Latina Lives, Latina Narratives: Influential Essays by Vicki L. Ruiz, ed. by Miroslava Chávez-García (Routledge, 2021)

This book brings together the most influential and widely known writings of Vicki L. Ruiz, a leading voice in the fields of Chicana/o, Latina/o, women’s, and labor history. For nearly forty years, Ruiz has produced scholarship that has provided the foundation for a rich and nuanced understanding of the ways in which Chicanas and Latinas negotiate the structures impinging on their everyday lives. From challenging familial, patriarchal cultural norms, building interethnic social networks in the neighborhood and workplace, and organizing labor unions, to fighting gender and racial discrimination in the courts, at work, in the schools, and on the streets, Ruiz’s studies have examined the countless struggles, roadblocks, and victories Chicanas and Latinas have faced in the twentieth century and beyond. The articles in this book are organized chronologically to reflect the evolution of Ruiz’s intellectual contributions as well as her commitment to integrating feminist history, theory, and methodology, and show how she has generously offered insights, reflections, and humor in helping us define and shape who we are as mujeres, Chicanas, Latinas, scholars, teachers, and mentors.
With its narrative flow and engaging prose, Ruiz’s scholarship connects with academic and public audiences, and this collection fulfills a much-needed demand in the teaching of women’s, Chicana/o, Latina/o, and labor history.

Personal Statement:

Miroslava Chávez-García is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and holds affiliations in the Departments of Chicana/o Studies and Feminist Studies as well as Iberian and Latin American Studies. She also currently serves as the Faculty Director of the McNair Scholars Program.

Author of Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s (Tucson, 2004) and States of Delinquency: Race and Science in the Making of California’s Juvenile Justice System (Berkeley, 2012), Miroslava’s most recent book, Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Chapel Hill, 2018), is a history of migration, courtship, and identity as told through more than 300 personal letters exchanged across the U.S.-Mexico borderlands among family members and friends. Most recently, in 2020, the book was selected as a 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title and in 2019 it won the Western Association of Women’s Historians Barbara “Penny” Kanner Award to honor the book that illustrates the use of a specific set of primary sources (such as diaries, letters, and interviews). Her essay, “Migrant Longing, Courtship, and Gendered Identity in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” published by the Western History Quarterly in Summer 2016, received the 2017 Western Association of Women’s Historians Judith Lee Ridge prize and the 2017 Bolton-Cutter Award from the Western History Association for the best article on Spanish Borderlands history.

Miroslava has also received awards and fellowships from the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, Ford Foundation for Diversity, and Organization of American History (OAH) and the Committee for the Germany Residency Program, which awarded her a residency at the University of Tübingen in 2016. 

Miroslava has also mentored many students and colleagues through the academic pipeline and beyond. She has served on numerous boards and committees.

A first-generation, immigrant, Chicana of farm worker origins, Miroslava was born on the U.S.-Mexico border, in Mexicali, Baja California, and was raised in San Jose, California, where she attended K-12, graduating from Notre Dame, San Jose, in 1986. She received her B.A. (1991), M.A. (1993), and Ph.D. (1998), from UCLA. She still has family in San Jose and visits as often as possible.

Advisor to:

Current Projects:

“‘The Greening of Hate’: The Environmental Movement, Population Control, and the Mainstreaming of Immigration Restriction and Exclusion”

My latest project, “The Greening of Hate,” examines and analyzes how advocates for the environment used growing fears over expanding global populations and depletion of the natural world’s resources in the 1960s to popularize and institutionalize immigration exclusion in the United States.[i] The focus is on how a small yet politically and economically powerful group of people influenced mainstream environmental organizations to spread anti-immigrant sentiment and to pass increasingly draconian immigration policies and practices aimed at closing the door to people of color from around the world. Through a close analysis of thousands of pages of personal correspondence, internal memos, scholarly and popular writings, reports, and pamphlets, court cases and legislation, and oral interviews, among other sources, “The ‘Greening of Hate’” argues that immigration restrictionists have been effective in capturing and reframing environmental arguments to advance their agenda of immigration control and containment. My work shows that they not only infiltrated environmentalist spaces but also established a number of extremist, race-based, anti-immigrant organizations that continue to have power and influence in Washington today.

[i] I borrow the concept of the ‘greening of hate’ from Betsy Hartmann, “The Greening of Hate: An Environmentalists Essay,” in Greenwashing: Nativists, Environmentalists, & the Hypocrisy of Hate, ed. by Heidi Beirich (Montgomery, AL, 2010), 13-15.

Selected Publications:

Books/Edited Books

Editor, Latina Lives, Latina Narratives: Influential Essays by Vicki L. Ruiz. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2021.

Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).
     Winner, 2019 Barbara “Penny” Kanner Award, Western Association of Women’s Historians
     Selected, 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

States of Delinquency: Race and Science in the Making of California’s Juvenile Justice System. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to the 1880s. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004.

