Chicana-Chicano Studies

Denise Sandoval

Denise Sandoval
Full-Time Faculty
Office location:
JR 121A


Ph.D., 2003, Claremont Graduate University in Cultural Studies

Areas of Interest:
Popular Culture and the Arts, Cultural Histories of Los Angeles, Oral History, Community Histories                      

Denise M. Sandoval, Ph.D is a Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge (2002 to the present). She received her doctorate in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University in 2003, her Masters of Arts in Chicana/o Studies from California State University Northridge in 1995, and her Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 1993. She was the guest curator/community researcher for two exhibitions on lowrider culture at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles: La Vida Lowrider: Cruising the City of Angels (2007-08) and Arte y Estilo: The Chicano Lowriding Tradition (2000). In December 2009, part of the exhibition La Vida Lowrider traveled to Guadalajara, Mexcio with the Department of Cultural Affairs LA as part of the Guadalajara Feria de Libros where the city of Los Angeles was the guest of honor. She was also a guest curator/writer for a virtual exhibition entitled Lowrider: An American Cultural Tradition for the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. Her work on lowrider culture was featured in two different documentaries on lowriders (Automaniac and Modern Marvels) for the History Channel and she has written various articles for publication on the lowrider culture: “Cruising Through Lowrider Culture: Chicana/o Identity and the Marketing of Lowrider Magazine” in the book Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture & Chicana/o Sexualities (2003), entries on “lowriders” and “Cholos/as” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States (2005), as well as the chapter “The Politics of Low n Slow/Bajito y Suavecito : Black and Chicano Lowriders in Los Angeles, 1960’s to 1970’s” that is part of the anthology Black and Brown Los Angeles: A Contemporary Reader (November 2013). In May 2012, she co-edited a book with award winning author Luis J. Rodriguez titled Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts Are Transforming a Community for Tia Chucha Press which documents art activism in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. The book was awarded a bronze medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in June 2013 and also was awarded the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award in December 2013. Her most recent book project is titled White Washing American Education: The New Culture Wars in Ethnic Studies (October 2016), which is a co-edited two volume set published by Praeger, with contributed essays on issues in Ethnic Studies in both K-12 and higher education. The books were recognized as being one of the “Best Reference Titles of 2016” in the category of Social Science by the Library Journal. Currently, she is the guest curator for the exhibition The High Art of Riding Low: Ranflas, Corazón e Inspiración (July 2017 to May 2018) at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition examines “the diverse and complex viewpoints of more than 50 artists who visualize, celebrate and interrogate the lowrider car through a selection of artwork that includes vehicles, paintings, sculptures, and art installations”.

She has been a professor in Chicana/o Studies/Ethnic Studies for over 18 years and teaches courses such as Introduction to Chicano Culture, History of the Americas, History of the Chicana/o and Third World Woman and La Chicana. Her research interests include popular culture and the arts, cultural histories of Los Angeles, oral history and community histories.