Michael Damien Aguirre, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Michael Aguirre
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Michael D. Aguirre is a historian of the United States, Mexican American and Latina/o/x history, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He is particularly interested in political economy, labor, (im)migration, race and health. His first book project is a study of the Western U.S.-Mexico borderlands from the 1960s to the 1980s. Focused especially on the Imperial Valley-Mexicali borderlands, it explores the development of a border regime that supported the free flow of capital, the regulation of people and the labor and health strategies exercised by working people on both sides of the border that reflected their transborder movement. In addition to archival methods, Aguirre practices oral history to capture what is left out of written records as well as public history to communicate with broader audiences.

Before joining the department, Aguirre was a postdoctoral fellow with the Inequality in America Initiative at Harvard University. He was also a postdoctoral fellow with the World Economic Forum's New Equality and Inclusion Agenda. At the University of Washington, his dissertation won the Distinguished Dissertation Prize from the Graduate School. Aguirre has received generous support from the Department of History at the University of Washington, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Hoover Institution, the Walter Reuther Library, and the Center for Engaged Scholarship.

Research interests

  • Mexican American, Chicana/o/x, Latina/o/x/ history
  • 20th century United States
  • (Im)migration
  • Borderlands
  • Intersection of race, labor and healthcare

Selected publications

  • Prasad Swaminathan and Laura D. Tyson et al., “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 4.0: A Toolkit for Our Leaders to Accelerate Social Progress in the Future of Work,” World Economic Forum, June 2020: 1-20.
  • “Identities, Quandaries, and Emotions: Labor in the Imperial-Mexicali Borderlands,” Southern California Quarterly, vol. 102, no. 3 (Fall 2020): 222-249. Winner of the Doyce B. Nunis, Jr. Award from Historical Society of Southern California.
  • “Excavating the Chicano Movement: Chicana Feminism, Mobilization, and Leadership at El Centro de la Raza, 1972-1979,” in Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era, eds. Maylei Blackwell, Maria Cotera, and Dionne Espinoza. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2018, 174-188.
  • “A Brief History of LGBTQ Activism in Seattle,” (with Kevin McKenna), Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, 2016.

Courses taught

  • HIST 320: Hispanic Culture in the U.S.
  • HIST 403: Modern American Civilizations
  • HIST 444A/644A: U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
  • HIST 102C: U.S. History Since 1877


  • Ph.D., History, University of Washington, Seattle, 2019
  • M.A., History, University of Washington, Seattle, 2012
  • B.A., History and Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego, 2008