I was born and raised in East San José, California. I grew up near Sal Si Puedes (Get Out If You Can), the neighborhood where Cesar Chavez began his organizing for the United Farm Workers. My first texts were my father’s tattoos or “placas”: east side, madre, tropicana varrio locos.
Thanks to the support of family, friends, and mentors, I was the first person in my family to graduate from a four-year college. After earning my PhD in American Studies in late 2013, I moved to a suburb of Munich, Germany, with my wife and two daughters. I like to pretend that I can channel Ernst Bloch, who wrote The Spirit of Utopia while meditating on the Alps in a nearby town. One day I will write a book called Bato in Bavaria.
From 2013-2015 I crossed the Weißwurstäquator (“white sausage border”) to lecture in the Institute of English and American Studies at Frankfurt University. In 2016 I became Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessor) of American Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. I recently published a book about automation myths (Against Automation Mythologies) and am currently wrapping up another about apocalyptic science fiction (Un-American Dreams) and another about videogames and gender (Rules of the Father: Playing with Patriarchal Masculinity in The Last of Us).