Rafael "Rafa" Ramírez Solórzano

Assistant Professor
Center for Latin American Studies
Research Interests

Latinx Social Movements with focus on Gender and Sexuality, Racial/Latinx Geographies, Women of Color Feminism, Queer of Color Critique, Latina/o/x Political Theory, Relational Racialization, Qualitative and Archival Research Methods

Geographic Expertise

United States (U.S. Southwest, U.S. South), Mexico, Central America 

Curriculum Vitae
  • Chicanx and Latinx U.S. Social Movements
  • U.S. Latinx Political Theory
  • U.S. Immigration History
  • Women of Color Feminism  
  • Gender, Sexuality and Queer of Color Critique
  • Racial Geographies
  • Relational Formations of Race
  • Oral Histories and Qualitative Research Methods

Rafael "Rafa" Ramírez Solórzano is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at University of Florida, Gainesville. Trained in ethnic studies, he is a social movement historian whose teaching interest include Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x freedom movements, racial geographies, relational histories of race, and queer of color critique. He has taught at California State University, Los Angeles, UCLA, and has been a visiting scholar at Emory University at the James Weldon Johnson Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Born and raised behind the orange curtain of Orange County, CA, he is the son of Mexican immigrant service workers.  For over 25 years, he has dedicated a significant part of his life to educational and migrant rights advocacy. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, he participated in place-based campaigns designed to counter racial violence, achieve educational justice, and end the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline across the State of California. Building from his experience as a community organizer and human relations specialist for the County of Orange, he pursued graduate studies at UCLA, where he completed a Ph.D. in Chicana/o and Central American Studies with an emphasis on gender studies. Through collaborative and community-based research, Professor Solórzano has excavated genealogies of migrant rights activism in Southern California and accompanied migrant rights organizations across the U.S. South. 

He dedicates much of this time supporting and advocating for migrant families, youth of color, and educational justice campaigns as a campaign and educational consultant. 

His current book project, Migrant Refusal; The Making of the Trail of Dreams, is a history of the Trail of Dreams, a four-month walk from Miami, FL to Washington D.C. in 2010. Led by four Latinx youth activists from Miami, he contends that the Trail redefined migrant rights activism in the 21st century by expanding our collective understanding of political agency on behalf of undocumented/ undocuqueer youth. Indeed, the Trail is relatively new; however, the roots of racial inequality, interracial coalitions, and freedom movements have a longer history in the region. Migrant Refusal argues that migrant rights activism and political ideologies are fundamentally shaped by local history and localized knowledge.

He believes that community change campaigns led by youth in the past 25 years has shaped racial justice, queer and migrant rights across the nation.His recent publications include essays in Latino Studies Journal, Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, American Quarterly and Queer and Trans Migrations 2: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation. Lastly, he has been a Career Enhancement Fellow, a Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement fellow at Duke University, and a participant in the Institute for Latino Studies’ Young Scholars Symposium at University of Notre Dame.  He has also received grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the California State University system, and UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.