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Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies​

University of California, Los Angeles

About Dr. Genevieve Carpio

Assistant Professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies.

Professor Carpio's research and teaching interests include race-making between diverse groups, how people make meaning in the places they call home, and the public humanities, particularly as related to the California Inland Empire and the digital world.


Carpio is the author of a book on racial formation in the multiracial suburbs of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire entitled Collisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race (University of California Press, 2019). She has also published in American Quarterly, Journal of American History, Journal of Urban Affairs, Western Historical Quarterly, Casden Annual Review, Boom California, the Arcadia local history series, and Information, Communication and Society, among other venues. She currently serves on the editorial board of Geohumanities, a journal of the American Association of Geographers, and as a reviewer for several academic journals. 

Carpio is an interdisciplinary trained scholar who holds a doctorate in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She also holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Pomona College, an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a graduate certificate in Historic Preservation from the USC School of Architecture. Before joining UCLA, Carpio was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History and the Program for Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University.


She is the recipient of two Ford Foundation Fellowships, the Hellman Fellowship, and the UCLA Faculty Career Development Award. She has also received a USC Provost Fellowship and recognition as PAGE Fellow by Imagining America, a consortium of universities dedicated to public engagement.

Collisions at the Crossroads:

How Place and Mobility make Race

In Collisions at the Crossroads, Genevieve Carpio argues that restrictions on free movement and on settlement catalyzed racial formation in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By examining policies and forces as different as bicycle ordinances, immigration policy, incarceration, traffic checkpoints, and Route 66 heritage, she shows how regional authorities constructed racial hierarchies by allowing some people to move freely while placing limits on the mobility of others. Highlighting the ways that people of color have negotiated and resisted their positions within these systems, Carpio reveals a compelling and perceptive analysis of race through spatial mobility and the making of place.

Spatial mobility has distributed economic and cultural privileges in unequal ways, but never without contest.



“Through close attention to the entanglement of race and everyday mobility, Genevieve Carpio shines a brilliant light on a previously unexplored aspect of the contested geographies of Southern California specifically and the American West more generally. Empirically rich, theoretically rigorous, and engagingly written, Collisions at the Crossroads connects the diverse experiences of Japanese citrus workers, Dust Bowl migrants, Latinx drivers of lowriders, and Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Filipino migrants to provide a counter-history of the role of mobility in the American West. For those interested in mobility studies, critical race theory, or the spatial histories of Greater Los Angeles, Carpio has provided a pioneering landmark text.”

Tim Cresswell, author of Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place


Aerial View of Freeway

This essay places Mexican Americans at the center of L.A.'s autopia. Connecting the past and present, it includes an excerpt from Carpio's Collisions at the Crossroads, an essay by cultural historian Eric Avila, and original photographs from the Inland Mexican Heritage collection.

Boom California, 2019

Los Angeles, The Automobile, and the Mexican American Life

App Screens

What might a critically engaged classroom exploring the connections between the digital humanities and ethnic studies look like within contemporary American studies?

American Quarterly, 2018

Toward a Digital Ethnic Studies: Race, Technology, and the Classroom

Movie Projector

By examining contemporary digital art that critiques spatial inequalities encountered by communities of color, this article illustrates how public intellectuals use ICTs in ways that draw upon past strategies to territorialize space for political ends. It focuses on digital pop-ups, open-air installations that cast images onto public space using projectors. This research indicates that place-based claims, such as digital pop-ups, are important sites for combatting racial injustice and creating more inclusionary spaces, especially among youth adults.

Information, Communication and Society, 2017

Racial Projections: Cyberspace, Public Space, and the Digital Divide

Movie Projector

This article examines how the tensions between suburbanites and Latino immigrants are addressed by municipal governments as immigration enforcement is increasingly rescaled to the local level. While the urban realm remains the most visible stage of social movements, this paper suggests immigrant activism is increasingly being generated in suburbs, election-based organizing can be an effective gateway to municipal level change, and seeking to expand or constrict the Right to the City necessarily entails multi-scalar efforts.

Journal of Urban Affairs, 2011

The Right to the Suburb? Rethinking Lefebvre and Immigrant Activism

Archaeological Map

This essay explores how digital mapping can inform our understanding of metropolitan Los Angeles, both in the academy and beyond through a collaborative project titled, Barrio Suburbanism Map. This work complicates popular perceptions of the suburbs as sites of homogeneity in order to reveal the dynamic diversity of suburbanization in multiracial Los Angeles.

Boom Journal, 2017

Mapping LA-tinx Suburbia


Through a relational approach to regional western history, this article examines the ways organizers based in the American West negotiated with East Coast philanthropists over conflicting visions of civil rights activism. Ultimately, these debates reveal the possibilities and limits of philanthropic support within leftist movements.

The Western Historical Quarterly, 2016

Philanthropic (Dis)trust and the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1965


This article  traces the life and career of David C. Marcus, who litigated Mendez v. Westminster, with an emphasis on his impact on Latino legal history  in the World War II era. More broadly, this inquiry offers one window into the ways Jewish and Latino alliances formed in Southern California and how, together, they attempted to shift the legal terrain of race and race-relations in the United States.

Casden: An Annual Review, 2012

Unexpected Allies: David C. Marcus and His Impact on the Advancement of Civil Rights in the Mexican-American Legal Landscape of Southern California

Movie Projector

People’s history represents a wide range of pedagogical engagements that push for more complex and dynamic historical analyses. This article focuses on a project built on the principles of people’s history by graduate students in collaboration with community partners. It reflects on the challenges, opportunities, and future directions for other educators interested in pursuing a people’s history approach in higher education.

Journal of American History, 2013

Building People's Histories: Graduate Student Pedagogy, Undergraduate Education, and Collaboration with Community Partners


Race, Space, and Place

Undergrad seminar

This course investigates theories of spatial formation and their import for the study of

race and ethnicity in the United States.

Barrio Suburbanism

Undergrad Seminar

This course examines the ways Chicano/as and Latinxs

are reshaping  suburban and metropolitan geographies.



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