Natalia Molina

"If we understand the many historical factors that shaped where we are today, then we have the power to re-imagine where we can go from here."

Natalia Molina’s work lies at the intersections of race, gender, culture, and citizenship. She is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Natalia is the author of two award-winning books, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts and Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1940, as well as co-editor of Relational Formations of Race: Theory, Method and Practice. Her work examines the interconnectedness of racial and ethnic communities through her concept of “racial scripts” which looks at how practices, customs, policies and laws that are directed at one group and are readily available and hence easily applied to other groups. She continues to explore the themes of race, space, labor, immigration, gender and urban history in her forthcoming book Place-making at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles Nourished its Community.

Natalia is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, and her work has been supported by various organizations including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford, Mellon and Rockefeller Foundation. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. In 2018, she was the Organization of American Historians China Residency scholar. She has also been the recipient of various awards for her diversity work, including by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. During her tenure at the University of California, Natalia served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Diversity and Equity. She has also served twice as the Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities and before that as the Director for University of California Education Abroad Program in Spain.

An accomplished speaker, Natalia enjoys opportunities for intellectual and cultural exchanges and has lectured in Latin America, Asia, Europe, as well as over 30 of the 50 United States.

Natalia Molina, American Historian | 2020 MacArthur Fellow (Extended)

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