CMMU Faculty

Catherine S. Ramirez
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Professor & Chair
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Latin American & Latino Studies
    • Merrill College
  • Affiliations Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, History of Art/Visual Culture
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 108
  • Office Hours Fall 2023: Monday, 8-10am. Please email me to schedule an appointment.
  • 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, Latin American and Latino Studies, Literature
  • Courses LALS 100B: Cultural Theory in the Americas, LALS 112: Immigration & Assimilation, LALS 131: Latinx Literature, LALS 137: Speculative Fiction & Chicanafuturism, LALS 190G: Global Internship, LALS 194A: Immigrant Storytelling, LALS 201: Research in Practice, LALS 205: Comparison as Method

Summary of Expertise

  • Latinx literature, history, visual culture & performance
  • Feminist & gender studies
  • Comparative ethnic studies
  • Latinxfuturism 

Research Interests

My expertise includes Latinx literature and visual culture, Mexican American women's history, zoot suits and style politics, immigration and assimilation, historical memory and erasure, and speculative fiction. 

I'm the author of Assimilation: An Alternative History (University of California Press, 2020) and The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory (Duke University Press, 2009).

With Sylvanna M. Falcón, Steven C. McKay, Juan Poblete, and Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, I'm coeditor of Precarity and Belonging: Labor, Migration, and Noncitizenship (Rutgers University Press, 2021). With A. Naomi Paik, I co-edit the Borderlands Section of Public Books.

Since 2002, I've published a dozen essays about Latinx speculative fiction, a field I helped build with my catalytic 2004 article, "Deus Ex Machina: Tradition, Technology, and the Chicanafuturist Art of Marion C. Martinez."

I've also written for The New York TimesThe Atlantic, and The Washington Post.   

I'm currently developing three projects. Bridging my work on Latinxfuturism and migration, "Consuelo's Children" uses speculative fiction to explore debates about birthright citizenship and demographic change in the Global North in the twenty-first century. With Jonathan X. Inda and Rebecca Schreiber, I am coediting Bioprecarity: Latinx Migrants, Captivity, and Resistance, a volume that grows out of our 2022-24 Crossing Latinidades Andrew W. Mellon grant. And Latinx Studies: A Primer intervenes in the ongoing culture wars by offering teachers and program-builders an accessible guide for implementing and growing Latinx studies in secondary and higher education. 

Biography, Education and Training

I'm Professor and chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

From 2013 to 2018, I directed UC Santa Cruz’s Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (formerly the Chicano Latino Research Center).

In 2014, my colleagues and I launched our doctoral program, the first in the world to link Latinx and Latin American studies. I help shape and expand these fields and I work for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive university via my program-building, advising, mentoring, fundraising, and leadership. 

In addition to UC Santa Cruz's Excellence in Teaching Award, I've won grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, UC Online, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. 

I'm a first-generation college graduate and have a PhD in ethnic studies and a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley. 

For my CV and more information about me and my work, please visit my website.

Honors, Awards and Grants

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations

Selected Recordings


Teaching Interests

  • Latinx literature
  • Immigrant storytelling
  • Speculative fiction, Afrofuturism and Latinxfuturism
  • Immigration and assimilation
  • Comparison as method in the humanities and qualitative social sciences
  • Research in Practice 
  • Global Internship (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Latin American Spain (under review)