Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy
Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies (by courtesy)
Ph.D. Harvard University
212B Social Ecology 1
Urban Planning and Public Policy
immigrant integration, children of immigrants, urban neighborhoods, segregation and urban poverty, race/ethnicity, social inequality and social policy
Professor María G. Rendón is a sociologist who examines the integration process of Latino immigrants and their children in the United States. She pays close attention to role of spatial inequality and examines how urban neighborhoods shape life trajectories, particularly educational attainment and social mobility. She is the author of Stagnant Dreamers: How the Inner City Shapes the Integration of Second-Generation Latinos (Russell Sage Foundation, 2019), a longitudinal study that follows a group of Latino young men as they transition to adulthood. Based on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations with them and their immigrant parents, Stagnant Dreamers describes the challenges they face coming of age in the inner city and accessing higher education and good jobs and demonstrates how family-based social ties and community institutions can serve as buffers against neighborhood violence, chronic poverty, incarceration, and other negative outcomes. Stagnant Dreamers has received several awards by the American Sociological Association, including the Robert E. Park Award, (Community and Urban Sociology section); Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award (Latina/o Sociology) and Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award (International Migration).
As an urban scholar, Dr. Rendón has made important contributions to understand how residential segregation and poverty concentration affects Latino immigrants and their children. This includes examining the role of urban violence, criminalization and racialization processes on the lives of Latinos, as well as how social networks and institutions alleviate or aggravate the consequences of American spatial inequalities. She is an expert on how children of immigrants adapt and acculturate in urban environment and has published in several academic journals, including City and Community, Social Problems, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnicities, Progress in Planning and Housing Policy. This work has also garnered several honors.
Professor Rendón’s new book project is a historical and longitudinal examination of how the Mexican-origin group has integrated into southern California. In this project, “A Century of Mexican Integration: Time of Arrival, Cohort Effects and Place of Destination,” she draws on archival research, oral histories and historical-GIS mapping to examine how immigrant cohorts and neighborhoods shaped the integration and exclusion of this group. She centers on a case study of a Mexican village that experienced migration to southern California (Long Beach area) since the early 1900s and follows migratory cohorts of families across generations to understand how the time of arrival, racialization and segregation practices, as well as acculturation, shaped divergent patterns of integration for Mexican Americans. Her new project disrupts linear assimilation paradigms and provides a richer and more complex understanding of the Mexican-American experience in the United States.
Professor Rendón is also committed to addressing the challenges Latinx and other underrepresented minorities face in their quest for social mobility. She continues to advance research on how these groups navigate institutions of higher education and transition to work after college. Currently, she is involved in several collaborations examining racial/ethnic disparities in the STEM fields and Latino pathways for success in UC campuses.
Dr. Rendón received her PhD in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at UC Berkeley prior to joining the faculty of UC Irvine, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science. She is from south Los Angeles, a child of Mexican immigrants and first-generation college graduate and scholar.