Professor Gonzalez began his college education at East Los Angeles Community College and went on to California State University, Los Angeles where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree. Upon graduation he joined the Peace Corps hoping to serve in Mexico but was sent to Caracas, Venezuela, where he served for two years and upon release traveled throughout Latin America before returning home. He considers his stay in Venezuela perhaps his most important educational experience. He then entered graduate studies at Cal State Los Angeles and earned his Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies all the while active in the Chicano Movement and Anti War Movement. He was a founding member of MECHA and served as interim chair of the first Chicano Studies Departments in the U.S. which opened at Cal State, Los Angeles. He eventually received his doctorate at UCLA.
His research and publications in Chicano Latino Studies has examined education, migration and labor from a transnational perspective. It is not a simple task to separate the three as they often overlap and combine. For example, his second book Chicano Education in the Era of Segregation (University of North Texas Press, 2013, Reprint) reviews the means segregated schools used to produce Mexican children as a source of cheap labor. Mexican Consuls and Labor Organizing: Imperial Politics in the American Southwest, 1920-1940(University of Texas, 1999) examined the union politics of the ethnic Mexican community buffeted by political factors in Mexico and the United States. Eventually his research focused on the transnational economic factors leading to Mexican emigration to the U. S. during the 20th century. His fifth book, co-authored with Professor Raul Fernandez, titled A Century of Chicano History: Empire, Nations and Migration, (Routledge, 2003) examined the roots of Chicano history and the central role of the U.S. economic Empire in creating the conditions leading to migration for over a century. Following that book, he decided to examine imperialist dimensions of U. S.-Mexico economic relations impacting on the historical evolution of the Mexican American people. That study resulted in Culture of Empire: American writers, Mexico and Mexican Immigrants, 1880-1930, University of Texas Press, 2004. His co-edited book, Labor Versus Empire: Race, Gender and Migration (Routledge, June 2004) examines the imperialist course of the contemporary world powers and its social and political repercussions. His most recent book, Guest Workers or Colonized Labor: Mexican Labor Migration to the United States (Paradigm, 2006), explores the history of guest worker agreements between Mexico and the U.S. and draws significant parallels with the British and French colonial labor procurement systems in India and Algeria. The documentary which he worked on for four yearsHarvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program reached a successful completion shortly after his transition to Emeritus and has won four major awards and broadcast nationally via PBS stations. The documentary has played in seventeen festivals in Europe, Latin American and the U.S, at conferences at the Smithsonian, UNAM, Innsbruck, Madrid, Los Angeles and New York and was screened in over fifty venues in its first year.
Professor Gonzalez continues to teach, research and enjoy the good sounds of musica Latina.