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Rebeca Gamez

Assistant Professor
H Family Dean's Faculty Fellow in Racial Justice


My research and teaching interests lie at the nexus of educational and cultural anthropology. They include relational and comparative race and ethnicity, migration, and educational inequality, with a focus on how youth broadly constructed as Latinx navigate their schooling, learning, and ethnoracial identities across different geographical places (e.g., the U.S. South). My ethnographic work engages cultural anthropology and critical comparative race and immigration methods and scholarship to investigate how marginalized youth navigate everyday forms of power and subordination across different spaces and places. At the core of my research agenda are questions related to how place and educational contexts work to (re)produce and construct expressions of Latinidad and how these constructions intersect with youths’ intimate worlds and are linked to their understanding of power, injustice, inequality, and resistance.

At Vanderbilt, my research and teaching will primarily center on examining the relationship between race, place, and space, with a particular focus on articulating the educational and community experiences of Latin American origin youth living in the U.S. South – a region often referred to as the “New Latinx South” or “El Nuevo South” to signify the unprecedented arrival of Latin and Central American immigrants to this region in the last thirty years. My research also explores the impact of these demographic changes in the South on developing social relations, primarily between communities racialized as Black and Latinx.

While my current project addresses these research topics in the context of an urban city in the Southeast, I look forward to expanding my work in the context of Nashville, a city that is also experiencing rapid Latinx driven demographic changes. The courses I will teach at Vanderbilt are illustrative of these broader research interest. For example, this semester I will teach the undergraduate course titled Race in the Americas (Anth2105), as well as a special topics graduate seminar titled Ethnographies of Place, Space, and Race (Anth6890) which that will explore, through an in-depth examination of ethnographic work, how space and place are inextricably linked to race.