• G. Cristina Mora

    Associate Professor of Sociology

    Co-Director, Institute of Governmental Studies

    UC Berkeley

     

    G. Cristina Mora is Associate Professor of Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies (by courtesy) and the Co-Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. She completed her B.A. in Sociology at Cal in 2003 and earned her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University in 2009. Her research focuses mainly on questions of census racial classification, immigration, and racial politics in the United States and Europe. Her book, Making Hispanics, was published by the University of Chicago Press and provides the first historical account of the rise of the “Hispanic/Latino” panethnic category in the United States. This work, along with related articles, has received wide recognition, including the 2010 Best Dissertation Award and the 2018 Early Career Award (SREM) from the American Sociological Association. Making Hispanics has also been the subject of several NPR and national media segments on Census Politics and Latino identity (see links below). Her work has been published in venues like the American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Latino Studies, and the Du Bois Review.

     

    She is currently working on two new book projects funded by the Russell Sage Foundation. The first, California Color Lines: Racial Politics in an Era of Economic Precarity (w. T. Paschel) examines the contradictions of racial politics in nation's most diverse and seemingly progressive state. The second, Race and the Politics of Trust in an Age of Government Cynicism (w. J. Dowling and M. Rodriguez-Muniz) provides the first mixed methods examination of race and political trust in the U.S. In April of 2020, Mora oversaw the largest survey on Covid-19 economic and health impacts in California.

     

    Recent Public Media (OpEd):

     

    It's Time to Reclaim Hispanic Heritage Month. SF Chronicle

     

    Look to the Local to Understand the "Complex" Latino Vote. LA Times

     

    Latinxs Need to See Structural Racism. Latino Rebels

     

    Curriculum Vitae

     

  • Making Hispanics

    How Activists, Bureaucrats and Media Constructed a New American

    Purchase "Making Hispanics" HERE

     

    How did Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans become known as “Hispanics” and “Latinos” in the United States? How did several distinct cultures and nationalities become portrayed as one? Cristina Mora answers both these questions and details the scope of this phenomenon in Making Hispanics. She uses an organizational lens and traces how activists, bureaucrats, and media executives in the 1970s and ’80s created a new identity category—and by doing so, permanently changed the racial and political landscape of the nation.

    Some argue that these cultures are fundamentally similar and that the Spanish language is a natural basis for a unified Hispanic identity. But Mora shows very clearly that the idea of ethnic grouping was historically constructed and institutionalized in the United States. During the 1960 census, reports classified Latin American immigrants as “white,” grouping them with European Americans. This decision was controversial as it did not coincide with the racialized realities that Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and others faced. Moreover, activists argued that the classification disguised inequities and hindered their ability to portray their constituents as underrepresented minorities. Activists called for a separate classification. The Census Bureau responded with a new "Hispanic" designation. And once these populations could be quantified, businesses saw opportunities and the media responded. Spanish-language television began to expand its reach to serve the now large, and newly unified, Hispanic community with news and entertainment programming. Through archival research, oral histories, and interviews, Mora reveals the broad, national-level process that led to the emergence of Hispanicity in America.

  • Current Projects

    Latinx Panethnicity. Immigration and Racial Politics. Covid in California.

    Panethnicity and Latinx Identity

    What makes people of different nationalities, skin tones, and geographic areas come together and see themselves as one community? What role do states and censuses play in creating panethnic and panracial classifications? And how do minorities and their community leaders both embrace and resist these categories?

     

    I tackle these questions in a series of papers published in several journals. See:

     

    2021. "Who Identifies as 'Latinx'? The Generational Politics of Ethnoracial Labels." Social Forces (w. R. Perez and N. Vargas)

     

    2020. "Latino Politics and the Census in the Trump Era" in Trumpism ed. Osagie Obasagie UCB: IGS

     

    2020. "Postcolonialism, Racial Political Fields, and Panethnicity: A Comparison of Early 'Asian American' and 'Hispanic' Movements." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. (with D. Okamoto)

     

    2017. "Latinos, Race, and the American Future" New Labor Forum Spring (with M. Rodriguez)

     

    2014 "Cross-field Effects and Ethnic Classification: the Institutionalization of Hispanic Panethnicity" American Sociological Review (April)

     

    2014. "Panethnicity" Annual Review of Sociology (with D. Okamoto)

     

     

    Racial Politics in California

     

    With my Berkeley colleague, Tianna Paschel, I am examining racial and political attitudes in California. This mixed method study is the first to leverage the political and geographic diversity of California to ask: How do Californians make sense of race and class in the present context of increasing economic precariousness and political polarization? And how does place shape the racial and political experience of belonging and exclusion of different groups?

