Jose Manuel Garcia, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
“The most important component of my teaching philosophy rests on a successful relationship with my students and the positive impact of such interaction with a clear understanding that different students have different styles of learning and assimilating information. As a language instructor it is my sole responsibility to always convey my enthusiasm for my discipline and spark the student’s interest in other languages and cultures as they strive to achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Dr. José Manuel Garcia was born in Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980. He earned a B.S. in political science from Montclair State University and a master’s and a doctorate in Latin American literature from the University of Arizona. He is currently an associate professor of Hispanic literature and Latin American studies at Florida Southern College, where he is also coordinator of the Modern Languages department. At Florida Southern College, he has directed the study abroad program in Spain and created the first Latin American Studies minor. He also implemented the first Critical Languages Program, which offers Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and Japanese. Dr. Garcia’s academic research has focused mostly in the areas of U.S. Latino and Cuban American immigrant experience, film and culture. He has presented his academic research in many national and international conferences and has published various articles on these topics. In 2004, he published the book La literatura cubanoamericana y su imagen and most recently he wrote the script and co-produced the international award-winning documentary Voices From Mariel. The documentary is based on a book by the same title that was published in Spanish in 2012 and the English version will be published in 2016. His book and documentary are some of the most comprehensive oral history accounts of the 1980 Cuban exodus that is also known as the Mariel Boatlift. Since its release, the documentary has been received several awards in various national and international film festivals and has been shown in twenty colleges and universities across the United States. His documentary gained national recognition when it was featured on the Spanish language TV station NatGeo Mundo in North America and the Caribbean in the spring of 2012 and again in the fall of 2015 on the 35th anniversary of the Mariel boatlift. Dr. Garcia has also appeared in multiple media outlets such as Fox, PBS, Telemundo and ABC. In 2015, Dr. Garcia was awarded a Latin American Studies research grant from the University of Florida as he continues to research other topics related to Cuba and Cuban American affairs.
Ph.D., Latin American Literature, University of Arizona
M.A., Latin American and Peninsular Literature, University of Arizona
B.A., Political Science, Montclair State University
Honors and Awards
- Chinese Bridge "American Schools-Winter Program" USF Confusius Institute, December, 2010
- LDAC Summer Institute in Fort Louis, WA, 2010
- Sigma Delta Faculty Advisor 2009
- Granted Sabbatical Leave, Spring 2008
Publications and Exhibitions
La literatura cubanoamericana y su imagen, Miami, FL: Ediciones Universal, 2004
Munoz-Hjelm Ruth and Hall Ken; Studies in Honor of Lanin A. Gyurko Homenaje a Lanin Gyurko "Cine latinoamericano y cine latino en Estados Unidos". Newark, Delaware: Jaan de la Cuesta, 2009, pp. 113-136.
Jose Manuel Garcia, Ph.D., "Voices from Mariel: Oral Histories of the 1980 Cuban Boatlift". Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2018 Featured in April of 2018 in American Perspectives.