Nancy López

Professor of Sociology and Director and Co-founder of the Institute for the Study of "Race" and Social Justice, University of New Mexico
Founding Coordinator, New Mexico Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium

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About Nancy

López has focused her scholarly pursuits on two major policy arenas: education and health. She conducts research that is focused on diverse Latina/o/x communities. Her work contributes to racial formation theory, critical race theory, and intersectional knowledge projects. She believes in the importance of examining race, gender, class, ethnicity and other systems of power, privilege and disadvantage together for interrogating inequalities across a variety of social outcomes. She crafts each of her scholarly contributions with the goal of creating bridges and synergies between scholarship, teaching and service through listening, dialogue and action. She is actively involved in national conversations about the future of racial and ethnic data collection for the 2020 Census. López has also engaged in conversations with key stakeholders at the Smithsonian, National Academies of Medicine and. At the local level, she is working on a community based participatory research project on the optimal implementation of ethnic studies through the Albuquerque Public Schools-University of New Mexico Research Practice Partnership called Ethnic Studies Education and Health. Engaged interdisciplinary scholarship and public sociology for interrogating social inequalities and advancing social justice are the hallmarks of her work.


In the News

Guest to discuss the 2020 Census, Hispanic origin, and race on TEDxABQ, Nancy López, October 18, 2018.
"The U.S. Census Bureau Keeps Confusing Race and Ethnicity," Nancy López, The Conversation, February 28, 2018.
"Curriculum Should Include a Course on Oppression," Nancy López, New Mexico Daily Lobo, February 28, 2006.


"Critical ‘Street Race’ Praxis: Advancing the Measurement of Racial Discrimination among Diverse Latinx Communities in the U.S" (with Edward D. Vargas, Melina Juarez, and Lisa Cacari Stone). Critical Public Health (November 2019).

Draws from critical race theory to analyze a new multi-dimensional measure of racial status–‘street race’ and its association with discrimination experiences. Finds that Latinxs who are racialized on the street as Black or as Arab/Middle-Eastern relative to White were more likely to have experienced discrimination because of their race/ethnicity. Expands the conceptual measurement of discrimination to incorporate a more nuanced approach that captures interpersonal racism based on ‘street race.’

"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" (with Christopher Erwin, Melissa Binder, and Mario Javier Chavez). Race Ethnicity and Education 21, no. 2 (2018): 180-207.

Appeals to critical race theory and intersectionality to examine achievement gaps at a large public university in the American southwest from 2000 to 2015. Finds substantial achievement gaps that remain unseen in conventional models treating characteristics, such as race-ethnicity, gender, and class, as independent. Proposes a method and praxis for exploring the complex, interdependent relationship between race-ethnicity, gender, and class.

"Social Movements and the Need for a Trans Ethics Approach to LGBTQ Homeless Youth" (with Richard Greggory Johnson III and Mario Rivera). Public Integrity 19 (2017): 1-14.

Engages in an analysis of the complex analytical and ethical challenges presented by homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Discusses the trans youth who are visible minorities that are the most likely to experience homelessness and other threats to well-being. Argues that society needs to be concerned with the lives of diverse LGBTQ youth, and particularly those navigating multiple, intersecting forms of marginalization, including homelessness, because they present us with a situation that demands an ethical response.

"What's Your 'Street Race'? Leveraging Multidimensional Measures of Race and Intersectionality for Examining Physical and Mental Health Status among Latinxs" (with Edward Vargas, Melina Juarez, Lisa Cacari-Stone, and Sonia Bettez). Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (2017).

Examines the relationship between physical and mental health status and three multidimensional measures of race: (1) street race, or how you believe other Americans perceive your race at the level of the street; (2)  socially assigned race, which refers to how you believe others usually classify your race in the United States; and (3) self-perceived race, or how you usually self-classify your race on questionnaires.

"Health Inequities, Social Determinants, and Intersectionality" (with Vivian L. Gadsden). Perspectives on Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health (2017).

Focuses on the potential and promise that intersectionality holds as a lens for studying the social determinants of health, reducing health disparities, and promoting health equity and social justice. 

Mapping "Race": Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research (with Laura Gómez) (Rutgers University Press, 2013).

Argues that race must inform how we design large-scale data collection and how scientists utilize race in the context of specific research questions. Suggests ways in which the implications of race may be integrated into future scientific endeavors.

Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys: Race and Gender Disparity in Urban Education (Routledge, 2003).

Points out the different expectations that guide behavior for girls and boys of color. Focuses in on Caribbean teenagers in New York City to explain how and why U.S. schools and cities are failing boys of color.