Dr. Jose B. Cuellar


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Brief Autobiography

I was born and raised within a musical working-class familia in San Antonio, Tejas, but had all of my post-secondary education, performance, and academic worklife in Califas.

 I started performing in public before the age of five, and was regularly playing with the ahora-legendary Frank Rodate and Dell-Kings in San Anto by the time I graduated Brackenridge High in 1959. I dedicated my life as a woodwinds playerand singer shortly after my honorable discharge following four-years active duty in the United States Air Force mid-summer 1964.

A professional casino musician in Las Vegas, Nevada between late 1964 and early 1966 with Tom Cellie and the Charades, I returned to southern California where I used my G.I. Bill to continue my undergraduate education at Golden West College (A.A., 1968) and Cal State Long Beach (B.A., 1969). I continued working as a club musicia,n with such groups as Dick Pace and the Pacers and Two-Third Minority, to supplement my income throughout my graduate career at U.C.L.A. until I finished my doctorate in anthropology in 1977.

After I received my master's degree in anthropology at U.C.L.A., I started teaching Chicano Studies at the Claremont Colleges between 1971 and 1973. Between 1973 and 1975, I worked as National Science Foundation Research Fellow with the Cross-Cultural Study of Aging Project at USC's Andrus Gerontology Center. After that I returned to the Claremont Colleges for a couple of years before I accepted a position as assistant professor of Anthropology and director of Chicano Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1977. Then I spent the following year as visiting assistant professor of Chicano Studies and Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

During the Spring of 1979, I assumed the directorship of an ethnogerontological project with Allied Home Health Association in San Diego. The following year, I accepted a position as Associate professor of Mexican American Studies and associate director of research with the Center on Aging and San Diego State University.

In 1983, I went to Stanford University as a visiting professor of Anthropology with the Chicano Fellows program. I left Stanford in 1988 to accept the directorship of the Mexican-American Families and Alcohol Project at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley. I also taught for Chicano Studies at UC Berkeley during those years.

My service as department chair of La Raza Studies started 1990 and ended in 1998 at SFSU, where I also served as director of the Cesar E. Chavez Institute for Public Policy between 1994 and 2001.  

Since the mid-1980s, I have performed and recorded with a number of musical groups as "Dr. Loco", and have produced four music CDs (Con Safos in 1991,   Movimiento Music in 1992,   Puro Party in 1995,   and Barrio Ritmos & Blues in 1998) with Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band, and the musical soundtrack for the feature film Alambrista! The Director's Cut (2002) with my conjunto, Dr. Loco & sus Tiburones Del Norte.

During recent years, I have also conducted research on the history and heritage of the Tex Mex sax with a Gatesway fellowship provided by the Rocekfeller Foundation through San Antonio's Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (1997-98) and taught as visiting professor of Chicano Studies at UC Berkeley (1998-99).

My recent publications include: "El Saxofón in Tejano and Norteño Music" in ¡Puro Conjunto! An Album in Words and Pictures. University of Texas Press, 2001; "Chicanismo" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures, 2002;   "Cesar E. Chavez" and "Farm Labor" in Pollution--A to Z . Macmillan, 2003; "Notas en el Viento: The Musical Soundtrack of Alambrista The Director's Cut" in 'Alambrista' And The US-Mexico Border: Film, Music And Stories Of Undocumented Immigrants. University of New Mexico Press, 2004.

My recent honors, grants and awards include: The Diversity in Teaching and Learning Distinguished Faculty Award (2000); A Ford Foundation Grant for Alambrista 2001 Project (2001-2003); The Distinguished Alumnus Award, California State University at Long Beach's College of Arts and Letters (2002); and Golden West College's Pillar of Achievement Award, (2003).



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