Dana Nakano

Assistant Professor

The origins of my desire to become an academic lay largely outside the classroom. It was my passion and work with student of color organizations during my college years and in local communities as well as in the Washington, DC that pushed me towards sociology and ethnic studies as a framework to understand the structural and institutional contexts shaping my experiences and the events unfolding around me. My academic endeavors provided knowledge on the historical and institutional constraints shaping society, but my community work revealed the social inequities that were not always taught in classes.

From both my educational and teaching backgrounds, I have experienced a broad array of academic institutions. Born and raised in Orange County, CA, I graduated from a large public high school and then moved clear across the county to earn my bachelors degree in Engineering, Japanese, and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. After a brief stint as a consultant for IBM in New York City, I returned to California to earn my MA in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University and its historic School of Ethnic Studies. I ultimately earned an MA in Demographic and Social Analysis and PhD in Sociology with graduate certificates in Asian American Studies and Chicano/Latino Studies from the University of California, Irvine before joining the faculty here at CSU Stanislaus. As an educator, I have had the privilege of teaching at an equally diverse set of campuses: University of California, Irvine; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; and Pomona College. Beyond my education and teaching experience, I also bring to campus my experience working in our nation’s capital as a legislative staffer for Congressman Mike Honda. This experience solidified my interest in building scholarship that bridges the academy with community issues and policy makers.

My research interests focus on the sociologies of international migration, race/ethnicity, and politics. In particular, I am interested in the continuing role of race in internal and external negotiations of boundary making. While my work tends to focus on Asian American communities, I have a broad interest in racial and ethnic dynamics across groups and leverage an intersectional perspective to incorporate class, gender, and sexuality into my work.

In my teaching, I pull from my diverse experiences, as well as those of the students themselves, in order to bring to life the scholarly material introduced in course readings and lecture. I ask students to unpack their “invisible knapsack” of privilege and question hegemonic structures and taken for granted assumptions as they inspect social issues. The collection of these diverse experiences grounds my deep commitment to academia, both as an educator and a researcher, and to be part of a transformational project toward a more critical sociology.


  • Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, Irvine (2014)
  • M.A. Demographic and Social Analysis, University of California, Irvine (2010)
  • M.A. Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University (2007)
  • B.A.S. Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (2004)
  • B.A. International Relations & Japan Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2004)

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Race/Ethnicity, International Migration, Political Sociology/Social Movements, Asian Americans, Research Methods, Intersectionality, Queer Theory

Courses Taught:

  • SOCL 3000 - Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOCL 3030 - Research Methods

Professional Memberships:

  • American Sociological Association
  • Pacific Sociological Association
  • Association of Asian American Studies


Contact Information

Building Location: Bizzini Hall 
See Building #2: Map

Office Location: C-213G 

Phone: (209) 667-3512

E-mail: dnakano@csustan.edu