Dr. José Cuello earned his doctoral degree in colonial Latin American history from the University of California at Berkeley, one of the nation’s top institutions. A well-respected and established authority on colonial Mexican history, he has built an impressive record of scholarship that spans over two decades. In 1988-89 he was awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Other scholars in the field frequently cite his Latin American work, making him one of the most recognizable experts of the history of colonial Mexico and the borderlands. Unlike other educators who write/lecture only about the fields of their doctoral specialization, Dr. Cuello has branched out in bold new ways. He has taught and lectured extensively in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe on a variety of subjects, including pre-Hispanic Mexico, U.S. history, the borderlands, immigration, the sanctuary movement, the Caribbean, Central American affairs, globalization, community development, race/ethnicity, stereotypes, social classes, identity formation, slavery/involuntary labor systems, sociocultural change, Latino traditions, revolutionary movements, gender, citizenship, urban problems, the Chicano civil rights movement, equal opportunity, bilingual education, and educational strategies for college students.
Dr. Cuello has served on several local, regional, national and international associations catering to Latino Studies and higher education. He has presented his work at the International Congress of Americanists, American Historical Association, American Society for Ethnohistory, Southwest Council of Latin American Studies, Midwest Consortion of Latino Research, and the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, among others. As a result, journals and presses across the nation call upon Dr. Cuello regularly to evaluate books and articles on Latino and Latin American topics submitted for publication by other authors. He has evaluated the proposals of several applicants seeking funding to conduct research on Latino and Latin American themes for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Academic units in other colleges and universities periodically ask Dr. Cuello to help them gauge the teaching, community contributions, and published works of professors undergoing review for tenure and promotion.
His first book, El Norte, el Noreste y Saltillo en la Historia Colonial de Mexico, was published in 1990. Another book-length study, Colonial Saltillo : The Origins and Formation of a Mexican Society on the Northern Frontier, 1577-1821, is forthcoming in Spanish. His introductory essay inVoices of a New Chicana/o History, edited in 2000 by Refugio Rochín and Dennis Valdés, appraises the state of Chicano history, both as an academic endeavor and as an intellectual, transformative experience. His long list of book reviews, refereed essays, and other publications have appeared in print format in USA Today, the Julián Samora Research Institute, European Review of Latin American History, Journal of Social History, The Americas, and the Hispanic American Historical Review. Others have been included as chapters in at least (6) separate books and conference proceedings.
During the past thirteen years, Dr. Cuello has selflessly and consistently dedicated himself to the promotion of higher education on behalf of the Hispanic/Latino community through his research, teaching, and community involvement. His political manifesto, The Detroit Latino Agenda: A Plan for Action in Seven Policy Areas, published in 1992, vigorously called for a series of institutional measures to bring the concerns of the Latino community to the attention of policy makers in the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan . In 1991-2, he edited The Diversity Handbook: A Guide to Diversity at Wayne State and in Metropolitan Detroit, a valuable annotated guide to the leading agencies serving Detroit ’s racial, ethnic and religious communities. His essay, “Latinos and Hispanics: A Primer on Terminology,” written in 1993, became one of the first systematic efforts in Michigan to make sense of the different ethnic labels and self-identification markers used to describe the diversity of La Raza. The State of Michigan ’s Office for Minority Equity funded two of his projects to improve the retention of students in the state in 1992-3 and 1993-4.
His self-empowering manual, Power Tools for Teaching and Learning at an Urban Access University (1998), has helped countless students, mental health providers, academic advisers, educators, policy-makers, administrators, and community organizers come to terms with the educational challenges in the post-Civil Rights. It encourages learners to develop both practical and intellectual skills applicable to living and working in our multiethnic and multiracial society. The manual has been available online since 1998 through the American Historical Association’s webpage (http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/PowerTools.htm). In 2000, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities published Dr. Cuello’s essay, “The Comprehensive Single-Center Model for Latino Student Services in Higher Education: Recruitment and Retention in Chicano-Boricua Studies, 1989-1998.” Finally, he has also lectured widely at colleges and universities, local schools, cultural centers, radio and television programs, and the private sector on a wide range of topics germane to Latino history, diversity issues, and higher education.
Aside from Dr. Cuello’s previously mentioned efforts to address educational opportunities for students and recast the history of colonial Mexico, he has participated extensively in numerous private and non-profit organizations in the Hispanic/Latino community. He has launched, helped organize, or otherwise supported a wide spectrum of programs connected to Ser-Metro, La-Sed, Latino Family Services, Casa de Unidad, the Comité Patriótico Mexicano, and El Central, among others. During his tenure as Director of the Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies (1989-1999), he helped sponsor an annual Latino Educational Conference that brought together community delegates, local teachers and scholars to tackle issues affecting the Hispanic/Latino community, such as immigration reform, healthcare, political representation, etc. Several years ago he lent his support for a project to document the experiences of Mexicans and Chicanos/as deported or repatriated from Michigan during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The resulting video production, entitled Los Repatriados, is the first documentary film of its kind in Michigan and possibly in the Midwest. Although trained as a historian, he has also showcased his artwork at several Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) exhibitions and read poetry at the Bowen Library Branch in Mexicantown.