Program Faculty and Affiliates

Catherine S. Ramirez
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Latin American & Latino Studies
    • Merrill College
  • Affiliations Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
    831-459-3020
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-3125
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 108
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise American Studies, Border Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender Studies, Immigration, US History, Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Courses LALS 32: Citizens, Denizens, Aliens; LALS 100B: Cultural Theory in the Americas; LALS 112: Immigration and Assimilation; LALS 131: Latinx Literature; LALS 194A: Immigrant Storytelling; LALS 201: Research in Praxis; LALS 205: Comparison as Method

Summary of Expertise

Race, migration, and citizenship; Latinx literary, cultural, and visual studies; history of the present; United States cultural, ethnic, and immigration history; Mexican American history; immigrant narratives; comparative ethnic studies; feminist and gender studies; speculative fiction and alternative futurisms

Research Interests

I'm a scholar of race, migration, and citizenship; Mexican American, U.S., and women's history; immigrant narratives; Latinx literature; feminist and queer theory; popular, visual, and material culture; and speculative fiction. My current project explores the political economy of deservingness, with a focus on economic migrants and the welfare state in and beyond the United States.  


My book, Assimilation: An Alternative History (forthcoming from the University of California Press), excavates the history of the concept of assimilation in the United States and looks at what's at stake in debates about assimilation and assimilability.

With Sylvanna M. Falcón, Steve McKay, Juan Poblete, and Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, I'm co-editor of Precarity and Belonging: Labor, Migration, and Noncitizenship (forthcoming from Rutgers University Press). Our volume examines how the movement of people and their incorporation, marginalization, and exclusion, under epochal conditions of labor and social precarity, have challenged older notions of citizenship and alienage. We think mobility, precarity, and citizenship together in order to explore the points of contact and friction, and, thus, the spaces for a possible politics of commonality between citizens and noncitizens.


Precarity and Belonging stems from Borders and Belonging, a series of events on human migration that I convened in the spring of 2016 when I was director of UC Santa Cruz's Chicano Latino Research Center (now the Research Center for the Americas). Our volume also grows out of Non-citizenship, my 2016-17 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures


My first book, The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory  (Duke University Press, 2009), excavates the participation of Mexican American women in the World War II-era zoot subculture and looks at the significance of the figures of the pachuca and pachuco in twentieth-century Chicanx cultural production.

My work on Chicanafuturism, a term I coined in my 2004 essay, "Deus ex Machina: Tradition, Technology, and the Chicanafuturist Art of Marion C. Martinez," examines the nexus of race, gender, technology, environment, and futurity.  


Biography, Education and Training

I'm a historian of the present and the author of Assimilation: An Alternative History (forthcoming in 2020 from the University of California Press); The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory (Duke University Press, 2009); and several essays on race, gender, and science fiction. I'm also co-editing Precarity and Belonging: Labor, Migration, and Noncitizenship (forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in 2021) with Sylvanna M. Falcón, Steve McKay, Juan Poblete, and Felicity Amaya Schaeffer. 


From 2013 to 2018, I directed UC Santa Cruz’s Chicano Latino Research Center, now the Research Center for the Americas. Over 2016-17, I was the Principal Investigator of Non-citizenship, UC Santa Cruz’s first Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures.

A first-generation college student and a participant in the University of California’s First-Generation Initiative, I hold a Ph.D. in ethnic studies and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

I've been awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award, UC Santa Cruz’s highest teaching honor; a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; and a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.  

My current research interests are migration, citizenship, and labor.

 

Honors, Awards and Grants

Selected Publications

Selected Recordings

Click here for links to audio interviews. 

Teaching Interests

Migration and citizenship studies; history of the present; Latinx literary, cultural, and visual studies; United States cultural, ethnic, and immigration history and immigrant storytelling; Mexican American history; comparison as method in the humanities and qualitative social sciences; comparative ethnic studies; feminist and gender studies; speculative fiction and alternative futurisms