Oral Histories

Dr. Pedro Castillo


Dr. Pedro Castillo, co-founder of the Chicano Latino Research Center, is considered one of the founding fathers of Chicano history. His research extends to cover topics of Chicano/a history and culture, American social and urban history, and immigration history. During his time at UCSC, he was the Oakes College provost from 2002-2008 where he directly led collaborations with professors in multiple disciplines and created interdisciplinary team-teaching seminars, such as Studies in the American City, which in 1977 focused on Chicago and Los Angeles. Dr. Castillo has also stepped out of the academy and has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission in the City of Santa Cruz. Dr. Castillo earned his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, completed his master’s at Northern Arizona University and finished his B.A. at Arizona State University. This oral history was collected by Vicente Lovelace and details the founding of the CLRC, highlighting the role of informal gatherings in its development, and the collaborative process of writing. The complete oral history can be found here

Dr. Olga Nájera-Ramírez

Olga Ramirez in Blue

Dr. Olga Najera-Ramirez was one of the first directors of the Chicano Latino Research Center at UC Santa Cruz. As an anthropologist specializing in Mexican folklore, Dr. Nájera-Ramírez documents and critically examines transnational expressive culture among Mexicans. With a focus on identity formation, power, and expressive cultural festivals, her work contributes to the interdisciplinary, transnational studies of culture. Currently, Dr. Najera-Ramirez is a professor in the Anthropology department and teaches a course titled Mexican Folklore Dance, where students learn the art of Mexican folklore dancing. She earned her Ph.D in Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin, her M.A in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin and her B.A. in History and Latin American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This oral history was collected by Esteban Adame and it highlights cross-disciplinary research clusters, the significance of having mentors guide one through their research projects and the research conferences that faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students attended domestically and abroad. The complete oral history can be found here.  



Dr. Norma Klahn

nklahnDr. Norma Klahn is a co-founder of the Chicano Latino Research Center (CLRC) at UC Santa Cruz; she also served as co-director of the CLRC with Dr. Pat Zavella in 1998. A trained Latinoamericanist and Mexicanist, Dr. Klahn specializes on Latin American literary and cultural studies.  Currently she is a Professor at UC Santa Cruz in the Literature Department  As one of its co-founders, Dr. Klahn envisioned the CLRC as an intellectual hub for Latin-American and Chicano studies  with an interdisciplinary vision and a transborder perspective.  In this interview she articulates her conceptualization of the role of the CLRC as making Latinos visible in UC Santa Cruz by contributing to understandings of migration issues, decentralizing borders, and rethinking early paradigms of Latino studies.  This oral history was collected by Cinthya Murillo, and it addresses the founding of the CLRC, the impact of the center across the UC campuses and the intellectual enrichment that the CLRC has brought to UC Santa Cruz. The complete oral history of Dr. Klahn can be found here.