Biography

Raul Fernandez
Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University

SSPA 4139 | 949-824-5272
rafernan@uci.edu

Professional Bio

Professor Emeritus Raul Fernandez completed his secondary education in Cuba, received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966 and his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in 1971. He has been on the faculty at UC Irvine since 1969. His research is focused on economic and cultural transactions between the U.S. and Latin America. Professor Fernandez is currently Chair of the multi-campus UC-CUBA Academic Initiative.

Fernandez has authored six books dealing with various topics including the U.S.-Mexico border, Latin jazz and Cuban music, and Chicano history. He also edited (with Jeff Belnap) José Martí’s Our America: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies, and Labor vs. Empire: Race, Gender, and Migration (with Gilbert Gonzalez).

A Fulbright Fellow, Fernandez was the Curator of the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit Latin Jazz: La Combinación Perfecta, which opened in Washington, D.C. in 2002 and traveled to twelve US cities through 2006.

His varied interests and publications have garnered him a national and international reputation but it’s his story telling that made him a sought after and popular professor, reaching near celebrity status. On campus you can spot Fernandez when he smiles and from a distance you can hear him engaged in telling a story or a joke. Undergraduate and graduate students couldn’t resist taking a class with Professor Fernandez if only to see him tell stories and laugh. Students have commented that he smiled throughout his class, a sure sign that he, at least, was having fun and enjoying his lectures.

After retirement Professor Fernandez was called back to serve as Department Chair. Fernandez is a social activist, cultural philosopher, labor organizer, economist, social scientist and musicologist. He is an encyclopedia of Cuban and Latin American music and a virtuoso in playing the maracas. Accompanied by a select ensemble of musicians he often entertains at department, university and private engagements and if the rhythm strikes him just right he might sing some Cuban classics like “La gloria eres tú,” “Contigo en la distancia” or “Si me comprendieras” or he might even dance.

A Department of Chicano/Latino Studies founder and icon, as Emeritus, Professor Fernandez carries on his research, continues mentoring undergraduate, graduate students and junior faculty.