Al Camarillo

Acclaimed Stanford Historian
Widely viewed as one of the founders of the field of ethnic studies, Al recently retired from an illustrious career as a history professor at Stanford, where he won several awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.


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Al Camarillo is the Leon Sloss Jr. Memorial Professor and Professor of American History, Emeritus, at Stanford University. Camarillo’s storied career at Stanford began in 1975, when he was appointed in the Department of History. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of ethnic studies, especially the field of Mexican American history and Chicano studies. Al has published seven books and dozens of articles on the history of Mexican Americans and other communities of color. He is the only faculty member in the history of Stanford to receive six of the highest awards for excellence in teaching and service to the university. He was born and raised in Compton and is an alumnus of UCLA (BA ‘70, Ph.D. ’75).

Al has lectured widely across the nation at universities and public history events. He is a frequent contributor to History Channel films and documentaries and the past president of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch.

In recognition of his important role as a leader in the Latino community, Camarillo has received several awards, including the California State Latino Legislative Caucus “True Latino Sprit” Award, 2019; Mayor’s Award for Contributions to Diversity, City of Menlo Park, 2009; La Familia Award, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, 2007; Top Ten Most Influential Hispanic Educators in Silicon Valley, 2007; Community Star Award, Gentry Magazine, December 1999.


"Would give Al 15/10 if I could. Best Speakeasy talk we’ve been to so far. So informative, engaging, and had a lively discussion. Wish I were back in college so I could take full semester classes with Al."

Speakeasy participant

"This was an outstanding Speakeasy event. Al was engaging and knowledgeable. I really liked the small group discussion as well. I would attend lots of talks he led."

Speakeasy participant

"Al was amazing! Incredibly knowledgeable on an interesting subject, an engaging speaker, and excellent at facilitating discussion and answering questions."

Speakeasy participant