Gina Pérez

  • Professor of Comparative American Studies


  • BA, University of Notre Dame, 1990
  • MA, Northwestern University, 1996
  • PhD, Northwestern University, 2000


Gina Pérez is a cultural anthropologist and was one of the first faculty hired in the Comparative American Studies (CAS) Program in 2003.

She is the author of two award-winning books—The Near Northwest Side Story: Gender, Migration and Puerto Rican Families (2004, University of California Press) and Citizen, Student, Soldier: Latina/o Youth, JROTC and the American Dream  (2015, New York University Press). She is also the coeditor of two anthologies: Beyond el Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America  (coedited with Frank Guridy and Adrian Burgos Jr., 2011, New York University Press) and Ethnographic Refusals, Unruly Latinidades (coedited with Alex Chávez, 2022, University of New Mexico Press, School for Advanced Research Advanced Seminar Series).

Her research interests include Latinas/os, youth, militarism, gender, migration, urban ethnography, and faith-based organizing. Her new project focuses on sanctuary movements and multiethnic faith-based organizing among Latina/o communities in Ohio.

Like other CAS faculty, Pérez teaches at all levels of the curriculum and seeks to connect her research and teaching by developing new courses that reflect new intellectual interests in the field of American studies, Latina/o/x studies, and her own research.

She also regularly offers courses that are grounded in community-based learning and research methods, theories, and practice that connect students to Latina/o/x communities in Lorain and throughout Northeast Ohio. With the support and guidance of the Oberlin College Libraries’ staff, Pérez also works with students to develop their skills of public and community engagement by developing web-based platforms like Omeka to share research findings with a broader public.


Spring 2024

Latinas/os in Comparative Perspective — CAST 201
Latinas/os in Comparative Perspective — GSFS 201
CAST Senior Honors II — CAST 502

Fall 2024

Theories and Methods in American Studies — CAST 200
Sanctuary and Solidarity — CAST 336
CAST Senior Honors I — CAST 501


Gina Perez participates in podcast

September 7, 2020

Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, appeared on the roundtable podcast In the Thick to discuss the case of Vanessa Guillen and the issues of sexual assault, structural racism, and a culture of impunity in the United States military.

Gina Perez Writes Op-ed

June 11, 2018

Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, wrote an op-ed about immigration reform that was published in the Morning Journal.

Shelley Lee, Yveline Alexis, Meredith Gadsby, and Gina Perez Co-Author Op-Ed

January 3, 2018

Shelley Lee, associate professor of history and comparative American studies, Yveline Alexis, assistant professor of Africana studies, Meredith Gadsby, associate professor of Africana studies, and Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, co-authored the op-ed “Selective Compassion: The US Approach to Haitians Hasn’t Changed in Hundreds of Years” in Truthout.

Bautista, Perez, Reyes Receive Grant

April 21, 2017

Adrian Bautista, assistant vice president of student life and instructor, Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, and Julio Reyes, Multicultural Resource Center assistant director and Latinx community coordinator, were recently awarded a grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association's Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) mini-grant program for their “Latina/o/x Oral Histories of Northeast Ohio” course/project. Taught this semester as CAST 335, the project is an ongoing collaboration between Oberlin College students, staff, faculty and Latina/o/x residents and community organizations to document Latina/o/x histories and contemporary experiences throughout Northeast Ohio.

The award includes a mini-grant for course and project development, as well as full support for participation in the OHLA oral history institute this summer at Kenyon College.

Gina Perez Authors Op-ed

February 24, 2017

Gina Perez, professor of comparative American studies, has written an op-ed "In defense of Ohio's sanctuary cities." The article was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Gina Perez Releases Book

November 17, 2015

Professor of Comparative American Studies Gina Perez’s new book “Citizen, Student, Soldier - Latina/o Youth, JROTC, and the American Dream” has been released by the New York University Press. Read more about the book on the NYU Press website.

Gina Pérez Interviewed by the Chicago Reporter

January 23, 2014

A Chicago Reporter article about junior ROTC programs in the Chicago public schools features an interview with Gina Pérez,the Eric and Jane Nord Associate Professor of Comparative American Studies. The article, “In Chicago schools’ Junior ROTC programs, some see a troubling trend”, notes that “Ninety-three percent of Chicago junior reserve cadets are African American or Hispanic, ... and more than 70 percent of junior reserve programs are offered in high schools located in majority-black or majority-Latino ZIP codes ....” Pérez told reporter Matthew Kovac that part of the program’s popularity in those segments of the population can be attributed to the fact that they allow “... working-class and minority youth an opportunity to dispel negative stereotypes and avoid profiling by associating themselves with one of the country’s most venerated.” Read the article.