His research interests have centered on questions regarding the ontology and autonomy of the work of art (including photography and the novel); the history of literary theories of interpretation (including New Criticism and Reader-Response Theory); the tension between identity politics and the politics of the Left (including Marxism and labor organizing); and the institutional history of ethnic studies programs (including Chicano and Latino Studies).
"Presupposing Chicanos: Literary Criticism and the Emergence of Chicano Literature"
José Antonio participates in the American Cultures Workshop at the University of Chicago, usually in the role of paper respondent.
Leonard Ramirez, Jose Perales, and Jose Arellano, "Marchando al Futuro: Latino Immigrant Rights Leadership in Chicago," in Marcha: Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement, ed. Amalia Pallares and Nilda Flores-González (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010)
José Antonio Arellano (M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2007) specializes in American, African American and Chicano Literatures from the mid-nineteenth through the end of the twentieth century. His dissertation examines the role played by literary critics and activists in consolidating a distinctly Chicano/a literature, and studies the political function this literature was understood to perform. Arellano revises the characterization of the Chicano/a movement as a working class political intervention by describing Chicano activism as participating in the Cold War Civil Rights era, the institutional “Program Era,” and the economic “Age of Inequality.” By understanding what the Chicano movement and literature were and what they collectively gained, he argues, we might better assess the political efficacy of continuing the legacy of Chicano activism today.
José Antonio has taught literature and composition courses since 2005 at various institutions, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lewis University, and Triton Community College. Along with teaching, he has helped coordinate the Summer Success Seminar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is an active writing tutor for the University of Chicago Writing Program and The Chicago Academic Achievement Program.