Edited Journal

Editor, Special Issue, “Gender and Intimacy Across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” Pacific Historical Review (Winter 2020), with Verónica Castillo-Muñoz


  • “Foreword” to Robert W. Griffith, Ike’s Letters to a Friend, 1941–1958. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2021 e-book edition, forthcoming.
  • “Opioids and Marijuana in the United States: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Headed,” in USA Country Report/Länderbericht USA. Berlin: German Federal Agency for Civic Education, 2020, forthcoming.
  • “Navigating Successfully Grants and Fellowships Applications,” co-author with Luis Alvarez and Ernesto Chávez, in The Academic’s Handbook, 4th ed., revised and expanded, eds. Lori Flores and Jocelyn Olcott (Duke University Press, 2019, forthcoming).
  • “Youth, Evidence, and Agency: Mexican and Mexican American Youth at the Whittier State School, 1880-1920 (reprint).” In, The Chicana/o Education Pipeline: History, Institutional Critique, and Resistance, 23-47, eds. Michaela J. L. Mares-Tamayo and Daniel G. Solorzano. Los Angeles: Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, 2018.
  • “A Genealogy of Chicana History, the Chicana Movement, and Chicana Studies.” In, Routledge Handbook of Chicana/o Studies, eds. Denise Segura, Francisco Lomelí, Elyette Benjamin-Labarthe. New York: Routledge International Handbooks, 2018, forthcoming.
  • “Strategies for Publishing in the Humanities: A Senior Professor Advises Junior Scholars,” The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 48, no. 4 (July 2017): 199-220.
  • “Migrant Longing, Courtship, and Gendered Identity in the Borderlands,” Western Historical Quarterly Vol. 47, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 137-160.
    • Winner, Bolton-Cutter Prize, Western History Association, 2017
    • Winner, Judith Lee Ridge Prize, Western Association of Women’s Historians, 2017.
  • “Chicana and Chicano Historians Reflect on the Model Mentorship of Norris Hundley, Jr.” In, Passing the Torch: Mentoring in the Social Sciences, 39-50, ed. by Frank A. Salamone and Marjorie Snipes. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2016.
  • “States of Incarceration,” with Mayela Caro, Marissa Friedman, and Sonia Mehrmand, Boom: The Journal of California, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer 2016): 36-41.
  • “Youth of Color and California’s Carceral State: The Fred C. Nelles Correctional Facility,” Journal of American History, The Carceral State, Vol. 102, No. 1 (June 2015): 47-60.
  • “Future Academics of Color in Dialogue: A Candid Q&A on Adjusting to the Cultural, Social, and Professional Rigor of Academia,” co-author with Mayra Avitia and Jorge N. Leal, in Beginning a Career in Academia: A Guide for Graduate Students of Color, 128-145, ed. by Dwayne Mack et al. New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group, 2014.
  • “Latina/o Youth Gangs in Global Perspective,” in East Meets West Perspectives in Juvenile Delinquency, pp. 93-118, ed. by Heather Ellis. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • “The Interdisciplinary Project of Chicana history: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” Special Issue on Chicana/o History, Pacific Historical Review Vol. 82, No. 4 (2013): 542-65.
  • “Hispanic Women and the Law.” In, Latinas in the U.S., eds. Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, 700-703. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
  • “Race, Culture, and Justice in Mexican Los Angeles.” (Reprint). In, Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women’s History, 108-117, ed. by Vicki L. Ruiz with Ellen C. DuBois. New York: Routledge, 2008, 4th ed.“
  • In Retrospect: Anthony M. Platt’s The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (1969, 1977),” Reviews in American History 35 (September 2007): 464-81.
  • “Intelligence Testing at Whittier State School, 1891 to 1920,” Pacific Historical Review, 76, no. 2 (May 2007): 193-228.
  • “Youth, Evidence, and Agency: Whittier State School and Mexican and Mexican American Youth” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 31 (Fall 2006): 55-83.
  • “Californians Loss of Land After U.S. Annexation in 1848 (reprint).” In, Major Problems in Latina/o History, 1st edition, ed. by Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Carmen Teresa Whalen, 55-63. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2014.
  • “Women’s Studies and Chicana Studies: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future.” Co-author with Monica Brown. In Women’s Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics, eds. Liz Kennedy & Agatha Beins, 143-155. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2005.
  • “An Interview with Yolanda Cruz: A Filmmaker Documents Depopulation in Mexico,” Boom: California Studies Journal, 1, no. 3 (September 2011): 57-61
  • “Guadalupe Trujillo: Race, Culture, and Justice in Mexican Los Angeles.” In, The Human Tradition in California, eds. Clark Davis and David Igler, 31-46. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002.
  • “The Gwin Commission.” In, Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the U.S., eds. Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. González, 257-58. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • “‘The Crime of Precocious Sexuality’ Celebrates Thirty Years: A Critical Appraisal,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Symposium, “The Crime of Precocious Sexuality,” 2 (Winter 2009): 88-94
  • “In Retrospect: Anthony M. Platt’s The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (1969, 1977).” (Reprint). Introduction to The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency, Expanded 40th Anniversary Edition, xi-xxxv, by Anthony M. Platt with an introduction and critical commentaries compiled by Miroslava Chávez-García. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2009.
  • “A Chicana Scholar’s Long Road to Engaging in Public Scholarship,” Western Humanities Association Journal, 64, no. 3 (2011): 77-80.
  • “‘Pongo mi demanda‘: Challenging Patriarchy in Mexican Los Angeles, 1830-1850.” In Over the Edge: Remapping the American West, eds. Valerie Matsumoto and Blake Almendinger, 272-290. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Courses Taught:

Winter 2022:
HIS 209A: The Profession of History

Honors and Professional Activities:

  • Barbara “Penny” Kanner Award, Western Association of Women’s Historians, 2019
  • Bolton-Cutter Prize, Best Essay in Spanish/Borderlands History, Western History Association, 2017
  • Judith Lee Ridge Prize, Best Essay, Western Association of Women’s Historians, 2017
  • Organization of American History (OAH) Germany Residency Program, Summer 2016