Uriel Serrano


I am a PhD candidate in Sociology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am a sociologist whose research and teaching interests are located in the sociology of race, gender, and masculinity, children and youth, social movements, and education and engage three broad areas: critical carceral studies; intersectionality; and critical youth studies.

My dissertation, Coming of Age in South Central: Gender Ideologies, Youth Activism, and The Carceral State, makes theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on gender and masculinity, youth criminalization, youth activism and social movements, urban and community sociology, and intersectionality. Drawing on interviews, survey data, and three years of participant observations, in Coming of Age in South Central I examine how the carceral state and its logics, community-based organizations, and youth activism shape the lives of Black and Latino young men. As such, my research addresses the following strands: (1) ethnographic accounts of Black and Latino manhood and gender ideologies amid carceral power and social movements against it, (2) an analysis of carceral logics and how they persist, (3) Black and Latino young men’s understanding of interlocking axes of race, gender, sexuality, class, and age, (4) organizational, intersectional, cultural, and community based practices that inform Black and Latinx gender ideologies, and (5) the organizational, cultural, and intersectional strategies Black and Latino young men activists adopt in their efforts to decriminalize youth of color.

I have co-created community based participatory research projects with youth organizations in Los Angeles and the Student Success Equity Research Center at UCSC. By involving members of the community at multiple levels, and incorporating and validating multiple sources of knowledge, these projects have centered addressing the well-being of college students and youth of color. As such, I have mentored and trained first-generation college students and high school students as researchers. I do this work in an attempt to break away from the usual power dynamics between researcher and “subjects of research.”

I am currently an American Sociological Association Minority Fellow, a CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Fellow, and a past AAHHE Graduate Fellow. My past work includes a campus racial climate study at a Hispanic Serving Institution in the California State University system. Recognition for my scholarship includes funding and awards from the Social Science Research Council, Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Project MALES at the University of Texas at Austin, the Research Center for the Americas at UC Santa Cruz, and the UC Santa Cruz Blum Center.

I have presented my research at the American Sociological Association, American Educational Research Association, Pacific Sociological Association, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the National Association for Ethnic Studies. To date, I have given guest lectures at Santa Clara University, Chapman University, Hartnell College, Monterey Peninsula College, and Prairie View A&M University.

Born and raised in the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills neighborhood, I graduated from Susan Miller Dorsey High School and earned a BA and MA from California State University, Los Angeles. Before enrolling at UC Santa Cruz, I worked in after-school programs, as a counselor for visually impaired and blind youth, and the First-Year Experience Program at Cal State LA.

Pronouns: he/him/his/el.