Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (1983)

Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California

My research, teaching and activism have addressed how immigration brings about dramatic changes in people's lives, looking particularly at the realm of gender and work, and now, at movements for social change. I was a graduate student in the 1980s. Berkeley was a wonderful place to live. The campus offered so much, and I liked the radical mystique of it all, but truthfully, as a graduate student I was quite alienated from the Department of Sociology. There was a lot of posturing in seminars and benign neglect from professors. Since I'd never before been a PhD student, I didn't know to expect anything better. Now, I wish I had acted more assertively and with less anxiety. Still, seminars exposed me to big debates and books, and I was lucky to participate in several supportive study groups with other graduate students. Back then, there wasn't much sociological research on immigration, so I was able to read broadly in fields like history, anthropology, and ethnic studies. When I began working with Michael Burawoy, he gave prompt, challenging feedback, and really pushed me to develop analysis of my ethnographic and interview material. He helped me understand the intersections of the macro and the micro in my study of Mexican undocumented migration, gender and settlement. My work on that topic, and on the resurgence of paid domestic work strives to hit a balance between sociological analysis and social advocacy.

Dissertation Title: 
Gender and the Politics of Mexican Undocumented Immigrant Settlement.
Dissertation Book Title: 
Gendered transitions : Mexican experiences of immigration