Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month: A Reading List

National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. During this month and throughout the year, the National Park Service and our partners, share history, heritage, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans of past and present.” (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)

Here at NYU Press, we are proud to publish moving and monumental Latinx scholars and scholarship. Please enjoy this selection of our books and use coupon LATINX30-FM for 30% off and free domestic shipping when you purchase at nyupress.org.

Organizing While Undocumented: Immigrant Youth’s Political Activism under the Law by Kevin Escudero

An inspiring look inside immigrant youth’s political activism in perilous times

Organizing While Undocumented is a timely and powerful book that makes a major contribution to contemporary debates over immigration and citizenship. The courage and tenacity of undocumented Latino and Asian youth activists shine through in this book, revealing inspiring stories of personal and societal transformation.”

Rick Baldoz, author of The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946

Undocumented immigrants in the United States who engage in social activism do so at great risk: the threat of deportation. In Organizing While Undocumented, Kevin Escudero shows why and how—despite this risk—many of them bravely continue to fight on the front lines for their rights. A timely, worthwhile read, Organizing While Undocumented gives us a look at inspiring triumphs, as well as the inevitable perils, of political activism in precarious times. Read more…

Front of the House, Back of the House: Race and Inequality in the Lives of Restaurant Workers by Eli Revelle Yano Wilson

How workers navigate race, gender, and class in the food service industry

“Eli Wilson invites us inside some of the fanciest restaurants in Los Angeles. The food may be exquisite, but the mundane racism he documents will churn your stomach. As a waiter he is privy to a system of racial apartheid between the front of the house and the back of the house. This book vividly shows how white managers and workers benefit from the everyday oppression of immigrant laborers.”

Christine Williams, author of Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality

Two unequal worlds of work exist within the upscale restaurant scene of Los Angeles. White, college-educated servers operate in the front of the house—also known as the public areas of the restaurant—while Latino immigrants toil in the back of the house and out of customer view. In Front of the House, Back of the House, Eli Revelle Yano Wilson shows us what keeps these workers apart, exploring race, class, and gender inequalities in the food service industry. Front of the House, Back of the House takes us behind the scenes of the food service industry, providing a window into the unequal lives of white and Latino restaurant workers. Read more…

Haiti’s Paper War: Post-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804–1954 by Chelsea Stieber

Turns to the written record to re-examine the building blocks of a nation

“An extraordinary work of revisionist Haitian historiography that offers us an incredible challenge: Chelsea Stieber’s intervention of the ‘paper war’ forces us to reconsider how the study of literature, and the very nature of critique, must remain central to our understandings of empire and abolition. With great aplomb, Haiti’s Paper War powerfully upends the very myth of the Haitian Revolution’s singularity.”

Jeremy Matthew Glick, author of The Black Radical Tragic

Picking up where most historians conclude, Chelsea Stieber explores the critical internal challenge to Haiti’s post-independence sovereignty: a civil war between monarchy and republicWhat transpired was a war of swords and of pens, waged in newspapers and periodicals, in literature, broadsheets, and fliers. In her analysis of Haitian writing that followed independence, Stieber composes a new literary history of Haiti, that challenges our interpretations of both freedom struggles and the postcolonial. In so doing, Stieber reorders our previously homogeneous view of Haiti, teasing out warring conceptions of the new nation that continued to play out deep into the twentieth century. Read more…

Archiving an Epidemic: Art, AIDS, and the Queer Chicanx Avant-Garde by Robb Hernández

Winner, 2020 Latino Book Awards in the LGBTQ+ Themed Section | Finalist, 2019 Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Studies

Critically reimagines Chicanx art, unmasking its queer afterlife

“Hernández queers the archive while also stepping outside its institutional limits and into the realm of the absences and shards of human loss from AIDS. … A tour de force in its archival and critical breadth, this book vividly reimagines the American avant-garde since the 1960s through queer Chicanx artists, groups, and spaces in Southern California.”

