Marcial Gonzalez


Marcial González received a B.A. in English from Humboldt State University in 1992, an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Utah in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University in 2000. He is the author of Chicano Novels and the Politics of Form: Race, Class, and Reification (U Michigan, 2009), and is currently writing a book on representations of migrant farm laborers in Chicana/o literature. He is also the co-editor of Dialectical Imaginaries: Materialist Approaches to U.S. Latino/a Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism (U Michigan, 2018). His current research and teaching interests include Chicana/o literature, migrant and immigrant literature, farm labor social movements, and Marxist literary theory. He also recently co-convened a faculty working group entitled “Critical Prison Studies in an Age of Mass Incarceration” at the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Professor González is the recipient of research fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation.

Current Research: 

I'm currently working on a book which focuses on the lives and struggles of Mexican farm laborers as represented in Chicano/a literary narratives from 1970 to the 2005. This project seeks to link the themes and forms of Chicano/a farm worker literature during this period to the recurring economic crises of capitalism, the destruction of labor unions, and the consolidation of a neoliberal political order in the United States.

Selected Publications

Articles in Journals and Collections

"Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Theory of the Anti-imperialist Novel: The Re-appropriation of a Literary Form." In Ngugi in the American Imperium. Edited by Timothy J. Reiss. Trenton, NJ: African World Press, 2019. Forthcoming.

“Labor Movements and Chicano/a Literature.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. Oxford University Press. February 2019. doi:

"Reading U.S. Latino/a Literature through Capitalism--and Vice Versa," co-authored with Carlos Gallego. In Dialectical Imaginaries: Materialist Approaches to U.S. Latino/a Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism. Edited by Marcial Gonzalez and Carlos Gallego. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018. 1-19.

"Mass Incarceration and the Critique of Capitalism: A Working-Class Viewpoint in Ronald Ruiz's Happy Birthday Jesus." In Dialectical Imaginaries: Materialist Approaches to U.S. Latino/a Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism. Edited by Marcial Gonzalez and Carlos Gallego. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018. 287-308.

"Herbert Marcuse's Repudiation of Dialectics: From Reason and Revolution to One-Dimensional Thinking." Science and Society: A Journal of Marxist Thought and Analysis 82.3 (July 2018): 413-439.

"Against Omniscient Narration: A Farmworker Critique of Neoliberalism." In Neoliberalism and Contemporary Literary Culture. Edited by Mitchum Huehls and Rachel Greenwald Smith. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. 140-159.

“Narrating the Inadmissible: Storytelling and Dialectical Form in Barefoot Heart and Children of the Fields.”  Arizona Quarterly 70:2 (Summer 2014): 55-83.

“The Future as Form: Undoing the Categorical Separation of Class and Gender in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia.”  In Created Unequal: Class and the Making of American Literary Narrative, edited by Andrew Lawson (New York: Routledge, 2014): 215-228.

“Reception and Authenticity: Danny Santiago’s Famous All Over Town.” In New Directions in American Reception Study, eds. Philip Goldstein and James L. Machor (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008): 179-194.

“Postmodernism, Historical Materialism, and Chicana/o Cultural Studies.” Science and Society: A Journal of Marxist Thought and Analysis 68:2 (Summer 2004): 161-186.

“A Marxist Critique of Borderlands Postmodernism: Adorno’s Negative Dialectics and Chicano Cultural Criticism.” In Left of the Color Line: Race, Radicalism, and Twentieth Century Literature of the United States, eds. Bill Mullen and Jim Smethurst (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003): 279-97.

“Jameson’s ‘Arrested Dialectic’: From Structuralism to Postmodernism.” Cultural Logic: Marxist Theory and Practice 2:2 (Spring 1999):

Reviews, Short Works, and Fiction

Review of Bruce Neuberger's Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2013). Science and Society: A Journal of Marxist Thought and Analysis 80.2 (April 2016): 276-279.

"Where Do Social Inequalities Come From?: Class Divides in Chicana/o Literature." Radical Teacher: A Socialist, Feminist, and Anti-Racist Journal on the Theory and Practice of Teaching 101 (Winter 2015): 15-20.

