José M. Alamillo was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and raised in Ventura County, California. His family worked in the year-round lemon industry which allowed him to attend local public schools uninterrupted. At middle school age, he took part in University of California, Santa Barbara's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and earned B.A. degrees in Sociology and Communication at UCSB. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Cultures (Ethnic Studies) at University of California, Irvine. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles’ Chicano Studies Research Center, he taught courses in Chicano/a Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sports Studies for nine years in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at Washington State University. Alamillo’s research focuses on the ways Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have used culture, leisure, and sports to build community and social networks to advance politically and economically in the United States and Mexico. His family’s experiences in the lemon industry inspired his first book, Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Mexican American Labor and Leisure in a California Town, 1900-1960 (2006). He co-authored Latinos in U.S Sport: A History of Isolation, Cultural Identity, and Acceptance (2011). His most recent book is "Deportes: The Making of a Sporting Mexican Diaspora. He is a consultant to the new exhibition "¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas" opening summer 2021 at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Alamillo is currently working on two projects: "Sports and the Chicano/a Movement" and the role of Spanish language newspapers and Mexican Blue Cross during and after the 1928 St. Francis Dam Disaster. NEW IN 2020: Deportes: The Making of a Sporting Mexican Diaspora (Rutgers University Press)
This lecture uncovers the hidden experiences of Mexican male and female athletes, teams and leagues and their supporters who fought for a more level playing field on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border during the first half of the twentieth century.