Gilberto Cardenas

Professor of Sociology
Director of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture

Gilberto Cardenas

Gilberto Cárdenas was Assistant Provost and founding director of the Institute for Latino Studies from 1999-2012 where he held the Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies. He is a full professor in the Department of Sociology and directs the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture. Dr. Cardenas taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1975 to 1999. He also served as the Executive Director for the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) from 1994 to 2013, a national consortium of 25 member centers and institutes.

He received his BA from the California State University at Los Angeles and his MA and PhD from the University of Notre Dame. His principal research interests are immigration, race and ethnic relations, the aesthetics of Latino art and culture, and visual sociology. Dr. Cárdenas has worked in the area of immigration for over 45 years and has gained international recognition as a scholar in Mexican immigration. Three times named by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States, Cárdenas has authored and edited numerous books, articles, monographs, and reports on topics covering several fields of specialization, including international migration, economy and society, and race and ethnic relations. These works include his co-authorship of Los Mojados: The Wetback Story, 1971 (with Julian Samora and Jorge Bustamante); co-editorship of Health and Social Services among International Labor Migrants: A Comparative Perspective, which was published in 1998 by the University of Texas Press and the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) as part of their Border series; and, most recently, editorship of La Causa: Civil Rights, Social Justice, and the Struggle for Equality in the Midwest, which was published in 2004 in Arte Público Press’s Hispanic Civil Rights series.

He also established and owned Galería sin Fronteras Inc. in Austin, Texas (1986), a commercial gallery featuring the works of Chicano/Latino artists. In 1994 he founded and served as Executive Producer of Latino USA, a half-hour weekly radio program produced at the University of Texas at Austin and distributed nationally by National Public Radio. In addition to his professional and artistic activities, Cárdenas has provided testimony before the US Congress and state legislative bodies and has served as an expert witness in several critical or landmark cases, including Plyler v. Doe (1982). A member of the original Task Force that produced Willful Neglect (1994) Cárdenas served on the Smithsonian Institution’s Oversight Committee for Latino Issues. In 1994 he joined the Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), and he served on the Board until 2012. Cárdenas was also one of six people appointed to the advisory committee of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a $1.5-billion minority scholarship initiative established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Cardenas was appointed by President Bush in 2001 to serve as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and in 2009 he was appointed by President Bush to serve on the National Museum of the American Latino Commission. He currently serves as chairperson of the Latino Center Board, one of three national boards of the Smithsonian Institution.