Cary Cordova, Photograph by Heather GallagherCary

& Public History

The Heart of the Mission
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Cary Cordova is an Associate Professor in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in Latino/Latina/Latinx cultural production, including art, music, and the performing arts. She is the author of The Heart of the Mission: Latino Art and Politics in San Francisco, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017. Her book received the 2018 Lawrence W. Levine Award from the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American cultural history.  

Cordova is originally from San Francisco, where she has focused much of her research.  Her articles include, "Portable Murals: Children's Book Press and the Circulation of Latino Art," in Visual Resources, "Hombres y Mujeres Muralistas on a Mission: Painting Latino Identities in 1970s San Francisco" in Latino Studies and, "The Mission in Nicaragua: San Francisco Poets Go To War," in Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America.  She also has written on the art and life of her maternal grandfather, Paul Feeley, and his participation in the avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s at Bennington College in Vermont.  

At the University of Texas at Austin, she teaches various classes in American Studies, including "Introduction to American Studies," "Radical Latinos," and "American Disasters."  She also has a courtesy appointment with the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) and is a faculty affiliate with the Mexican American and Latino/a Studies.

Previously, she taught
at the the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and at the University of California, Davis. She also has served as an archivist, curator, public historian, and oral historian for various public institutions, including the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

Cordova earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and received her B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

The Heart of the Mission:
Latino Art and Politics in San Francisco
University of Pennsylvania Press:
Imperfections by Chance
Imperfections by Chance:
Paul Feeley Retrospective, 1954-1966
Beyond El Barrio
Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America