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Christian Zlolniski named new director of UT Arlington Center for Mexican American Studies

Monday, August 26, 2013

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: faculty, global, history, humanities, immigration, liberal arts, research, students

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The University of Texas at Arlington has appointed Christian Zlolniski, an associate professor of anthropology and an expert in international migration and economic globalization, as the director of the University’s Center for Mexican American Studies.

Christian Zlolniski

Zlolniski joined UT Arlington in 2001 as an assistant professor and served as a research associate of the Center for more than 10 years. Previously, he spent seven years as a researcher and social studies professor at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico. He also served as a fellow researcher for two years in the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

Zlolniski earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain. He holds a master’s and doctoral degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“We are fortunate to have in Dr. Zlolniski, an internationally-renowned scholar, a respected teacher and a valued mentor who unites his efforts in all of these roles on behalf of the wider community," said Beth Wright, dean of the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts. "He is committed to helping Mexican-American students and their families – some of them the immigrant parents that he has studied for decades – to succeed in their dreams of obtaining a college education.”

Wright noted that Zlolniski’s extensive experience with the Center for Mexican American Studies has included such valued initiatives as Maestros de la Comunidad, a series of workshops and conferences for Spanish-speaking parents on public education, pre-college advising, and similar subjects.

Zlolniski is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and a former member of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores under the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico’s government setting body in charge of the promotion of scientific and technological activities.

He is the author of Janitors, Street Vendors and Activists: The Lives of Mexican Immigrants in Silicon Valley (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2006), which was honored by the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association and the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, as well as numerous scholarly articles, chapters and policy papers. His contributions have been translated and published widely in both English and Spanish.

“I am honored by the appointment and excited about the opportunity it provides me to contribute to the growing Latino student population at UT Arlington and the Latino community at large,” Zlolniski said. “It took the effort of many committed people in the Mexican-American community in the past to create and develop the Center, and my job is to ensure we reach out and deliver to our Mexican American and Latina and Latino students, many of whom are first of their generation going to college.”

The Center for Mexican American Studies was founded in 1993 by a legislative mandate promoted by Mexican American members of the Texas Legislature and their supporters. CMAS is an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts dedicated to enhancing the study and understanding of Mexican American and other Latino populations in the United States.

The center administers an 18-hour academic minor in Mexican American Studies and annually awards three scholarships: the Manuel Gamio Scholarship; the Brandenburg Scholarship for Mexican American Studies Minors, and the Brandenburg Scholarship in Latino Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

Zlolniski will help lead the Center into a new direction as it relocates later this year from the E. H. Hereford University Center to the Swift Center on West Campus, where CMAS will join two other academic centers – The Center for African American Studies and the Office of International Education.

“Dr. Zlolniski’s global experience, influence and deeply personal and cultural understanding of issues important to Mexican Americans will establish the Center as a dynamic resource for scholarship, research and community engagement, ” said Ron Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He is the ideal leader at a time when immigration issues intersect with so many education, political, economic and social discussions.”

Zlolniski succeeds Susan Gonzalez Baker, who will continue as a member of the sociology and anthropology faculty.

The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,000 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. It is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.