William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Latino Studies

Zaragosa Vargas was educated at the University of Michigan, his teaching and research focus on American and Latino labor history. Vargas’s first book Proletarians of the North: A History of Mexicans in Industrial Detroit and the Midwest (University of California Press, 1998) traces the history of how early twentieth century Mexican workers became part of the modern American working class. His second book Labor Rights Are Civil Rights: Mexican American Workers in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press, 2005) documents the important role of Mexican Americans in the labor struggles and political controversies of the turbulent 1930s and 1940s. Vargas’s third book Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican America from Colonial Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2010, Second Edition, 2016) outlines and explores the 500-year Mexican American experience from the founding of New Mexico in 1598 to the Obama presidential campaign. His forthcoming book In the Cause of Freedom: Early Mexican American Political and Intellectual Activism and Transnational Struggle, 1946-1963 focuses on the civil rights struggles by Mexican Americans in the early postwar years. His articles and essays have appeared in Against the Current, Labor History, American Quarterly, Science & Society, among other academic journals. He has received funding for his work from the National Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other fellowships. Vargas is on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Civil and Human Rights. A member of the Labor and Working Class History Association and the Southern Labor Studies Association, Vargas co-chaired the committee to make the Ludlow massacre site a national historic landmark by the U.S. National Park Service. He is currently a member of the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People.



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