Senate Faculty

Olga Najera-Ramirez
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Anthropology Department
    • Merrill College
  • Affiliations American Studies Department, Latin American & Latino Studies, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 1, 406
  • Office Hours by appointment
  • Mail Stop Social Sciences 1 Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Social Sciences 1, room 406
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Chicana/o Studies, Dance, Folklore, Mexico
  • Courses ANT 80G-Barrio Popular Culture, ANT 81-Mexican Folklorico Dance, ANT 130M-Inside Mexico, ANT 164-The Anthropology of Dance, ANT 165- Anthropological Folklore, ANT 194E-Advanced Topics in Folkloristics

Research Interests

As an anthropologist specializing in folklore, Olga Nájera-Ramírez has concentrated on documenting and critically examining expressive culture among Mexicans in both Mexico and the United States. She has conducted fieldwork in Texas, California, and Jalisco, Mexico, and has a special interest in dance and festival. With a focus on issues of identity formation, relationships of power, and expressive cultural forms, her work contributes to the interdisciplinary, transnational studies of culture.

She wrote, directed, and produced two bilingual documentaries. The most recent is Danza Folklórica Escénica:El Sello Artístico de Rafael Zamarripa (Mexican Folkloric Dance: Rafael Zamarripa’s Artistic Trademark), which tells the story of this vibrant art form through the life and work of the internationally acclaimed artist and choreographer, Rafael Zamarripa. For more information, please see or

La Charreada: Rodeo a la Mexicana is a half-hour bilingual ethnographic documentary video produced in collaboration with KTEH, San Jose Public Television Station. Winner of the prestigious Silver Apple Award at the National Educational Film and Video Festival in 1997, this video provides an intimate view of the charreada (or Mexican rodeo) as described by Mexicanos living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin
M.A. Latin American Studies, University of Texas, Austin
B.A. History, Latin American Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Selected Publications

  • Dancing Across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos. Eds. Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Norma Cantú and Brenda E. Romero. University of Illinois Press, 2009
  • Chicana Feminism: A Critical Reader. Eds. Gabriela Arredondo, Aida Hurtado, Norma Klahn, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, and Patricia Zavella. Duke University Press, 2003.
  • Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change. Norma Cantú and Olga Nájera-Ramírez. University of Illinois Press, 2002
  • La Fiesta de Los Tastoanes: Critical Encounters in a Mexican Festival Performance. University of New Mexico Press, 1997

Teaching Interests

Prof. Nájera-Ramírez teaches courses on folklore theory, expressive culture, dance, cultural performances, and Greater Mexico. Other interests include studies in popular culture, media, social history, gender, education, Latin America, and underrepresented groups in the United States. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the campus Mexican folkdance company, Grupo Folklórico Los Mejicas.