José A. de la Garza Valenzuela is Assistant Professor in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Focusing on fiction by gay Chicano writers, his current research investigates the legal underpinnings of queer migrant narrative to shed light on experiences of migration and residence in the U.S. inaccessible through the state’s legal archive. More broadly, his interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on Latinx literature, relational migration, and histories of legality with careful attention to questions of ethnicity, race, sexuality, and citizenship. Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela’s work has appeared in Latino Studies, MELUS, and American Literary History. His work has been recognized by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, the Modern Language Association's GLQ Caucus, the Queer/Trans Caucus of the American Studies Association, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is currently at work on a monograph tentatively titled Queer in a Legal Sense: Brown Citizenship and Other Lawful Fictions.
Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela received his PhD in English with a concentration in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after receiving degrees in English, Economics, and International Business from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. After completing his doctoral training, he was a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then Assistant Professor of Latinx Literatures at Florida Atlantic University. He has designed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Latinx literature, comparative Latinx migrations, queer U.S. writers of color, citizenship and narrative, and U.S. social movements in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Born in Durango, Mexico, Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela’s work as a researcher, teacher, and mentor is informed by his own experiences as a migrant. Growing up undocumented in Houston, his early interest in the relationship between fiction and the law grew out of reading and translating immigration documents for his family and later undergoing the naturalization process himself. He is a first-generation college graduate.
Citizenship & Queer Migration | Critical Legal Studies | U.S. 20th/21st Century Social Movements | Latinx Literary Studies | Chicanx Studies | Queer Chicano Literature | Gender & Sexuality Studies
Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela is currently at work on a book-length manuscript tentatively titled Queer in a Legal Sense: Brown Citizenship and Other Lawful Fictions. The book traces the ways queer migrants and residents are managed not only through policy attending to migration, but also the legislation of sexuality. He argues the law produces legally-bearing fictions of queer migration against which queers, migrants, and queer migrants’ performances of legality are measured. In the context of this legal narrative crisis, he argues fictional works by queer Chicanx writers offer critical interrogations of the law that provide reliable extralegal portraits of queer experiences of migration occluded by the state’s legal fictions and the institutions that see to their enforcement.
PhD, English, Miami University
MA, English, Sam Houston State University
BBA, International Business and Economics, Sam Houston State University
Awards and Honors
Fellow, Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement (SITPA), Duke University, 2018-2020
Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016-2017
Frederick A. Cervantes Premio, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, 2015
LLS 242: Introduction to Latina/Latino Literature
LLS 357: Literatures of the Displaced
LLS 360: Contemporary U.S. Latina/Latino Literature
LLS 396: Special Topics: Queer Latinx Literature
LLS 435: Commodifying Difference
LLS 442: Latina Literature
LLS 468: Latinas/Latinos and the Law
LLS 490: Research and Writing Seminar
Additional Campus Affiliations
Affiliate, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Affiliate, Department of Gender and Women Studies
Affiliate, Department of English
De La Garza Valenzuela, J. A. (2023). Chicanx Counterstories: Legal Narrative in Oscar Zeta Acosta’s The Revolt of the Cockroach People. American Literary History, 35(1), 201-215. https://doi.org/10.1093/alh/ajac229
de la Garza Valenzuela, J. A. (2021). “Necessarily Hidden Truth(s)”: Documenting Queer Migrant Experience in Rigoberto González’s Crossing Vines. MELUS, 46(3), 22-43. https://academic.oup.com/melus/article/46/3/22/6366487?guestAccessKey=3c13f0e5-0ac1-4af4-8d23-0be29fd42033
de la Garza Valenzuela, J. A. (2019). Queer in a Legal Sense: Negation and Negotiation of Citizenship in Boutilier v. Immigration and Naturalization Service and Arturo Islas’s The Rain God. Latino Studies, 17(2), 187-206. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41276-019-00173-3