Sociology Faculty

Naya Jones
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor & Core Faculty in Global and Community Health Program
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Sociology Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Rachel Carson College Academic Building, 322
  • Mail Stop Rachel Carson College Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High St.
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise African Diaspora, African American / Black Studies, Agroecology and Agriculture, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Environmental Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Social Justice
  • Courses Healing Justice; Race, Somatics, and Food Pedagogy

Summary of Expertise

Naya Jones PhD (she/her/hers) is a critical geographer and cultural worker. In addition to research on embodied teaching and methodology, she studies Black geographies of collective health, ecology, and healing. She devotes particular attention to how these geographies feel, and to how feeling matters for everyday collective survival and movement-building. Much of her work focuses on Black geographies of North and Latin America (African-American and Afro-Latinx). 


Dr. Jones' background in traditional medicine (or "old ways") and in trauma-informed holistic health informs her approach, along with grounding in critical theory. As a Blaxicana scholar-cultural worker, archiving and reimagining traditional knowledge is central to her research practice. She often partners with practitioners and organizations as they mobilize traditional or local knowledge for justice. She consistently grapples with questions of race/racism, place, and "tradition." Dr. Jones also serves as a Communications Co-Chair for the Race in the Marketplace Network


Currently, Dr. Jones is working on a manuscript and creative project about African-American botanical knowledge and the Great Migration. She is also collaborating on a pedagogy project about Afro-Latinx migrant health. She is a former Culture of Health Leader, a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her work has also been supported by the Garden Club of America (Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany); the Wisconsin Arts Board; and the American Association of Geographers. 

Research Interests

Black geographies of health and healing; race/racism and health; traditional and indigenous medicine; food sovereignty; critical pedagogy; spirituality and social justice; arts-based methods; African-American and Afro-Latinx Studies

Biography, Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Primary Care Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2018

PhD, Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, 2016

MA, Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2008


Selected Publications

Jones, N. 2020. Intervention: Corner Stores, Surveillance, and All Black Afterlives. Antipode Online. Open Access>>


Jones, N. 2019. Dying to Eat? Black Food Geographies of Slow Violence and Resilience. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies,18 (5), 1076-99. Open Access>> 


·     Cotter, E, and Jones, N. 2019. Review of Latino/Latinx Participants in Mindfulness-Based Intervention Research. Mindfulness, 11


Thomas, KD and Jones, N. 2019. Critical Reflexivity: Teaching About Race and Racism in the Advertising Classroom. Advertising & Society Quarterly, 20 (2)


Jones, N. 2019. Revisiting the Corner Store: Black Youth, Food Geographies, and Gentrification. In Race in the Marketplace: Crossing Critical Boundaries, Johnson, GD, Thomas, KD, Harrison, A, Grier, SA. (Eds.) Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Currently Open Access>>


Jones, N. 2018. “It Tastes Like Heaven”: Critical Food Pedagogy with Black Youth in the Anthropocene. Policy Futures in Education, 17(7), 905-923.  


Further publications

Selected Exhibitions

Virtual Exhibit & Article: Dying to Eat? Black Food Geographies of Slow Violence and Resilience