Roberto G. Gonzales is Professor of Education at the Harvard
University Graduate School of Education. His
research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social
inequality, and stems from theoretical interests at the intersection of race
and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. In particular, his research examines the effects
of legal contexts on the coming of age experiences of vulnerable and
hard-to-reach immigrant youth populations. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most
comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo:
Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press), is based on an
in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for
twelve years. To date, Lives in Limbo has won seven major book
awards, including the Society for the Study of Social Problems C.
Wright Mills Award,
the American Education Research
Association Outstanding Book Award,
the Law and Society Association Herbert
Jacob Book Award,
and the Society for Social Work and
Research Book Award.
It has also been adopted by several universities as a common read and is being
used by a couple dozen K-12 schools in teacher and staff training. In addition,
Professor Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly
2,700 undocumented young adults and has carried out 500 in-depth interviews on
their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) program. This fall, he is teaming up with several colleagues to
investigate educator responses to school climate issues stemming from immigration
Gonzales’ work has been has been featured in top journals, including the American Sociological Review, Current Anthropology, and the Harvard Educational Review as well as in
the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall
Street Journal, TIME magazine, U.S.
News & World Report, and Chronicle
of Higher Education.
Professor Gonzales is an associate editor for the journal Social
Problems and a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also participates
in a transition to adulthood research network.
Prior to his faculty position at Harvard, Professor Gonzales held
faculty positions at the University of Chicago and at the University of
Washington. He received his B.A. from the Colorado College, an M.A. from the
University of Chicago, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University
of California Irvine. His research is
supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, the WT Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the
Heising-Simons Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.