Updated: May 2005

Joseph Ridout

California Legislative Advocate

As California Legislative Advocate, Ridout is repsonsible for the development of Consumer Action's positions on state legislation and proposed regulations. Ridout, who has been with Consumer Action since 2004, also guides the organization's referral and assistance hotline team, and serves as a media spokesperson for the organization.

A former Fulbright scholar who holds bachelor degrees in History and Psychology with high honors from Wesleyan University, and a master's degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas, Ridout has worked as a researcher at the consumer group Public Citizen, where he wrote editorial opinions and researched global warming and alternative energy sources. While at Public Citizen in Texas, Ridout helped organize citizens to resist coal-fired power plants in their neighborhoods and designed presentations, fact sheets and talking points for activists.

Ridout, who is bilingual in English/Spanish, has lived in Mexico and Central America for extended periods and has delivered academic presentations in Spanish and worked as a professional translator in both Latin America and the U.S. He has speaking and reading ability at near-fluency in Kaqchikel Maya and reading and research ability in Portuguese.

In Monterrey, Mexico, Ridout taught history in both English and Spanish at the Instituto Tecnologico. Some of the classes were straight history courses, while others explored broad social issues in Mexican society, including race, class and the environment. In the summer of 1999, Ridout translated El Paso’s city plan for designing affordable housing for people with disabilities from English into Spanish under consultancy for the Enterprise Foundation.

As a Fulbright scholar in Guatemala from October 1996 to January 1998, Ridout conducted archival research in the country’s Archivo Nacional de Centroamérica and other archives, and did over 100 interviews with elderly Guatemalan men and women as additional research for his dissertation. In addition to the Fulbright Fellowship, Ridout is the recipient of two Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships, travel grants from the University of Texas and the Walkley Prize for outstanding original research.

Ridout's publications and papers and papers include:

  • "La historia oral de los kaqchikeles bajo Jorge Ubico" (presented at Centro de investigaciones regionales centroamericanas, Antigua, Guatemala, 1997).
  • "Guerrilla Resistance in Northeastern Mexico during the United States' Invasion, 1846-1848: Its Impact on Regional Identity" (presented at the 37th Western Social Sciences Conference, Oakland, CA in 1995).
  • "An 'Anti-National Disorder': Antonio Canales and the Republic of the Rio Grande" (presented at the conference of the Pacific Historical Association, Maui, HI, in 1995).
  • "Olfactory Perception and Olfactory Memory: A Multidimensional Analysis," Journal of Experimental Psychology, April, 1993.


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