Silvia Rodriguez Vega

Assistant Professor

Office Location

South Hall 1724


Structural inequality, legal violence, Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), ethnic studies, K-12 education, immigration policy, mixed-status families, childhood, humor/satire, mindfulness, borders, undocumented youth and children, and arts and artivism through performance and digital media.


B.A.: Arizona State University, Political Science & Transborder, Chicana/o, and Latina/o Studies
M.A.: Harvard University, Arts in Education
Ph.D.: University of California, Los Angeles, Chicana/o and Central American Studies


Silvia Rodriguez Vega is an interdisciplinary scholar and assistant professor at UCSB’s Department of Chicana/o Studies. She is a community engaged writer, artist, and educational practitioner. Her research explores the ways anti-immigration policy impacts the lives of immigrant children through methodological tools centering participatory art and creative expression. 

Her first book, Drawing Deportation: Art and Resistance among Immigrant Children (NYU Press, 2023) argues that immigrant children are not passive in the face of the challenges presented by U.S. anti-immigrant policies. Based on ten years of work with immigrant children in two different border states—Arizona and California— Drawing Deportation gives readers a glimpse into the lives of immigrant children and their families. Through an analysis of 300 children’s drawings, theater performances, and family interviews this book at once devastating and revelatory, provides a roadmap for how art can provide a necessary space for vulnerable populations to assert their humanity in a world that would rather divest them of it.

Her writing has also been published in Latino Studies, Aztlán: The Journal of Chicano Studies, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, AERA Open, American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Adolescent and Youth Development, and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy and in the books: Why do they hate us? How racist rhetoric impacts education and The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlán 1970-2019. Support for her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Institute of American Culture, UC MEXUS, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and through collaborations with the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Before joining UCSB’s faculty, Professor Rodriguez Vega was a UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSB in the Department of Chicana/o Studies and prior to that she was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University’s Steinhart School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in the Department of Applied Psychology.

Dr. Rodriguez Vega grew up undocumented in Phoenix, Arizona as part of a mixed-status family from Chihuahua, Mexico.




Rodriguez Vega, S. (2023). Drawing Deportation: Art and Resistance among Immigrant Children. New York University Press
Peer-Reviewed Articles:
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2022). Immigrant Children in a Pol(ICE) State. AERA Open.
Rodriguez Vega, S. and Yoshikawa, H. (Forthcoming). Immigration Policy in Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood. American Psychological Association (APA) Handbook of Adolescent and Young Adult Development.
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2019). Teatro vs Trump: Children in South Central Los Angeles Fight Back. In Dossier of Chicanx and Latinx Teatro. Aztlán: The Journal of Chicano Studies. *Reprinted in (2020) The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlan 1970-2019. University of Washington Press.
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2018). Borders & Badges: Arizona’s Children Confront Detention and Deportation Through Art. Journal of Latino Studies. 16, no. 3 (2018): 310-340.
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2018). Praxis of Resilience & Resistance: “We can STOP Donald Trump” and Other Messages from Immigrant Children. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal 12, no. 3: 122-147. *Reprinted (2021) Why do they hate us? How racist rhetoric impacts education by Lindsay Perez-Huber and Susana Muñoz. Teachers College Press.
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2015). From Barbies to Boycotts: How Immigration Raids in Arizona Created a Ten-Year-Old Activist. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 11(2).
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2015). Decriminal(ICE)d. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 11(1).
Digital Publications:
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2014). El Teatro Nopalero. Bozalta. Volume one: Untamed. Retrieved from

Book Chapters & Reviews:
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2021). Review of “We are not Dreamers.” Intervenxion: A Digital Publication by the Latinx Project at NYU. New York, NY.
Rodriguez Vega, S. (2016). Selfless Selfie Citizenship: Chupacabras Selfie Project. Selfie Citizenship. Manchester, UK: Palgrave Pivot.