Dana Nakano

Assistant Professor

Dana Nakano

I came to academia because of my passion for the production and sharing of knowledge. This passion is central to my work as an educator and a researcher. In many ways, this passion was derived from a feeling that my own history and lived experiences were absent from the textbooks and education I was provided from elementary school through college. As a fourth generation Japanese American from Orange County, I pursued graduate study in ethnic studies and sociology to give myself and my community an intellectual voice.

In all my courses, whether sociological theory, methods, or race and ethnicity, my central goal is given my students a voice and a vocabulary to tell their own story and to be critical participants in the world around them. In developing their own voices, I also ask students to be mindful of others who may not have a voice. I ask them to unpack their “invisible knapsack” of privilege and question hegemonic structures and taken for granted assumptions as they inspect social issues.

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 boundary making as well as the affective dimensions of citizenship. 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.


  • 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, Asian American Experience, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods, Intersectionality, Queer Theory, Political Sociology/Social Movements

Courses Regularly Taught:

  • SOCL 3000 - Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOCL 4010 - Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOCL 4030 - Research Analysis
  • SOCL 4430/ETHS 4430 - Contemporary US Immigration
  • SOCL XXXX/GEND XXXX - Men and Masculinity in Society

Selected Publications:

  • "Telling the Right Story: Narrative as Mechanism for Japanese American Ethnic Boundary Maintenance." 2018. Sociological Inquiry 88(2): 216-244.
  • "An Interlocking Panethnicity: The Negotiation of Collective Identity Amoug Asian American Social Movement Leaders." 2013. Sociological Perspectives 56(4): 569-595.
  • Reprinted in The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race and Ethnicity, Sex and Gender, Social Class, Sexuality, and Disability. 2015. Eds. K. Rosenblum and T. Travis. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
  • "Out of Time: Asian Americans, The Limits, and Welfare Reform in California." 2006. Harvard University's Asian American Policy Review XV: 31-47.
  • “Playing Foreign, Building Community.” Forthcoming Fall 2018. Contexts (Magazine of the American Sociological Association).
  • Japanese American Millennials: Rethinking Generation, Community, and Diversity. Co-edited with Michael Omi and Jeffrey Yamashita. (In Production with Temple University Press)
  • Co-Authored Introductory Chapter with Michael Omi and Jeffrey Yamashita
  • Sole Authored Chapter Contribution: “To Be Yonsei in Southern California: Persistent Community As Postsuburban Minority Culture of Mobility”
  • Racial Uniform: The Limits and Practices of Japanese American Citizenship. Book Manuscript (In Progress).


Contact Information

Building Location: Bizzini Hall 
See Building #2: Map

Office Location: C-213G 

Phone: (209) 667-3512

E-mail: dnakano@csustan.edu