Natalia Molina is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and Dean's Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
Professor Molina's research explores the interconnected histories of race, place, gender, culture, and citizenship. She is the author of three award-winning books: How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts; Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1940; and, most recently, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, which the Los Angeles Times calls an “essential Los Angeles book.” The winner of the Popular Culture Association book award, a finalist for a James Beard Award, and the recipient of honorable mentions from several other organizations, A Place at the Nayarit chronicles the lives of immigrant workers, including Molina’s grandmother, who became placemakers, nurturing and feeding their communities at restaurants that served as urban anchors. She is at work on a new book, The Silent Hands that Shaped the Huntington: A History of Its Mexican Workers. Professor Molina has written for the LA Times, Washington Post, San Diego Union-Tribune, and elsewhere. She is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow.