Director and Co-founder, Institute for Study of "Race" & Social Justice (race.unm.edu)
Coordinator, NM Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium
Advisor, Race and Social Justice Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate
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PhD 1999. Sociology, City University of New York, New York, NY.
BA 1991. Regional Studies in Latin America, Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
H.S. Diploma 1987. Regents High School Diploma. Washington Irving High School, New York, NY.
Race and Ethnicity, Education, Gender, Community-based Participatory Research, Inequality, Latino/a StudiesRace, Ethnicity, Gender, Class, Intersectionality, Education, Health, Community Based Participatory Research, Africana Studies, Latino/a Studies, Public Sociology
Dr. López's scholarship, teaching and service is guided by the insights of intersectionality --the importance of examining race, gender, class, ethnicity together--for interrogating inequalities across a variety of social outcomes, including education, health, employment, housing, and developing contextualized solutions that advance social justice. Her book, Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys: Race and Gender Disparity in Urban Education (2003) focuses on the race-gender experiences of Dominicans, West Indians, and Haitians to explain why girls are succeeding at higher rates than boys. Her other co-edited books include Creating Alternative Discourses in the Education of Latinos and Latinas (2003) and Mapping "Race": Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research (2013), a multidisciplinary volume that was the byproduct of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded workshop. The book departs from the premise that “race” is a multi-dimensional and multi-level social construction that has profound methodological implications for research and policy. Her most recent co-edited book, QuantCrit: An Antiracist Quantitative Approach to Educational Inquiry (2023) was previously published as a co-edited special issue of Race, Ethnicity and Education (2018). Dr. López’s current research, funded by the WT Grant Foundation and Hewlett Foundation, includes a mixed method study in three research practice partnerships that examine the role of ethnic studies curriculum and culturally relevant pedagogy in reducing complex intersectional inequalities in high school. Dr. López was awarded funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a project entitled, “Employing and Intersectionality Framework in Revising Office of Management and Budget Standards for Collecting Administrative Race and Ethnicity Data" and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for cultivating a community of practice on Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Intersectionality for student success metrics and distribution of resources.
Dr. López has taught for over two decades in a variety of public universities (City University of New York, University of Massachusetts and University of New Mexico), that serve a very diverse group of students, including those who like Dr. López, were the first in their families to complete high school and pursue higher education. Dr. López has chaired or served as a member of over 80 doctoral degrees and masters degree committees. Dr. López has received several awards recognizing her contributions to mentoring, teaching, service and research, including the Gunter Starkey Teaching Award, Presidential Luminaria Award, the Inaugural Academic
Leadership Academy Fellowship, of the Division for Equity and Inclusion, UNM and the ASA William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award for Sociological Practice and Public Sociology. Dr. López is the first woman of color tenured in the Sociology department and the first woman of the African Diaspora (AfroLatina/Black Latina) tenured in the College of Arts and Sciences (2008) and promoted to full professor (2018) at UNM.
As the eldest of five US-born children of Dominican immigrants who never had the privilege of pursuing education beyond the second grade, Dr. López’s was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan; Spanish her first language. She was raised in Baruch Public Houses. In 1987 Dr. López graduated from Washington Irving H.S., a de facto racially segregated large public vocational high school for girls and she participated federally funded equity-focused programs, such as Upward Bound and HeadStart.
Quantcrit: An Antiracist Quantitative Approach to Educational Inquiry
Mapping "Race": Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research
Researchers commonly ask subjects to self-identify their race from a menu of preestablished options. Yet if race is a multidimensional, multilevel social construction, this has profound methodological implications for the sciences and social sciences. Race must inform how we design large-scale data collection and how scientists utilize race in the context of specific research questions. This landmark collection argues for the recognition of those implications for research and suggests ways in which they may be integrated into future scientific endeavors. It concludes on a prescriptive note, providing an arsenal of multidisciplinary, conceptual, and methodological tools for studying race specifically within the context of health inequalities.
Available for purchase here.
Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys Race and Gender Disparity in Urban Education
By 2007, it is estimated that 9.2 million girls of color will be enrolled in college compared to 6.9 million boys of color. Why the discrepancy? In Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys, Nancy López takes us to the schools, homes and workplaces of Caribbean youth to point out the different expectations that guide behavior. Now the largest immigrant group in New York City, López focuses in particular on these Caribbean teens to explain how and why our schools and cities are failing boys of color. This is a fascinating ethnographic study on a topic of increasing interest to people in the field of education and anyone concerned about the future of young people.
Available for purchase here.
López, Nancy, Edward Vargas, Lisa Cacari-Stone, Melina Juarez, Sonia Bettez. 2018. “What’s Your “Street Race”? Leveraging Multidimensional Measures of Race and Intersectionality for Examining Physical and Mental Health Status Among Latinx." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 4(1):49-66.
López, Nancy, Christopher Erwin, Melissa Binder and Mario Chavez*. 2018. “Making the Invisible Visible: Advancing Quantitative Methods Through Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality for Revealing Complex Race-Gender-Class Inequalities in Higher Education, 1980- 2015,” Race, Ethnicity and Education: Special Issue, QuantCrit: Rectifying Quantitative Methods Through Critical Race Theory 21(2): 180-207.
López, Nancy and Vivian L. Gadsden. 2017. “Health Inequities, Social Determinants, and Intersectionality,” in Perspectives on Health Equity & Social Determinants of Health, edited by K. Bogard, V.M. Murry and C. Alexander. Washington DC: National Academy of Medicine.
Johnson, Richard Greggory III, Mario Rivera and Nancy López. 2017. “Social Movements and the Need for a Trans Ethics Approach to LGBTQ Homeless Youth,” Public Integrity, 19:1-14. (DOI: 10.1080/10999922.2017.1342217).
López, Nancy. 2013. “Contextualizing Lived Race-Gender and the Racialized-Gendered Social Determinants of Health.” Pp.179-211 in Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research, edited by Laura Gómez and Nancy López. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
* Denotes graduate student coauthor
Faculty Public Sociology & Community Engagement
Nancy López draws on her scholarly work on intersectionality (e.g., attention to the simultaneity of race, gender, class, sexual orientation as systems of oppression and resistance) and the dynamics of racialization in American society to help civic organizations, community members and other researchers think more carefully about racial identity and how to measure race & ethnicity for advance transformative social justice praxis (action and reflection). For more information visit the website for the Institute for the Study of "Race" & Social Justice and the New Mexico Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium.
For some examples of Dr. López's public sociology see:
López, Nancy. The US Census Bureau Keeps Confusing Race and Ethnicity," The Conversation, February 28, 2018. (Republished in Salon, Associated Press, Newsela for teachers in K-12 Instructional Online Platform)
López, Nancy. “What’s Your “Street Race-Gender”? Why We Need Separate Questions on Hispanic Origin and Race for the 2020 Census." RWJF Human Capital Blog. November 26, 2014.
López, Nancy, TEDx ABQ Salon En español – “¿Y Tú, Que Vas a Macar Para el Censo 2020? ¿Origen Hispano? ¿Raza o Color?” / “What Will You Mark for the 2020 Census? Hispanic Origin? Race or Color?”
Introduction to Sociology
Dynamics of Difference, Power & Discrimination
Race & Inequality
Intersectionality: Race, Gender, Class and Policy (undergraduate/graduate)
Sociology of Education (graduate)
Racial and Ethnic Relations (graduate)
Critical Race, Gender, Class: Intersectionality & Critical Race Theory for Inquiry & Praxis (graduate)
*Note to Undergraduates: All of the aforementioned courses may potentially count for the U.S. & Global Diversity & Inclusion, 3-credit undergraduate courses. Please consult diverse.unm.edu for the list of approved courses or check with your advisor.
** Update: The "Race and Social Justice" Interdisciplinary graduate certificate (15-credit transcripted) is now open to both enrolled and non-enrolled students that have earned a four-year degree (BA, BS, etc.). We also established the undergraduate race and social justice certificate (12-credit transcripted). For more information and to apply please visit the website for the Institute for the Study of "Race" & Social Justice.