Isabel Ayala


Isabel Ayala

  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Email:    Phone: 517-353-6614
  • Office: 414B Berkey Hall

Degree: Texas A&M University, 2007


Maria Isabel Ayala, (Ph.D., Texas A&M) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Chicano/Latino Studies Program at Michigan State University. Her research agenda examines the social impact that the unique and complex racialization of Latinxs in the U.S. has on their experiences and social behavior. Challenging essentialist understandings of Latinx cultures, her research argues that normative ideologies and Latinxs’ complex social location within the existing racial structure play a critical role in their life course.  Throughout her work, she challenges the deficit perspective by which Latinxs have been examined and instead suggests one of capital. In addition, she discusses the agentive and resilient behaviors of Latinxs in navigating physical, symbolic, and social White spaces. Dr. Ayala’s most recent publications and work under review addresses the experiences of Latinx students in higher education spaces.

Associated Programs: Chicano/Latino Studies
Research Areas: Migration
Selected Publications:

Ayala, María Isabel. 2017. “Intra-Latina Fertility Behavior.” Women, Gender, and Families of Color (Forthcoming Fall 2017).

Ayala, María Isabel. 2017. “Bargaining Power and Cumulative Fertility: Exploring Inter-Racial Differences.” (Accepted pending minor revisions, Border-Lines Journal).

Ayala, María Isabel and Dana Chalupa. 2016. “Beyond the Latino Essentialist Experience: Racial and Ethnic Self Identification and College Attainment.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 38(3): 378-394.

Ayala, María Isabel and Lorena Murga. 2016. “Patriarchy and Women’s Multidimensional Agency: A Case Study of a Mexican Sending Village.” Women’s Studies International Forum 59:1–8.

Ayala, María Isabel. 2015. “Demography of Race and Ethnicity in Mexico.” In R. Saenz, N. Rodriguez and D.G. Embrick (eds.), International Handbook of the Demography of Race and Ethnicity. Springer Press.

Ayala, María Isabel. 2012. “The State of Research in Latino Academic Attainment.” Sociological Forum27(4):1037-1045. 

Ayala, María Isabel. 2012. “Violence Against Latina Immigrants: Citizenship, Inequality, and Community and Violence and Activism at the Border: Gender, Fear, and Everyday Life in Ciudad Juarez.” Gender and Society 26: 343-346. 

Curriculum Vitae: Download