Tomás F. Summers Sandoval

Associate Professor of History and Chicana/o Latina/o Studies; On leave Spring 2024
  • Expertise


    Tomás Summers Sandoval is a historian of Latinx populations in the modern United States, with an emphasis on California. He holds a joint appointment in the History Department and the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies, where he teaches classes on Latinx history, social movements, oral history, and racial inequality in the United States. He currently serves as the First Vice President of the Oral History Association.

    His first book—Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco (University of North Carolina Press, 2013)—investigates the ways Latin American migrants forged a cohesive community identity in the city by the bay. The first book-length history of Latinx San Francisco, Latinos at the Golden Gate uses the past to make sense of the impending Latino ascendency in the West.

    He is currently at work on a book manuscript titled On the Edge of Things: The Vietnam War in Latinx America, based on oral histories with Chicano/Latino Vietnam veterans and their families. He has produced two public-facing projects based on these interviews: Vietnam Veteranos: Mexican America and the Legacy of Vietnam (2017), a multimedia public history exhibit funded by California Humanities; and Ring of Red: A Barrio Story (2018), a stage play funded by The Whiting Foundation.

    Research Interests

    • Latinx migration and immigration
    • Latinx identity and community formation (20th century to present)
    • Race-based social movements (1960s to present)
    • Vietnam War and Latinx military service
    • Oral history

    Areas of Expertise

    • Chicanx and Latinx histories
    • Latino Vietnam veterans
    • Social movements
    • Oral history
    • California
    • Racial inequality in 20th century U.S.
  • Work


    Ring of Red: A Barrio Story, premiere at The Bootleg Theater (Los Angeles, CA), September 20-30, 2018.

    Libby Denkmann, “This play is keeping alive the ‘hidden history’ and memories of Chicanos who served in Vietnam,” The Frame (89.3 KPCC radio), September 25, 2018.

    Voices Veteranos: Mexican American and the Legacy of Vietnam, public history exhibit at The dA Center for the Arts (Pomona, CA), March 11-Spril 15, 2017.

    Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco (University of North Carolina Press, August 2013; paperback edition, 2016).

    Pat Morrison, “Vietnam Through the Eyes of Latino Soldiers,” Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2015.

    Steve Cuevas, “The Invisible Force: Latinos at War in Vietnam,” The California Report, (KQED Productions), May 25, 2015.

    “‘All those who care about the Mission, stand up with me!’: Latino Community Formation and the Mission Coalition Organization,” in Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978, edited by Chris Carlsson (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2011), 48-60.

    “L’America non capisce il suo razzismo,” Limes: Rivista Italiana di Geopolitica (Sept. 2009): 117-124.

    “Disobedient Bodies: Race, Resistance, and the Mass (Re)Articulation of the Mexican Immigrant Body,” American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 52, no. 4 (Dec. 2008): 580-597.

    “The Burden of History and John Sayles’ Lonestar,” in Westerns: Films through History (AFI Film Readers), ed. Janet Walker (Routledge Press, 2001), 71-85.

    Featured Work

  • Education


    Bachelor of Arts 
    Claremont McKenna College

    Master of Arts
    University of California, Berkeley

    University of California, Berkeley

    Recent Courses Taught

    • "All Power to the People!" Social Movements for Justice 
    • American Inequality 
    • Chicana/Latina Feminist Histories 
    • Chicano/Latino Histories 
    • Community Partnerships
    • Latina/o Oral Histories
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Whiting Foundation, Public Engagement Fellowship, 2017

    California Humanities, Community Stories Grant, 2015

    Pomona College, Wig Distinguished Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2009 & 2014

    Pomona College, First Year Advising Award, 2013

    Oral History Association, Diversity Committee Award, 2003

    University of California, Berkeley, Distinguished Teaching Award, 2000

    University of California Board of Regents, UC Service Award, 1998