“The River Bottom Ranch” (fiction). In The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings from the American Workplace, eds. Peter Scheckner and Mary Boyes (Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008): 109-119.

Recent Papers Presented

"Social Transformation and the Makers of History in Rigoberto Gonzalez's Crossing Vines and Gary Soto's Jesse." Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS) Conference. Las Vegas, Nevada. May 5, 2018.

“Point of View as a Structural Contradiction in Ronald Ruiz’s Happy Birthday Jesús.” American Literature Association Conference. San Francisco, CA. May 27, 2016.

“We Are All People of Paper: A Farm Worker Critique of Neoliberalism.” American Studies Conference, "Twice Told Tales." University of California, Berkeley. May 6, 2016.

“Against Omniscient Narration: A Farm Worker Novel’s Critique of Neoliberalism.” Keynote address at “Re/inventions: Alterna(rra)tives,” the 5th Annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference. California State University, Long Beach. April 7, 2016.

“Elegy to La Inmensidad: The Revolt Against the Author and Salvador Plascencia.” A lecture delivered at the American Cultures Colloquium, Northwestern University.  February 12, 2016.

“Capitalist Crisis and the Internal Logic of Chicano/a Farm Worker Novels.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention. Sponsored by the Radical Caucus. Austin, TX, January 8, 2016.

“The UFW Boycott and Chicano/a Literature.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention on a panel entitled “Boycott Literature.” Austin, TX, January 7, 2016.

“California Farm Workers, the State, and the Critique of Capitalism.” Historical Materialism Conference. London, England. November 6, 2015.

“The City and the Country: Urban Space in a Farm Worker Novel.”  Presented at The City and American Literature: A Symposium Sponsored by the American Literature Association. New Orleans, LA.  September 12, 2015.

“Where Do Social Inequalities Come From?: Class Divides in Chicana/o-Latina/o Literature.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Chicago, IL. January 11, 2014.

“Communism of the Will: Narrative Disclosures of a Mexican American Farm Worker.” Lineages of the Literary Left: A Symposium in Honor of Alan M. Wald. University of Michigan. March 22, 2013.

“U.S. Latina/o Studies and Marxism: Exploding the Parameters of the Impossible.” Haciendo Caminos: Mapping the Futures of U.S. Latina/o Literatures Conference. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.  March 8, 2013.

“Fleeing War, Fighting for Equality: Non-Alienated Labor in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia.”  Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Boston, MA. January 3, 2013.

“‘She wondered how one could be so selfless’: Non-Alienated Labor and Planetary Feminisms in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia.”  Latino Literature/La Literatura Latina IV: A Bilingual Conference.   University of California, Santa Cruz. November 30, 2012.

“Fredric Jameson’s Dialectical Synthesis: Marxist Literary Theory and Psychoanalysis.” Second Annual International Conference on Marxism and Psychology. Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. August 10, 2012.

“Chicano/a Farm Worker Narratives: Storytelling in Lieu of Class Struggle.” Annual Conference, Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS). Santa Clara University. April 22, 2012. 

“Two Things Happened on Campus This Semester: Response to José David Saldívar’s Trans-Americanity: Subaltern Modernities, Global Coloniality, and the Cultures of Greater Mexico.” University Press Book Store, Berkeley, California. April 13, 2012.

“Children of the Fields: Representations of Work and School in post-1970 Chicano Farm Worker Narratives.” Center for Race & Gender, University of California, Berkeley. November 17, 2011.

“Chicano Farm Workers: The Making of Racial-Class Subjects.” Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Los Angeles, CA. January 8, 2011.

“The University Budget Crisis in California: Racism, Prisons, and Class Struggle.” Cultural Studies Association 8th Annual Conference. University of California, Berkeley. March 19, 2010.

“Tomás Rivera’s Tierra:  A Farm Worker’s Story of Class Consciousness.”  Seventh International Conference sponsored by Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. November 7, 2009.


435 Wheeler Hall