     

    California offers a unique vantage point from which to analyze racial politics because it is a land of contradictions. The state houses seven of the country’s top 10 least racially segregated cities, but 50 percent of the population still live in racially segregated communities. And while the state has a racially progressive reputation, it is also the site of infamous racialized violence like the Rodney King beating. Moreover, California's liberal coasts stand in sharp political contrast to the deeply conservative regions that lay more inland. This complex political landscape ultimately yields a rich set of contrasting patterns that can shed light on the contingent and often contradictory ways that individuals make sense of national belonging, racial difference, and political engagement.

     

     

     

    2020. "Anti-Blackness as a Logic for Immigrant Resentment: Evidence from California." Sociological Forum (with T. Paschel)

    Race and Trust in the Age of Government Cynicism

    Trust in government, or political trust, has long been theorized to be essential for functioning democracies. However, the past few decades has witnessed a steep increase in government cynicism across all racial groups. Indeed, today individuals are four times more likely than they were 50 years ago to convey distrust in government institutions, including Congress and the Office of the President. Our study draws on original survey data and in-depth interviews to reveal the social, political and cultural factors that undergird political distrust today.

     

    With Julie Dowling (UIUC) and Michael Rodriguez-Muniz (Northwestern) I examine this large issue by focusing on how political trust is shaped by race and place. Drawing on calls for empirical, especially qualitative, and contextually specific research on trust and trustworthiness we carry out a comparative, mixed-methods study among Latino, White, Black, and Asian residents in the San Francisco Bay and the Chicagoland area. We ask: How do racial groups perceive national government institutions and their efforts? How do they make sense of the concept of “trust” in relationship to local, state, and national government? And how does immigration status, social marginalization, urban context, and political ideology mediate the relationship between race and political trust?

     

    2021. "Mostly Rich White Men, Nothing in Common”: Latino Views on Political (Under)Representation in the Trump Era" American Behavioral Scientist (w. J. Dowling and M. Rodriguez-Muniz)  

    The Political and Racial Impacts of Covid-19 in California

    In April of 2020 I helped to oversee the largest academic survey to date on Covid-19's impact in California. Our IGS Covid 19 Poll surveyed over 8,000 Californian registered voters about the health, economic, and mental health impact of Covid on their lives. Additionally, we asked questions aimed to asses respondents' political ideology, social positioning, and racial/immigration attitudes. Many of the statistical results of this survey have been published in Press Releases through the Institute of Governmental Studies. And our survey results received widespread, national media attention. With T. Paschel I am also following a cohort of 60 working class White, Black, Asian, and Latino respondents in the Bay Area to assess the long-term impacts of the virus on individual wellbeing.

     

    Early published findings can be found in Socius, among other venues.

     

    2020. Pandemic Politics: Political Worldviews and Covid-19 Beliefs and Practices in an Unsettled Time. Socius. (w. H. Shepherd and N. MacKendrick)

     

    2021. “Race and Ideology in a Pandemic: White Privilege and Patterns of Risk Perception During COVID-19” Social Problems (w. N. Vargas and S. Gleeson)

     

    Immigration and Post-Colonial Politics in Spain

     

    What does immigration and racial politics look like in states that lack long histories of racial classification? How are Latinos transforming the idea of ethnicity, race, and heritage in the "colonial motherland"? And what does organizing for minority rights look like when Latino immigrants are caught amidst nationalist/separatist struggles?

     

    My work in Spain uses the case of Latino immigration to shed new light on how immigration influences racial politics in Western Europe. I am particularly focused on how Latinos and arguments about their racial/ethnic/colonial heritage influence Spanish, post-empire politics. As such I show how Latinos both contest and reinforce ideas of racial difference in Spain as they settle and find ways to organize for immigrant rights. See:

     

    2018. "Local Context, Networks, and Organizational Autonomy: Latino Civic Live in Madrid and Barcelona Compared" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

     

    2017. "Political Parties, Immigration, and Panethnicity; Latino Coalitions in Barcelona" Du Bois Review

     

    2017. "Different Contexts, Different Patterns? Latina Immigrant Fertility in Spain and the US" International Migration (with J. Fernandez and M. Torre)

  • Recent Media (Broadcast)

    Recent Commentary on "Making Hispanics" and Latino/Immigration Politics and Identity

    The Atlantic

    "The Experiment" Podcast

    Do Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans share an identity? The answer wasn’t necessarily clear before 1980.

    That’s when the Census Bureau introduced a pair of new terms, Hispanic and Latino, to its decennial count. The addition was the result of years of advocacy and negotiation: Being counted on the census meant the potential for far more government action, yet the broad category oversimplified the identities of an immense and diverse group.

    “The way that we define ourselves is consequential,” says G. Cristina Mora, a sociology professor at UC Berkeley.

