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Directory Page Title

Jennifer Bickham Mendez

Professor and Chair

Office: Boswell Hall 217
Email: [[jbmend]]
Phone: 757-221-2603
Research Areas: Immigration, Latino/a Studies, Border Studies, Citizenship and Belonging, Race/Class/Gender, Social Movements
Office Hours: Tuesday 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (in person or via Zoom), and by appointment

Areas of Specialization

Latino/a (im)migration, gender and globalization, citizenship, border studies, labor, and social movements


B.A., Oberlin College
M.A. and Ph.D., the University of California, Davis

Honors and Awards
  • Inaugural Award for Excellence in Teaching, Political Economy of the World System Section, American Sociological Association, 2018
  • Diversity Recognition Award. Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, William & Mary, 2013
  • Outstanding Article Award. Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association. “Enforcing Borders in the Nuevo South: Gender and Migration in Williamsburg, Virginia and the Research Triangle, North Carolina (co-authored with Natalia Deeb-Sossa), 2010
  • Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, William & Mary, 2010
  • Annual Book Award. The Political Economy of the World System Section of the American Sociological Association. From the Revolution to the Maquiladoras: Gender, Labor and Globalization in Nicaragua, 2008.
  • President’s Award for Service to the Community, William & Mary, 2004

My research explores ways in which the lives of everyday people are caught up in cross-border forces, including economic globalization. My scholarly interests have centered on Latino/a (im)migration, citizenship, border studies, gender and labor. My current work examines Latino/a immigration to Williamsburg, VA, the barriers that immigrants face in gaining full social membership, and the ways in which the native-born community has responded to the arrival of these newcomers. Another theme of my  work is the challenges and possibilities of activist research methodologies. In my teaching I like to get students out into the “real world.” I have worked closely with dozens of students on independent research projects and have taught the department’s capstone course for majors for several years. I also co-direct a border studies program in which students and faculty spend a week on the US-Mexico border learning first-hand about immigration issues from those whose lives and work are shaped by their powerful effects.


Professor Bickham Mendez' published work has appeared in a variety of academic journals, including Social Problems, Gender and SocietyMobilization, and Ethnic and Racial Studies as well as in numerous edited volumes. She is the author of From the Revolution to the Maquiladoras: Gender, Labor and Globalization in Nicaragua (2005 Duke University Press) and the co-editor of two anthologies: Border Politics: Social Movements, Collective Identity, and Globalization (with Nancy Naples, 2015, NYU Press) and Latinx Belonging: Community-Building and Resilience in the United States (with Natalia Deeb-Sossa, 2022, University of Arizona Press).