Dr. Joanna B. Perez

Dr. Joanna Perez

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Sociology

Associate Professor


Dr. Joanna Perez joined the Sociology Department in fall 2016. Grounded on her experience as a proud daughter of Guatemalan immigrants and first-generation scholar, she is committed to engaging in social justice work. Her research lies at the intersection of immigration, family, education, and social movements. Using qualitative methods and accounting for intersectionality, she examines how systems of power and inequality shape the social conditions of immigrant communities. To that end, her research reveals key pathways by which historically castigated and stigmatized social groups are capable of using activism to rectify and potentially reverse their prescribed positions in society. As an educator, she is invested in meeting the needs of underserved students and facilitating student-centered learning environments that draw from students’ experiences, strengths, and resilience. Informed by the voices, experiences, and needs of the community, her service commitments aim to promote equity, access, and empowerment.


University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
M.A.Sociology (Minor in Latina/o Studies)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A.Sociology (Minos in Civic Engagement and Labor & Workplace Studies)
University of California, Los Angeles


Latina/o Sociology, Immigration, Family, Education, Racial & Ethnic Minorities, Law and Society, Social Movements, and Qualitative Methods


  • SOC 316: Adult Life & Aging
  • SOC 320: The Family
  • SOC 331: Minority Racial & Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 518: Marriage and the Family
  • UNV 101: Undocumented & Unafraid


  • Perez, Joanna B. 2020. “‘Targeted But Not Shut Down!:’ Latino Undocumented Immigrant Activists Fighting for Social Change.” Pp. 507-516 in Race & Ethnicity: The Sociological Mindful Approach, edited by J. Brooks, H. Sarabia, & A. Kimura Ida. San Diego,CA: Cognella Academic Publishing.

  • Abrego, Leisy J., Andrea Gómez Cervantes, Briceida Hernandez-Toledo, Leigh-Anna Hidalgo, Lucia P. Leon, Joanna B. Perez, & Iris M. Ramirez. 2020. “Compassionate Pedagogies in a Pandemic: Reflections from Latina Scholars.” Latinx Talk: The Ohio State University Libraries. Retrieved June 17, 2020 (https://latinxtalk.org).

  • Perez, Joanna B. 2019. “The Evolution of Undocustudent Resistance, Activism, & Empowerment.” The Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame. Mobilizing Ideas. Retrieved January 2, 2019 (https://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com).

  • Perez, Joanna B. 2019. “National Community of Latino Faculty.” Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, 30(3):31. Retrieved December 1, 2019 (https://www.hispanicoutlook.com).

  • Perez, Joanna B. 2019. “Icebox.” Chiricu Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, 4(1): 197-199. doi:10.2979/chiricu.4.1.21.

  • Burciaga, Edelina M., Lisa M. Martinez, Kevin Escudero, Andrea Flores, Joanna B. Perez, and Carolina Valdivia. 2018. “Migrant Illegality across Uneven Legal Geographies: Introduction to the Special Issue of Law & Policy.” Law & Policy, 41(1):5-11. doi: 10.1111/lapo.12116.

  • Perez, Joanna B. 2018. “Undocuartivism: Latino Undocumented Immigrant Empowerment Through Art and Activism.” Chiricu Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures 2(2):23-44. doi:10.2979/chiricu.2.2.04.

  • Zerai, Assata, and Joanna B. Perez. 2018. “Conclusion: Paying Serious Attention to Women’s Scholarship to Influence Policy in East Africa.” Pp. 133-140 in Safe Water, Sanitation, and Early Childhood Malnutrition in East Africa: An African Feminist Analysis of the Lives of Women in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, edited by A. Zerai & B.N. Sanya. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

  • Perez, Joanna B. 2017. “Becoming an Agent of Social Change.” Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, 27(11):30. Retrieved August 1, 2017 (https://www.hispanicoutlook.com/).

  • Zerai, Assata, Joanna B. Perez, and Chenyi Wang. 2016. “A Proposal for Expanding Endarkened Transnational Feminist Praxis: Creating a Database of Women’s Scholarship and Activism to Promote Health in Zimbabwe.” Qualitative Inquiry, 23(2):107-118.

  • Gonzales, Roberto. G., Joanna B. Perez, & Ariel G. Ruiz. 2016. ““Ni de aqui, ni de alla”: Undocumented Immigrant Youth and the Challenges of Identity Formation amid Conflicting Contexts.” Pp. 119-139 in Mexican Migration to the United States: Perspectives From Both Sides of the Border, edited by H.D. Romo and O. Mogollon-Lopez. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.​