Natalia Molina


Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, Award-Winning Author


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Natalia Molina

Women In Leadership

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 (USC). Molina 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 are 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.”

Molina is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, and her work has been supported by various organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford, Mellon and Rockefeller foundations. 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 from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. During her tenure at UC San Diego, Molina 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, Molina enjoys opportunities for intellectual and cultural exchanges and has lectured in Latin America, Asia and Europe as well as in more than 30 of the 50 United States.