LALS Faculty - Recognition

Gabriela Arredondo

Professor Gabriela Arredondo is the author of Mexican Chicago: Race, Identity and Nation, 1916-1939 (Illinois, 2008) and co-editor of Chicana Feminisms: A Critical Reader (Duke, 2003).  Current research projects include a history of pro-immigrant organizations and a comparative project on historical constructions of racial mixing.  The Organization of American Historians elected her to serve as Distinguished Lecturer, and she won a Golden Apple Teaching Award in recognition of her passion for teaching.

Sylvanna Falcón

Assistant Professor Sylvanna Falcón is the author of Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activists inside the United Nations [University of Washington Press, 2016], which won the National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Award in 2016.  She is also the co-editor of New Directions in Feminism and Human Rights [Routledge, 2011], and has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Feminist Formations, Journal of Women’s History, Gender & Society, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Societies Without Borders, and Social Justice.  She is a former co-consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and the recipient of two prestigious postdoctoral fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation  (2013-2014) and the University of California Office of the President (2008-2010). She is also the host of a weekly news and public affairs radio program called Voces Críticas/Critical Voices on KZSC. Her current research is about transitional justice in Peru.

Adrian Felix

Assistant Professor Adrián Félix recently received two awards to help with the completion of his book manuscript tentatively titled "Migrant Mythologies of Transnational Citizenship: The Political Life Cycle of Mexican Migrants".  The first was the Notre Dame Institute for Latino Studies Young Scholars Symposium and the second was the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty (both awarded in 2016).

Rosa-Linda Fregoso

Professor Rosa-Linda Fregoso is the 2014 recipient of the American Studies Association's Angela Y Davis award for Public Scholarship.  She is the author of five books including Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas (co-edited with Cynthia Bejarano, 2010); meXicana Encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands (2003) awarded the Modern Language Association prize in U.S. Latina/o and Chicana/o Literary and Cultural Studies. An Emeritus Professor, Fregoso works pro bono as “country expert” on gender asylum cases.


Fernando Leiva

Associate Professor Fernando Leiva is the author of Latin American Neostructuralism: The Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), among other books and articles.  He has just finished the book manuscript The Left Hand of Capital: The Center-Left, Governability, and Social Movements in Chile. His current research deploys a critical cultural political economy approach to examine the interaction between the material and semiotic underpinnings in efforts to manage the contradictory development of Chile’s extractive mining sector as well as California’s Silicon and Salinas Valleys. He is co-creator of “Building an Inner Sanctuary,” a program for supporting documented and undocumented students and immigrant communities.  He has been invited to join the  transnational research team for the project “Development and Work in 21st Century Latin America: Options, Challenges, and Promises” coordinated by Dr. Viviana Patroni (York University) and Dr. Ruth Felder (University at Albany).

Professor Lourdes Martínez-Echazábal is the author of seminal book, Para una semiotica de la mulatez (Towards a Semiotics of Mulatto Identity), 1990, editor of Homenaje a Manuel Granados (2005) and co-editor of Genealogies of Displacement (2002).  Her work, which has appeared in numerous refereed journals and edited books, spans the fields of critical race studies in Latin American, Latin American women's writings, Cuban literature and Cinema, mestizaje in Latin America, and gender and sexuality in Cuba. Her most recent publications include, a critical conversation focusing on the live and works of the late (Afro) Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez that also sheds light on Havana’s Black middle class life in the late 50s and early 60s, (2015) and the forward (with Amy Lind) to the seminal book Queering Paradigms of Modernity (2015). She is currently working on two projects: a article or book chapter entitled “Queer (Im)Possibilities in Cuba?” and on a book manuscript tentatively entitled, “Writing Cuban Culture: Race, Sexuality and Affect.”  Throughout the course of her academic career, she has won numerous awards from prestigious organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Association. She was Provost of Merrill College from 2005 to 2011, Acting Chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies Department (Spring 2014) and Chair of the same department during the 2014 – 2015 academic year.  Most recently (July 2016),  she delivered the keynote presentation at II Seminario e Treinamento em Metodología de Pesquisa sobre Sexuaidade, Gênero e Direitos Humanos, a multi-day seminar co-sponsored by the University of the State of Bahia (UNEB) and the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). She treasures informed travel as the preferred venue for learning and grappling with all forms of differences.

