Barrera, Magdalena L.

Barrera, Magdalena L.




Preferred: (408) 924-5583

Office Hours

Mondays 10:00-11:45am; Tuesdays 2:00-4:00pm; and by appointment.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University, 2006
  • Bachelor of Arts, English (with Honors) and Latin American Studies, University of Chicago, 1997


Magdalena L. Barrera is an Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies at San José State University. Born and raised in suburban Chicago, Illinois, she received a B.A. in English Literature and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago (1997), and a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (2006). Magdalena joined SJSU in 2008 after a postdoctoral teaching fellowship in Stanford’s Introduction to the Humanities program. Her teaching interests include Chicanx history, literature, and film.

Magdalena situates her research agenda at the intersection of literary/visual studies and cultural history; she is interested in how Mexican Americans are represented in early twentieth century American literature, music, photography, and government publications. Inspired by the hardworking and resilient students of SJSU, Magdalena has taken up a second area of research on the teaching and mentoring of first-generation students and students of color in higher education. 

Magdalena is a first-generation scholar and a former Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow (1996-1997). She spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Austin, Texas, on a research fellowship, thanks to a Junior Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. While on sabbatical in Spring 2016, Magdalena traveled with her husband to Bolivia and Peru, where they climbed the four-day Inca Trail to the city of Machu Picchu.