Nicholas Villanueva
Associate Professor • Director of Critical Sports Studies
Critical Sports Studies • Chicanx / Latinx Studies

Office Location: Ketchum 273

Pronouns: he / him / his



Ph.D., Vanderbilt University - History, 2013
M.A., Vanderbilt University - History, 2009
B.A., Missouri University of Science and Technology - History, 2006

Research Interests

Social issues in sport; nationhood and nationalism; Latinx studies; collective violence in U.S. history

Nicholas (Nick) Villanueva is an Associate Professor and Director of Critical Sports Studies. He is the author of three books and has a forthcoming book, Liberation, Sport, and the History of the International Gay Rodeo Association. Villanueva received two national book prizes for his work in Latinx studies. Villanueva’s current book project is an autoethnography of the Latinx rodeo experience in the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). #My Gay Rodeo: Decolonizing Rodeo Through a Gay Vaquero Autoethnography is an intersectional examination of Latinx identity, Queer expression, rural lifestyle intricacies, and the paradox of masculine capital. #My Gay Rodeo is a cutting-edge experiment in examining identity manipulation that he lays claim to be known as Cowboy Drag, which reveals the fluidity of Latinx masculinity. Villanueva accomplishes this through complete immersion in the IGRA, by competing in twelve rodeos during an eleven-month season. In addition to his research and teaching at CU, Villanueva works with the United States Department of the State and its Sport for Diplomacy program. In this role, he conducts workshops on social justice at the US Olympic Training Center for visiting international coaches. His awards and fellowships include the 2018 Disability Services Faculty of the Year Award, the University of Colorado President’s Fund for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford Foundation, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and North American Society for Sports History Diversity Award. Villanueva is a first-generation college graduate. He honorably served for eight years in the US Army and received the National Defense Service Medal. An avid outdoors person, Nick is thrilled to call Colorado his home.

Selected Publications


Critical Sports Studies: A Document Reader, Second Edition, Cognella Inc. Publishing, 2024; First Edition, Cognella Inc. Publishing, 2019

Liberation, Sport, and the History of the International Gay Rodeo Association, University of Nebraska Press, 2024

Athlete as National Symbol: Critical Essays on International Sport, Edited Volume, McFarland Press, 2020

Lynching of Mexicans in the Texas Borderland, University of New Mexico Press, 2017

Articles and Book Chapters

“Cowboy Masculinity, Homophobia, and Gay Rodeo in the United States Plains,” Great Plains Quarterly, under review

“Lynching of Mexicans,” in Michael Pfeifer Terrible Legacy: Encyclopedia of Lynching in America, invited contributor, accepted for AABC-CLIO

“National Reno Gay Rodeo and the Gay Liberation Movement in Nevada,” Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Summer 2021

“The Lynching of Mexicans in the Texas Borderlands: The Roots of Anti-Mexican Prejudice,” Somos En Escrito Literary Foundation Press, May 2021

“A Rodeo to Call Their Own: Vaqueros and the Gay Rodeo,” in Arturo Aldama & Frederick Aldama edited volume, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities, University of Arizona Press, 2020 

“Decade of Disorder: The Execution of Leon Martinez, Jr., and the First Four Years of the Mexican Revolution,” in Douglas W. Richmond and Sam Hayes, eds., The Mexican Revolution: Conflict and Consolidation, 1910-1940, Texas A&M University Press, 2013

“Sincerely Yours for Dignified Manhood: Lynching, Violence, and American Masculinity During the Early Years of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1914,” Journal of the West, 2010

Works in Progress (single author)

#My Gay Rodeo: Decolonizing Rodeo Through a Gay Vaquero Autoethnography