Photo of Nicholas Centino
Assistant Professor: Chicana/o Studies

Contact Information


PhD Chicana & Chicano Studies, UC Santa Barbara, 2014
M.A. Chicana & Chicano Studies, UC Santa Barbara, 2011


Born and raised on the central coast, Nicholas F. Centino earned his doctorate in Chicana & Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Inspired by the alterNative youth cultures he encountered growing up in the rural farmworking community of Lompoc, Dr. Centino’s work examines the popular cultural practices of Chicanas/os & Latinas/os as strategies of survival & negotiation. With a keen eye to ways in which hierarchies of power shape the everyday and mundane experiences of common people, his work highlight often ignored and dismissed narratives of struggle in the contemporary moment as well as in eras gone by. Dr. Centino has taught courses at Loyola Marymount University, UC Irvine School of Law, CSU Long Beach, and UC Santa Barbara. Currently, he is an assistant professor at CSU Channel Islands.

Dr. Centino’s research focuses on the popular cultural practices of Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, including music, dance, food, art, and style. His most recent published works draw from his extensive research and documentation of the Latina/o “rockabilly” music scene in Southern California. Dr. Centino has contributed work to Boom: A Journal of California, Aztlan, El Mundo Zurdo, and The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture. This research has also allowed him to reach broad audiences through local newspapers such as LA Weekly and San Diego City Beat, television programs such as Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and through the radio waves on NPR’s Latino USA. Dr. Centino’s current interests examine shifting population demographics, immigrant community tastes, & workers rights in his ongoing study of ethnic supermarkets.

An avid supporter of community engagement and social justice, Dr.
Centino has worked with a broad cross section of community based organizations and labor unions in southern California, both in his capacity as an educator, as well as a volunteer. Dr. Centino brings over 20 years experience in grassroots, student, & labor solidarity activism and has worked nationally with students fighting for equal educational access for underrepresented communities.

A cultural producer, Dr. Centino co-founded the Barrio Boogie Music & Arts Festival in Boyle Heights and can be found hosting gatherings, concerts, and events examining Latina/o music, dance, and culture throughout California and beyond. An obsessive practitioner of vernacular jazz dance, Dr. Centino is also a part of a growing international community devoted to “Balboa” and “Los Angeles swing,” California’s native swing dances.

Representative Courses Taught

  • CHS 383 Latina/o Identity & Empowerment
  • CHS 401 Latina/o Workers in The Global Economy



Chicana/o Studies, Latina/o Pop Culture, Music, Cultural Memory

Additional Teaching and Research Information