Chon Noriega, University of California, Los Angeles

Emboldened by the boom in art, fashion, music, and retail culture in 1980s Los Angeles, the iconoclasts of queer Aztlán—as Robb Hernández terms the group of artists who emerged from East LA, Orange County, and other parts of Southern California during this period—developed a new vernacular with which to read the city in bloom. Tracing this important but understudied body of work, Archiving an Epidemic catalogs a queer retelling of the Chicana and Chicano art movement, from its origins in the 1960s, to the AIDS crisis and the destruction it wrought in the 1980s, and onto the remnants and legacies of these artists in the current moment. Read more…

The Little Old Lady Killer: The Sensationalized Crimes of Mexico’s First Female Serial Killer by Susana Vargas Cervantes

The surprising true story of Mexico’s hunt, arrest, and conviction of its first female serial killer

“In addition to Samperio’s story, Cervantes thoroughly analyzes subjects including Mexican history, lucha libre, anthropology, serial killing and gender roles and expectations. Fascinating … not your typical true crime book.”

SLAM! Wrestling

For three years, amid widespread public outrage, police in Mexico City struggled to uncover the identity of the killer responsible for the ghastly deaths of forty elderly women, many of whom had been strangled in their homes with a stethoscope by someone posing as a government nurse. When Juana Barraza Samperio, a female professional wrestler known as la Dama del Silencio (the Lady of Silence), was arrested—and eventually sentenced to 759 years in prison—for her crimes as the Mataviejitas (the little old lady killer), her case disrupted traditional narratives about gender, criminality, and victimhood in the popular and criminological imagination. The Little Old Lady Killer presents a fascinating analysis of what serial killing—often considered “killing for the pleasure of killing”—represents to us. Read more…

The Kids Are in Charge: Activism and Power in Peru’s Movement of Working Children by Jessica K. Taft

Details the possibilities and challenges of intergenerational activism and social movements

The Kids Are in Charge is an insightful scholarly but accessible work on one of the most amazing social and human rights movements of modern history. Jessica K. Taft must be commended for providing new and powerful perspectives to understand this unique phenomenon. She convincingly busts myths about children and builds the case of treating children as equal citizens of this world…Written in beautiful and easy-to-understand language, The Kids Are in Charge is a very well-researched book. It is a must-read if you are interested in Latin America or child rights.”

Thomas Carothers, author of Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution

Since 1976, the Peruvian movement of working children has fought to redefine age-based roles in society, including defending children’s right to work. In The Kids Are in Charge, Jessica K. Taft gives us an inside look at this groundbreaking, intergenerational social movement, showing that kids can—and should be—respected as equal partners in economic, social, and political life. Read more…

Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture by Glenda M. Flores

Winner, 2018 Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship Book Award presented by the American Sociological Association’s Section on Race, Class, and Gender | Honorable Mention, 2018 Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award presented by the American Sociological Association’s Latina/o Sociology Section

How Latina teachers are making careers and helping students stay in touch with their roots

“Glenda Flores has crafted a milestone study on Latinas in the classroom. Interrogating familiar cultural practices as assets not deficits and Latino parents as allies not obstacles, Professor Flores brings out the ‘difference’ Latina teachers make in racially diverse schools. … Timely, astute, and heartfelt, Latina Teachers is essential reading.”

Vicki L. Ruiz, author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America

Latina women make up the fastest growing non-white group entering the teaching profession at a time when it is estimated that 20% of all students nationwide now identify as Latina/o. Through ethnographic and participant observation in two underperforming majority-minority schools in Los Angeles, as well as interviews with teachers, parents and staff, Latina Teachers examines the complexities stemming from a growing workforce of Latina teachers. Flores also explores the challenges faced by Latina teachers, including language barriers and cultural acclimation, and professional inequalities that continue to affect women of color at work. Read more…

Promoting Democracy: The Force of Political Settlements in Uncertain Times by Manal A. Jamal

How Western donor assistance can both help and undermine democracy in different parts of the world

“This sophisticated, penetrating, and innovative analysis draws on extensive field research and a firm command of the available literature. It represents a significant contribution to our understanding of why democracy aid succeeds or fails and the often fraught relationship between peacebuilding and democracy support.”

