2023-2024 Archive

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the department focused on the following types of hybrid gatherings: those in which we shared our own research and with invited project partners and professionalization workshops for graduate students.

    Fall 2023 Quarter

  • Michelle Gomez Parra on Desiring a Better Life: Heteronormativity and Generational Negotiations among Latinas

    Thursday, November 02, 2023

    Time: 11:40 am - 1:15pm
    Location: RCC 301 + Zoom (registration)

    Desiring a Better Life examines how heteronormativity and undergoing a mobility experience of either migration or higher education shapes Latinas' own gender and sexual subjectivities as well as generational conversations of sex, pleasure, and dating among mother-daughter dyads. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 53 college-going daughters and 11 of their migrant mothers, digital and in person ethnographic observations with 7 daughters, and a discourse analysis of 78 Tik-Tok videos utilizing the hashtag “#hotcheetogirl,” this project offers heteronormativity matrix of domination, a framework rooted in intersectionality, Black feminist thought, and transnational feminist theory, for examining how multiple, historical, context-specific formations intersect to shape the social construction of heteronormativity. As such, this presentation employs this framework to examine how national and regional forces have led to the formation of two discourses of heteronormativity, that of the “chola” and “hot cheeto girl,” and the impacts these narratives have on low-income urban Latinas’ mobility trajectories and gender and sexual subjectivities. This talk also examines how the discourse of uno nunca sabe (you never know what bad things can happen) that migrant mothers draw on to teach their daughters about sex reflects how mothers' migratory journeys and first-hand experiences with economic, racial, gender, and sexual oppression in Latin America and the US, shape Latina daughters’ college-going experiences and subjectivities. Overall, this project contributes to the fields of Sociology, Sexualities, Gender Studies, and Feminist Studies as it reveals that heteronormativity (normative gender and sexuality) are critical sites for resisting and reproducing intersecting social problems, such as poverty, racism, and nation-making projects.

    Michelle Gomez Parra (she/ella) is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department with a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latinx Studies at The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She uses feminist theories of color and qualitative methods to examine sexual, gender, racial, and economic formations in the Americas. Her dissertation examines the ways in intersecting structures of power produce heteronormativity (normative gender and sexuality), subsequently shaping Latinas' mobility experiences of migration and higher education, their gender and sexual lives, and generational conversations of sex between migrant mothers and their college-going daughters. Michelle’s research has been funded by the Sociologist for Women in Society, the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Sexualities Section, the American Educational Research Association, and the UC Pre-Professoriate Fellowship. Her research has been published in Gender & Society as well as Sex Education.


  • Winter 2024 Quarter

  • Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop: Teaching-Focused Academic Positions

    Thursday, February 01, 2024

    Time: 12:00 - 1:15pm
    Location: RCC 301 + Zoom

    Join us in RCC 301 or on Zoom for an online workshop presentation about teaching-focused academic positions. Amanda Mireles, Assistant Teaching Professor in sociology at the University of California, Merced, will share expertise on a range of topics including: what can students do to prepare for teaching-focused tenure-track roles, how should students think about the interview process for teaching-focused roles, and how to craft a compelling teaching demonstration. We will save time for Q&A as well, so please bring your questions too. 

    Amanda Mireles is an Assistant Teaching Professor in sociology at the University of California, Merced. Her research areas of interest are inclusive pedagogy, social inequality, gender, family, and work. At UC Merced, she teaches courses on social inequality, sociology of the family, sociological research methods, and statistics for sociology. She previously taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Mills College. She earned her PhD in sociology from Stanford University and her bachelor's degree in sociology with certificates in African American studies and Latino Studies from Princeton University.

    Liz Koslov on What does managed retreat mean in the context of wildfire? An interdisciplinary research agenda

    Thursday, April 25, 2024

    Time: 12:00 - 1:15pm
    Location: RCC 301 + Zoom

    Save-the-Date! Join the Center for Critical Urban & Environmental Studies (CUES) and WUI Research for Resilience (WRR) scholars, in RCC 301 and over Zoom, for a discussion with Liz Koslov on emerging work on the similarities of flood/managed retreat questions to fire issues.

    “Managed retreat,” or planned relocation away from high-risk areas, is increasingly seen as a necessary response to a range of climate-linked hazards, from floods and hurricanes to, more recently, catastrophic wildfires. The emerging geography of retreat is neither wholly natural nor inevitable; it is the product of social geography as well as physical geography, of social dynamics, policy decisions, cultural narratives, and patterns of uneven and racialized development that render some people and places more vulnerable and others relatively secure. These patterns hold across landscapes of fire and flood, but there are important differences to consider in conceiving and enacting retreat as a response to wildfire versus flooding. This talk draws on cases from New York and California to examine the challenges and questions that retreat poses in practice, and what it reveals as it moves across social, cultural, and environmental contexts.

    Liz Koslov is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Environment and Sustainability, and Sociology at UCLA. Her research brings an interdisciplinary ethnographic approach to analyzing struggles over urban space in the context of climate change. She is currently writing a book, Retreat, about community organizing for home buyouts among coastal property owners after Hurricane Sandy. Her published work includes articles in Public Culture, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Annual Review of Sociology, and other outlets, as well as the collectively authored book, People or Property: Legal Contradictions, Climate Resettlement, and the View from Shifting Ground. Previously, Dr. Koslov served on the inaugural steering committee of the Climigration Network, which brings together community leaders, researchers, and practitioners to generate equitable, just, and community-led approaches to climate relocation.

    Before joining UCLA, Dr. Koslov was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She received a PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU, where she worked with the Institute for Public Knowledge and the Superstorm Research Lab, a mutual aid research collective studying climate change, inequality, and urban politics. She holds an MSc in Culture and Society from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Communication and Spanish and Latin American Literature from the George Washington University. 

    Book Celebration: The Natural Border: Bounding Migrant Farmwork in the Black Mediterranean

    Tuesday, May 14, 2024

    Time: 3:00 - 5:00pm
    Location: moved to Quarry Amphitheater

    Save-the-Date! Join the Sociology Department together with the Center for Critical Urban & Environmental Studies (CUES) and The Black Geographies Lab, in RCC 301 and over Zoom, to discuss The Natural Border (Cornell University Press, 2023) with author Tim Raeymakers.

    About The Natural Border: Bounding Migrant Farmwork in the Black Mediterranean 

    The Natural Border tells the recent history of Mediterranean rural capitalism from the perspective of marginalized Black African farm workers. Timothy Raeymaekers shows how in the context of global supply chains and repressive border regimes, agrarian production and reproduction are based on fundamental racial hierarchies.

    Taking the example of the tomato—a typical 'Made in Italy' commodity—Raeymaekers asks how political boundaries are drawn around the land and the labor needed for its production, what technologies of exclusion and inclusion enable capitalist operations to take place in the Mediterranean agrarian frontier, and which practices structure the allocation, use and commodification of land and labor across the tomato chain. While the mobile infrastructures that mobilize, channel, commodify and segregate labor play a central role in the 'naturalization' of racial segregation, they are also terrains of contestation and power—and thus, as The Natural Border demonstrates, reflect the tense socio-ecological transformation the Mediterranean border space is going through today.

    Timothy Raeymaekers is Senior Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Cultures at the University of Bologna, and Affiliated Researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.