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Curtis Marez


Biography Information

I’m a product of California public education, first in the schools of the Central Valley and ultimately in the University of California. I’ve previously taught at the University of Chicago, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of Southern California. I’m the former editor of American Quarterly, the official journal of the American Studies Association (ASA); past-President of the ASA; and Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department (2012-2016). 


Ph.D., English, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

Visual culture (TV, film, new media) and difference; Chicana/o media and social movements; queer of color critique; critical university studies; race in digital culture; farm workers in a global frame


Selected Publications


University Babylon: How Hollywood Helps Make Student Bodies of Color (forthcoming, University of California Press).

Farm Worker Futurism and Technologies of Resistance (University of Minnesota Press, Spring 2015).

 Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics (University of Minnesota Press, 2004)

Recent Essays

“Racial Ecologies: A View from Ethnic Studies,” Racial Ecologies, eds. Leilani Nishime and Kim D. Hester Williams (University of Washington Press, 2018).

Ronald Reagan, the College Movie: Political Demonology, Academic Freedom, and the University of California,” Critical Ethnic Studies. 2.1 (Spring 2016).

“Seeing in the Red: Looking at Student Debt,” American Quarterly 66.2 (June 2014).

 “Cesar Chavez’s Video Collection” (a digital book), American Literature 85.4 (December, 2013).

From Mr. Chips to Scarface, or Racial Capitalism in Breaking Bad,” Critical Inquiry, September 2013.

Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the History of Star Wars,” Race After the Internet, eds. Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White (Routledge Press, 2011).

Editorial Work

Along with Lisa Duggan (NYU), I edit a University of California book series, American Studies Now: Critical Histories of the Present, which focuses on topical political issues and which is aimed at students and activists.