Carlos Gil

  • Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. UCLA, 1974

Fields: Latin America, Latino/Mexican American History
Phone: 206-543-7972
Office: SMI 10 |

Carlos B. Gil’s Intellectual Evolution



Years at the University of Washington



History Fields in My Care

            Modern Latin America

            Mexican American/Chicano/Hispanos


Intellectual Evolution


            My intellectual evolution went into forward thrust, once arriving at the University of Washington, bolstered by my cultural roots, my U.S. Foreign Service experience in Latin America, and my doctoral work at UCLA completed just prior to arriving in Seattle.  These experiences primed my ability to deepen my knowledge of Latin America by teaching related courses and conducting further research, endeavors that strengthened not only my world view but also helped propel me all the way to my last days on campus. 


            My grounding in the broad outlines of Modern Mexico (since 1821), combined with my doctoral research in local history (i.e., the Mascotan highlands of the State of Jalisco in west central Mexico) utilizing previously unexplored parochial documents such as court records and land registers, provided me with a critical understanding of historical change in developing countries.  Life in Provincial Mexico: National and Regional History Seen From Mascota, Jalisco, 1867-1972 (UCLA Latin American Center, 1983) represents one outcome of this exertion, a socio-economic, regional study partly inspired by then prominent investigators who employed the social sciences including quantitative methods to give greater depth to their historical work.  Seeking to broaden my investigative regional familiarity I subsequently pursued topics centered in Mexico City eventually publishing a political history anchored on oral history interviews I conducted of the nation’s top opposition leaders of the day (Hope and Frustration: Interviews with Leaders of Mexico’s Political Opposition, SR Books 1992), an ill-treated political faction to be sure.  This work led me to study Latin American economic and business history whose findings I have yet to publish. 


            My intellectual evolution was also shaped by my arrival at the University of Washington amidst the socio-political uproar of the early 1970s.  This upheaval had the net effect of opening up higher education to hitherto neglected minority groups in Washington State and elsewhere, a situation that laid the groundwork for my being persuaded to launch Mexican American/Chicano History courses for undergraduates, a nascent field of study.  This politically inspired effort stuck with me for the remainder of my university career providing me with a parallel specialization allowing me among other things to publish a Washington State centennial-related essay (“Washington’s Hispano American Communities,” in Sid White and S. E. Solberg, eds., Peoples of Washington: Perspectives on Cultural Diversity Washington State University, 1989) and to offer a graduate seminar of note in this field, as indicated below, which ultimately benefitted numerous department graduates. 


My intellectual interests currently


            My intellectual pursuits beginning in 2005 allowed me to focus on the completion of my latest book in 2012: We Became Mexican American: How Our Family Survived to Pursue the American Dream (XLibris).  This, my latest work, is a family biography, for the most part, founded on the oral history interviews of my immigrant ancestors and my siblings.  Their remembrances allowed me to give shape to a personalized story of immigration, settlement, survival (during the Great Depression), and slow but sure assimilation, a tale of American immigration—from the south. 


Courses taught


Colonial history of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1492 to 1822
Modern history of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1822 to 2000

History of Modern Mexico, 1822 to 2000

History of the Caribbean and Central America, 1492 to 2000

History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, 1783 to 2000
The Colonial Period of the Hispanic Peoples of the United States, 1492 to 1822
The Modern Period of The Hispanic Peoples of the United States, 1822 to 2000


Other activities


            Beyond serving on scores of cross-campus committees charged with different aspects of university governance, perhaps my most significant contributions may have been a) working with the Latin American Studies Program whose entry into the Henry Jackson School of International Studies I shepherded while I was program Director, and b) giving support to the final emergence of the Ethnic Studies Department. 


            I also helped found and sustain The GilDeane Group, a training and consulting firm whose mission continues to be the promotion of diversity and inclusion in private and public organizations. 


            My Foreign Service experience coupled with my university work contributed to my serving as a consultant and trainer from 1998 to 2008 for various federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in an effort to bolster technically trained Foreign Service officers in the performance of their international duties. 



We Became Mexican American: How Our Immigrant Family Survived to Pursue the American Dream. Bloomington, Indiana: XLibris, 2012.

Hope and Frustration: Interviews with Leaders of Mexico's Political Opposition . Wilmington, Delaware: SR Books (an imprint of Scholarly Resources), 1992.

"The Hispano-American Communities of Washington," in Sid White and S. E. Solberg, eds., The Peoples of Washington: Cultural Perspectives. Pullman: Washington State Press, 1989: 159-192.

Life in Provincial Mexico: National and Regional History as Seen from Mascota, Jalisco, 1867-1972 . Los Angeles: University of California, Latin American Center, 1983.

Mascota 1867-1972 , Unidad Editorial, Gobierno de Jalisco, Secretaria General, Guadalajara, Jalisco, 1988. Abridged Translation of Life in Provincial Mexico.

"Ernesto Galarza," in Julio a. Martinez and Fransisco A. Lomeli, eds., Chicano Literature: A Reference Guide. New York: Greenwood Press, 1985: 441-448.

" Lydia Mendoza: Houstonian and First Mexican American Lady of Song," in The Houston Review 3:2 (Summer 1981): 250-260. Reprinted in Jose Villarino and Arturo Ramirez, eds., Chicano Border: Culture and Folklore. San Diego: Marin Publications, 1981. Also Reprinted in Jose Villarino and Arturo Ramirez, eds., Aztlan: Chicano Culture and Folklore. An Anthology. New York: McGraw Hill Publishers, 1997: 223-234.

The Age of Porfirio Diaz: Selected Readings . Albequerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1977.