Faculty Research

Research Description

Lisa Cacho's work demonstrates how race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and legality work interdependently to assign human value and to render relations of inequality normative, natural, and obvious in both dominant and oppositional discourses. To understand how the rhetoric and discourse of value are both institutionalized and popularized to devastating effect, she analyzes a range of sources, such as ballot measures ascribing “illegality” to persons, legal provisions targeting “criminal aliens,” court documents evaluating degrees of “guilt,” and related media accounts that manage and make sense of racial contradictions. Her book, Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected (NYU press, 2012) examines the ways in which representations of race and race relations mediate how we affectively and intellectually apprehend criminal justice and civil/human rights.

Research Interests

comparative race and ethnic studies
criminalization and immigration
women of color feminism and queer of color critique

Research Description

Julie Dowling is currently working on a project on how various racial groups feel about the government. The project draws on interviews in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as original survey data from Illinois and California.  

Research Interests

Racial/Ethnic Identity 

Racial Attitudes and Ideology

Gender and Sexuality

Immigration   

Research Description

Prof. Inda is currently working on a book tentatively titled Confined to Death: Uncaring Medicine and the Necropolitics of Detention. The book focuses on the deadly consequences of care in immigration detention. It argues that the states’ responsibility to care for those in its custody clashes with the governmental and popular construction of immigrants as undeserving criminals, producing what he calls “uncaring medicine.” This is a type of medicine that cares little for migrant bodies, providing only enough care to minimally sustain life. The goal of detention care appears to be nurturing the lives of detainees only modestly—to give them just enough care so that they are in good enough health to be released or deported. This just enough approach to medical care in detention has disastrous consequences for detainees. Many migrants need more than just enough health care. Since 2003, there have been about 188 deaths in immigration detention. Substandard care contributed to many of these deaths. Ultimately, the book suggests that spaces of detention function as technologies of elimination where migrants are uncaringly treated to death.

Research Interests

  • Immigration politics and policy
  • Criminalization and punishment
  • Race, science, and medicine
  • Culture and globalization
  • Latina/o populations in the United States

Research Description

Natalie Lira's research uncovers the largely neglected racial aspects of California’s eugenic sterilization program by providing evidence of the disproportionate institutionalization and sterilization of Mexican-origin women and men in state hospitals for the disabled during the first half of the twentieth century. Mobilizing an interdisciplinary mix of feminist, critical racial, and historical lenses, Dr. Lira's research illustrates how stereotypes of Mexican-origin women and men as mentally inferior, hypersexual, criminal and unfit for citizenship came together with emerging medical and scientific concepts of deviance, delinquency, and disability to justify institutionalization and reproductive constraint. Through statistical and discursive analyses of thousands of sterilization requests, consent forms, institutional publications, and social science theses her work shows how eugenic ideas about national and racial health, disability, and immigration determined the reproductive future of institutionalized populations. In addition to documenting Mexican-origin women and men's experiences of institutionalization and sterilization, Dr. Lira's research unearths the various ways Mexican-origin patients and their families challenged institutional authorities and sought to prevent sterilization. In doing so, her work figures Mexican-origin women and men's experiences of reproductive constraint, institutionalization, and their anti- sterilization efforts as central to twentieth century histories of racial and reproductive struggles.

Research Interests

Latina/o and Ethnic Studies
The politics of reproduction
Disability Studies
Chicana feminism
Histories of racial and reproductive justice
Histories of medicine and public health

Research Description

Isabel Molina-Guzmán's research examines the relationship between ethnoracial, gender, sexual identity and media discourses in the reproduction of inequality.  She is author of Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in the Media (NYU Press, 2010) and Latinas and Latinos on Television: Colorblind Comedy in the Postracial Network Era (University of Arizona Press, 2018). Her works have appeared in numerous edited collected and academic journals such as Latino Studies, Journalism, Popular Communication, Critical Studies in Media and Communication.

Research Interests

ethnoracial identity
gender/sexuality
media/journalism studies
discourse analysis

Research Interests

  • US Latina/Latino Literature
  • Mexican Literature and Culture
  • Cultural Studies
  • Film and Film Theory

Research Description

Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance (NYU Press, June 2019) investigates the relationship between Puerto Rican subjectivity, gender, sexuality, and revolutionary performance under colonial time. Ruiz argues that Ricanness—a continual performance of bodily endurance against US colonialism through different measures of time—uncovers what’s at stake politically for the often unwanted, anticolonial, racialized and sexualized enduring body. Moving among theatre, experimental video, revolutionary protest, photography, poetry, and durational performance art, Ricanness stages scenes in which the philosophical, social, and psychic come together at the site of aesthetics, against the colonization of time. Analyzing the work of artists and revolutionaries like ADÁL, Lebrón, Papo Colo, Pedro Pietri, and Ryan Rivera, Ricanness imagines a Rican future through the time travel extended in their aesthetic interventions, illustrating how they have reformulated time itself through nonlinear aesthetic practices.

Research Interests

Performance Studies, Puerto Rican Studies, Latinx Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Gender, Sexuality & Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Continental Philosophy, Contemporary American Literature, Theatre Studies, Minoritarian Aesthetics