Associate Professor Patricia de Santana Pinho is the author of Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia (Duke University Press, 2010), an updated and expanded version of Reinvenções da África na Bahia (Editora Annablume, 2004), which received an honorary award from the Latin American Studies Association “Premio IberoAmericano” best book prize. She has contributed book chapters to several edited volumes and published in Latin American Perspectives, Latin American Research Review, Small Axe, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, Les Carnets du Lahic, and Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais. Her current research on African American roots tourism in Brazil examines the construction of black transnational solidarity within the geopolitical context of the African diaspora. She recently co-edited with Bianca Freire-Medeiros a special issue on tourism and mobilities of Revista Plural available at:


Associate Professor Catherine Ramírez Catherine Ramírez's research and writing look at US cultural history via the lenses of Mexican American history and literature.  She is director of the Chicano Latino Research Center and was the Principal Investigator of Non-citizenship, UC Santa Cruz's 2016-17 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture.  She has also won awards from the Ford Foundation, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, and UC Humanities Network, as well as UC Santa Cruz’s Excellence in Teaching Award.  She is the author of The Woman in the Zoot Suit:  Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory (Duke University Press, 2009) and numerous essays on race, gender, and science fiction.  Her current book project is titled Assimilation:  An Alternative History

Cecilia Rivas

Associate Professor Cecilia M. Rivas is the author of Salvadoran Imaginaries: Mediated Identities and Cultures of Consumption (Rutgers UP, 2014). This book explores a diverse range of sites where the nation’s postwar identity is forged. Her article “Beyond Borders and Remittances: Discussing Salvadoran Emigrant Voting Rights” appeared in the special issue on Salvadoran Migration to the United States of Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development (2010). Her current research in Southern Mexico, supported by grants from UC-MEXUS and PIMSA, examines migration and structural conditions in that region. Professor Rivas is also writing a book about modernity and nationalism in El Salvador.

Jessica Taft

Associate Professor Jessica Taft iis the author of Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas (NYU Press, 2011) and is a series editor for the new NYU Press book series "Critical Perspectives on Youth."  Her current research on intergenerational relationships in the Peruvian movement of working children has received funding from the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame and the American Sociological Association's Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline.

Patricia Zavella

Professor Pat Zavella was honored with the Society for the Anthropology of North America Distinguished Career Achievement in the Critical Study of North America Award and Scholar of the Year by the Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies in 2003. She received an “Honorable Mention” for the 2009-10 Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. Her new book, “I’m Neither Here nor There:” Mexicans Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty (Duke University Press) was published in 2011.

Additional Research

Professor Adrian Félix


This policy brief is the product of several years of conducting political ethnographic research and volunteer work in citizenship classrooms and workshops in California and beyond.  Early in my graduate career, I can clearly remember reading research in political science that described the experience of Latino migrants who naturalized and the “joyous tears” they shed at their citizenship ceremonies, implying that these migrants were now jubilant “new Americans.”  This interpretation contrasted sharply with the lived experiences of my own friends and family who became naturalized U.S. citizens, for whom the experience was bittersweet at best.  For many of these Mexican migrants, the naturalization experience was characterized by institutional intimidation and humiliation on the part of immigration authorities.   By conducting in-depth interviews and focus groups among Mexican migrants in citizenship classrooms, I found that these negative experiences of naturalization had a lot to do with why Mexican migrants retained strong cross-border loyalties and ethnic attachments to their communities and country of origin even after they became U.S. citizens.  These transnational allegiances were aptly captured by Los Tigres del Norte in their song Mis Dos Patrias: “pero que importa si soy nuevo ciudadano/sigo siendo Mexicano como el pulque y el nopal…” Rather than blaming migrants of being unwilling to “assimilate”, in this policy brief I argue that the U.S. federal government has to do a better job of preventing negative experiences of naturalization and radically reformulate its citizenship norms to allow for alternative possibilities of transnational political membership and belonging.  As part of my commitment to this citizenship ideal, I began offering a free weekend citizenship class for adult migrants in Santa Cruz, co-taught with UCSC undergraduate volunteers.  If you are interested in participating in this citizenship class contact me at: