About Me:


Ph.D., Chicana/o and Central American Studies, UCLA, 2020

M.A., Chicana/o Studies, UCLA, 2017

Gender Studies Graduate Concentration Certificate, UCLA, 2017

M.A., Latin American Studies (Sociology Concentration), UCSD, 2012

B.A., Sociology and Latin American Studies, UCR, 2009

A.A., Liberal Arts, Santa Monica College, 2006

Dr. Brenda Nicolas (Zapotec) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles. Her work looks at the transborder communal experiences of Zapotec diasporas in Los Angeles. Specifically, she looks at women’s and adult children of migrants’ participation in community socioculturaland political organizing to contest settler colonial logics of Indigenous erasure. Dr. Nicolas will continue her book project titled, Transborder Comunalidad: Gendering Practices of Belonging and Identity Across Settler Colonial Borders. Transborder Comunalidad examines how the experiences of the U.S.-raised generations, and women participation in particular, are central to sustaining transnational immigrant Indigenous communities across borders. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Nicolas uses a critical hemispheric Indigenous framework that bridges Latin American, Latinx, and American Indian literature to draw on her theoretical framework, transborder comunalidad, an ongoing Indigenous Oaxacan conception of collective community life sustained through practices and beliefs in diaspora that challenges state violence against Indigenous peoples (Martínez Luna 2013).

 Dr. Nicolas is the recipient of several fellowships, including: the Ford Foundation Fellowship, the UC Office of the President Award, the UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, and a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship. She is a former research assistant to UCLA’s Mapping Indigenous Los Angeles (MILA) project— a digital storymapping archive that collaborates with Indigenous communities to capture the many Indigenous histories of Los Angeles.

Dr. Nicolas’s personal and educational experience influence her desire to continue working with Indigenous communities. In 2015, she co-founded the Oaxacan College Initiative (OCI) to provide mentorship to the growing Indigenous diaspora from Latin America entering U.S. colleges and universities. She has also organized a series of community events as a former board of directors of the Indigenous Oaxacan non-profit in California, the Centro Binacional Para el Desarollo Indígena Oaxaqueño/Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (CBDIO) and as a former community member for the Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales/Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations  (FIOB) in San Diego and Los Angeles. In addition, Dr. Nicolas has been a co-host for the Senderos de Oaxaca in Pacifica Radio KPFK, a community station that touches on political, social, cultural, and educational topics by inviting community members and critically-engaged scholars. She was born and raised in Los Angeles.