Sociology Faculty

Camilla Hawthorne
  • Pronouns she/they
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Sociology Department
    • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliations Science & Justice Research Center, Legal Studies, John R. Lewis College
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Rachel Carson College Academic Building, 204
  • Office Hours
  • Mail Stop Rachel Carson College Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High St.
    • Santa Cruz California 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Sociology, African Diaspora, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, African American / Black Studies, Immigration, Activism, Discrimination and Inequality, Labor and Social Movements
  • Courses SOCY105B: Contemporary Social Theory, SOCY117E: Migrant Europe, SOCY170P: The Political Economy of Race, SOCY196S: Black Geographies and the Imperative of Abolition, SOCY202: Contemporary Social Theory, SOCY240: Identity and Inequality, SOCY290W: Black Geographies

Summary of Expertise

I am Associate Professor of Sociology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies at the UC Santa Cruz. My work addresses the racial politics of migration and citizenship and the insurgent, abolition geographies of the Black Mediterranean. I am co-editor of The Black Mediterranean: Bodies, Borders, and Citizenship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) and The Black Geographic: Praxis, Resistance, Futurity (Duke University Press, 2023), and author of Contesting Race and Citizenship: Youth Politics in the Black Mediterranean (Cornell University Press, 2022), translated into Italian as Razza e cittadinanza. Frontiere contese e contestate nel Mediterraneo nero (Astarte Edizioni, 2023).

I am founder and co-director of the UCSC Black Geographies Lab. I am also a faculty affiliate of the Science & Justice Research Center, the Italian Studies Program, the Legal Studies Program, and the Visualizing Abolition Studies Certificate Program. Beyond UC Santa Cruz, I am Past Chair of the Black Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers, and I serve on the editorial boards of the journals Environment and Planning D: Society & Space and California Italian Studies

I am project manager and faculty member of the Black Europe Summer School, a two-week intensive course on citizenship, race, and the Black diaspora in Europe that is held for two weeks each summer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In addition, I continue to collaborate with activist collectives in the United States and Europe working at the intersection of anti-Blackness and xenophobia.

Research Interests

My current project, Black Mediterranean Geographies of Abolition: Toward a Relational Theorization of Global Racisms, explores the connections between Black liberation struggles in southern Europe and North America. It does so through the development of a relational theoretical framework for understanding not only the links between antiracist political movements across borders, but also the intertwined histories of racism and colonialism that defy methodological nationalisms and bounded geographical comparisons. From a conjunctural analysis of U.S. Reconstruction and the Italian Risorgimento staged via a critical dialogue between Du Bois and Gramsci, to a study of circulations between prison abolitionists in the United States and Frontex abolitionists in Italy, this book weaves an interconnected, global story about abolition geographies stretching across the Black Mediterranean and Black Atlantic diasporas. These diasporas are connected through histories of racial capitalist dispossession, technologies of displacement and confinement, and creative strategies of resistance and world-building.

Biography, Education and Training

  • PhD: Geography and Science and Technology Studies, UC Berkeley (2018)
  • MPA: Brown University (2010)
  • AB: International Relations and Africana Studies, Brown University (2009)

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship (2024-2025)
  • Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation Young Investigator Award for Innovation in the Study of Italian Culture (2022)
  • Leonardo da Vinci Humanities Award for Early Career Researchers/Scholars (2021)
  • “Woman of the Year,” Corriere della Sera (2020)
  • UC Santa Cruz Humanities Institute Research Cluster Grant (2020)
  • UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation Building Belonging Grant (2020)
  • Hellman Foundation Fellowship (2020)
  • UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation Book Manuscript Accelerator Grant (2020)
  • UCHRI Short-Term Research Residence Award (Co-PI with Jennifer Kelly) (2019)
  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship (2014)
  • Eugene Cota-Robles Graduate Fellowship (2012)
  • Presidential Management Fellowship (2010)
  • Liman Public Interest Law Fellowship (2009)

Selected Publications



Journal Articles

 Journal Special Issues Edited


Book Chapters