar Chavez, Flawed Hero of the Fields,” Los Angeles Times. September 25, 2012
- “Ambassadors in Overalls: Mexican Guest Workers and the Future of Labor,” Boom: A Journal of California, Vol. 1, No. 4, Winter 2011
- “Latino History: An Interchange on Present Realities and Future Prospects,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 97, No. 2, September 2010, 424-463
- “Social Movements, the Rise of Colorblind Conservativism, and What Comes Naturally,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2010
- “Labor, Migration and Social Justice in the Age of the Grape Boycott,” Gastronomica: A Journal of Food and Culture, 7:3, Summer 2007.
- “Intercultural Relations and Popular Culture in the San Gabriel Valley: Padua Hills Theatre and El Monte’s American Legion Stadium,” California Politics & Policy, October 1998, pp.19-27.
- “Adjusting the focus: Padua Hills Theatre and Latino History,” Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, Winter 1996, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 19-22.
- “Chicana/o history in a changing discipline,” Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, Volume 22:1, 1996 pp. 83-95.
- “Just put on that Padua Hills’ smile”: The Padua Hills Theatre and The Mexican Players, 1931-1974,” California History, Vol. LXXIV, number 3, Fall 1995, pp. 244-261.