Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez


Rebecca Overmeyer-VelazquezC. Wright Mills Endowed Chair in Sociology
Professor of Sociology
562.907.4200, ext. 4353

Academic History

B.A., San Francisco State University
M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara



  • Environmental Justice
  • Class & Gender
  • Racial and Ethnic Relations
  • Sociology of Development
  • Political Sociology
  • Social Movements

I teach courses in racial and ethnic relations, urban politics and environmental justice, indigenous peoples social movements, and economic development in the global south. For many years I conducted research on Mexican indigenous peoples social movements and their relationship to the government, with a particular focus on an indigenous peoples organization in the state of Guerrero. This work culminated in my 2010 book, Folkloric Poverty: Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Mexico. My current research focuses on environmental justice and environmental regulation in California. Like my earlier work in Mexico, I am interested in the complicated relationship between community organizations and the state and its agents (elected representatives, agency officials, technical staff) as communities and the state try to work together to protect the environment and public health from industrial polluters. I am a community organizer myself and currently coordinate an all-volunteer environmental justice organization in Los Angeles County.