Jennifer Najera

Institutional Affiliation 
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, UC Riverside
Professional Bio 

Jennifer Nájera is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California Riverside and author of the book, The Borderlands of Race: Mexican Segregation in a South Texas community (University of Texas Press, 2015). She is a trained cultural anthropologist (Ph.D., University of Texas, AB, Stanford University) who draws from interdisciplinary methodologies and epistemologies to deepen and strengthen her analysis. Najera's research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and UCLA’s Institute for American Cultures.

Area of Expertise 

My expertise is in Mexican racial categorization, Latino/a education (including higher education), the history of Mexican immigration, and contemporary immigration policy.

Since the late 19th century, Mexican origin people in the United States have legally been classified as “white.” This racial categorization often obscures the lived realities of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, who often experience racial discrimination similar to Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans.
The U.S. public school system continues to underserve Latino/a youth. Socioeconomic status, gender, and immigration status are all major factors in determining how well students are able to navigate the school system. Of particular interest is the way that students—particularly college students—build communities that provide the social and navigational capital in order to succeed.
Workshop Locations