Desirée J. Garcia

|Associate Professor
Academic Appointments
  • Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies

  • Affiliate, Film and Media Studies

Desirée Garcia is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, trained in American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Film and Media Studies. Her areas of specialization include the musical film and race and ethnicity in American culture. Her publications range from monographs to scholarly journal articles and online essays about musicals and mediated representations of immigrants, race, and ethnicity. She has also produced historical documentaries for American Experience/PBS, including Zoot Suit Riots (2002) and Remember the Alamo (2004).

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Winifred Raven, Room 207
HB 6026


Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies


  • B.A. Wellesley College
  • Ph.D. Boston University

Selected Publications

  • The Movie Musical (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2021 )

  • The Migration of Musical Film: From Ethnic Margins to American Mainstream (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2014)

  • "Operation Amigos: The Original Amateur Hour Goes to Mexico," Quarterly Review of Film and Video 36.7 (2019), 554-572. DOI: 10.1080/10509208.2019.1593014.

  • "Toil Behind the Footlights: The Spectacle of Female Suffering and the Rise of Musical Comedy," Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies 40.1 (May 2019), 122-145.

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Works In Progress

The Dressing Room: Backstage Stories and American Film (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press)

Selected Works & Activities

  • Actress ("Madeline"), Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, dir. Damien Chazelle (Variance Films, 2009) 

  • Associate Producer, Remember the Alamo (American Experience/WGBH, 2004)

  • Associate Producer, Zoot Suit Riots (American Experience/WGBH, 2002)

  • GuestFilmspotting Podcast, WBEZ Chicago, "#614 Top 5 Musical Numbers" (Dec. 7, 2016).

  • Consultant, Filmspotting Podcast, WBEZ Chicago, "Minnelli Marathon #1: Cabin in the Sky" (Feb. 28, 2018). 


Public Scholarship

“La La Land’s Debt to Ethnic Musicals of Yore.” Zócalo Public Square (Feb. 14, 2017)

The Dark Past and Diverse Present of Zoot Suit” in “Movies’ Most Memorable Mexican American Moments.” Zócalo Public Square (May 26, 2015). 

Videographic Essays and Film Production