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Eric Avila


Contact Information

Office  7391 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-206-7695
Eric Avila is an urban cultural historian, studying the intersections of racial identity, urban space, and cultural representation in twentieth century America.

He began his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley in 1986 and left that institution with a Ph.D. in History in 1997, writing his dissertation under the supervision of Professor Lawrence Levine. Since 1997, he has taught Chicano Studies and History at UCLA. and holds an affiliation with the Department of Urban Planning. He is the author of Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles, published by the University of California Press in 2004. His latest book, "The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City," was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2014.

Avila also holds joint appointments as Professor of Chicano Studies and Urban Planning at UCLA


Ph.D. Department of History, University of California, Berkeley, 1997


Faculty Development Grant, UCLA Center for the Study of Women, 2009-2010.

Visting Fellow, Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University, 2007-2008.

Warren Fellowship, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, 2004-2005.

Donald J. Pfluger Local History Award, Historical Society of Southern California, 2006.

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1999-2000.

Selected Publications


"The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City," (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles, (University of California Press, 2004)

Noriega, Chon, Avila, Eric, Sandoval, Chela, Pérez Torres, and Dávalos, Mary Karen, The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlán, 1970-2000, (Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, 2001).

Articles, Review Essays & Book Chapters

“Essaying Los Angeles,” Cambridge Companion to Los Angeles (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

“Social Flashpoints,” in Blackwell Companion to the History of Los Angeles (Blackwell Publishing, 2009).

“Race, Culture, Politics and Urban Renewal: An Introduction,” in Eric Avila and Mark Rose, eds., Journal of Urban History (special issue, “Race, Culture, Politics and Urban Renewal”), Vol. 35, No. 3 (March, 2009).

"Turning Structure Into Culture: Reclaiming the Freeway in San Diego's Chicano Park," in Glickman, Cook and O'Malley, eds. The Cultural Turn in U.S. History: Past, Present and Future (University of Chicago Press, 2008).

"East Side Stories: Freeways and Their Portraits in Chicano L.A.," Landscape, Vol 26, No. 1 (2007).

"Race and Ethnicity," in Karen Haltunnen, ed., Blackwell Companion to American Cultural History (Blackwell, 2007)

"Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Film Noir, Disneyland and the Cold War (Sub)Urban Imaginary," Journal of Urban History, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2005).

*Reprint, Joyce Appleby, ed., Best American History Essays, (New York: Palgrave for the Organization of American Historians, 2006).

"Revisiting the Chavez Ravine: Baseball, Urban Renewal and the Gendered Civic Culture of Postwar Los Angeles," in Alicia Gaspar de Alba, ed. Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture and Chicana/o Sexualities, (Palgrave Macmillian, 2002).

"Roundtable on the State of Chicano Studies," Aztlan: A Journal of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Fall 2002)

"Dark City: White Flight and the Urban Science Fiction Film in Postwar America," in Daniel Bernardi, ed. Classic Whiteness: Race and the Hollywood Studio System, (University of Minnesota Press, 2001).

"The Folklore of the Freeway: Space, Identity and Culture in Postwar Los Angeles," in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 1998)*

*Translated into Spanish and reprinted in 'AULA 2: Architecture and Urbanism in Las Americas.'

Current Courses by Term

2022 Fall Quarter

America in Sixties: Politics, Society, and Culture, 1954 to 1974

American Popular Culture

Teaching Apprentice Practicum