Thomas Carothers, author of Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution

Democracy promotion is a central pillar of the foreign policy of many states, but the results are often disappointing. In Promoting Democracy, Manal A. Jamal examines why these efforts succeed in some countries, but fail in others. A former journalist and researcher in the Palestinian territories, she offers an up-close perspective of the ways in which Western donor funding has, on one hand, undermined political participation in cases such as the Palestinian territories, and, on the other hand, succeeded in bolstering political engagement in cases such as El Salvador. Read more…

Organized Violence: Capitalist Warfare in Latin America edited by Dawn Paley and Simon Granovsky-Larsen

Published by University of Regina Press

Uncovers the political and economic benefactors of violent organized crime in Latin America, and their global influence

“This volume represents a major contribution to the scholarship on the relationship between capitalism and violence, providing crucial new empirical and theoretical perspectives. It is also a pressing topic not just for scholarly research, but for the pursuit of social justice and human rights in the hemisphere—as such, it will make an important contribution beyond the academy, as well.”

—Christy Thornton, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Official stories say that violence in Latin America is a product of criminal activity and the drug trade. Organized Violence exposes how that narrative serves corporate and state interests and de-politicizes events that have more to do with logistics infrastructure, social control, and the extractive industries than with cocaine. Global capital and violence reinforce conditions that fortify the current economic order, and whether it be the military, police, or death squads that pull the trigger, economic expansion benefits from repressive activities carried out under the guise of fighting crime. Read more…

Cuba and Africa, 1959-1994: Writing an Alternative Atlantic History edited by Kali ArgyriadisGiulia Bonacci and Adrien Delmas

Published by Wits University Press

A history of Atlantic solidarity between Cuba and Africa, in struggle for African independence from colonial powers

Cuba was a key participant in the struggle for the independence of African countries during the Cold War and the definitive ousting of colonialism from the continent. Beyond the military interventions that played a decisive role in shaping African political history, there were many-sided engagements between the island and the continent. Cuba and Africa, 1959-1994 is the story of tens of thousands of individuals who crossed the Atlantic as doctors, scientists, soldiers, students and artists. Each chapter presents a case study – from Algeria to Angola, from Equatorial Guinea to South Africa – and shows how much of the encounter between Cuba and Africa took place in non-militaristic fields: humanitarian and medical, scientific and educational, cultural and artistic. Read more…

Conversations with Diego Rivera: The Monster in His Labyrinth by Alfredo Cardona Peña & translated by Alvaro Cardona-Hine

Published by New Village Press

A year of weekly interviews (1949-1950) with artist Diego Rivera by poet Alfredo Cardona-Peña disclose Rivera’s iconoclastic views of life and the art world of that time

Conversations with Diego Rivera provides rare documentation of his confluence of politically egalitarian views and the arts. . . . shed[s] light onto the views of this gargantuan art historical titan, and also hint[s] at what it would be like to sit in his living room and absorb an earful of the older painter’s verbiage — a task that Peña patiently took on for a full year.”


These intimate Sunday dialogues with what is surely the most influential Mexican artist of the twentieth century show us the free-flowing mind of a man who was a legend in his own time; an artist who escaped being lynched on more than one occasion, a painter so controversial that his public murals inspired movements, or, like the work commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, were ordered torn down. Here in his San Angelín studio, we hear Rivera’s feelings about the elitist aspect of paintings in museums, his motivations to create public art for the people, and his memorable, unedited expositions on the art, culture, and politics of Mexico. Read more…

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano with a foreword by Isabel Allende and Isabel Allende

Published by Monthly Review Press

The classic survey of Latin America’s social and cultural history, with a new introduction by Isabel Allende

“A superbly written, excellently translated, and powerfully persuasive expose which all students of Latin American and U.S. history must read.”


“This book is a monument in our Latin American history. It allows us to learn history, and we have to build on this history.”

Hugo Chávez, as reported by the BBC

Since its US debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx. Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe. Read more…

Use coupon LATINX30-FM for 30% off and free domestic shipping when you purchase at nyupress.org.

Feature Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

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