     

    Inventing Latinos Podcast

    NPR CODE SWITCH

    Latinos and The Census

    In the 1970s, the nation's Latino advocacy groups had grown fed up with the U.S. Census Bureau. During its 1970 population count, the agency had made a half-hearted attempt to quantify the number of Latinos and Hispanics living in the United States.

     

    Groups including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and ASPIRA complained that the Census "had a question that only went to 10 percent of households, and it wasn't in Spanish, and there hadn't been a mobilization campaign," says Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

     

    The US Census and Our Sense of Self

    NPR Latino USA

    With Maria Hinojosa

     

    The whole notion that those of us from the Latin American diaspora refer to ourselves as 'Hispanic' or 'Latino' or 'Latinx' — that's pretty new. And, it's something we discussed on the with Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Mora wrote about the adoption of the term "Hispanic" and how the U.S. census played a big role. So, for "Hispanic Heritage Month," here's the Q&A we did with Mora about her book, Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Created a New American, edited for length and clarity.

     

    Making Hispanics Interview

    KCRW

    ONE YEAR LATER

     

    Trump's rhetoric on immigrants often gets the most attention in the immigration debate. But are some on the Left also "blaming" the immigrant for the economic anxiety of the working class? We talk to a roundtable of experts and intellectuals on immigration politics.

     

    Polarizing Debate Podcast

     

  • Abbreviated Publications List

     

    G. C. Mora Curriculum Vitae

     

    Recent Articles

    (Articles w Multiple Authors All Equally Coauthored)

     

    Forthcoming. "Mostly Rich White Men, Nothing in Common”: Latino Views on Political (Under)Representation in the Trump Era" American Behavioral Scientist (w. J. Dowling and M. Rodriguez-Muniz)

     

    Forthcoming. “Race and Ideology in a Pandemic: White Privilege and Patterns of Risk Perception During COVID-19” Social Problems (w. N. Vargas and S. Gleeson)

     

    2021. "Who Identifies as 'Latinx'? The Generational Politics of Ethnoracial Labels." Social Forces (w. R. Perez and N. Vargas)

     

    2020. Pandemic Politics: Political Worldviews and Covid-19 Beliefs and Practices in an Unsettled Time. Socius. (w. H. Shepherd and N. MacKendrick)

     

    2020. "Postcolonialism, Racial Political Fields, and Panethnicity: A Comparison of Early 'Asian American' and 'Hispanic' Movements." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. (with D. Okamoto)

     

    2020. "Anti-Blackness as a Logic for Immigrant Resentment: Evidence from California." Sociological Forum (with T. Paschel)

     

    2020. "Boundary Articulation and Category Substantiation: 'Hispanic' and 'Asian American' Panethnicity , 1970-1980 Social Problems (with D. Okamoto)"

     

    2018. "Local Context, Networks, and Organizational Autonomy: Latino Civic Life in Madrid and Barcelona Compared" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

     

    2017. "Political Parties, Immigration, and Panethnicity; Latino Coalitions in Barcelona" Du Bois Review

     

    2017. "Different Contexts, Different Patterns? Latina Immigrant Fertility in Spain and the US" International Migration (with J. Fernandez and M. Torre)

     

    2017. "Latinos, Race, and the American Future" New Labor Forum Spring (with M. Rodriguez)

     

    2014. Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

     

    2014 "Cross-field Effects and Ethnic Classification: the Institutionalization of Hispanic Panethnicity" American Sociological Review (April)

     

    2014. "Panethnicity" Annual Review of Sociology (with D. Okamoto)

     

    2013 “Religion and the Organizational Context of Immigrant Civic Participation: Mexican Catholicism in the US” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(11)

     

    2011 “State Regulation and Immigrant Media: How the FCC Channeled Spanish Language Television 1960-1990” Latino Studies v. 9(3)

     

    2008 “Marketing the ‘Health and Wealth Gospel’ Across National Borders: Evidence from Brazil and the United States” Poetics 36:5-6 p.404-20

     

    2008 “Latino Immigrant Educational Success: A Response to the No Margin for Error Report” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 620

  • First Gen, #passingthetorch

     

    Like many of her students at Cal, Professor Mora is the first in her family to graduate college. Her parents are immigrants from Mexico and she credits her success to the various pipeline programs and mentors that supported her along the way. Professor Mora dedicates much of her service time to supporting First Gen programs at Berkeley and the broader UC community.
     
    You can read about Professor Mora's experience as a First Gen student in Passing the Torch published by the Marin Foundation and the New Leaders Scholars Program.
     
    And here are some links to her favorite programs:
     

  • Contact

     

    410 Social Sciences Bldg Mc 1980
    Sociology Department
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94729
     
    @GCristinaMora
     
    cmora - at - berkeley - dot - edu