Vicki L. Ruiz

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Vicki Lynn Ruiz (born May 21, 1955) is an American historian.

Early life

Ruiz, was born on May 21, 1955, to Erminia Pablita Ruiz Mercer and Robert Mercer, in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in Florida where she attended public schools that were still in the process of desegregating.[1][2] Because her father owned a small sport fishing business, her early years were spent moving up and down the coast, following seasonal work, and attending two or more schools a year. It was in the eighth grade that the family settled down in Florida (due to the insistence of her mother). Throughout her childhood she was strongly influenced by stories and histories told to her by her mother and by her grandmother, Maria de la Nieves Moya.[3][4]


Ruiz attended Gulf Coast Community College and went on to earn her undergraduate degree from Florida State University. It was there that she studied with sociologist Leanor Boulin Johnson, who introduced her to scholarship in Chicano studies. It was also at Florida State University that she met Dr. Jean Gould Bryant, who encouraged her to apply to graduate school. Ruiz graduated Florida State in 1977, then went on to graduate studies at Stanford University where she worked with professors Albert Camarillo and Estelle Freedman.[3][5] She completed her PhD in history from Stanford University in 1982.[6]


A prolific historian, Ruiz is author of two widely read monographs and over 60 historical essays and articles.[3] She is currently a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.[6]

She has served as President of the American Historical Association (AHA), the American Studies Association (ASA), the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA.[7][3][4]

In 2015 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3] That same year she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. The National Humanities Medal "honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens' engagement with history and literature or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to cultural resources."[8]

Selected publications

  • From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America
  • Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950
  • Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U. S. Women's History
  • Latina Legacies: Identity, Biography, and Community
  • Las Obreras: Chicana Politics of Work and Family
  • Memories and Migrations: Mapping Boricua and Chicana Histories
  • Latinas in the United States, Set: A Historical Encyclopedia


  1. ^ "Ruiz, Vicki L. (1955–) - Chicana History". Contributed Articles. Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e Matsumoto, Valerie J. "Vicki L. Ruiz Biography". American Historical Association. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Arora, Anupama; et al. (Fall 2016). "A History of Their Own: A Conversation with Vicki L. Ruiz" (PDF). Journal of Feminist Scholarship. 11: 6–15. 
  5. ^ Meyer, Leisa (2008). "Ongoing Missionary Labor: Building, Maintaining, and Expanding Chicana Studies/History". Feminist Studies. 34 (1-2): 23–45. 
  6. ^ a b "Borderlands History Interview Project Presents Dr. Vicki L. Ruiz". Borderlands History. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "Vicki L. Ruiz". The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program. Organization of American Historians. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "President Obama Awards 2014 National Humanities Medal". National Endowment for the Humanities. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-02-16. 

External links

  • Official website at University of California, Irvine
  • Vicki L Ruiz at Goodreads
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
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