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Tanya Golash-Boza (Ph.D. 2005)


I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with my PhD in Sociology in 2005. My incredibly supportive advisor was Judith Blau. I finished my Ph.D. in May and began my job as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas in August. (I spent the summer in between in my parents’ house in Washington, DC as four months was a long time not to receive a paycheck!)


My twin daughters were born during my second year of graduate school and my third daughter was born while I was doing my dissertation fieldwork in Peru. I thus left Chapel Hill with a doctorate, a published article, and three kids – a productive six years for me.


One of my most memorable times in graduate school were my comprehensive exams, as there was some controversy around each. I took two exams – Stratification and Race.


François Nielsen had recently published a favorable review of The Bell Curve, a book many of us found to be racist. We thus petitioned the department for him to not teach Stratification, as we were concerned about the implications for him teaching that class when he had indicated that he might think some of us were genetically superior to others. Our petition was successful, and Ted Mouw did an excellent job of teaching stratification. I still have my notes from that class, and they were useful in helping me pass the Strat exam.


I wanted to take my second exam in race. This was in 2003, yet the Sociology department at UNC had not offered a race exam in a number of years. Fortunately, we were allowed to invent our own areas. One of the members of my cohort had recently invented an exam in the Sociology of Development; thus it was approved for me to invent an exam in the area of the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. I enjoyed the freedom that came along with writing my own reading list, and I believe that future cohorts of students adapted that list until the race exam finally became a staple in the department.


I spent six years as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and American Studies at the University of Kansas before transitioning to my new position. I am currently a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced.


My first PhD student at UC Merced, Marcus Shaw, recently finished his dissertation and began a tenure-track position at California State University, Fresno. I am advising four other PhD students and I pass along to them some of the things I learned at UNC. I got excellent advice on note-taking from Charlie Kurzman. I learned how to give excellent feedback from Karolyn Tyson. I learned to keep everything in perspective from Ted Mouw. I learned how to be professional in the face of adversity from Judith Blau.


I should mention my three most recent publications:

My newest book: Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor and    Global Capitalism.

My new textbook: Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach.

My latest article: “A Critical and Comprehensive Sociological Theory of Race and Racism” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

submitted March 2018