Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez
About me

Sonia Gomez, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor of 20th-century United States history at Santa Clara University, interested in race and ethnic relations; gender, sexuality, and intimacy; and immigration, migration, and diaspora. 

Sonia Gomez
About me

Sonia Gomez, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor of 20th-century United States history at Santa Clara University, interested in race and ethnic relations; gender, sexuality, and intimacy; and immigration, migration, and diaspora. 

My scholarship takes two intertwined paths. The first addresses the ways in which Japanese women’s inclusion in the US was facilitated by American interests in the Pacific. This line of inquiry ultimately seeks to understand the ways in which gender and sexuality shaped US empire in the Pacific vis-à-vis intimacy and immigration. The second path my research has taken explores the historical, social, and political developments that linked Japanese and African American people and communities over time. This path is situated at the intersection of Asian American and African American history often categorized under Afro-Asian studies.

I began my intellectual journey at Antelope Valley College, a community college in Lancaster, CA where I grew up. I took classes part-time for several years while working as a licensed esthetician and raising a family. In 2008, I completed an Associate of Arts degree, becoming the first in my family to earn a college degree. I transferred to the University of California, Berkeley soon after earning a B.A. in history before completing a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before joining SCU, I was a predoctoral fellow at MIT and a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Mahindra Humanities Center.

Picture Bride, War Bride: The Role of Marriage in Shaping Japanese America
Picture Bride, War Bride: The Role of Marriage in Shaping Japanese America
Picture Bride, War Bride: The Role of Marriage in Shaping Japanese America

Book Project

My forthcoming book, Picture Bride, War Bride: The Role of Marriage in Shaping JapaneseAmerica speaks to the first path my research has taken. In Picture Bride, War Bride, I examine how the institution of marriage created pockets of legal and social inclusion for Japanese women who were otherwise excluded on the basis of race. My analysis begins with the first wave of Japanese women's migration (picture brides) facilitated by the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1908 and ends with the second mass migration of Japanese women (war brides) after World War II. Through an analysis of a variety of primary sources, I trace popular and political discourse that drew upon overlapping and conflicting logics of race, gender, and sexuality to either racially exclude Japanese women or facilitate their inclusion via immigration legislation that privileged wives and mothers.

The next project I'll be working is tentatively titled, Across Barbed Wire and Racial Lines, explores Japanese American incarceration through the multiracial intimacies and formations that either reproduced or challenged the racial logic of wartime incarceration.